Fields of Study in Political Science
Major Fields of Study
The study of American Politics involves understanding and explaining the differences between the national government and the state governments. Our faculty approaches the study of American Politics in different ways that includes the study of political institutions, such as Congress, the Presidency, the Courts, or the process of creating and implementing public policies. Beyond institutions, a number of faculty examine American political behavior, which encompasses how Americans think and act as individual citizens. Regardless of our substantive interests, we study American Politics from theoretical perspectives and utilize a variety of methodological tools. Currently, we have faculty who are experts on elections and voting behavior, public opinion, state politics, political parties, the courts, the presidency, and congressional operations.
The field of Comparative Politics is devoted to understanding and explaining differences in the structure and characteristics of political systems across the globe. The goal of Comparative Politics is to use information about politics in specific times and places to make general statements about politics. The Comparative Politics faculty at Texas Tech embraces a wide variety of both theoretical and regional avenues of research. The Department maintains specialists on electoral systems, political behavior, legislative behavior, political parties, and voting behavior. Their regional specializations include Western Europe, Asia, and Post-Communist Europe.
The study of International Relations focuses on the political and economic relationships between states as well as between states and essential non-state actors including international organizations and non-governmental organizations as well as rebel groups, ethnic separatists, and terrorist organizations. Our faculty has research interests in military and economic coercion, globalization, international organizations, foreign policy decision-making, and international security. We employ a variety of empirical methods of study in order to simplify and understand the ever-changing world around us.
The field of public administration has a core program that focuses on the functions of public management including courses in personnel administration, organization theory, and budgeting, as well as policy theory and process. Students can then choose courses from specific concentrations. Current concentrations are public management, nonprofit administration, health care administration, fiscal administration, and policy analysis. Faculty expertise and research interests include fiscal administration, patronage and merit, environmental and natural resource policy, nonprofit management, health policy, government ethics, and urban and regional governance.
Minor Fields of Study
Our public policy minor field allows students research the development, implementation, and impact of public policies. Students can take classes on a wide range of public policies including environmental policy, health policy, and urban policy
The minor field in research methods provides students with the opportunity to study advanced research methods. Students can take advanced methods classes such as game theory or survey research methods with department faculty who conduct research using these methods. Students may also fulfill the research methods requirement by taking courses outside the department. We encourage all research methods students to attend the summer program offered by the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research.
The survey research minor field introduces students to the process of survey research. Students take courses in survey research methods and political behavior. In addition, students are required to take a practicum in survey research that allows them to work in the department’s Earl Survey Research Laboratory. This experience will give students practical, first-hand knowledge of the conduct and management of survey research.