Political Studies or Political Science, as it is more commonly known, is one of the newest and fastest growing disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences. From a period in the early 1960s when there were few departments of political science, the discipline has expanded to the point where reputable universities must contain Political Studies departments.
The growth of Political Studies can be largely attributed to its subject matter: politics.
Political Studies examines politics, government and political ideas, themes which concern the every day life of ordinary citizens as well as scholars, bureaucrats and politicians. The breadth of the subject means that Political Studies is a highly pluralistic discipline.
Political Studies touches on political history, political philosophy, political sociology, political economy, political geography and political anthropology. The discipline is linked by a common effort to understand the vast field of politics and government.
Political Theory is the examination and discussion of important political ideas. The accent is on the critical analysis of the theories of classical political philosophy as well as the ideas of contemporary political thinkers.
Comparative Politics is a multidimensional field incorporating studies of institutions and processes, public policy and theories of the state. This area deals with area studies, studies of a single foreign country as well as the analysis of various political phenomena in a number of different settings.
International Relations is one of the oldest parts of what is now considered political science. It involves the study of relations between states, diplomacy, war, peace and, of course, international organizations.
Public Policy and Administration is probably the newest part of the discipline. The emphasis is on explaining the outputs of government–what governments do (and do not do). As well there is an attempt to assess policy making structures with an eye towards prescription as well as analysis.
Political Behaviour focuses on understanding the attitudes and behaviours of those involved in politics. The subject matter is extremely wide but the primary emphasis is on methodology and voting behaviour. The methodological skills which are developed can be utilized in most of the other subfields.