What is Political Science?


Political science is the study of governments and how they function. The discipline encompasses:

  • National and international governmental organizations
  • Groups within countries
  • Formal and informal aspects of governmental activity

The formal aspects of government include such things as constitutions, the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government and the distribution of power and procedures within a government. Aside from analyzing how a government should work, political scientists also study the informal and behavioral aspects of government, looking at such phenomena as public opinion and voting behavior, political parties and interest groups and the political socialization process.

Courses in the department introduce the student to fundamental issues in the governmental process, social conditions that create a need for government, structure and procedures of governments, control of governments and enforcement of responsibility, and relationships among governments.

The goals of the program are to foster in our students an appreciation of government and politics and to prepare them to assume the duties of citizenship; to provide special knowledge and skills useful to those who plan to pursue public service; and to lay the foundations for the scholarly study of government, politics, and the law for those who plan to pursue graduate study or a legal education.

We offer a B.A. degree in Political Science with the following tracks or concentrations: a public service track and a traditional track.

The public service track allows students to gain the necessary skills to work as administrators in local government agencies. It involves a public service internship and courses such as public bureaucracy, public budgeting, public personnel management.

The traditional track provides students with a strong liberal arts background in the study of politics and is a proven preparation for graduate and professional schools. Regardless of the track or concentration that is selected, students must complete 30 hours of Political Science courses including the following: Introduction to American Politics (Y103), Elements of Political Analysis (Y205) and the Senior Seminar in Political Science (Y490).

Political Science Students at IU Southeast

Our students have always been leaders on the campus at IU Southeast. Whether serving as President of the Student Government Association; participating in the University Model United Nations, Model Arab League and Model European Union Programs, coordinating the IU Southeast Model UN Security Council Conference for High School Students, running the College Democrats and Republicans or the IU Southeast Chapter of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, serving as Interns in the Indiana State Legislature and the British House of Commons or participating in the IU Overseas Study Program, Political Science students at IU Southeast are very active.

Special Features

Political science majors enjoy small classes with faculty members who are both teachers and scholars. Students can sharpen their intellectual powers and increase their knowledge through extensive interaction with faculty and fellow students.

Many of our majors are involved in these student organizations that stimulate discussions of contemporary issues:

  • College Democrats
  • College Republicans
  • The IU Southeast Chapter of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union

Some participate in the college level Model United Nations and Arab League programs. Others participate in the Student Government Association and help coordinate the IU Southeast Model U.N. Conference for High School Students.

In the final two years of degree work, students are able to put their classroom knowledge to work as interns or in the professional practice program. Our students have served as interns with local law firms, the Indiana State Legislature and Governor's Office, the local courts, the U.S. Congress and the British House of Commons. Others have participated in the overseas study program in Spain, Mexico, France and England.

Sample Four Year Plan

SOCIAL SCIENCES CONTACT INFORMATION