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What are the 4 fields of political science?

The four main fields of political science are American politics, comparative governments, law, and political theory.

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Many academic subjects will divide into fields or sub-fields. Political Science is no exception. Universities offering courses in political science may differ from one to the next in the divisions of the subject. There is substantial debate in academic circles of the legitimacy of some of the less-known sub-field offerings. However, most political scientists will agree there are four major fields in the study of political science.

The first field is American politics, or United States government. Some political scientists include all of the Americas (north and south) as part of the study. In contrast, some political science classes called American politics focus on the United States exclusively. Students majoring in American politics study voter behavior and elections, as well as the impact elections on policy decisions of the American government.

The second field of political science is comparative government. The field by some institutions is called International Government or International Relations. In Comparative Government studies, students learn to compare and contrast different governments across the globe. They study how politics is conducted globally and how decisions in one country impact others.

The next major field of study in political science is the study of law. Some universities offer the study of law as a separate field. In contrast, others place the field in the political science departments. In political science, the study of law involves understanding how laws or regulations affect political systems as well as the citizens governed by them.

The fourth field of study is political theory. Political Theory is the study of politics by tracing the philosophical roots of political science from its beginnings. Political theory incorporates a substantial amount of history as well as combines aspects of the other major fields of study of political science.

There is a fifth field that needs to be included. Some institutions teach this field in conjunction with their academic business departments. The field is known as public administration. Public administration is concerned with teaching students how to manage government entities such as cities, government agencies, or is some instances, public institutions. A student thinking they want a career as a city or county manager might pursue a degree in public administration.

It is important not to get too hung up on what institutions call their courses. Political science is a multi-field discipline. Nearly all studies of political science will contain parts from each of the main fields of study.

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