The mission of the department of political science at Rice University is to contribute to the university and discipline through excellence in research, graduate training and undergraduate teaching. We train graduate students in modern techniques of social science research in three substantive areas of political science—American Politics, Comparative Politics, and International Relations—to prepare them for successful careers in academic research. We contribute to the liberal arts education of our undergraduate students with courses aimed at developing their skills in critical and analytical thinking and writing, increasing their understanding of political processes, and encouraging responsible and active citizenship. In addition, we train our political science majors to conduct independent political science research. 

Our faculty concentrates on three subfields of political science research: American Politics, Comparative Politics, and International Relations. Our American Politics faculty's expertise spans a range of topics in American political behavior and institutions, with many specializing in the study of subnational politics at the state and local level. Our Comparative Politics faculty focus on the broad study of comparative democratic institutions with an emphasis on comparative legislative politics. In International Relations, our faculty specialize in the study of international conflict and cooperation.