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Put most simply, political science is the study of politics, government and public policy, both in the U.S. and around the world.

Political scientists seek to both describe and explain political phenomena.  This includes study of the processes of government (the classic example is "how a bill becomes a law"), study of the institutions of government (e.g., the presidency, Congress, etc.), as well as study of the behavior of the people in government (both elected officials and government workers) and the study of how citizens interact with their government (e.g., why don't more people vote?).  Political scientists seek to understand the underlying ways in which power, authority, rules, constitutions and laws affect our lives.  Like other social sciences, political science focuses on human behavior, both individually and collectively. 

Although the study of politics and power is ancient, the discipline of political science is relatively new.  Like other social sciences, political science uses a "scientific" approach, meaning that political scientists approach their study in an objective, rational and systematic manner.  Some political scientists focus on abstract and theoretical questions, while others study particular government policies and their effects.

Why study political science?

Political science has gotten a bad rap.  Many people wrongly assume that political science is boring and has nothing to do with them.  On the contrary, government and politics affect everyone's lives on a daily basis, and once you're familiar with a few basics and a few key characters, the study of politics is as interesting and addictive as a soap opera, and watching the process unfold is not unlike watching a football game. 

Most colleges and universities include political science courses in their liberal studies requirements precisely because an understanding of government and politics is so important.  Political science courses are not only excellent preparation for employment, but they they better enable people to be informed and active citizens in their community.

Degrees Offered

B.A. in Political Science
Students majoring in Political Science have employment opportunities in federal, state, and local governments and with private civic groups, interest groups, and political groups.
B.A. in Political Science, Pre-Law Track
An advantage of this program is that, whether or not the student is accepted at a law school, he or she has completed a major in a substantive discipline.
B.A. in International Studies
An interdisciplinary major in International Studies is sponsored by the Political Science Department. 
Homeland Security Minor
Information about the minor in Homeland Security
International Studies Minor
The Department of Political Science offers a minor in International Studies.
Political Science Minor
An interdisciplinary minor in Political Science.
MA in Public Affairs
The MA in Public Affairs program is the master’s degree offered by IUP’s Political Science department for anyone seeking employment in administrative, governmental, teaching, or international development fields.
 
  • Political Science Department
  • Keith Annex, Room 103
    390 Pratt Drive
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-2290
  • Fax: 724-357-3810
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.