At the University of Illinois, instruction in the field of political science is divided into five areas. These are American Politics, Public Policy, Comparative Politics, Political Theory (or Political Philosophy) and International Relations. Each of these areas, or subfields, addresses some issues of political systems and political life. As students grow in their understanding and take more advanced courses, they learn how ideas, concepts and theories from one area relate to those in another.
Each subfield contains an introductory field course, other intermediate courses, and advanced-level (300- and 400-level) courses. Generally, students should take the introductory course in a given field before taking any advanced level courses in that field.
The Department of Political Science offers a major and two different minors. The specific requirements of these different options are set out below.