The Study of Politics

Political science is the study of governments and political behavior, procedures and policies. Political science has many facets. Political scientists are interested in the various styles and the preconditions for effective decisions, the growth and evolution of governments, and the kinds of problems that all societies face. Political scientists also study people and their relationship to authority. They study how individuals think and act politically, values and positions on issues.

Political science should help any student develop reasoning and analytical skills and build competence in oral and written communication. Political scientists usually study the following broad topics through specific subfields:

  • American government and politics
  • comparative government and politics
  • international politics and organization
  • political economy
  • executive politics and legislative behavior
  • law, courts and the judicial process
  • Intergovernmental relations and state and local politics
  • political parties and voting behavior
  • interest groups
  • political socialization and political recruitment
  • political psychology
  • methodology
  • political communication
  • ethnic politics
  • gender politics
  • community organization and urban politics
  • policy studies including health, environment, science and technology, international security
  • political theory.

(Adapted from: Careers and the Study of Political Science, 5th edition, 1992)