Political Science is the study of power in states and societies, government policy, and political behavior. It focuses on actors pursuing their interests, the rules or institutions that influence how they seek these interests, and the processes by which collective decisions and political outcomes are determined. For example, political scientists study political parties and interest groups, the mechanics of democratic elections in the U.S. and other countries, the organization and functioning of constitutional rules, the causes and consequences of war, and the different patterns of government intervention in the economy.
Political scientists are interested in understanding, explaining, and sometimes predicting political outcomes. While it is not a “science” in the same sense as chemistry or physics, political scientists use the scientific method to ask important questions, analyze politics in clear and systematic ways, and use real-world evidence to determine what conclusions we can and cannot make. The discipline is filled with arguments and debates about important topics, but these are based in evidence and logical argument, not just opinion. Studying political science helps us be better citizens by offering clarity about what realistic answers there are to some of our most important questions, and the analytical skills to choose the right answers.
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Reasons to Major in Political Science
The student who chooses to major in political science will engage in a distinctive set of educational experiences that will help them better understand themselves, their own government, and the political systems of other cultures.
While it is the oldest academic discipline dating back to the Greek philosophers, political science is a modern social science seeking to make scientific observations about politics. Political scientists study the structure and legal basis of government, the decision-making process, public policies, and the consequences of governmental actions.
Our graduates have had extraordinary success in pursuing careers in law, government, higher education, journalism, the foreign service, and practical politics.
Recent graduates have been admitted to the nation's best law schools including Harvard, Columbia, Duke, New York University, Tulane, Southern Methodist, and the University of Texas. Those pursuing graduate studies have been awarded scholarships at George Washington University, Texas A & M, and Georgetown. Others serve in the U.S. Justice Department, as legislative aides to U.S. Senators, and as political consultants.
Why Centenary for Political Science
The Department provides students with the critical reasoning and analytical skills that lead to success. A committment to developing excellence in written and oral expression separates political science from other majors. The ideal major for pre-law and international studies students, virtually all political science majors are successful in gaining admission to nationally ranked law, graduate, and professional schools.
Political science students participate in internships in the offices of elected officials, government agencies, and in campaign organizations. Study abroad programs include an international relations program at the University of London and a summer program at Oxford. The Washington Semester program, offered in cooperation with American University, is available to junior majors interested in a hands-on experience in our nation's capital.