(Excerpts from a pamphlet published by the American Political Science Association entitled Earning a Ph.D. in Political Science, with materials added.)
What are the Fields of Specialization in Political Science?
Like any thriving discipline, the boundaries of political science are fluid. New sub-fields like Political Economy emerge, older fields like Propaganda are transformed into Public Opinion and Socialization, and yet others like Political Parties and Interest Groups are mainstays. Moreover, some fields like Russian Politics receive much more attention in the wake of world events than they do at other times.
Generally speaking, the encompassing fields of political science are International Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, Methodology, and American Politics. Even within this broad classification, there is some disagreement in the profession as to whether American Politics ought to be subsumed under Comparative Politics as a geographical area study, or, for example, whether Public Policy ought to be considered one of the encompassing fields. Moreover, there is increasing recognition throughout the profession that the social sciences are integrally linked and that disciplinary boundaries should be subordinate to intellectual concerns.