The Major

Why Study Political Science?

Because you are affected every day by actions by people with power, near and far. Political science explores questions about power: what it is, where it comes from, who exercises it, how it is used and legitimized. Concretely, political scientists study the processes, policies and institutions of different political systems as well as critical issues such as health care policy, civil rights, the origins of wars, the nature of democracy, the causes of authoritarianism, the meaning of justice, and the genesis of terrorism. 

In accordance with the mission of Barnard College, the political science department aims to create a community of teachers and students committed to intellectual discovery, rigorous analysis, and independent thought. The department’s courses emphasize reflection, discussion, deliberation and intensive interactions between faculty members and students. The Barnard political science department strives to help students think clearly and methodically about the questions and issues that make up political science, equip them with the intellectual and presentational skills necessary to understand and address practical political issues as well as prepare them for a wide range of careers in federal, state and local governments; law; business; international organizations; nonprofit associations and organizations; campaign management and polling; journalism; pre-collegiate education; electoral politics; research and university and college teaching.