University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Undergraduate Programs

The Department of Political Science is home to two undergraduate majors: Political Science and Legal Studies. Use the links on this page to explore all that we offer!

Political Science

Political Science Majors study political life in the varied contexts in which it occurs—institutions, social movements, power relations, elections, political culture, ideas, war, and more. The major and minor emphasize issues central to public life such as democracy, citizenship and participation, inequality, global forces, institutions, and governance. We seek to educate a reflective and active citizenry capable of sharing power and responsibility in a contemporary democracy. The curriculum develops skills in comprehension and in analysis of complex arguments and phenomena. We emphasize skills that will help you to articulate clear, sound, and compelling arguments of your own, based on appropriate evidence, in spoken and written presentation. 

Legal Studies

Legal Studies is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of law and society. We seek to develop the study of law within a liberal arts framework and to explore the myriad ways in which law is connected with other disciplines pertinent to an understanding of society. One can say that Legal Studies is education about law, whereas law school is education in law. As a discipline, Legal Studies is based on the assumption that "law is too important to be left to lawyers." The critical, social scientific approach of the program encourages students to investigate and develop their attitude toward law and society within the context of a growing literature of Legal Studies and related disciplines.