University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Political Science

Discover Political Science

Harold Lasswell, one of the founders of political science as an academic discipline, defined the field as the study of “who gets what, when and how.”  As the role of the state has grown – in the economy, education, environment, health, culture, international interactions and many other fields – understanding the political process has become essential to explaining modern life.  Politics is about power, the ends to which power is deployed and the normative questions that arise from that deployment.  Studying political science can help you understand power, its uses and misuses and the consequences (both intended and unintended) of its use.  Political scientists explore these issues in a variety of ways, from concentrating on the wisdom of the great political thinkers of antiquity to analyzing the most recent events at the local, state, national and international levels.

The academic field of political science is divided into four subfields:  American politics, political theory, international relations and comparative politics (the study of the domestic politics of countries other than the United States).  At the University of Vermont, students can take courses in all four subfields from experienced teachers who are also leading scholars in their areas of research.

Last modified April 30 2012 10:58 AM