Suzanne Mettler with students
Learn to think and write rigorously and creatively about issues of public life


As a government major, you’ll learn how to think and write rigorously and creatively about issues of public life. You’ll have the choice of courses in four subfields: American politics (the political behavior, policies and institutions of the U.S.), comparative politics (the institutions and political processes of other nations), political theory and philosophy (normative theories of politics and history of political thought) and international relations (transactions between states, international organizations and transnational actors).

A wide array of opportunities

Gustavo Flores-Macias with students

Undergraduate Program

Course offerings reflect the breadth of faculty expertise in this exciting and growing discipline, and the study of Government at Cornell trains students with skills that are in high demand in public service, business, law, the non-profit sector, and many other professions. Our introductory courses in American politics, comparative politics, political theory, and international relations introduce students to the major tools and approaches to the study of politics. From there, students apply these tools to understand the many facets of public life, from contemporary political thought to campaigns and elections, public policy, conflict and peace, and beyond.  The Department of Government not only offers a major program, but also an honors program and two minors.

Government graduate students

Graduate Program

The graduate program in Government at Cornell prepares students for academic and research careers in political science. All students admitted to the program are expected to earn a doctoral degree. Completion of the Ph.D. program normally requires two-to-three years of full-time course work at Cornell and several additional years of dissertation research and writing. 

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