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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 Kenneth Mayer
Alexander Tahk
  David Canon Ryan Owens
David Weimer
  Katherine Cramer
Eleanor Powell
Susan Yackee
  Donald Downs
Howard Schweber

  Benjamin Marquez
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 2014-15

104 - Introduction to American Politics & Government

Faculty: David Canon      Field: American Politics

184 - Introduction to American Politics

Faculty: Byron Shafer      Field: American Politics

217 - Law, Politics and Society

Faculty: Kathryn Hendley      Field: American Politics

219 - Intro to Public Policy

Instructors: Eileen Harrington      Field: American Politics

400 - Topics: Judicial Internship

Faculty: Ryan Owens      Field: American Politics, Political Theory

411 - Constitutional Law

Faculty: Howard Schweber      Field: American Politics

414 - Supreme Court as Political Institution

Faculty: Ryan Owens      Field: American Politics

417 - American Judicial System

Faculty: Alexander Tahk      Field: American Politics

425 - Citizenship, Democracy & Difference

Faculty: Katherine Cramer      Field: American Politics

426 - United States Congress

Faculty: Eleanor Powell      Field: American Politics

427 - Legislative Internship

Instructors: Amy Gangl      Field: American Politics

446 - Politics of Government Regulations

Instructors: Roger Ervin      Field: American Politics

466 - Campaign Finance

Faculty: Kenneth Mayer      Field: American Politics

470 - The First Amendment

Faculty: Donald Downs      Field: American Politics

601 - Prosem: Topics in Poli Sci: Election Reform in American

Faculty: Barry Burden      Field: American Politics

826 - The Legislative Process

Faculty: Eleanor Powell      Field: American Politics

865 - The Supreme Court and the Constitution in American Politics

Faculty: Donald Downs      Field: American Politics

904 - Seminar-American Politics: Change Structure in Amer Politics

Faculty: Byron Shafer      Field: American Politics

989 - American Politics Workshop

Faculty: Barry Burden      Field: American Politics