Exploring the World of Harvard Political Science

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a male law student studying

Exploring the World of Harvard Political Science

Harvard University has always been renowned for its academic excellence and rigor. In this article, we will explore the world of Harvard Political Science, one of the most exciting and fascinating fields of study at the prestigious institution. Founded in 1880, the department has a rich history of scholarship and teaching. Today, it is considered to be among the elite political science departments in the world, with an incredible faculty, innovative curriculum, and cutting-edge research projects.

The History and Evolution of Political Science at Harvard

The study of politics has been an integral part of the Harvard curriculum since the university’s inception. However, it was only in 1880 that the first political science courses were formally offered. The department grew rapidly over the next few decades, helped by the arrival of renowned scholars such as Charles Merriam, V. O. Key, and Samuel Huntington. These scholars and others have shaped the field of political science and made Harvard one of the world’s leading institutions for the study of politics.

Harvard University historic building in Cambridge at Massachusetts USA

In recent years, the department has expanded its focus to include new areas of research, such as the intersection of politics and technology, and the study of global governance. The department has also increased its emphasis on diversity and inclusion, with a renewed commitment to recruiting and supporting scholars from underrepresented backgrounds.

Today, the Harvard political science department continues to be at the forefront of research and teaching in the field, with a vibrant community of faculty, students, and alumni who are shaping the future of politics and policy.

Understanding the Role of Political Science in Today’s Society

Political science is a crucial field of study in today’s complex and interconnected world. By understanding the structures, institutions, and ideologies that shape our political systems, scholars of political science can shed light on some of the most pressing challenges facing society today. These challenges include climate change, economic inequality, and the rise of authoritarian populism.

Moreover, political science also plays a significant role in shaping public policy and decision-making processes. Through their research and analysis, political scientists provide valuable insights and recommendations to policymakers, helping them to make informed decisions that benefit society as a whole. Additionally, political science education equips individuals with critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills that are essential in various professions, including law, journalism, and public service.

The Top Professors and Thinkers in Harvard Political Science

The faculty at Harvard Political Science includes some of the most distinguished scholars in the field. Faculty members such as Robert Putnam, Danielle Allen, and Steven Levitsky have written groundbreaking works that have influenced the academic and public discourse on politics. For students interested in studying political science, the opportunity to learn from these respected scholars is a valuable and enriching experience.

In addition to the renowned faculty, Harvard Political Science also offers a wide range of research opportunities for students. Undergraduate and graduate students can work alongside faculty members on research projects, gaining hands-on experience in the field.

The department also hosts numerous events and lectures throughout the year, featuring prominent political scientists from around the world. These events provide students with the opportunity to engage with experts in the field and gain a deeper understanding of current political issues.

Examining the Curriculum of Harvard’s Political Science Program

The Harvard Political Science curriculum is designed to provide students with a broad range of knowledge and skills. Students take courses in fields such as international relations, political theory, comparative politics, and American politics. The department also offers a wide range of seminars and workshops that allow students to deepen their knowledge in specific areas of interest.

Additionally, Harvard’s Political Science program places a strong emphasis on research and writing skills. Students are required to complete a senior thesis, which involves conducting original research and presenting their findings in a well-written paper.

The department also offers opportunities for students to work with faculty members on research projects, providing valuable experience in the research process. These skills are highly valued in a variety of careers, including academia, government, and non-profit organizations.

The Benefits of Studying Political Science at Harvard

Studying political science at Harvard offers numerous benefits for students. The rigorous curriculum provides students with a deep understanding of political systems and prepares them for a range of careers in politics, public service, academia, and beyond. The department also provides ample opportunities for research, internships, and study abroad programs, allowing students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world situations.

a gavel, pens and books laid down beside each other on a table

Furthermore, Harvard’s political science department boasts a diverse and accomplished faculty, including renowned scholars and practitioners in the field. Students have the opportunity to learn from and work alongside these experts, gaining valuable insights and connections that can benefit them throughout their careers.

Additionally, studying political science at Harvard provides students with access to a wide range of resources and extracurricular activities. From student organizations focused on political activism and advocacy to guest lectures and events featuring prominent political figures, there are countless opportunities for students to engage with the political world beyond the classroom.

The Research and Projects Conducted by the Harvard Political Science Department

The Harvard Political Science Program is engaged in a wide range of research projects and initiatives. Faculty members and students are conducting research on topics such as electoral systems, authoritarianism, migration, and conflict resolution. The department also sponsors several research centers, including the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, which promotes interdisciplinary research on global issues.

One of the notable research projects conducted by the department is the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, which aims to promote understanding and cooperation between the two countries. The program sponsors research, conferences, and exchanges between scholars and policymakers from both countries.

In addition to research, the department also offers several opportunities for students to engage in practical political work. The Harvard Political Review, a student-run publication, provides a platform for students to write about current political issues. The department also sponsors several student organizations, such as the Harvard International Relations Council, which organizes Model United Nations conferences and other events to promote global awareness and understanding.

The Impact of Harvard’s Political Science Graduates on the World Stage

Graduates of Harvard Political Science have gone on to make significant contributions to the world. Many former students have become leaders in politics, public service, law, and business. Some of the most prominent graduates include former US Presidents John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

However, the impact of Harvard Political Science graduates extends beyond just the political realm. Many alumni have also made significant contributions to academia, journalism, and the arts. For example, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Samantha Power, who served as the US Ambassador to the United Nations, is a Harvard Political Science graduate. Additionally, renowned philosopher and political theorist Michael Sandel, who has written several influential books and taught at Harvard for over three decades, also earned his degree in Political Science from the university.

Student Life and Resources for Political Science Majors at Harvard

Students majoring in political science at Harvard have access to a wide range of resources and activities. The department sponsors numerous events and activities throughout the year, including lectures, conferences, and workshops. Students can also participate in organizations such as the Harvard Political Review and the Harvard International Review. The department also provides students with career counseling services, helping them to secure internships and job placements.

Additionally, political science majors at Harvard have the opportunity to study abroad through various programs offered by the department. These programs allow students to gain a global perspective on politics and international relations, while also earning academic credit towards their degree. Students can choose from a variety of destinations, including Europe, Asia, and South America.

Furthermore, the department offers research opportunities for students interested in pursuing independent projects. Students can work with faculty members on research projects, or apply for funding to conduct their own research. This provides students with valuable experience in conducting research and presenting their findings, which can be beneficial for graduate school or future careers in the field of political science.

The Future of Political Science Education at Harvard and Beyond

The future of political science education at Harvard and beyond looks bright. The department is committed to continuing its tradition of excellence, preparing students to become thoughtful and engaged scholars and citizens who will shape the world of tomorrow. As political systems continue to evolve and change, it is clear that the study of politics will remain a vital and important field of study.

Harvard University

In conclusion, exploring the world of Harvard Political Science is a fascinating and rewarding journey. By delving into the department’s rich history, innovative curriculum, accomplished faculty, and groundbreaking research, we can gain a deep understanding of the vital role that political science plays in shaping our world. For students interested in studying politics, there are few better places to learn than at Harvard, where the study of politics is taken seriously and treated with the respect it deserves.

Furthermore, the department is constantly adapting to the changing political landscape, ensuring that students are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate complex global issues. With a focus on interdisciplinary approaches and a commitment to diversity and inclusion, the future of political science education at Harvard and beyond is poised to make a significant impact on the world stage.

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