- Political Science Courses
- Student Resources
- Political Science Student Awards
- Faculty Resources (forms)
- What is Political Science?
The sample course outlines listed are not always the current version. They are provided to help individuals during course selection. For up-to-date reading lists and course material, check the individual professors' website.
100 - Introduction to Political Science
200 - History of Political Thought
211 - Comparative Politics I
212 - Comparative Politics II
215 - Comparative Politics in Latin America
221 - Canadian Politics I
222 - Canadian Politics II
231 - American Politics
240 - Business and Government [AR]
247 - Emvironmental Social Sciences I: Problems and Paradigms
248 - Environmental Social Sciences I: Power and Change
250 - World Politics [AR]
291 - Violence, Conflict and Politics
292 - Selected Topics, i.e. Politics of the Environment, Mexican Politics, Cuban Politics
295 - Religion and Politics
301 - Liberalism and Its Critics
302 - Marx and the Marxists
303 - Contemporary Political Arguments
311 - The European Union
312 - Art and Politics
313 - West European Politcs
314 - Topics in European Politics
315 - Democratization Around the World (new)
321 - Federalism [AR]
322 - Atlantic Canada [AR]
323 - Parties and Elections
324 - Provincial Politics
331 - Comparative Nationalism
335 - Human Rights and International Justice
341 - Canadian Public Administration [AR]
342 - Canadian Public Policy [AR]
343 - Law and Politics [AR]
344 - Citizenship and Identity
345 - Women and Politics
346 - The Politics of Resource Management [AR]
347 - Politics of the Environment
351 - Canadian Foreign Policy [AR]
352 - American Foreign Policy
353 - International Organizations
354 - International Political Economy (formerly 382)
355 - Global Issues
356 - War and Peace in the Middle East
361 - East European Politics
362 - Contemporary China
363 - Japan and East Asia (formerly 381)
365 - Russian Politics
366 - Topics in Russian Politics
370 - Third World Politics
372 - Iran and the Muslim World
380 - African Politics and Society
391 - Democratization and Development in Latin America
395 - Mexican Politics
399 - Research Methods and Statistics
401 - Political Theory I (Seminar)
402 - Political Theory II (Seminar)
421 - Canadian Politics I (Seminar)
422 - Canadian Politics II (Seminar)
442 - Advanced Public Policy (Seminar)
451 - International Relations (Seminar)
452 - Comparative Politics (Seminar)
490 - Thesis
499 - Directed Study See section 3.5.
Normally, all courses above the 100 level, except PSCI 240, require PSCI 100 as a prerequisite. Students who wish to register in courses at the 300 level or above should have 12 credits in PSCI or permission of the instructor.
There are four areas within the discipline: Canadian Politics; Political Theory/Philosophy; Comparative Politics; and World Politics/International Relations. Students will normally concentrate in two of those areas.
Major and Joint Major Programs
See sections 4.2 and 4.3 for degree regulations. Candidates for the major degree should choose their courses in consultation with a member of the political science department, and they must have their major form approved by the department chair. Students will normally concentrate in two areas within the discipline, and have a minimum of 15 credits at the 300 level or above. Majors are encouraged to include PSCI 399 in their course pattern.
Advanced Major Program
See section 4.4 for degree regulations. Candidates for a degree with advanced major in political science must choose their courses in consultation with the chair or with a supervisor assigned to them by the department. All students will take PSCI 100, 399 and at least two three-credit seminars as part of their program. Students will normally concentrate in two areas within the discipline, and have at least 15 credits at the 300 level or above, including PSCI 399 and two three-credit seminars.
See section 4.6 for degree regulations. Candidates for the degree with honours in political science require credit for PSCI 100, 200, a minimum of 6 credits from the following: 210, 220, 240, 250, 399, and two three-credit seminars, a thesis (490) and 27 other credits in PSCI. Non-Canadian students may, with permission of the department, substitute another course for 220 or 240. Students will normally have at least 24 credits at the 300 level or above, including PSCI 399, 490 and a seminar.
Honours with a Subsidiary Subject
See section 4.6.1 for program requirements. Note: Not all courses are offered every year. Most 300-level courses are offered in alternate years. To confirm course offerings students should check the timetable prior to registration.
[AR] Indicates Designated Course in Aquatic Resources
100 Introduction to Political Science
An introduction to the nature, varieties and uses of political power in contemporary society and the state. especially Canada. This course will introduce stduents to the four areas of the discipline. Sample course outline.
200 History of Political Thought
An introductory survey of the Western tradition of political thought as it reflects persistent concern with questions of justice, political obligation, the origin of law and the purpose of government. Thinkers to be studied include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Burke, and Karl Marx. Six credits.
