As a social science, contemporary political science started to take shape in the latter half of the 19th century. At that time it began to separate itself from political philosophy, which traces its roots back to the works of Chanakya , Aristotle and Plato which were written nearly 2,500 years ago. The term "political science" was not always distinguished from political philosophy, and the modern discipline has a clear set of antecedents including also moral philosophy, political economy, political theology, history, and other fields concerned with normative determinations of what ought to be and with deducing the characteristics and functions of the ideal state.
While our foundation has held firm, we pride ourselves on continuing to modernize the curriculum and our teaching practices. The prestigious 2016 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education is a nod both to our history and to our future, recognizing WPI’s project-based curriculum developing leadership, innovative problem-solving, interdisciplinary collaboration, and global competencies. Arguably every student who attends WPI learns to think like an engineer; these days there is just as much attention to assuring our students think like entrepreneurs.