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The field of American Politics encompasses the study of the structure and dynamics of mass behavior and opinion and of the major governmental and extragovernmental institutions, their interrelationships, their historical evolution and their role in the policy process. Specifically, the field covers the major national government institutions (presidency, Congress, bureaucracy and courts); subnational governments and the federal system; extragovernmental organizations such as parties, interest groups and social movements; the behavior and opinions of elites and masses who operate within these institutions and organizations who may seek (as in the case of elections and voting) to influence them; the impact of institutions, organizations, and actors on public policy; the determinants of public policy; the legal and constitutional context in which politics occurs; and changes in all of these elements and their relations with each other and with society over time. The UW American Politics program is ranked by US News as one of the top 10 in the country.


Research Groups and Projects



Faculty in American Politics

*Also see our faculty specialties page
  Barry Burden Benjamin Marquez
Alexander Tahk
  David Canon Kenneth Mayer
David Weimer
  John Coleman Ryan Owens
Susan Yackee
  Katherine Cramer
Howard Schweber

  Donald Downs
Byron Shafer


Journals Edited by Faculty in American Politics


Dissertation and Paper Awards for American Politics Graduate Students

Student Dissertation and Paper Award
Leticia Bode Best Dissertation Award, APSA Organized Section on Information Technology and Politics (2013)
Amnon Cavari George C. Edwards III Dissertation Award, APSA Presidency Research Group (2011)
Michael Pisapia
William Anderson Award, APSA prize for best dissertation in field of federalism or intergovernmental relations, state and local politics (2011)
Amber Wichowsky Carl Albert Dissertation Award, APSA Legislative Studies Section (2011)
Amnon Cavari Founders Award for best graduate student paper, APSA Presidency Research Group (2010)
Zachary Oberfield Leonard D. White Award, best dissertation in the field of public administration (2009)
Matt Dull
Leonard D. White Award, best dissertation in the field of public administration (2008)
Amber Wichowsky Joe Wholey Award, ASPA best article on performance management (with Donald Moynihan 2008)

Courses in American Politics - Fall 2013-14

104 - Introduction to American Politics & Government

Faculty: David Canon      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

184 - Introduction to American Politics

Faculty: Byron Shafer      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

201 - Topics in Political Science

Instructors: Schwarze, Michelle      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

205 - Introduction to State Government

Faculty: Regina Wagner      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

217 - Law, Politics and Society

Instructors: Henson, Carlton      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

267 - Intro to Political Psychology

Faculty: Jonathan Renshon      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

400 - Judicial Internship

Faculty: Ryan Owens      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

401 - Selected Topics-Poli Sci: Supreme Court as Political Institution

Faculty: Ryan Owens      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 003

401 - Selected Topics-Poli Sci: Election Law and Admin

Faculty: Kenneth Mayer      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 002

408 - The American Presidency

Faculty: Kenneth Mayer      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

411 - Constitutional Law

Instructors: Kosaki, Liane      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

417 - American Judicial System

Faculty: Alexander Tahk      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

425 - Citizenship, Democracy & Difference

Faculty: Katherine Cramer      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

426 - Legislative Process

Faculty: Barry Burden      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

427 - Legislative Internship

Instructors: Gangl, Amy      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

428 - Community Power and Grass Roots Politics

Faculty: Benjamin Marquez      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

462 - Political Economy-Race in US

Faculty: Benjamin Marquez      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

470 - The First Amendment

Faculty: Donald Downs      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

473 - Public Opinion

Faculty: Joel Rivlin      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

695 - Prosem: Topics in Poli Sci: American Foreign Policy, National Security & Law

Faculty: Donald Downs      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 002

823 - Polticial Psychology

Faculty: Katherine Cramer      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

829 - Political Communication

Instructors: Wagner, Michael      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

871 - Public Program Evaluation

Instructors: Shager, Hillary      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

875 - Public Personnel Admin

Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

878 - Public Management

Instructors: Moynihan, David      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001 and 002

904 - Seminar-American Politics: Classics in Amer Politics

Faculty: David Canon      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

969 - Smr:Trends&Iss-Public Plan

Instructors: Paulsen, Kurt      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

987 - American Politics Workshop

Faculty: Ryan Owens      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001

989 - American Politics Workshop

Faculty: Ryan Owens      Field: American Politics
Section Number: 001