Our department has particular strengths in topical areas such as American political thought, Asian politics, conflict, inequality, political behavior, political economy, public policy, and the study of social movements.
Government majors learn from leading faculty working at the cutting edge of the discipline of political science, and it is not uncommon for students to find themselves in a small seminar led by a professor who is one of the world’s foremost experts in that subject.
But just as importantly, Government at Cornell provides students with training in the specific practical skills that are in high demand among employers and graduate and professional schools.
For example, Government courses teach analytical thinking and problem solving: the ability to synthesize complex real-world information in order identify solutions.
Our faculty includes several winners of the Stephen H.
Weiss Presidential Fellowship for undergraduate teaching—Cornell’s highest honor for undergraduate teachers—as well as many other award-winning teachers and advisers.Government courses also teach persuasive writing, a skill that employers identify as being in short supply among current college graduates.Many of our newer courses teach quantitative skills: these include new courses in fielding public opinion surveys, constructing mathematical models, and solving problems with data.Political scientists focus on both the normative and philosophical foundations of politics, and the practice of politics within the United States and around the world.Political scientists study individuals, groups, institutions, and nation-states, and forms of politics that range from voting and lobbying to mobilization, dissent, and war.“Government” is the term that Cornell uses for the discipline of political science.Political science is the study of power applied for public purposes.The introductory course on American Politics is suitable for students whose interests lie in the domestic politics of the United States.Students whose interests are more internationally focused may take Introduction to Comparative Politics and Introduction to International Relations, while those drawn to questions of political philosophy might begin with Introduction to Political Theory.As a Cornell Government major you are in good company: nationwide data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that political science leads the other social sciences in the number of undergraduate degrees granted.But your choices are not limited to just those standard careers paths—in recent years Government graduates have accepted positions at Google, joined tech startups, and taught English in Indonesia on a Fulbright.