What is the added value of looking at our society through the lens of a political scientist? Certainly, one answer to this question is the nuanced insights about societies that rigorous and systematic analysis bring to bear. Within the discipline of Political Science, we study political phenomenon such as institutions, norm development, power, race relations, culture clashes, and other behaviors in both the domestic and international realms. Our goals are to understand the world and how it works, what factors influence decision-making, behavior, and norms, and what our analysis can tell us about how to make changes for the better within societies.

The faculty experts within the Department of Political Science and Global Affairs are dedicated to providing our students with a rigorous, top-notch education in our discipline's four primary subfields:


American Politics. The focus here is American political processes and institutions, including the three primary branches of the national government. In addition, American Politics courses generally focus on the decision-making process, American political culture, and the law. Our department offers a minor in Constitutional Studies as well as pre-law advising, and many of our students go on to successful careers in law, government, and beyond.


International Relations. IR focuses on the international system and the relationships that develop within it. Concepts such as power, security, interdependence, human rights and globalization are just a few of the key areas of study. UP’s faculty offer courses focused on terrorism, security, global activism, international law and organizations, and democratization, to name just a few. UP students interested in global affairs have found internships with organizations such as Amnesty International and MercyCorps, as well as participated in UN meetings in NYC as research fellows.


Comparative Politics. Scholars in the field of comparative politics study similarities and differences in patterns of politics across the world.  Topics of interest to comparativists include political protest, violence, and rebellion, social movements, political institutions and regimes, and identity, ideology and culture. Within our department, our faculty teach CP courses focused on global regions, including Africa and the Middle East, comparative migration, and the global environment.


Political Theory. 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. At the heart of political life are deep philosophical questions: What is justice? What rights do we have? What are the values of constitutional democracy? In order to understand how to organize our political life, we must understand our values and norms and what shapes them. This is the realm of political theory.


Political Science and Global Affairs majors at UP typically enrich their educational experiences by studying abroad or in Washington, D.C., doing internships, or being part of student government, and by participating in Mock Trial or the Roosevelt Institute, both administered by the department.

Our majors gain the tools to analyze and understand a wide array of complex political phenomena, developing their abilities to think critically, write clearly, and speak effectively. A political science degree 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. Our students have gone on to attend graduate and law school at institutions including Yale, Harvard, Northwestern, Notre Dame, University of Chicago, 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. Completing a degree in Political Science and Global Affairs also provides our students with the knowledge and skills to be engaged democratic citizens and civic leaders.

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

Anne Pitsch Santiago, Ph.D., Chair
Department of Political Science and Global Affairs