Political Science

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.

Reasons to Major in Political Science

Political Science Curriculum (pdf)

Washington Semester Program

Pre-Law Information


Christopher Parker
Assistant Professor of Political Science
B.A., Colgate University, 2005; M.A., Stony Brook University, 2008; Ph.D., 2011, Stony Brook University.

Matt Murphy
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Centenary College Research Professor in the Social Sciences, 2014-2015
A.B., Princeton University; M.A., Georgetown University;
Ph.D., University of California, San Diego.

Spring 2015 Courses

PSC 103: Public Policy (Parker)

PSC 111: Global Politics (Murphy)

PSC 258: Political Analysis (Parker)

PSC 324S: International Law and Justice (Murphy)

PSC 473: Seminar in Political Science (Murphy)

Fall 2015 Courses

PSC 102: American Politics (Parker)

PSC 110: Comparative Politics (Murphy)

PSC 312: Foreign Policy and War (Murphy)

PSC 337: Political Parties (Parker)

PSC 335S: Constitutional Law (Parker)