item7American politics has been the traditional strength of the Texas A&M Department of Political Science. The US News and World Report political science rankings have consistently placed the American politics subfield among the strongest in the country. Faculty in the field have always had a strong presence in the discipline’s top journals and presses, and three of them are listed among the 400-most-cited political scientists in the world since 1940. Many of the younger American politics faculty are also making their mark. The American politics faculty is also active in providing high-profile leadership in national political science organizations, and several have edited some of the discipline’s premier journals, including the American Journal of Political Science and the Journal of Politics. The Department recently hosted The Political Methodologist and currently hosts Presidential Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Theoretical Politics, and the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.

The American politics faculty loosely subdivides itself into two areas of specialization: those who study American political institutions (i.e., the presidency, Congress, courts, and bureaucracy) and those who study American political behavior (i.e., public opinion, voting behavior, political participation, etc.). These distinctions are artificial, however, because it is difficult to study one area without studying the other. Virtually all of our faculty focus on some aspect of democratic representation and responsiveness. A major distinction of the American politics subfield is its commitment to discovery and explanation in politics, governance, and policy through developing and testing scientific theory. This distinction is reflected in the faculty’s research, in the Department’s graduate and undergraduate programs, and in community outreach. The Department and subfield are also distinguished by the breadth, depth, and excellence of its use and instruction in quantitative political methodology. More generally, the American politics subfield trains doctoral students to engage in theory-driven, methodologically-sophisticated research. Consistent with our focus, by far most of our PhD graduates over the life of our program now enjoy careers in academia, while a few are employed by analytical “think tanks” or government agencies.