The faculty in the Department of Government reflects the intellectual diversity of political science today. Consisting of more than 50 scholars, the faculty conducts graduate teaching and research across the fields of American and comparative politics, international relations, political theory, and public and comparative law. Some faculty members are specialists in public policy, formal theory, research methods, and political behavior. The department is home to the Policy Agendas Project, a major resource for teaching and research in the social sciences. Supported by the department's Irma Rangel Public Policy Institute, there is a large concentration in racial and ethnic politics, and another in gender politics. Many faculty work at the intersections of politics with economics, history, law, philosophy, and sociology. Faculty in the large comparative politics section cover most areas and countries of the world, working closely with the University's Title VI centers for Latin America, the Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe/Eurasia, and South Asia, and with other centers for Australian and New Zealand, East Asian, European, Mexican and Mexican-American, Asian-American, and African and African-American studies.
The diversity is mirrored in the curriculum. While all students are required to take two foundation courses in political science, they do the bulk of their work in two fields that they choose. Students have much discretion in designing their academic programs, and each is assigned a faculty advisor who helps the student plan a course of study and provides specific information about other faculty, courses, research opportunities, and eventual job placement.
Resources for Graduate Study
The University library system is ranked among the top ten best library systems in the country. The Perry Castañeda Library is the main library on campus, containing over seven million volumes, over five thousand current journals and newspapers, and a large collection of microfilms. The library system also includes the Center for American History, the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, and the Tarlton Law Library. The Edie and Lew Wasserman Public Affairs Library contains a wide range of publications concerning public policy. Of interest to area specialists are our world-renowned library collections on Latin America, South Asia, and the Middle East. The Austin campus is also the site of The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, an invaluable resource for the study of twentieth century politics.
The University has a number of research facilities and programs of interest to political scientists. The Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies is widely regarded as one of the best Latin American studies programs in the country. The University's Title VI centers for Latin American Studies, South Asian Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies are magnets for scholars across the University. The Department of Government also has close ties to centers for African and African-American Studies, Australian and New Zealand Studies, European Studies, Mexican and Mexican-American Studies, and Women's and Gender Studies.
The department is home to the Policy Agendas Project, an online data resource center that has become a major resource for teaching and research in the social sciences. Common uses of the PAP data sets include studying institutions and processes by conducting unique analyses in a stand-alone fashion; using data sets as indices for source materials, as the Project provides an indexing system linking users to original source material; and identifying trends to supplement case studies on specific subtopics using textual descriptions and keyword searches. The Department of Government also houses the Irma Rangel Public Policy Institute, offering research seminars and hosting numerous conferences on public policy issues of special importance to Texas. Funded by the Texas Legislature, this Institute offers students an opportunity to acquire valuable research experience.
The University and the Department have excellent computer facilities. The University's computing facility operates two supercomputers, numerous smaller, specialized computer servers and time-sharing systems, and a two-hundred-seat Student Microcomputer Facility. Among the Center's many services are short courses and workshops, consulting assistance, and home access accounts. The Department maintains its own computer facilities for the use of faculty, staff, and graduate students. Macintosh, DOS/Windows, and UNIX systems, plus printers and a scanner are available for use. Students also have free access to social science data archives of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) and the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. The Experimental Political Behavior and Communication Laboratory was established in 2007 to provide Department of Government scholars with a state-of-the-art venue for testing causal relationships between media and campaign messages and the political attitudes of individuals.
We are located in capacious offices in Batts and Mezes Hall that provide an array of facilities for the graduate program.