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Political science is the study of governments, the processes by which governments make policies and the effects of those policies on society. Political scientists analyze the nature and design of government institutions, and examine the political attitudes and behavior of individual citizens using the techniques of survey and experimental research. We carry out these studies with research on the United States government at the national and sub-national level, on governments and political behaviors in countries around the world, and on interactions between nations. Political science also continues to ask such fundamental questions as how governments ought to be organized and what government policies best serve citizens interests.
In the broadest terms, undergraduate political science courses help develop analytical abilities and build communications skills. These general aims are supplemented by several specific objectives. First, because educated citizens ought to know something about the nature of government, the department offers courses to enhance general knowledge about politics in the United States and in other countries. Second, political science provides the background necessary for careers in government, the law, higher education, business, and journalism which demand understanding about how political systems operate. Third, political science also contributes to the knowledge of the public policy process, knowledge that is necessary for individuals planning many types of government-related careers as well as careers in the private sector.