What is Political Science?
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 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.
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