What is Political Science?

Politics is a central element of human society, the forum where our largest issues and concerns are addressed. It's where complex, diverse modern cultures identify shared values and make decisions about rules to live by, and how goods will be distributed. Indeed, political scientist Harold Lasswell aptly described politics as the process of answering the question: "Who gets What, When, How?"

Political scientists make a systematic study of this political process, using statistics, historical analysis, and a range of other methods to explain the causes and consequences of decision-making and policy choices. They analyze the behavior and values of individuals and institutions, and governmental and non-governmental organizations, including corporations, advocacy groups, parties, and many others.

MIT Political Science (Course 17) uses teaching and research to understand and address some of society's greatest challenges. Working as true collaborators in the classroom and in the field, our faculty and students use cutting-edge research methodologies to illuminate the complexities of national and global events and trends.

Our faculty members are acknowledged leaders in diverse fields, contributing insight and perspective on critical issues through their writing and teaching. Domestic examples include US social and health care policy, congressional voting behavior, and campaign finance practices; internationally they have developed new insights into globalization, African politics, the Afghani Civil War, Chinese domestic and foreign policy, energy supplies and policies, and the causes and prevention of war and nuclear proliferation.



Tobie Weiner
Undergraduate Administrator

Scott Schnyer
Undergraduate Administrator's Assistant

Undergraduate Office