The Politics department at UC Santa Cruz is characterized by distinctive strengths within the four traditional subfields of political science.

American Politics: Professors in this subfield emphasize the study of American Political Development, a research agenda premised on the importance of historically-grounded studies in tracing evolution and change in American politics and policy over time (Beaumont, Bertram, Springer, Verma, Wirls).

Comparative Politics: As critics of the "whole nation bias" that has long characterized comparative politics, professors in this subfield focus both on the increasing importance of subnational regions and local governments within countries, and on the ever greater salience of supranational institutions and actors (Eaton, Gehring, Massoud, Niedzwiecki, Pasotti, Read, Serres, Schoenman).

International Relations: The study of international relations at Santa Cruz draws heavily upon and contributes to political theory, comparative politics, international law, and political economy by illuminating developments within and between states that shape global politics and justice (Gordon, Massoud, Sparke).

Political Theory: Political theory at Santa Cruz has a long tradition of critically engaged political theorizing that takes history—of political movements, of political economy, of political discourse, and of political philosophy itself as related to these histories—as its point of departure (Daifallah, Mathiowetz, Meister, Seth, Thomas).

In addition, Affiliated Graduate Faculty have been chosen on the basis of research and teaching that fit the distinctive intellectual profile and research strengths of the department, and for holding a Ph.D. in the discipline most closely related to our field (i.e., political science).

The department is widely recognized for innovative research that engages broadly with humanistic and social science disciplines alike. [More]

These research interests result in myriad points of specific convergence among faculty members' research programs, which constitute bases for collaboration in the form of ongoing conversations, advising of students, engagement with guest speakers, and joint funding proposals. [More]