Political Science

photo of Pendleton East building - site of the Political Science Department

What is Political Science?

Political Science is the systematic study of politics.  It is the academic discipline that analyzes how power is defined, who does or should have power in society, how those with power use or ought to use it, how those with less power challenge it, and norms central to the study of power and politics (e.g., authority, domination, gender, freedom); the structure and operations of law and institutions (e.g., the U.S. Supreme Court, United Nations, nongovernmental organizations); the historical, sociological, and cultural factors involved in political and economic development; social movements and processes (e.g., women's movements, immigration); comparative political systems (e.g., democracy, communism); political trends and transformations in various regions (e.g., East Asia, South Asia, Latin America; and analyses of current affairs in the many realms in which politics take place.