Politics is how we make decisions that affect us all collectively. Politicians, political parties, institutions, and laws come to mind when we refer to politics, but politics is much more than these. Politics takes place in Congress, in the workplace, in the classroom, at home, on the street – in a word, anywhere. It is about agreement and disagreement over interests and values, cooperation and conflict between collectives, and access to a society’s resources and denial to access. It is as much about collective decision making and the quest for a more just society as it is about power.
Political science is the study of the fundamental values, interests, processes, tools, and actors that play a role in making decisions. Political scientists explore ideas fundamental to the human condition such as power, justice, equality, and legitimacy; examine how laws and policies are enacted and enforced in the United States and elsewhere; compare and contrast the political institutions, policy processes, and policy outcomes across nations; investigate how countries cooperate and compete in the international system; and uncover the ways in which power differentials between individuals, social groups, countries, and geographies shape the world we are living in. Any issue that touches human lives is the subject matter of political science.
The Political Science Department offers courses on political philosophy; U.S. politics; law and legal studies; comparative politics; international relations; political economy; and studies of race, gender, sexuality, and class.
Donations to the Political Science Department fund will be used to help students achieve academic excellence, such as providing students with small grants to cover some expenses they might have when completing projects and research or attending conferences to present their work.