Research Areas

American Politics

Lincoln Momument

Faculty and graduate students in American Politics study political institutions, public policy, racial and ethnic politics, gender and politics, electoral behavior, political parties, environmental politics, political economy of the US, public opinion and political behavior, and media & political communication.

Faculty: Bruce Bimber, Hahrie Han, M. Kent Jennings, Narayani Lasala-Blanco, Pei-te LienLorraine McDonnell, Eric R.A.N. Smith, Leah Stokes, M.S. WeatherfordJohn Woolley. Affiliated Faculty: Sarah Anderson (Bren School of Env. Science and Management), Matthew Potoski (Bren School of Env. Science and Management).

Comparative Politics

Mosque in snow

Faculty and graduate students in Comparative Politics have wide ranging interests that encompass democratization, political institutions, political parties, identity, social mobilization, political communication, and politics of the environment.  Area specialties include Latin America, East and South Asia, Russia and Central Asia.

Faculty: Amit AhujaKathleen BruhnLaurie FreemanCynthia Kaplan, Matto Mildenberger, Heather Stoll. Affiliated Faculty: Alison Brysk (Global & International Studies Program), Fernando Lopez-Alves (Dept. of Sociology). Collaborator: Marguerite Bouraad-Nash (Senior Lecturer on Middle East politics).

International Relations

Man standing in field

Faculty and graduate students in International Relations have expertise in political processes and outcomes at the international level. Specialties including conflict & political violence, international organizations, and international finance.

Faculty: Bridget Coggins, B. J. CohenNeil Narang. Affiliated Faculty: Michael Stohl (Dept. of Communication).

Political Theory

Statue in Athens

The political theory subfield engages normative questions about politics. It includes faculty and graduate students from several departments, and it has particular interests in contemporary political theory, political concepts, democratic theory, and ethics & international relations.

Faculty: P. E. DigeserAndrew Norris. Affiliated Faculty: Kevin Anderson (Dept. of Sociology), Edwina Barvosa (Dept. of Chicana/o Studies). Collaborator: Cedric J. Robinson (Dept. of Black Studies).

Politics of Identity

Woman in shawl

The study of the politics of identity is a cross-cutting research area that draws faculty from a number of other areas of the discipline.  Faculty and students interested in identity examine it as both cause and effect, studying the ways in which race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and other politically relevant factors shape political behavior and attitudes.
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Faculty: Amit AhujaKathleen Bruhn, Cynthia Kaplan, Narayani Lasala-BlancoPei-te LienHeather Stoll. Affiliated Faculty: Edwina Barvosa (Dept. of Chicana/o Studies). Collaborator: Cedric J. Robinson (Dept. of Black Studies).

Politics of the Environment

Solar Panel Farm

Environmental politics is a cross-cutting area of research that draws on a university-wide strength in the environment, including the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, the Environmental Studies Program, and the Department of Geography. In addition, faculty studying environmental issues and graduate courses on those issues can be found in many departments, scattered across the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. 
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Faculty: Hahrie Han, Matto Mildenberger, Eric R.A.N. Smith, and Leah Stokes. Affiliated Faculty: Sarah Anderson (Bren School of Env. Science and Management), Mark Buntaine (Bren School of Env. Sciencea nd Management), and  Matthew Potoski (Bren School of Env. Science and Management). Collaborators: Peter Alagona (Env. Studies Program; Dept. of History), Dan Montello (Dept. of Geography), Simone Pulver (Env. Studies Program), Robert Wilkinson (Env. Studies Program & Bren School of Env. Science and Management).


Probability Chart

The department places a high value on first-rate social scientific methodology. All doctoral students except those whose primary field is political theory complete one course in research design and data collection, one course in empirical measurement of concepts and statistical analysis, and one in multivariate statistical models. Many students also take advanced training in multivariate analysis, causal inference, and comparative methods. The university's Optional PhD Emphasis in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences provides further training and certification. 

Faculty: Heather StollM. Kent JenningsCynthia KaplanNeil Narang.

Current Faculty Research

Faculty Research

The Department of Political Science provides an environment for faculty and students to excel in research and leadership within the field. We celebrate the contributions that have already been made to Political Science and related fields and recognize the ongoing research and work of our faculty and students. To learn more about the research and projects in which our faculty are currently engaged, please read the highlights below.

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