Department of Political Science

Government exerts critical influence on our lives. Its decisions determine aspects of our personal lives such as whom we can and cannot marry, our working lives through regulations of the economy, our environment and health, and our safety through decisions on war and peace or criminal justice. The importance of government is therefore immense.

The political science major offers the opportunity to learn and think critically about this considerable force in our lives. Political scientists seek to understand how and why government is constituted, how the people who run it are chosen, why governments make the policy choices they do, and what the consequences of those choices are. They also seek to clarify and develop the principles by which we judge how politics and government should be conducted.

The political science major approaches these questions in five subfields: American politics, public policy, comparative politics, international relations, and political philosophy. The program offers students the flexibility to sample those subfields early via five “core” courses that introduce them to critical issues in those fields. Courses beyond the introductory level allow students to explore topics in greater depth, and in their senior year majors enroll in a small enrollment seminar in which they undertake research.

Political science majors also have opportunities to undertake internships while studying abroad or in Washington, DC, through BU’s Study Abroad and Internship Programs.

The political science major curriculum provides training in critical skills. Our courses require extensive writing, analytical thinking, and quantitative reasoning. Not surprisingly, political science majors succeed in diverse fields including business as well as government. A substantial proportion of our majors go on to graduate school, and in particular to law school, for which a political science major is an ideal preparation.