The Government department seeks to instill in its students a lively interest in politics,
in how political systems work and in how we can make them work better, in contemporary
political issues, in international relations and foreign policy, in political theory,
and in the law. We offer a comprehensive program that reflects the broad discipline of political
science. Students take three required introductory courses followed by intermediate and advanced
courses in four areas: American government, comparative government, international relations, and political
theory. The major is designed to serve students who wish to concentrate in a particular area,
those who aspire to go on to graduate school, and those who want merely to explore
the field of politics.
Our main goal is to help students think analytically and critically about political issues. We do this by developing students' knowledge of the four subdisciplines of political science, by cultivating in them the analytical skills they need to understand political issues, and by enhancing their abilities to assess critically political situations and problems from both empirical and normative perspectives.
In terms of knowledge, we aim to provide students with the historical and contemporary information they need to understand national and international political structures, behaviors, and ideas. In terms of analytical skills, we seek to offer students the methodological and technical training they require to read texts carefully; collect, analyze, and interpret data; and communicate their conclusions effectively and elegantly. In terms of critical abilities, we teach students to examine political issues and problems from both empirical and ethical viewpoints as a first step toward developing policy recommendations that can improve political participation, processes, and outcomes.