211 Comparative Politics I
The course provides an introduction to comparative and/or regional politics as a field of study, and prepares students for upper level courses in this field. It will present the basic methodological and theoretical tools in the field and take a close look at three countries whose history, political institutions, polical culture, political processes and political outcomes are similar or closely related to Canada's. Great Britian, France and the United States. Credit will be granted for only one of PSCI 211 or 210. Three credits.
212 Comparative Politics II
This course provides an introduction to comparative politics and/or regional politics as a field of study, and prepares students for upper level courses in the field. It examines the evolution and diversity of governments in countries whose history, political institutions political culture, political processes, and political outcomes differ from Canada's. These countries may include Russia, China, Brazil, India or Nigeria, among others. Credit will be granted for only one of PSCI 212 and 210. Three credits.
215 Compatative Politics in Latin America
This course offers a comparative analysis of Latin-American governments. It focuses on political institutions and governance in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. It also examines political forces, interest groups and social movements in the region. Credit will be granted for only one of PSCI 215 and 390. Three credits.
221 Canadian Politics I
This course covers the origins and evolution of Canadian politics, the cultural and regional context, and the key political structures and institutions (The Constitution, the political executive, parliament, federalism and intergovernmental relations, and the courts) which constrain, shape and give impetus to Canadian politics, governance and the decision-making. Credit will be granted for only one of PSCI 221 and 220. Three credits
222 Canadian Politics II
This course will cover how citizens interact wit the Canadian state, through political parties, elections, advocacy groups, and other forms of political participation, the role of the media , and the implications for the political process of key social divisions such as gender, language, and race. Language politics, multicultural groups, the women's movement and aboriginal peoples will receive attention. The course concludes with a review of globalization and Canada's place in the world. Credit will be granted for only one of PSCI 222 and 220. Three credits.
231 American Politics
An introductory to US politics with a focus on presidential systems, federalism, interest groups, political parties and elections. The course also examines some of the policy debates on health care, the environment and race, among others. Credit will be grantef for onlly one of PSCI 231 and 230. Three credits.
240 Business and Government [AR]
The course examines the historical roots and the current contours of the business-government relationship. While the focus is on Canada, conditions in other advanced capitalist states are also considered. Topics include the mechanisms of business power, state intervention in the modern economy, the micro-politics of business, and a survey of state policies affecting business interests. Six credits. Sample course outline.
247 Environmental Social Sciences I: Problems and Paradigms
This course introduces students to the major environmental challenges of the 21st century from a social science perspective. Modern societies that have sought to conquer natural limits have now conjured up unanticipated "environmental" consequences. Students will explore how human understandings of environmental "problems" as well as action towards environmental solutions are shaped by ways of thinking, social contexts and institutional power relations. Cross-listed as SOCI 247. Three credits.
248 Environmental Social Sciences I: Power and Change
As a continuation of PSCI 247, this course addresses the same conceptual problems but focuses more on understanding the societal and political response to environmental issues. Students will critically examine both proposed ecological futures, as well as means of environmental problem solving and societal change: state policy, intergovernmental treaties, environmental movements, and market solutions. Cross-listed as SOCI 248. Three credits.
250 World Politics [AR]
Examines the nature of the international state system. The course explores the political, military, cultural, economic and ideological factors affecting the behavior of states and international organizations in world politics. Six credits. Sample course outline.
291 Violence, Conflict and Politics
A introduction to the comparative study of types of collective political violence; war, terrorism, ethnic or identity-based conflicts, coup d'état, revolution, civil war, and genocide. Specific case studies are examined along with the main theoretical approaches in the field. Three credits. Sample course outline.
292 Selected Topics
This course introduces current topics and problems in political science. Course content may change yearly, depending on faculty availability. Students should consult the department chair for the current topic. Three credits.
2003 - Politics of the Environment, Dr. L. Hallstrom, Sample course outline;
2005 - Mexican Politics. Dr. Y. Grenier.
295 Religion and Politics
An examination of the impact of religion on politics and politics on religion. Students will consider the relationship between religion and politics in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, India and Pakistan, Eastern Europe and North America. Case studies will demonstrate interactions between the state and Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism, as well as the influence of religion on citizenship, education, the party system, and social issues. Cross-listed as RELS 295. Three credits.
301 Liberalism and Its Critics
A critical study of the historical development of liberal political theory, its basic concepts and its limitations in a multicultural age. Theorists considered may include: J. S. Mill, L. T. Hobhouse, John Rawls, Jeremy Waldron, Joseph Raz, Charles Taylor, Michael Sandel, Will Kymlicka. Prerequisite: PSCI 200 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
302 Marx and the Marxists
A study of the socialist and/or communist critique of industrial capitalism, encompassing ethical, historical, economic, and revolutionary perspectives. The course examines the works of Karl Marx, and their adoption by revolutionaries and critics of liberalism. Prerequisite: PSCI 200 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
303 Contemporary Political Arguments
An analysis of the claims of contemporary cultural and moral arguments on politics in liberal-democratic societies. Topics include: racism, feminism, ecology, corporatism, nationalism, democracy, and the legitimation crisis of the modern state. Three credits. Sample course outline.
