Mission Statement

Department of Political Science
University of Illinois at Chicago


Adopted 10 April 1995

The mission of the Department of Political Science is to contribute to the teaching, research, and service goals of the University, in an urban setting and with a diverse student body and faculty, and to be one of the best departments of Political Science in the nation. The Department offers a strong undergraduate program as a central part of an interdisciplinary liberal arts education, and graduate programs that enhance the University's standing as a Research I institution. These programs prepare students for active citizenship, careers, and advanced training in law, political science, and other fields. At all levels, our curriculum provides students with a broad understanding of politics and how it affects their lives. Our goal is to teach stud ents how to think about politics, and through this to develop their conceptual, verbal, and quantitative skills. This prepares them for a lifetime of informed participation in a complex world where success depends increasingly upon cognitive abilities.

The study of politics is broad and interdisciplinary, and resources are finite. This requires us to focus our curriculum, and to strengthen our links to academic units dealing with related subjects. The undergraduate program emphasizes three substantive dimensions of politics--law and institutions; markets and power; and identity and culture--each of which can be studied at the global, national, and local levels. This approach is especially appropriate in UIC's multicultural academic environment . The curriculum offers bridges to other social science and humanities disciplines, including economics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, history, and literature. To enhance our ability to make these connections, we are committed to expanding the range of theoretical and methodological perspectives presented.

At the graduate level, the Department offers the Master of Arts and the Ph.D. in Political Science. The doctoral program equips our graduates to compete on a national basis for leading academic and related professional positions. These programs are enhanced by the Department's expectation and re cognition of high-quality research by faculty and graduate students. Our Political Science graduate programs, while featuring continuity with the undergraduate curriculum and offering a broadened disciplinary base, reflect the department's long-standing strengths in American politics and public policy. The theories and methods that political scientists use to understand and critically evaluate policy choices distinguish our discipline from, and offer a valuable connection with, other fields of study in t he College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, and the University as whole.

To these ends, we conceptualize our discipline in a way that incorporates the research, teaching, and service interests of current faculty, and helps us identify areas where additional faculty are needed.