Why Government?

Aristotle described political science as the overarching science, arguing that it helps us understand who we are as human beings and how we can live happy and productive lives in communities.

The Department of Government at Dartmouth maintains the ancient Greek concern with the nature of order and governance at every level of social interaction. We are also attentive to communal failures and to the divisions, conflicts, and wars to which such failures give rise. We explore these issues from diverse perspectives. Faculty and students analyze texts, conduct surveys, experiments, interviews, and case studies, and collect and analyze quantitative data in their efforts to understand the political world.

Our Mission

The Department is committed to the proposition that outstanding scholarship and outstanding teaching are complementary and mutually reinforcing. Many of our faculty are prominent researchers, addressing enduring problems including, for example, the sources and resolution of international and civil conflicts, the development of representative institutions in new democracies, the defense of civil and human rights, the valve of partisanship, gender bias in political campaigns, the persistence of mistake beliefs in public opinion, the consequences of American power for the future of international relations, the causes of genocide and prospects for its prevention, the detection of electoral fraud, and the proper level of autonomy for religious communities within the liberal statue. These issues attract students to Government classes in large numbers. 

Our Faculty

Many of our faculty are prominent researchers and all are expected to maintain active research agendas, to subject their work to peer scrutiny and publish in visible outlets, and to be producers of knowledge within the community of scholars. Dartmouth attracts exceptionally talented students, and an ongoing commitment to creative scholarship is essential to faculty to be able to command their attention and inspire them to excel academically and to become independent, life-long learners. 

Beyond the Classroom

The Department is committed to providing an outstanding curriculum and opportunities for students to learn about politics both in and outside of the classroom. In addition to our offerings within American, International, and Comparative Politics, as well as Political Theory, the department also offers multiple off-campus and foreign studies programs. The Department also sponsors lectures, seminars, and conferences, many in collaboration with other Dartmouth groups such as The Dickey Center for International Understanding and The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center. The Government Department helps supply open events to the Dartmouth community, providing opportunities for students to meet and engage with Dartmouth faculty and prominent visitors from other universities, the policy world, and journalism.

College and University

The Best of Both Traditions

Dartmouth has developed its own unique niche as a liberal arts college with a university faculty. The Government Department prides itself on melding the best of these two educational traditions . As a college, our doors are open to students.This allows students to engage in one-on-one collaboration with our faculty. However, much like a university setting, our faculty is research-driven orienting them amongst their colleagues at other institutions.