Political science is the academic discipline that analyzes how power is defined, who does or should have power in society, how those with power use or ought to use it, how those with less power challenge it, and the effect of power on people's lives.
Political science is the systematic study of politics. Our courses explore a wide range of questions regarding the concepts and norms central to power and politics (e.g., authority, domination, gender, freedom); the structure and operations of law and institutions (e.g., the U.S. Supreme Court, United Nations, non-governmental organizations); the historical, sociological and cultural factors involved in political and economic development; social movements and processes (e.g., women's movements, immigration); comparative political systems (e.g., democracy, communism); political trends and transformations in various regions (e.g., East Asia, South Asia, Latin America); and analyses of current affairs in the many realms and contexts in which politics take place.
Political Science Curriculum Goals
Our curriculum is specifically designed to achieve several goals:
- Provide majors with a broad background in the discipline of political science through the study of the four subfields that comprise it: American politics and law, comparative politics, international relations and political theory.
- Help students develop the capacity to think critically about themselves and local, national, and global politics.
- Train students to become informed and reflective citizens of a democracy, as well as knowledgeable about the global dynamics that influence the shape and content of political life.
- Facilitate the acquisition of particular skills and tools, including the ability to read complex texts closely; write clearly and well; think critically and analytically; generate and test hypotheses; and take and defend a position against the strongest counterarguments.