Message From the Chair

Welcome to UCLA Political Science

Politics happens between nations, within nations, and within the minds of people within nations.  It affects almost every aspect of our lives, from the warming of our environment, to the cost of education and health care, to our attitudes toward each other.  In the discipline of Political Science, we investigate the nature, causes and consequences of politics.

With 40 faculty, the UCLA Department of Political Science has expertise in nearly every important aspect of politics.  In the 1950s, UCLA experts developed the cold war doctrine of deterrence.   Since the 1970s, UCLA has led the development of understanding of political change and economic development in the nations of Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia.  More recently, UCLA pioneered the study of Race and Ethnicity in US politics, in developing countries, and in political thought.   Our department was an early leader in the application of statistics and game theory to the study of politics. Other current areas of strength include the study of corruption, inequality, the consequences of oil wealth, the politics of trade, representation, U.S. campaigns and party politics, and design-based inference.  Scholars in all of these fields regularly publish in top academic journals, consult with government and business, write blogs, and give interviews for mass circulation outlets.  We try not only to increase understanding of politics, but to share our understanding with the larger community.

We are strongly committed to teaching as well as research.  We offer about 140 different undergraduate classes a year to 1800 undergraduate majors and many other students.  Overall, we teach about 11,000 students each year, serving the wider university community as well as our majors.  Our classes are rated among the most popular on campus. Our broad and changing array of offerings has recently included “Ethics and Governance,” “Trump’s Foreign Policy,” “Civil War and Mass Violence,” “Political Theory in Hollywood,” and “Economic Inequality in the US.”  We are one of the largest undergraduate majors at UCLA.

Our graduate program is broad and flexible, allowing students to craft individualized study plans and take advantage of UCLA’s vast interdisciplinary offerings.  Graduate classes and requirements aim first at training students to be innovative and rigorous research scholars.  The graduate program has about 100 students and produces about 12 new Ph.Ds per year.  Most get jobs at other universities, and a few join faculties in the nation’s very top departments.

Michael Chwe
Professor & Chair