Political science courses focus on the processes by which societies make decisions affecting the lives of their citizens.
Questions raised by political science include:
- Who has the power, how is it acquired, and how is it used?
- What produces stability and what produces change in societies?
- What is political leadership, and what forces shape the relations between leaders and the led?
- How do societies through their governments attempt to deal with basic problems?
Political science offers students both a grasp of the various answers provided for these questions and a sophisticated sense of how to choose among these answers.
Since a core of central questions is common to virtually all the department's courses, students of political science are expected to begin with the introductory course, Political Science 101, in which these questions are pointedly raised. This course provides the necessary background for further work in the various fields of the discipline: American politics, comparative politics, international politics, and political philosophy.
Political science majors should take statistics and a good deal of work in related social studies anthropology, economics, history, philosophy, and sociology. They are encouraged to undertake interdisciplinary study combining social studies with the humanities. Students have the option of doing some work in a foreign language to supplement their study of political science. Appropriate internships and experience off campus, particularly abroad, enhance the major.
Students will find courses in mathematics valuable to their major program in political science.
Recent graduates in political science have undertaken careers in a number of different fields. Law, government service, teaching, journalism, and social work have proven especially attractive.