Skip to main content

The Discipline

The Political Science major is designed to fulfill the admonition of the Doctrine and Covenants (88:79-80) to teach one another “things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms that ye may be prepared in all things...” Politics extends far beyond the immediate concerns of politicians or pollsters; it is essential to the human condition. Since we are all shaped by the institutions we inhabit, political science helps us to understand not only our world but ourselves. It involves fundamental choices concerning our life in communities whether locally, nationally, or globally. Without politics, there could be only chaos and conflict. With politics, there is the chance for order and thus the opportunity to seek prosperity and fulfillment. Often conflictual but just as often cooperative, politics reflects our basic needs and interests, our highest aspirations, and the often harsh requirements of power. Political Science involves this full range of inquiry, including questions of “who gets what,” questions of the best or most just political order, and questions of the nature, uses, and abuses of power. Political Science students will be exposed to a broad range of perspectives or great ideas about politics to better understand questions such as “Why is campaign finance reform so difficult?” “Why did the Soviet Union fall?” “Were the Athenians justified in condemning Socrates to death?” and “Do democracies fight fewer wars?” Students will learn a variety of methods ranging from statistical analysis of quantifiable data to historical comparison of institutions to reflection on influential texts. Before graduating, students will not only better define their own values and ideas about politics, but also develop their own significant research project as political scientists. Students will be prepared “in all things” to influence their communities for the better.

Political science majors have the option to choose from five emphases within the general political science degree. These specialized emphases direct students to courses that conform to their desired career paths or graduate studies.

International Strategy and Diplomacy is designed for majors interested in international/comparative-related careers such as diplomacy and risk analysis and includes courses on comparative politics, international relations, national security, human rights, etc.

Legal Studies is an ideal emphasis for those interested in law school because courses there cover constitutional law, international law, and jurisprudence, for example.

The Political Strategy emphasis may be an option for those interested in political and campaign management and features courses on topics such as campaigns and elections, the political role of the media, and state and local government.

Research and Analysis, a fourth emphasis, may be the choice of those going on to graduate work in social sciences. It includes course electives in areas such as survey research, experimental methods, and qualitative methods.

Global Development, the final emphasis, is an option for students interested in political and economic development, with courses on subjects such as regional or country-specific politics, political economy, terrorism, etc.