311 The European Union
The course examines European integration since World War II, with emphasis on the European Community (EC) and European Union (EU), their institutions and policy processes, and the consequences of European unity for the political process in European societies. Prerequisite: PSCI 210 recommended. Three credits.
312 Art and Politics
This course introduces students to what modern artists have to say about politics and what governments do and say about art. It provides some of the historical and theoretical tools needed to analyze the political role of art in our time. Students will examine literary works, painting, music, and architecture, and discuss specific policies on art. Cross-listed as ART 312. Three credits. Sample course outline.
313 West European Politics
This course surveys governmental institutions and political processes in major Western European states like the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden. Among these cases we will compare systematically general historical patterns of social, economic, and religious conflict; structures of citizen representation in interest groups and political parties; electoral systems; constitutional relationships between executive, legislature, and judiciary; outlines of economic and foreign policies; and current problems of national identity. Credit will be granted for only one of PSCI 313 and PSCI 310. Three credits.
314 Topics in European Politics
This course examines themes and issues relevant to European politics and societies, ranging from political institutional arrangements, state-society relations, and the role of civil society and social capital to public policy, immigration, church-state relations, security, the EU Eastern enlargement, and the EU Neighbourhood Policy. By examining different European countries, Europe as a whole and the European Union, students are encouraged to develop their own project to understand politics in that part of the world. Credit will be granted for only one of PSCI 314 and PSCI 310. Three credits.
315 Democratization Around the World
This course investigates the problems facing countries from different parts of the world that have sought to move from non-democratic political systems to democracy. Students will learn the social, cultural and economic conditions necessary for the process of democratization; analyze the institutional structures and constitutional designs most conducive to the transition from authoritarianism to democracy; and consider the consequences of democratization for development. Prerequisite: PSCI 210 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
321 Federalism [AR]
This course examines the theory and practice of federalism, with a focus on Canadian federalism. Topics include theories of federalism, comparative federal systems, inter-governmental relations, fiscal arrangements, federal-provincial diplomacy and constitutional reform. Prerequisite: PSCI 220 or 240 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
322 Atlantic Canada [AR]
A course on modern government and politics in the four Atlantic provinces. Regional development and dependence are the themes within which students will explore federal-provincial relations, fiscal and administrative changes, development policies, political culture, and party systems. Prerequisite: PSCI 220 or 240 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
323 Parties and Elections
This course is concerned with parties, elections, voting behavior and public opinion in Canada. Topics include party and electoral systems, intra-party politics and political personnel, party financing, representation and policy development, the campaign process, polling, and voting behaviour. Prerequisite: PSCI 220 or 240 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
324 Provincial Politics
The comparative study of the differing political cultures, institutions, behavior and public policies of the Canadian provinces. Students will seek explanations for the similarities and differences in the social and economic structures and political histories of the provinces. Prerequisite: PSCI 220 or 240 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
331 Comparative Nationalism
An analysis of the historical origins of nationalism and of its central concepts and justifications. Both western and non-western nationalism (focusing on four or five cases) will be examined in a comparative context. Evidence for the recent decline of the nation state will be explored. Prerequisite: PSCI 210 or 250 recommended. Credit will be granted for only one of PSCI 331 and PSCI 330. Three credits.
335 Human Rights and International Justice
Human rights and international justice are important components of politics. This course examines the theoretical and practical concerns shaping the study and promotion of human rights today. Using a variety of material and case studies, we examine the debate over whether rights are universal; the institutions and organizations enforcing human rights; and the role states play in protecting human rights. A strong component of this class are state responses to massive human rights violations. Prerequisite: PSCI 210 or 212 or 250 recommended. Credit will be granted for only one of PSCI 335 and PSCI 330. Three credits.
341 Canadian Public Administration [AR]
The focus of this course is Canadian public administration. Topics include: organizational theory applied to the public sector, the origins and social function of bureaucratic institutions in Canada, cabinet organization, federal-provincial administrative relations, budgeting, and human resource management. Prerequisite: PSCI 220 or 240 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
342 Canadian Public Policy [AR]
An examination of contemporary public policy issues in Canada, including economic, social and ptjer policy fields (e.g. environment, security adn culture). Emphasis will be on policy analysis and decision-making process. Prerequisite: PSCI 220 or 240 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
343 Law and Politics [AR]
The course explores the role of the courts in politics, particularly in Canada. Possible topics include: recent constitutional developments, the impact of the Charter of Rights, the judicialization of politics, philosophy of law, and strategic litigation. Prerequisite: PSCI 220 or 240 recommended. Three credits.
