Department of Political Science, 1893-present


The Department of Political Science was one of the original Departments of Instruction created for the academic year 1893-1894. The department's curriculum consisted of three subject categories. Political Economy, Ancient Law and Roman Law, and International Law constituted the subject areas from which the major was devised. The Department of Political Science experienced a number of name changes in its history. At varying points it was known as the Department of Public Law and Administration, the Department of Government and International Law, and the Department of Government.

History of Department of Political Science

The Department of Political Science was one of the original Departments of Instruction created for the academic year 1893-1894. President Capen was the sole instructor that year. The department's curriculum consisted of three subjects. Political Economy, Ancient Law and Roman Law, and International Law constituted the courses from which the major was devised. Additionally, a separate category termed "special work in problems of Government for students electing Political Science as a major subject" was offered additionally. By the 1902-1903 academic year, the Department of Political Science does not appear in the list of Departments of Instruction. Instead the Department has been split into two discreet departments. These were the Department of Public Law and Administration and the Department of Economics and Sociology. By the 1903-1904 academic year, the Department of Political Science once again appears in the list of Departments of Instruction. In that academic year, The Department of Political Science articulates its chief goal as follows, "to give a general view of the most important branches of political economy, beginning with the elements of the science and passing by degrees to work of the investigative order". By the 1924-1925 academic year the Department of Government and International Law and the Department of Economics and Sociology had replaced the Department of Political Science. By the 1939-1940 academic year, the Department of Government and International Law had become the sole successor to the Department of Political Science. The Department of Government and International Law articulated its mission as follows, "The Department of Government concerns itself with the history and development of the forms of organization of political society. Stress is laid upon the structure and actual operation of government".

The Department of Economics and Sociology had dissolved to create two autonomous academic departments - The Department of Economics and the Department of Sociology by the 1939-1940 academic year. These newly created departments no longer served to address the socio-economic course components of the originally created Department of Political Science.

The Department of Government and International Law had become the Department of Government before the beginning of the 1946-1947 academic year. By the 1965-1966 academic year, the Department of Government was renamed as the Department of Political Science. While the mission and essential goals of the Department of Political Science were largely the same as those of its preceding department, these goals were phrased in a slightly different fashion. The mission statement for the Department of Political Science for the 1965-1966 academic year reads, "The Department of Political Science is concerned with the functions and theory of the state, the structure and operation of government, and the nature and development of local, national, and international politics".