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Research in the Department of Political Science

Driven by the past, present, and future of political science, it is of no surprise that research is both highly valued and a prominent attribute among the Department's faculty, graduate, undergraduate community. As a world-renowned research institution, UC San Diego is a hub for bright minds to come together and connect theory to practice, questions to answers (and often times, more questions), and explore how the world around us is affected by research, and how research is affected by the world. Housed within the Division of Social Science, the Department of Political Science brings together brilliant minds to contribute important research and and share findings with those both within and outside the realm of political science.

Faculty Research

Below are some examples of the types of research our faculty focus on. Their individual profiles give greater depth to their academic and professional expertise within political science and also includes their curriculum vitae.

One of the great benefits of research in political science is the prominence and power that research and findings has on the lives of everyday people, local, state, and national governments, and the relationships between and within other countries across the world.

Social Media and the 2020 U.S. Election

Professor Thad Kousser, Chair of the UC San Diego Department of Political Science and 2014 Fulbright Distinguished Chair talks about the evolution of social media as a political campaign tool, and how it is being weaponised in one of the most unusual U.S. presidential elections in living memory.

UC San Diego-KPBS Mayoral Issues Forum

UC San Diego-KPBS Mayoral Issues Forum, organized by the Department of Political Science and featuring questions that political science student Abbey Reuter and Prof. Marisa Abrajano asked of the candidates in this race, Todd Gloria and Barbara Bry.

In-Depth: How the Electoral College Works (from ABC10)

Political science professors Dan Butler and Thad Kousser help explain the Electoral College:

The Impact Third Parties Could Have (Voice of America)

Political Science department chair Thad Kousser covers the role of third parties in this election and past contests, including Kanye West’s Birthday Party. Republican and Democratic presidential candidates may be dominating the headlines, but they are not the only ones running for U.S. president. What are known as third-party candidates have played a significant role in recent presidential elections.

Social Media and Elections, Voting by Mail, and Kanye West’s Candidacy (Fulbright)

Political Science department chair Thad Kousser comments on these three subjects in a series of videos for the Australian-American Fulbright Foundation. 

Social Media: 

Postal Voting:  

Kanye West: 

Ranked 1st

UC San Diego ranked First out of 258 institutions for its contributions to the public good by Washington Monthly's 2015 national university college rankings.

UCSD Ranked 13th

U.S. scholars rank UCSD 13th in the top U.S. undergraduate institutions to study International Relations.

UCSD Ranked 4th 

The Center for the World University Rankings (CWUR) ranks University of California, San Diego as the fourth best public university in the U.S. and the 21st best university in the world. These rankings are based on quality of research, faculty, influence, enterprise and successful alumni.

UCSD Ranked 9th 

U.S. News & World Report ranked UC San Diego the 9th best public university in the nation in its 2016 America's Best Colleges guidebook. UCSD is 39th among the more than 200 public and private universities ranked.

UCSD Listed at Top

UC San Diego is listed as the top California public university - ahead of UC Berkeley and UCLA - in Lumosity's annual ranking of the "smartest colleges in America." We are #23 overall.