ABOUT  |  History

A brief history of Political Science at MIT.

Political science was launched as a discipline at MIT in 1955 in the geopolitical calm between the end of the Korean War and the swell of the Cold War. The trauma of World War II was still fresh, however, and the formal introduction of political science at MIT was an acknowledgement of the crucial role of the field in an unpredictable and interdependent world.

We evolved from a discipline under the Department of Economics and Social Science to an independent department in 1965. This move was part of a broader attempt by MIT to integrate social sciences into a curriculum dominated by science and engineering. The goal: educating well-rounded students while bringing MIT's rigorous inquiry to bear on the social sciences.

Extending the depth and breadth of our impact.

Our roots as a department—and our faculty—grew out of the MIT Center for International Studies (CIS), an interdisciplinary research center formed in the aftermath of World War II. CIS focused on American foreign policy and security issues, Third World economic and political development, Communist societies, and international communication. For the balance of the 20th century, our department built on that foundation.

Today, we lead in the fields of international politics and security studies. We are breaking new ground in American and comparative politics. We embrace public policy debates and work with engineers and scientists on issues involving politics and technology. And we support interdisciplinary, international, and inter-industry collaborations with problem solvers around the world.

You might also want to explore:
About MIT Political Science
The mission and origins of MIT
The Center for International Studies
The MIT School of the Humanities, Arts, and Social Services