American Politics: studies the government of the United States, including the relations between the three branches (the Presidency, Congress, the Judiciary), between the federal government and the states, and between government and private interests. Students might examine health care or immigration policy, explain election outcomes, learn how to measure public opinion, or consider whether lobbying, litigating, or taking to the streets is more effective in achieving social change;
Comparative Politics: focuses on foreign (non-U.S.) political systems. Students compare different systems to evaluate the various ways in which governments respond to similar problems and meet citizen needs. Central factors for comparison include political culture, political institutions, political processes, and public policy. A comparative analysis of these factors can help us to answer questions such as why some countries are democratic while others are authoritarian, why some are well-developed politically and economically while others are not, and why some are stable while others face internal conflicts and civil wars;
International Relations: International Relations is the study of patterns of conflict and cooperation among world actors, primarily nation-states, but also international organizations, nationalist groups, religious groups, non-governmental organizations, and others. Students examine questions about the nature of the international system, the distribution of power and resources among international actors, why nations go to war and make peace, and how foreign policy is constructed. Topics for study include war and the use of force, nuclear weapons and proliferation, the politics of global welfare, development and underdevelopment, international political economy, international organizations, globalization, environmental security, and foreign policy.
Political Theory: Political theory is concerned with the nature of politics and the sort of knowledge appropriate to the study of politics. It also focuses on concepts such as justice, freedom, equality, and legitimacy, exploring how these concepts have been developed throughout history and how they bear on contemporary issues. Political theorists examine foundational questions such as: Why do people live in government? What makes government legitimate? Why should policies be decided by majority vote and not by experts? Government may be needed to ensure our freedom, but at what point does government make us unfree? Can there be a science of politics?