Our department shelters two dynamic programs of study: political science and policy studies. These disciplines are diverse in subject matter and methodologies, appealing to the abstract thinker as well as the practical person, to those who wish to pursue careers in government or the nonprofit sector, and to those who seek careers in law or the private sector.
Political Science studies the structure, operation and policies of governments, as well as the manner in which communities make demands on governments through political parties, elections, interest group advocacy and public opinion outlets. Political science seeks to understand how communities manage conflict, seek various forms of justice and make collective decisions for the public good.
At Elon, political science majors study American national government, state and local governments; the politics of other countries; international relationships between national governments and nongovernmental organizations; classical theories of politics from Plato to Marx and beyond; and how to apply analytical skills to practical political issues.
Policy Studies provides students at Elon with the opportunity to explore the connection between major issues facing society (e.g., the economy, health care, crime, education) and the public policies used to address them.
All Policy Studies majors take courses covering the basic institutional and economic principles underlying the creation of public policies, as well as the processes through which these decisions take place. Elective courses allow majors to examine public policy and the policy process from a variety of disciplinary perspectives including economics, political science, sociology, and communications. Students gain substantive knowledge to aid their understanding of a particular policy area or political actor, while at the same time building skills in leading policy change and analyzing public policy issues.