Academic Info

  • Political Science Overview:
    • The discipline of political science is focused on issues of power and governance, and in particular on political institutions, both formal and informal. It also focuses on political behavior, political processes, political economy, and state-society relations. The field consists of four substantive subfields: the largest is the American one, which covers such topics as national and local politics, elections, and constitutional law. The second is comparative politics, which aims at understanding the political systems of other countries, both by studying individual states and by engaging in cross-national comparisons. The third, international relations, deals with the ways that states and other political actors behave in the international arena, including such topics as security, foreign policies, international organizations, and international economic relations. Political theory analyzes the history of normative political thought as well as of analytic concepts such as the nature of justice or of liberty. Other broad topics, such as “political economy” or the study of the relationships between economic and political processes, overlap with the subfields, but also constitute a separate program. Methodology, including statistical analysis and formal modeling, also occupies an important place in the discipline.
  • Explanation of the four subfields:
    • American:  If you’re interested in examining the American political system from the dynamics of inter-state relations to the history of American foreign policy, then this subfield would be a great fit.  This subfield covers a broad array of specific topics, including but not limited to race, the media, or the presidency in American political history. 


    • Comparative:  If you’re interested in how the parliamentary system in England differs from the American congressional system and what these differences mean for how politics works in both countries, for example, then the comparative subfield is for you.  Comparative politics looks at the differences in domestic politics between states and tries to explain the implications of these differences.


    • International: Are you interested in topics like the implications of Georgian-Russian conflict of August 2008, the future of Israel-Iranian relations, or how the rise of Chinese economic power influences political relationships around the world, then this is the subfield for you.  International Relations studies how states interact with each other in order to understand history and to predict future political developments. 


    • Theory:  Not satisfied with CC?  Can’t get enough of Aristotle, Hobbes, Kant, or Marx?  Check out the theory subfield to get a more in depth look at the enduring philosophical questions of government and politics. 


Advising Information

The advising schedule (which can always be found here) has now been set for the rest of the semester:

Wednesdays 11am-4pm
Thursdays 9am-2pm
733 IAB (new room!)

Stop by every week during those hours if you have any questions about your program.
Please note that you should speak to an adviser during these hours if you would like to get transfer credits approved toward your major or concentration (please bring the syllabi for the courses for which you seek credit and a photocopy of your transcript from the school where you took the courses). You may also speak with an adviser if you have any other questions about the program or your course of study. The advisers are happy to speak about more substantive issues as well, so don't hesitate to approach them with such questions!