Faculty in the department focus on a variety of sophisticated, cutting-edge research projects that shed light on core questions about political processes, behavior, institutions, and public policy in the context of American politics. Scholarly interests in political behavior include the role of religious and racial attitudes, while the study of institutions (spanning all three branches of government) emphasizes decision-making and organizations. Research bridging behavior and institutions examines representation, elections, and political parties. Department members who specialize in American politics gain exciting new insights about these topics through rigorous social scientific analysis, applying a diverse array of theoretical lenses and methodological tools such as:
- Statistical analysis
- Public opinion research
- Survey experiments
- Network analysis
- Game theoretic and mathematical modeling
- Laboratory experiments
American Politics: the Undergraduate Level
The diverse interests of the Department of Political Science’s American Politics faculty offer undergraduate students a broad range of courses to choose from to fulfill both their intellectual curiosity as well as their degree requirements. On the whole, the American politics curriculum is designed not only to teach students about the specific “facts” of governance in the United States, but also to help students understand the underlying logic of politics by exposing them to the leading theories of political interaction.
American Politics: the Graduate Level
The Department of Political Science offers a very strong program in the advanced study of American politics. In studying American politics at the University of Pittsburgh, students will develop a broad understanding of the basic theoretical and methodological issues in the field by developing individualized research projects as well as collaborating with departmental faculty. Students may examine American politics broadly defined or may choose to specialize in either political institutions or political behavior for examination purposes.