What is Political Science?
When it comes to answering these questions,
Political Science is built on the core aspects of the great liberal arts
tradition. Our strengths are logic, appropriate data, analysis, and
communication. Explaining the outcomes of political processes and
events involves developing theories, using scientific methods to gather
relevant evidence and test those theories, and then using strong communications
skills to explain the research. Honing these skills, and learning
the knowledge that is shared in our classes, prepares graduates of our
department for careers in law, politics, government, the military, academia,
private enterprise, and non-profit service.
American Politics examines questions related to the activities of all the branches of the federal government (legislative, judicial, executive), as well as all the levels of government (local, state, and federal).
Comparative Politics examines the differences between states. Why do some states achieve high levels of economic growth, while others fall behind? Does the process used to seek justice after conflicts have an influence on whether people think justice was achieved? In short, why do similar states turn out very differently (and why do different states turn out similarly)?
International Politics is about the interactions that states have with each other. From overlooked but critical activity like international trade and finance, to rarer and more violent interactions like war and coercion, this part of political science seeks to understand the forces that cause states to behave like they do to each other.
Political Theory is examines the moral and ethical questions surrounding politics. What is the best form of government? What is justice? What are the moral reasons for us to prefer democracy to other forms of government? This part of political science has links to philosophy, and asks similar questions, just with a directly political focus.