Prospective Students

Political Science and International Relations as a Field of Study

Studying political life is a fascinating - and vital - part of the liberal arts. Political Science examines how humans organize their societies and make collective choices. It focuses on the behavior of individuals (both leaders and ordinary people), social groups, and the institutions that humans use to make and carry out public policy decisions. Political science examines not just "the government," but the whole process of governing.

Political scientists analyze political institutions, processes, and policies from three perspectives. Empirical studies of politics focus on what "is" - describing and explaining politics as we find it, and using scientific methodology. Normative studies evaluate the character of political institutions, policies, practices, and values by asking fundamental and controversial questions about what political life should be. Analytical studies focus on the feasibility of various courses of actions in politics and policy - on what "can" be done in political life.

The field of International Relations focuses on the analysis and comparison of other social and economic systems, governments, and cultures including on the global level. It draws upon the material of several fields to provide students with an understanding of the interaction and interdependence of major social, economic, and political institutions and issues in the international arena including war and peace. At Creighton, international relations begins with a core of courses in political science, including the study of methodology, to provide a common foundation for the program and permits students to develop some depth in a topical or geographical area.

Should I study Political Science or International Relations?

Each of us is affected by political decisions and most of us will play public political roles during our lives.  For this reason, politics has always been studied in one way or another as part of a liberal arts education.  We suggest a major in political science for persons especially interested in the ?hows? and ?whys? or politics, or for those who plan a career touching upon public affairs in areas such as law, journalism, business, public administration, political management, or community service.  The international relations major is the major of choice for those interested in global or regional politics or politics of other countries.  It is best suited for a career in Foreign Service, foreign policy think-tanks, journalism, international business, international law, the military, or the intelligence community. 





What do Political Science Students Study?

Students in the department learn about politics at several levels.

  • Coursework in examine the institutions and processes used in the United States to select leaders and make public policy.  Creighton offers a general course in American politics and a wide variety of specialized courses on areas such as political parties, the Congress, the court system, and others.
  • Coursework in focuses on what governments choose to do, how they go about it, and what results.
  • Comparative politics courses examine the similarities and differences in politics as it takes place in other areas, nations or societies, such as China, Western Europe, the Third World, Latin America or Russia and the dynamics of phenomena that cross-cut multiple countries such as development, democracy, ethnic conflict, nationalism and the like.
  • The study of analyzes the interactions among nations.  Issues discussed are diplomacy, international law, national security, and international organizations and global problems thatcut across national boundaries.
  • Studies in consider the fundamental criteria for evaluating political life and critically examine the arguments offered by many of history?s most important thinkers.

Creighton?s curriculum in political science and international relations is designed to help students broaden and deepen their understanding of the political world.  Faculty members assist and instruct students on how to sharpen their thoughts, to ask better questions, and to improve their skill in researching and finding answers to their questions. 

Political Science and International Relations students develop their abilities in both written and oral communication, and acquire a solid background in the research process (including an introduction to the use of computers in social science research).  Excellent opportunities exist for students to apply and integrate what they have learned in internship settings.