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About the Department of Political Science

Political scientists study power, politics, and a variety of kinds of political processes, systems and behavior.


Politics can be understood broadly as the process by which groups of people make decisions about how they will live and act together. Political action is the essential underpinning of all human communities and social life.

Political science is divided into four main subfields: American politics, comparative politics, international relations and political thought.

Students of American politics examine the characteristics and roles of American political institutions, including political campaigns, elections, partisanship, the justice system, and the Constitution. They may also study public policies like welfare, education or tax policy.

Students of comparative politics examine political behavior and institutions in all parts of the world. Courses in comparative politics might examine the politics of a particular region or broader processes like ethnic conflict, economic development, or political change.

International relations exposes students to a broad spectrum of issues in an increasingly complex and interrelated world. Topics include the balance of power between countries, globalization, international institutions, and political economy. Students learn about national and international security challenges, including threats posed by nuclear weapons, terrorism, poverty, climate change, and pollution.

Political theorists study the nature of liberty, justice, politics, community, law, rights, and other fundamental questions about politics. They may ask what makes a government legitimate or what would constitute a good society. Political thought classes rely heavily on the analysis of texts.

Mission Statement

Saint Louis University’s Department of Political Science analyzes the exercise of political power as it relates to governance, citizenship, and justice at all levels: local, national and international.

Insight of this kind is crucial to understanding, and potentially solving, fundamental social problems like war, poverty and oppression in all its forms. In its teaching, the department aims to enable SLU students to assess the root causes of political phenomena, thereby preparing them to be truly men and women for others: informed and engaged world citizens and effective leaders able to make positive contributions to society.

Giving to the Department

Are you interested in giving back to the Department of Political Science?  To share alumni updates, contact the department chair. Your updates may be shared in an upcoming newsletter. 

Some alumni have also returned to speak to students about their career choices. If this would interest you, contact the department chair. Alumni are always welcome at any political science department events. 

Gifts given to the department are used to enrich the educational experience of our students in a variety of ways. We send students to conferences to present their research or to learn more about political life, bring in speakers,organize conferences like the annual Global and Local Social Justice conference, and host events that give students and faculty and opportunity to interact informally.

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