Uniting scholars with a common research interest

Political Science is a diverse discipline that encompasses the study of governments, political institutions, processes and behavior, public policy and more. Political Scientists identify themselves with one or more of the discipline’s “subfields,” which describe very broad sets of common interests. The subfields of Political Science include:

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American Politics

Political practices, institutions and behaviors in the United States.

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International Relations

Political relationships and interactions between different countries, including conflict studies, foreign policy formation, international political economy, as well as international governmental and non-governmental organizations.

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Comparative Politics

Comparisons of political systems within and across states.

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Political Theory

Theoretical perspectives for understanding politics, including fundamental concepts such as power, democracy and rights.

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Political Methodology

Developing and evaluating the techniques scholars use to generate new findings. Includes statistical, qualitative, formal mathematical, and other methods.

A philosophy of collaboration

Political science contains hundreds of research communities uniting scholars with a common research interest. Some belong to just one of the subfields. Often, however, tackling important questions requires political scientists to draw from multiple subfields, not to mention from related disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. Research in political science expands and improves through collaboration and dialogue among scholars worldwide.  Iowa’s faculty and curriculum reflect this dynamic and collaborative philosophy. 

The Iowa faculty includes renowned experts in each of the subfields noted above. Their investigations lead to important findings shared through prolific publication in scholarly journals, books, and other outlets. They serve on professional boards of national and international significance. As a group, the political science faculty is among the most highly ranked in the University. They are also noted for their research collaborations: with each other, with the members of the department’s doctoral program, and with undergraduate majors. Iowa’s Ph.D. students become strong job candidates because they become active researchers early in their programs. In addition, the department encourages undergraduate majors to conduct research or to work with a faculty member on his or her own research, gaining valuable analytical skills through practical application.