Duke University Political Science

Mission Statement

An undergraduate major in political science allows students to combine practical knowledge about politics with insights into the timeless questions of political life.

  • What is the meaning of civil society, and what is the individual's place in it?
  • What are the causes and institutional forces behind a conflict between the President and the chairman of a congressional committee?
  • What are the causes of war and the conditions of peace?
  • How does the presidential primary system work?

Our undergraduate mission is to afford young men and women opportunities to attain a broad knowledge and understanding of political institutions, culture and behavior.  Courses, small group learning experiences, and independent studies are offered within and between the four recognized disciplinary sub-fields of American Government and Politics, Comparative Government and Politics, Normative Political Theory and Empirical Political Theory and Methodology, and International Relations, Law, and Politics.  The different intellectual perspectives and the varied normative and scientific methodologies used by faculty and students in these fields are collectively directed in one way or another toward promoting a common mission of understanding politics.

Student Learning Objectives

  1. Students will develop a broad understanding of the scholarship, analytical methods, and theories of politics in one or more of the discipline's four sub-fields.
  2. Students will develop a mastery of critical thinking skills by evaluating political developments from an observational and theoretical standpoint in their research.
  3. Students will develop and hone a mastery of writing skills of a political genre by communicating their perspectives, empirical findings, interpretations and the conclusions of their research on political issues, policies, institutions, and behavior.
  4. Students may develop outside of the classroom alternative perspectives on political affairs by engaging in internships, study abroad, and community service experiences.

Declaring a major or minor in Political Science contact:

The Academic Advising Center to fill out your long-range plan.

  • phone: 919-684-6217
  • hours: Monday - Friday 8am - 5pm
  • email:
  • bluebackground