Political Science at NYU Abu Dhabi attracts students who are interested in the many important political questions — conceptual, empirical, policy-oriented — that societies everywhere face today. How do different political systems affect policy-making? What are the intrinsic and instrumental virtues of democracy? Why do dictatorships survive in many countries, but evolve into democracies in others? Why do countries go to war? What are the connections between internal conflicts (such as civil war) and political or economic development? What are the main characteristics and causes of economic underdevelopment? Why are prosperity and stagnation distributed so unequally, both across countries and within them?
The student with a passion for questions such as these finds the Political Science major most rewarding. The philosophy underlying the courses has several distinctive features. First, the major has a strong analytical focus, with two required courses that introduce students to statistics and models of political behavior and institutions. These courses provide an introduction to the kinds of tools used by social scientists to conduct a deep analysis of these questions and to test the analysis using quantitative data. Second, the major offers many substantive courses, wherein these analytical tools are applied to important policy questions of considerable current interest. Third, the courses in the major include discussions of classic texts that illuminate both the intellectual history and the broader dimensions of these policy questions. Finally, the major offers several courses jointly with programs in Economics, Psychology, and Philosophy, providing students with exciting interdisciplinary opportunities.
Majors in Political Science take two required courses (Statistics for the Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Introduction to Political Thinking), two principal electives, and four general electives. The general electives are organized in the following areas: Methods; Political Theory and Institutions; Comparative Politics; and International Politics. In senior year, every student majoring in Political Science takes a two-course sequence of seminars, culminating in the production of a senior thesis in Political Science. During the first semester, students in Senior Seminar 1 develop a research question, construct a research design that allow them to test potential answers to that question, and collect relevant data. During the second semester, in Senior Seminar 2, students implement their proposed research design, analyze the results, and write their senior theses.