Duke University Political Science

The Department of Political Science at Duke University is among the top departments in the nation. Our faculty enjoy teaching, are excited about research, and in many cases are at the forefront of their fields. Our students are among the best anywhere. There are three features that distinguish our approach to education and research: depth, breadth, and a strong community.

History and Overview

The Department of Political Science was established in 1934 and currently includes thirty-one permanent faculty members as well as a number of distinguished adjunct and visiting faculty. The department, which in recent years has consistently ranked among the top ten graduate political science programs in the country, offers students a broad intellectual approach to the discipline, a long-standing commitment to excellence in both teaching and research, and a lively and collegial intellectual community.

We take pride not just in our high national research ranking and our excellent record in placing graduate students, but also in the fact that our department ranked second nationally in overall graduate student satisfaction in the recent NAGPS National Doctoral Program Survey. These rankings reflect the strength of the department across all of the major subfields of political science, its success in training and placing graduate students, as well as its commitment to providing undergraduates with a challenging program of study.

We aspire to be even better. This requires not only sustaining the successful programs we have in place but also developing new initiatives that will place us at the frontiers of the discipline. Our faculty is currently working on major initiatives in such areas as civil military relations, the importance of freedom, political microincentives, party politics, and the study of globalization.

Undergraduate education is a historic strength in the department. Our program affords young men and women an unmatched opportunity to:

  • develop an understanding of political institutions and behavior
  • question the ends and principles of political life
  • understand the role of human agency within the nexus of society's political institutions and processes

We recognize that most Duke political science undergraduates will not pursue professional careers in academia. Our curriculum develops both an understanding of politics and political life and an ability to analyze and critically evaluate political developments from both an observational and theoretical standpoint. Both our empirical-analytic and normative courses contribute to this opportunity.



Duke's political science department is across from Duke Law at 140 Science Drive on the second floor of Gross Hall.

The free Robertson Scholars Shuttle  runs between UNC and Duke's west campus Chapel bus stop.

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