American Government

The American Government subfield focuses on theory-driven applied questions in political science. The faculty has particular strengths in several key areas of American politics: presidential politics (Stephen Wayne, James Lengle, Hans Noel, and Clyde Wilcox), congressional politics (Michael Bailey, Noel, Michele Swers, and Wilcox), religion (E.J. Dionne and Wilcox), social movements (Wilcox), law and society (Doug Reed), immigration (Dan Hopkins), state and local politics (Hopkins), public policy (William Gormley, Kent Weaver, Mark Rom, Reed, Bailey, and Swers), women and politics (Swers and Wilcox), bureaucracy (Gormley, Weaver, and Rom), political parties (Noel), federalism (Gormley, Rom, and Bailey), statistical methodology (Bailey, Jonathan Ladd, Hopkins, and Noel) and political economy (Bailey).

Our location at the heart of the national government allows us to take advantage of the many resources at the theory-practice nexus in Washington, D.C. Faculty members work on projects for the Justice Department and other government agencies and it is also quite common for faculty to invite policy and political practitioners for class lectures and discussions. We also regularly offer courses taught by visiting faculty members with significant political experience, including former members of Congress (Rep. Gary Franks) and top advisers to the president (Paul Begala).

The American field also benefits considerably from interaction with the broad and deep social scientific and policy community at Georgetown University. In particular, faculty members have a close connection with colleagues in the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, the Business School, and the Economics Department. There is also substantial interaction with colleagues in the international relations, comparative politics, and political theory subfields, especially those dealing with the formation and impact of American foreign policy and public policy.

In the department's graduate program in American Government, there is an emphasis on developing both strong statistical skills and a deep knowledge of either a national institution or a specific aspect of the political process.

For more information about our American Government Ph.D., please contact the Field Chair or or our Graduate Program Officer.