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Political science is a diverse discipline. It comprises multiple substantive focus areas and methodological approaches. As elsewhere in North America, the Michigan Department of Political Science is divided into several subfields:

The cores of the subfields are clearly defined, and the undergraduate and graduate curricula reflect them. At the level of cutting-edge research, however, there are significant overlaps and productive synergies between the subfields. Many research questions do not neatly fit in any single subfield, and scholars in each subfield use diverse methods. Most faculty in the department have interests and competencies that span several subfields.