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What is Political Science?

Michael Anissimov
Updated May 21, 2024
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Political science is a branch of the social sciences that is mainly practiced in the United States and United Kingdom. It is the analysis, description, and prediction of political behavior, political systems and politics. Another way of describing this field is calling it "what politicians study in college." Like the other social sciences, it's considered a "soft" science, meaning it revolves more around subjective interpretations than hard data. Due to the complexity of human behavior when it comes to politics, it will be a long time before it can be anything else.

The object of political science courses is to groom students for careers in politics, or to give them an awareness of the political process that might be useful in some other career. Politics is complicated, both in terms of the rules and the strategies to be used.

The field as a discipline is relatively recent, with the name popping up in America immediately after the Civil War. The name quickly spread to the UK. Although universities around the world have political courses, they tend to lack the scientific flavor of "political science" courses specifically.

Political science has clear antecedents stretching back to ancient civilizations: moral philosophy, political philosophy, political economy, history, and so on. Clearly, many of the leaders of history were aware of the ins and outs of politics, although circumstances tended to be more chaotic, and military prowess alone may have been sufficient to gain control of a nation or empire. With the more recent establishment of stable states and the suppression of corruption, politicians have had more incentive to work within the system as it exists, leading to this discipline.

One of the most influential works in the field is probably The Prince, written by the Italian diplomat Niccolo Machiavelli in 1513. The book puts forth strategies for a leader to establish a strong empire in the face of various challenges. The main argument is that while a leader should publicly seem good and just, behind the scenes it may be worth taking underhanded actions to achieve political goals. This argument has led The Prince to also be one of the most controversial political books of all time.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov , Writer
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.

Discussion Comments

By anon324037 — On Mar 07, 2013

Political science is the systematic and scientific study of human behavior in relation to all the activities that involve the seizure of state power, the consolidation of state power and the control of state power.

It deals with leadership position and the way the subjects of government should be govern. Because, until a philosopher become a king or king become philosopher, the society will continue to be in a nasty state. We need political thinkers (rational being),philosophers, psychologists etc. --Okoro, P.J.

By anon322137 — On Feb 26, 2013

Explain the significance of political analysis in view of Aristotle's perception of a man as political animal.

By anon211174 — On Sep 01, 2011

what job will i get if i graduate this course?

By anon189000 — On Jun 22, 2011

if you been studying political science you have to proceed to law

because political science is the study about laws.

By anon166892 — On Apr 10, 2011

I'm going to take political science this year, but my mother doesn't agree with it because she's thinking that after taking this course what could be my next step? there's a chance to get a good job?

By anon148061 — On Jan 31, 2011

i have completed m.sc.com. in biotechnology, but now aiming to pursue civil services. i want to take political science as optional subject. can you please guide me from where to study as it is a totally new subject for me?

By anon90035 — On Jun 14, 2010

my niece has been offered political science, theatre arts and adult education.

her interests are in fashion and music. please will the offer help her? i need your response please.

By anon85158 — On May 19, 2010

A lack of measurement has occurred in the political science. In order to understanding this argument, it is necessary to answer these questions.

1. Data is goods, isn't it?

2. How does the mechanism of the data market work?

3. Is there the relationship among the stability, the development and the mechanism of the data market?

4. Does the social phenomenon like the recently Thailand crisis involve the mechanism of the data market?

A lack of measurement is the condition that there are some variables and propositions out of the area of measurement. Re-framing is required.

By anon77107 — On Apr 13, 2010

What is bad if someone studies political science? I want to study either political science or sociology. Please advise me on this before i go deep. Cheers. Ahmed B.

By anon64730 — On Feb 09, 2010

After doing masters in political science, what kind of career opportunities are there?

By anon51739 — On Nov 09, 2009

Well, i am not familiar in a different field of job, but my suggestion to her would be that she better not take that course, since she don't want to go to law school. Or, she better find another course where she could be a professional in the near future.

By shellethomas — On Aug 09, 2008

My daughter is thinking of studying political science in college. My question is what careers are available in this field of study if she were to get a degree in political science? BTW, she doesn't want to go to law school.

Michael Anissimov

Michael Anissimov


Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology...
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