Government and Public Policy

The government program focuses upon the understanding of public life, the study of politics, and the preparation of students for both citizenship and careers in law and public service. Government or political science is the study of human beings living together in order to pursue the good life and happiness. This includes the study of human nature, the philosophical foundations of political life, constitutional orders, institutional arrangements, political development, electoral politics, and public policy. Government spans the major sub-fields of political science: American politics, political philosophy, public law, methodology, comparative politics, and international relations. As a result, the study of government includes not only the United States but also people and political systems around the world. 

The study of government or political science is an important part of a liberal education. Students will develop their reading, writing, communication, and analytical skills. They will learn to think carefully and independently about complex problems. They will learn to consider both immediate details as well as broader contexts. They will refine their understanding of human nature and their ability to work with others. This produces a solid set of skills that employers highly value, that is flexible, and that will prepare students for a wide range of careers in public service, including federal, state, and local government, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector. 

The study of government or political science is excellent preparation for law school as well. The American Bar Association statement ( on how to prepare for a legal degree emphasizes learning important background knowledge that the government major provides, including “a fundamental understanding of political thought and of the contemporary American political system; …a basic understanding of human behavior and social interaction; … an understanding of diverse cultures within and beyond the United States, of international institutions and issues, of world events, and of the increasing interdependence of the nations and communities within our world.” As a result, government or political science is the number one major for students who take the LSAT and go to law school nationwide ( 

The Department of History, Philosophy, International and Legal Studies offers undergraduate and graduate scholarships, paid research fellowships, excellent internship opportunities, and exciting travel abroad experiences, all of which enhance students’ education and career prospects. 

The research and outreach of the government program brings students and faculty together with local citizens, public officials, policymakers and political leaders to develop research projects and public policies that support the region. For more information on these centers, go to: