Faculty and students in our department investigate and analyze power, difference, and equity. We explore the art of politics: how decisions are made about collective resources and collective action, and how authority is wielded by individuals, groups, social movements, and institutions. Fundamental issues of justice and ethics, deliberation and discord—of private behavior and public policy—are at the heart of political science.

Our students learn how government works—and how to make government work for the common good. Students develop problem-solving skills to address some of society’s most urgent concerns, from polarization and gridlock to low rates of political participation and the spread of political disinformation.

We welcome students with many interests, as government and legal studies is like the liberal arts in miniature: parts of the discipline are historical and philosophical; others are data-driven and quantitative. The field has elements that are focused on history, psychology, the environment, education, international affairs, and more. The result is that our majors bring a broad mix of skills and knowledge to their postgraduation endeavors.

Interested in government and legal studies at Bowdoin?

Request more information