Political science is the study of governments, public policies and political processes, systems, and political behavior (APSA). The department offers courses in four of the subfields of political science: political theory (the history of political thought and normative theory); American government (institutions, political processes and political behavior); international relations(interstate behavior, international organizations international political economy,and transnational actors);and comparative politics (institutions, political processes of other states, political and economic development). The department uses both normative and empirical methodologies to examine political issues in all of the subfields, and a principal goal of the department is to teach students how to think analytically, write clearly and persuasively, and be inquisitive and imaginative as they contend with these issues. The College's location gives students an excellent historical vantage point from which to ponder contemporary political questions. As part of the liberal arts tradition, political science students acquire a variety of skills that prepare them for a wide range of careers in the public and private sectors.
Political science students may experience a rich array of activities, including internships in a variety of settings; class visits from people in academia, the public and private sectors; and participation in approved study abroad programs or programs in Washington, D.C. Finally, students are encouraged to build curricular bridges to related academic disciplines, such as environmental studies, economics, and history.