What is Political Science?

Political science aims at a systematic and rigorous understanding of politics, both in explaining political phenomena and in exploring their ethical and normative dimensions. The discipline covers a broad range of subjects, from authoritarian to democratic politics, from local governance to international relations, from formal rules and institutions to the psychology and behavior of individuals who participate in political processes. Political scientists make use of data ranging from ancient texts, to satellite images, to surveys, to millions of Facebook posts, and analyze them with a diverse set of methods and tools, including qualitative and quantitative approaches.

Why Major in Political Science?

"Politics" is the process of deciding in groups, based on legitimate rules. The Department of Political Science, one of the top ranked at Duke, provides students valuable tools to think about our world and opportunities to interact with renowned faculty. 

Our major offers students an unmatched level of flexibility to study what they want to study without sacrificing the rigor that employers and graduate schools demand. Our redesigned major matches student interests to possible careers. 

Upon graduation, our majors are highly successful, and pursue careers in diverse fields, including law, technology, consulting, banking, non-governmental and public interest organization and think tanks. Many also go on to pursue graduate study in law, political science, public administration, or business administration.

Many political science majors take advantage of the complementarities between political science and other Duke programs. Some choose a double-major, for example, in Classical Studies, Economics, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Psychology, Public Policy, Sociology, or Statistics. Others complete one of the certificate programs housed within the department including Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, and Decisions Sciences. Our students also regularly take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad as part of their political science coursework.