Political Science Department


The political science major is designed to fulfill the admonition of the Doctrine and Covenants (88:79) to teach one another "things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms that ye may be prepared in all things." Politics extends far beyond the immediate concerns of politicians or pollsters; it is essential to the human condition. Since we are all shaped by the institutions we inhabit, political science helps us to understand not only our world but ourselves. It involves fundamental choices concerning our life in communities whether locally, nationally, or globally. Without politics there could be only chaos and conflict. With politics there is the chance for order and thus the opportunity to seek prosperity and fulfillment. Often conflictual but just as often cooperative, politics reflects our basic needs and interests, our highest aspirations, and the often harsh requirements of power.

Political science involves this full range of inquiry, including questions of "who gets what," questions of the best or most just political order, and questions of the nature, uses, and abuses of power. Political science students will be exposed to a broad range of perspectives or great ideas about politics to better understand questions such as "Why is campaign finance reform so difficult?" "Why did the Soviet Union fall?" "Were the Athenians justified in condemning Socrates to death?" and "Do democracies fight fewer wars?" Students will learn a variety of methods ranging from statistical analysis of quantifiable data to historical comparison of institutions to reflection on influential texts. Before graduating, students will not only better define their own values and ideas about politics but also develop their own significant research project as political scientists. Students will be prepared "in all things" to influence their communities for the better.