Overview

In a nutshell, Political Science is the academic study of politics and government. In one sense, it is an ancient discipline. It remains central to any classical study of the liberal arts, firmly grounded as it is in the work of Plato and Aristotle. In another sense, because it often deals with current events and sophisticated statistical analysis, Political Science is a cutting-edge area of study. Whether you are analyzing voting patterns in a presidential campaign, the Israeli parliament, or the pros and cons of different systems of government, Political Science is timely, fascinating, and perpetually changing.

Like any liberal arts major, Political Science makes no claims to be a pre-professional program. It certainly doesn't exist to teach disconnected facts about politics. Instead, Political Science majors develop excellent critical thinking and communication skills and, more broadly, an understanding of history and culture. Even more broadly, Political Science tackles those Big, Serious, Heavy, Eternal Questions. What is the best way to reconcile individual desires and community needs? Is it possible to have both freedom and equality? Authority and justice? Etc.

If you major in Political Science, you'll study everything from revolutions to political parties to voting behavior to public policy. You are also likely to explore the political issues inherent to different regions of the world, like the Middle East, East Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.

SAMPLE CURRICULUM

  • American Political Thought

  • Asian Politics

  • Comparative Government

  • Data Analysis

  • Gender and Politics

  • International Political Economy

  • Internship in State or Local Government

  • Latin American Politics

  • Legislative Process

  • Philosophy of Law

  • Political Philosophy

  • Political Science is a pretty broad subject, and most departments offer a handful of concentrations for you to choose from. Some of the common concentrations are: American Government, Public Policy, Foreign Affairs, Political Philosophy, and Comparative Government. Whatever concentration you choose (or even if you don't choose one), you'll probably take a few of these courses:

  • Politics and Religion

  • Statistics

  • The American Presidency

  • United States Foreign Policy


HIGH SCHOOl PREPARATION

Political Science involves heavy doses of reading, writing, and often - if you can believe it - rigorous statistical analysis. Translation: math. We're not suggesting anything nearly as challenging as A.P. calculus, but you should stay in practice. In addition, if you think you might major in Political Science, concentrate primarily on honing your reading and writing skills. Take courses in American history, civics, world history, and English composition, so you can get good at writing essays. Mastery of a foreign language is a big plus, too, because you will probably be required to take several foreign language classes as a Political Science major.