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Aristotle famously calls political science the "master science" because it is through politics that a society determines its public policies and laws, which create a framework for the rest of our pursuits. Political science involves the systematic study of political power, issues, institutions, and behavior in the domestic and international realms, and includes both empirical and ethical analysis of these subjects. The faculty experts of the University of Portland's Department of Political Science are dedicated to providing our students with a rigorous, first-rate education in our discipline's four primary subfields:

American Politics is the study of American political processes and institutions, such as the three primary branches of the national government: Congress, the Presidency, and the federal court system. Courses on American Constitutional law, as well as pre-law advising, are also offered by the department.

International Relations is the study of the politics of the international system. Topics include: international security and the causes of war and peace; global trade and economics; international law; and international organizations, both state-based, like the UN and NATO, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), like Green Peace and Al-Qaeda.

Comparative Politics is the study and comparison of the different politics and political systems around the world. This includes the study of, for example, types of authoritarian and democratic regimes, as well as "area studies": the politics of Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and so on.

Political Theory tackles the deep philosophical questions at the heart of political life: What is justice? What rights do we have? What are the values of constitutional democracy? It includes the study of the history of political thought.

Political science majors at UP typically enrich their educational experiences by studying abroad or in Washington, D.C., doing internships, and by participating in our department's extracurricular programs, like Mock Trial, or the Roosevelt Institute, a student-run policy "think tank."

As they gain the tools to analyze and understand a wide array of complex political phenomena, our students develop their abilities to think critically, write clearly, and speak effectively. A political science degree thus equips them for successful careers not only in politics, government, and law, but also more broadly in fields like domestic and international business, finance, non-profit work, marketing, education, and journalism. It also provides them with the knowledge and skills to be engaged democratic citizens and civic leaders. Our students have gone on to attend graduate and law school at institutions like: Yale, Harvard, Northwestern, Notre Dame, University of Chicago, U.C. Berkeley, New York University, University of Virginia, University of Michigan, University of Southern California, University of Texas, University of Washington, University of Oregon, University of Edinburgh in Scotland, the London School of Economics, and many others.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about our program. We are excited for you to join us in exploring the ever-fascinating and deeply important world of politics.

Bill Curtis
Chair, Department of Political Science