Welcome to the Department of Political Science at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Political science is a social science that investigates collective decision-making. It is concerned with governments, individuals’ attitudes and choices, and the interactions between governing institutions and mass behavior. Among other things, political science addresses power, authority, influence, identity, ethics, law, liberty, justice, wealth, and violence.
The study of political science introduces students to a powerful set of analytical tools for understanding interactions within and among groups of people. These include systematic knowledge of recurring patterns and problems in political life and methods for collecting and analyzing data and other forms of evidence. Studying political science also cultivates critical thinking and effective communication and prepares students for active citizenship, professional success, and lifelong learning.
At the undergraduate level, the Department of Political Science offers a Bachelor’s in Political Science (BA or BS) with courses in all facets of the discipline: American Politics, International Relations, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, Political Methodology, Public Administration and Policy, and Race and Ethnic Politics. The department also participates actively in the University honors program. Honors courses are available in all areas of political science. In addition, students may graduate with honors distinction in political science.
American politics involves the study of the institutions of national government, law, mass political behavior, elections, political communication and media, interest groups, political parties, state and local governments, urban politics, and identity in politics in the United States.
International relations involve the study of relations between the governments of the world. Courses are offered in world politics, American foreign relations, and national security policy.
This area of political science allows students to develop an in-depth understanding of foreign governments and politics. Courses are offered in European governments, Latin American governments, Asian governments, Russia and the former Soviet states, and in the politics of inequality and globalization.
The study of political theory provides students with an understanding of the fundamental relationships between governments and people. Courses range from the study of Greek antiquity to contemporary political ideologies.
Public Administration and Policy
This area of political science encompasses the study of public administration and the role of public policy in American politics. Study in this area will provide the student with the opportunity to understand the fundamentals of administration within a political environment. Courses are offered in bureaucracy and administration, state and local finance, urban administration, and government and the economy.
These courses introduce students to scientific research design, statistical analysis, and game theory.
Race and Ethnic Politics
These courses provide the student with an in-depth understanding of the role of diversity in politics.
5-Year Combined Degree Programs
The Political Science Department offers a combined degree program in conjunction with the Bush School of Government and Public Service. This program enables students to receive either a BA or BS in political science and a Master of Public Service and Administration (MPSA) degree in five years.
The Political Science Department also offers a combined degree program that enables students to receive either a BA or BS in political science and a Master of Arts or a Master of Science in Political Science in four and a half years.
The Department of Political Science participates actively in the University honors program. Honors courses are available in all areas of political science. In addition, students may graduate with honors distinction in political science. Honor students also are offered individual instruction under POLS 497. Students interested in the Department’s Honors Program should contact the Political Science Undergraduate Programs Office.
Students desiring certification to teach civics or government in secondary schools in Texas must meet special additional requirements.
More complete information on requirements for teacher certification may be found in the College of Education and Human Development section under secondary certification.
The Department of Political Science offers graduate study leading to the degrees of the Doctor of Philosophy The Doctor of Philosophy degree is appropriate for those who wish to pursue careers as research scholars in institutions of higher education.
Sub-fields in the Department
Students typically choose a Major from among the following sub-fields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, Public Policy/Public Administration. Students also choose a Minor from among the previously listed fields, plus Methods or Race, Ethnic, and Gender Politics.
There are several organized research programs within the department that encourage collaboration and dialogue across these sub-fields.