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Political Science is a degree category that consists of the following common degrees:
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In short, political science degree programs focus on the theory and practice of government and politics. ‘Poli sci’ students learn about the structures of politics and government and issues like the nature of political power, the causes of conflict, and globalization.
This breakdown of the main subfields of political science explains its scope.
This is the study of ideas, concepts, and events that have shaped politics and political power. Factors examined are law, justice, equality, freedom, individuality, civil rights, democracy, and government.
Comparative politics is a broad field that compares systems of governments in different countries. A comparative political science, for example, might compare various political systems to evaluate which ones protect values like order, freedom, or economic well-being.
It is important to distinguish this subfield and comparative politics. While comparative politics is focused on comparing the internal workings of political systems, international relations is concerned with looking at how states/governments relate to one another. These relations include trade, cooperation, disputes, conflicts, and war. International law and organizations like the United Nations are also studied.
The focus of political economy is how politics and economics affect each other. Subjects of study in the field include how economic power impacts international relations and how different economies emerge under similar political systems.
Political philosophy attempts to answer questions about abstract issues like ethics, authority, civil rights, the nature of freedom, and how governments should function.
American Government and Politics
This subfield of political science is sometimes called ‘civics.’ It studies the U.S. Constitution, as well as American public policy, political parties, voting behavior, and the court system. It also addresses the politics of race and the political role of mass media.