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Political science is interested in the question of power—how it is created, exercised, justified, and challenged to engage in problem solving, facilitate citizen action, and participate in world-making. Political scientists study democracy, war, group conflicts, law, rights, wealth distribution, and authority, as well as the individuals, institutions, and social forces that shape them. As a social science, the study of politics considers both the dynamics and ethics of power, which in turn involves conceptions of community, identity, justice, and citizenship. The contests over power and the values that should animate it imbue politics with drama as well as pathos. Naturally, then, the effort to understand politics aims not only to describe and explain, but also to improve collective life. To this end, the Political Science Department strives to cultivate in its students the habits and skills of clear thought, rigorous analysis, and effective argumentation in writing and speech.

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Learn what Political Science students have to say about the major!