Political Science

Political scientists explore connections between people and institutions where power or authority is at stake, such as during revolutions or elections or in the creation and execution of laws.

Political Science is the study of justice and authority, peace and conflict, public policies and elections, government and law, democracy and autocracy, freedom and oppression.  More than any other social science, Political Science uses a wide variety of approaches to explain political phenomena and to evaluate the actions of polities and leaders.

The focus of the department is on analytical sophistication rather than on knowledge of a body of facts. Graduates learn to think critically about political life in a variety of settings. Consequently there are no required courses, and each student's major program is developed in an individual way through close consultation with her major advisor. To ensure that all graduates can create compelling arguments, writing is a part of almost every course in the department.

Coursework includes a variety of approaches to the study of politics: historical/interpretive, quantitative/deductive, and philosophical. Using these approaches, students examine political life in a variety of contexts from the small-scale neighborhood to the international system, asking questions about the different ways in which humans have addressed the organization of society, the management of conflicts or the organization of power and authority.

To learn more about Political Science at Bryn Mawr, visit the department page on Inside Bryn Mawr.


Marilyn Harbert ‘20

From Scottish Parliament to Represent Women, Marilyn worked for political systems reform throughout her time at Bryn Mawr. Learn more by watching her video.

photo of Marilyn Harbert

Degree Options

Political Science major, A.B.

Political Science minor