Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Political Science/Public Policy

Background information

The Department of Political Science at Michigan State University has long been a leader in the discipline. Founded in 1949, the department was a pioneering center of activity during the behavioral revolution that swept the social sciences in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, it continues to serve as a role model in promoting high-caliber research and teaching. MSU’s political scientists are highly-productive and widely recognized scholars who publish on a regular basis in top-ranked professional journals and prestigious university presses; they are actively engaged in a range of externally-funded research projects; and they hold prominent leadership positions in major professional organizations.

Although focused on training Ph.D. students to be future leaders in the academic profession, the department realizes that many students are more interested in working for government, the nonprofit sector, and other fields.

Programmatic Information

  • In general, we attempt to collect a wide variety of indexing and abstracting tools, periodicals and journals, as well as other research materials to support the undergraduate, master, and PhD programs offered by the MSU Department of Political Science; the various specializations emphasized by the undergraduate James Madison College; and the research and technical assistance programs undertaken by various Institutes on campus.
  • The primary emphases of the Department of Political Science include: public administration (including public finance, public health, and social welfare and service delivery); general political science (including American politics, comparative politics, international politics, public policy, political thought, formal theory and research methodology); and prelaw. Political science graduates tend to seek administrative positions in local, state, or federal government, or in public and private agencies; work with citizen action groups and the various voluntary organizations of the nonprofit sector; in the foreign service or with various governmental and private international agencies; and as teachers or policy analysts in law fields.
  • The James Madison College is another division on campus that makes heavy use of political science and public policy materials. JMC students focus on political and legal theory, international relations, political economy, and/or social relations. Graduates from this undergraduate program tend to pursue careers in government, politics, administration, business, foreign service, and social services, or pursue graduate degrees in law and various other social science fields.
  • Various other institutes on campus make use of these materials, such as the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. They tend to focus on local, state, and national issues. However, there are an increasing number of programs emphisizing the impact of international problems on domestic issues.
  • The Department of Political Science is an active participant in the Environmental Policy and Global Urban Studies interdisciplinary programs.

Interdisciplinary Information

Political Science/Public Policy (also called Policy Sciences) is probably one of the most interdisciplinary fields in the social sciences and area studies, and course and research activities are not confined to the various units mentioned under "Programmatic Information". Other programs with considerable overlap include: Business, Criminal Justice, Environmental Studies, Law, Sociology, Social Work, Urban Affairs, Area Studies, and International Relations/Development.