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Welcome to Political Science at the University of Montana

Political Science is the systematic study of politics. Politics influences how people and institutions exercise and resist power. Political Science, therefore, is concerned with how nations and communities are governed and who governs them.

From the time of Plato and Aristotle, the study of politics has been concerned with how human communities use power to shape the lives of individuals. Students of politics observe the world's political institutions, from local governments to international organizations. They are interested in the quality of political leadership, the values which underlie public affairs, the political and legal processes used to make governmental decisions, and the wisdom of policies. Politics is the continuing dialogue about the best way for communities to govern themselves.

The department offers a varied undergraduate curriculum covering domestic, foreign, and international politics. By meeting requirements outlined below, a student may earn a bachelor degree in political science or in political science-history; a minor in political science; or a bachelor degree in political science with an emphasis in public administration. A Master of Arts degree in political science and a Master of Public Administration degree are also offered. The scope of the faculty's interest and research is wide. They bring special insights gained through study and residence in Canada, England, Western Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, India, the Far East and Latin America, as well as in Montana and Washington, D.C. All members of the department teach introductory and advanced courses.

Courses offered in the department are designed to:

  1. assist students to secure a broad liberal education and to equip them with the foundations for American citizenship;
  2. provide undergraduate preparation to allow continued study at the graduate level with the ultimate goal of college teaching and research;
  3. offer a broad program of training for those students who plan careers in teaching at both the elementary and secondary levels;
  4. provide a sound background for those students who intend to enroll in law and other professional schools.

The major fields of political science are:

  1. American government and politics with national, state and local government, politics, and public law as sub-fields;
  2. public administration;
  3. political theory;
  4. comparative government;
  5. international relations, organization and law.

Majors are eligible for membership in Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honorary. The Department of Political Science secures a number of legislative and administrative internships in state and local government each year. Internships and other learning opportunities in Washington, D.C., are also available.

At the University of Montana there are approximately 350 students majoring in political science. According to surveys conducted by Princeton University, political science is the ninth most popular major at colleges and universities in the United States.

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