About the Department

From the very beginning, the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago has been a pioneer in the development of social scientific understandings of government and politics. Harold Gosnell, Harold Lasswell, Grant McConnell, Duncan MacRae, Charles Merriam, Hans Morgenthau, Herbert Storing, Leo Strauss, Leonard White, and Quincy Wright all taught at Chicago. Gabriel Almond, V.O. Key, Harold Lasswell, Robert Martin, Herman Pritchett, David Truman, and Herbert Simon—the first political scientist ever awarded a Nobel Prize for his intellectual achievements—all received their doctorates from Chicago. "The Chicago department was the cutting edge of development of the field of political science," Pritchett recalled of his days as a graduate student. "The students who were graduate students when I was became the leaders of the profession."

 

Much has changed at Chicago since Pritchett studied here, but fortunately the most important things have not. The University of Chicago and its Political Science Department have maintained the unabashed intellectualism, the disregard for disciplinary and subdisciplinary boundaries, the commitment to diversity of approach and method, and the pure appreciation of fine scholarship that have always been the distinguishing features of this institution. David Easton's recollections of the department ring true even today: "Chicago seemed like the Tiber River—violent rapids, churning, exciting, adventurous, and bubbling over with ideas. I felt as though I had come alive intellectually . . . . It was just one great intellectual high."

 

We the members of the department believe that Chicago is the most exciting and challenging university in the world. We hope you will come see for yourself.