American Politics

With the United States facing both unprecedented challenges and opportunities, there is no better time to study American politics. Scholars of American Politics focus on (1) political behavior among citizens and elites; (2) mediating institutions such as political parties, elections, interest groups, social movements, the media, and bureaucracy; and (3) political institutions such as the Congress, the presidency, and the courts. American Politics scholars are often interested in understanding American institutions and behavior within a cross-national context. The field equips students with the analytical skills necessary to do theoretical and empirical studies in all these areas.

In particular, American Politics faculty at Purdue are interested in the following:

  • The political behavior of citizens and political elites. Core areas include public opinion, political participation, and legislative and judicial behavior.
  • The functioning of political and mediating institutions. Core areas include legislatures and representation, electoral politics and democratic inclusion, and political communication.
  • The salience of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender and socioeconomic status on all these areas of study. 
  •  A range of theoretical and methodological approaches to studying American Politics. 

The department has a strong commitment to the study of politics, groups, and identities (PGI).  This field cuts across traditional subfields of political science to create a program of research, practice, and policy that focuses on racial and ethnic minorities, class, gender, sexual identity and orientation, and other salient political identities in the United States and abroad.  PGI faculty explore the relationships among politics, policies, and structures.  They teach and conduct research on representation and democratic responsiveness, political participation and social movements, power and legitimacy, media framing and public opinion, and intersectionality. 

PGI faculty and students participate actively in programs across campus, including the Purdue Policy Research Institute; the Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion; African American Studies; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center; the Advanced Methods at Purdue initiative; the Integrative Data Science Initiative; Cornerstone; and the graduate certificate in social policy.  

Research and Faculty


Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts | Undergraduate
  • Master of Arts | Graduate
  • Doctor of Philosophy | Graduate

Courses

undergraduate
  • POL 10100 - American Government And Politics
  • POL 31400 - The President And Policy Process
  • POL 32600 - Black Political Participation In America
  • POL 36000 - Women And The Law
  • POL 37000 - Introduction To Comparative State Politics
  • POL 37200 - Indiana Government And Politics
  • POL 37300 - Campaigns And Elections
  • POL 41000 - Political Parties And Politics
  • POL 41100 - Congress: Structure And Functioning
  • POL 41300 - The Human Basis Of Politics
  • POL 41500 - US Politics And The Media
  • POL 46000 - Judicial Politics
  • POL 46100 - Constitutional Law I
  • POL 46200 - Constitutional Law II
  • POL 51700 - The Politics Of Capital And Labor In The United States
Graduate
  • POL 61000 - Proseminar In American Political Systems, Processes, And Behavior
  • POL 61100 - Research Seminar In American Government And Politics
  • POL 61500 - Proseminar In Electoral Behavior And Political Socialization
  • POL 61600 - Research Seminar In Political Behavior

Course content and offerings are subject to change. The University Course Catalog is the official source for all academic requirements. Archived syllabi are available on Course Insights.

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