Political science is the academic discipline dedicated to the study of power, politics, and government. Political science has four well-defined subfields: political theory, international relations, comparative politics, and American politics. Courses focus on topics and pressing problems, among them war, strategy, law, legislation, local politics, public life, voting, values, deliberation, propaganda, public opinion, authority, community power, urban dynamics, poverty, human rights, social capital, race, gender, ideology, class, bureaucracy, central banks, executive power, foreign policy, trade flows, international organizations, revolutions, and failed states in all parts of the world. Students in these courses learn to critically analyze not only the behavior of political actors, but also their respective political institutions and political systems. The main objectives are to enable students to use strong analytical skills and critical thinking in their analysis of theories, institutions, and processes in political science. Political science is an exciting discipline because debates rage over the appropriate ways to study political phenomena and, indeed, what makes them "political" in the first place.
A student has any number of reasons to study political science. Political science provides a broad liberal arts education while focusing on politics and public life and develops important skills in critical thinking and analysis. These abilities make students of political science ideal candidates for careers in law, in state, national and international government, business, journalism, and politics. Many undergraduates translate their majors into further education in graduate school in political science or related humanities and social science disciplines. Finally, political science is about and contributes to civic education by offering student-citizens the means to better understand and engage politics and public life. Student government, fraternities, sororities, and other organizations are frequently led or energized by political science majors.
For major requirements and individual course descriptions, go to the College Catalog.