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Candis Watts Smith co-hosts Democracy Works, a podcast made in partnership with Penn State
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Our Undergraduate Brochure gives an overview of our major and various research opportunities

Undergraduate Program

With an undergraduate major in political science, you will acquire a sophisticated understanding of political processes. More importantly, our major is designed to develop critical and independent thinking, to hone your writing and communication skills, and to provide you with analytical tools. Upon graduation, our majors are highly successful and pursue careers in diverse fields, including non-governmental and public interest organizations, think tanks, consulting, journalism, communications, local, state, and federal government, polling firms, finance, and business management. Many also go on to pursue graduate study in law, political science, public administration, or business administration.

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Featured Courses

Two Dollar Bill Founding Fathers

This course will be offered on MW 10:15 – 11:30 am, Spring 2021.  Because it is taught by Neil Seigel, one of the best instructors at Duke Law, the course usually fills up. This year it was added… read more about American Constitutional Development and Interpretation II: Individual Rights »

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James Baldwin claimed that “American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.” In this course, we will seek to… read more about Introduction to American Political Thought »

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This seminar will examine the causes and consequences of different forms of political violence. We will first explore foundational questions in the study of violence and politics. What is the role of… read more about Politics in Violence »

Graduate Programs

We place graduate research and training at the core of our mission. Three features define our approach to graduate education: ambition, innovation, and rigor. You will explore questions ranging from the micro-political economy of development, to the origins of state capacity, the relationship between ethnicity and conflict, the interplay between religion, money, and politics, or the ability of voters to articulate preferences in complex issue spaces. Our graduates begin working with faculty from the very first day, to gain an appreciation of the challenges involved in producing innovative research. This paves the way to your own intellectual development, the first milestone of which is a solo-authored research paper to be presented to the department during your third year in the program. From that point on, until the completion of the dissertation in year five, the focus is primarily on independent research.

Graduate Degrees: Ph.D. | M.A. | Joint J.D./M.A.

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Our Research

Our department is recognized as one of the premier political science departments in the world, and our faculty are leaders in their fields. The intellectual life of the department is organized around six subfields that broadly reflect the conceptual and theoretical range of questions addressed in political science. Of course, there are significant areas of overlap between these fields, and as a result, many faculty work in multiple fields.

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Selected Faculty Books