344 Citizenship and Identity
This course examines various aspect of Canadian citizenship and identity, as well as the rise of new social movements. Topics include the relationship between federalism and nationalism, aboriginal rights, multi-culturalism, citizen politics, and social movements. Prerequisite: PSCI 220 or 240 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
345 Women and Politics
An introduction to the study of women and politics in Canada, this course has three main parts: feminist political thought and the Canadian women’s movement; political participation and representation; and public policy. Topics include feminist political thought in the Western political tradition, the evolution and politics of the women’s movement, political parties and legislatures, women and work, and women and the welfare state. Cross-listed as WMNS 345. Three credits.
346 The Politics of Resource Management [AR]
This course examines the power relations arising from attempts to exploit and manage natural resources. The commodities in question range from wildlife and fish to agriculture, forests and minerals. Topics include: preservation and conservation strategies, crown rights and systems, co-management regimes, environmental assessment techniques, commodity marketing schemes and sustainable development policies. Three credits. Sample course outline.
347 Politics of the Environment
Environmental factors have increasingly become important components of political decisions. This class examines how environmental issues arise and the different ways they are framed, argued, and dealt with politically in that context. It will also explore the theoretical assumptions, questions and ethical frameworks that have been developed to guide and analyze environmental policy-making. Prerequisite: PSCI 247, 248. Three credits.
351 Canadian Foreign Policy [AR]
This course is designed as a general historical survey of Canadian external interests, external policy-making processes, and contemporary themes and issues. Prerequisite: PSCI 250 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
352 American Foreign Policy
This course examines the major foreign policy interests in the United States from the late 19th century to the present. Emphasis is placed on the ideologies and personalities of key decision-makers, the effect of the domestic socio-economic structure on policy decisions, and America’s position in the international system. Prerequisite: PSCI 251 recommended. Three credits.
353 International Organizations
A study of the development and role of international organizations in world politics. Topics include: the history and evolution of the United Nations, the effects of international law on state behavior, and the extent to which international cooperation has been effective in resolving global problems. Prerequisite: PSCI 250 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
354 International Political Economy (formerly 382)
This course examines the politics of international economic relations: international trade, the international monetary system, multinational corporations and international development. Prerequisite: PSCI 250 recommended. Three credits. Offered in alternatre years.
355 Global Issues
This course examines the state’s supremacy and its capacity to manage such global issues as: transnational flows of goods, services, money, and ideas; the continuing problem of poverty in the developing world; the phenomenon of failed states in the post-Cold War period; global environmental issues; international concerns with human rights; weapons proliferation; terrorism and other forms of transnational crime; and the rise of transnational social activist groups. Prerequisite: PSCI 250 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
356 War and Peace in the Middle East
The first part of this course will survey the major explanations of war and conflict among states and within states. The second part will apply these theories to conflict in the past half century in the Middle East, including the Arab0Israeli wars, the Yemen and Lebanon civil wars, the Iran-Iraq and Iraq-Kuwait wars, and the two Palestinian Intifadas. Finally the prospects for conflict resolution will be discussed. Prerequisite: PSCI 250 recommended. Three credits.
361 Eastern European Politics
A comparative study of government and politics in Central and Eastern Europe during communism and post-communist times. Topics include parties and elections, political representation, opposition and dissent, political police and citizen surveillance, nationalism and ethnic conflict, the cult of personality and political succession. Prerequisite: PSCI 210 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
362 Contemporary China
A study of the origins and development of the gradual but revolutionary political and economic reforms in China since 1978, with emphasis on the changing roles of the Communist Party, the central bureaucracy and local governments, the military, the emerging entrepreneurial class, and the 80 million members of the overseas Chinese community. Prerequisite: PSCI 250 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
363 Japan and East Asia (formerly 381)
Examines a world power in its regional context and the diplomatic interactions among Japan, China, and the US in the world's fastest growing economic centre. The course also explores the domestic, politics of Japan and other states in the region. Prerequisite: PSCI 250 recommended. Prerequisite: PSCI 250 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
365 Russian Politics
This course explores the reasons for the collapse, and the pursuit of political and economic alternatives to state socialism in the Russian Federation. Students are encouraged to develop their own project, examining the manner in which forms of ownership, constitutional developments, party formation, political personalities, and domestic and international pressure influence events in Russia’s developing system. Credit will be granted for only one of PSCI 365 and PSCI 360. Three credits.
366 Topics in Russian Politics
This course explores the reasons for the collapse, and the pursuit of political and economic alternatives to state socialism in the Russian Federation. Students are encouraged to develop their own project, examining the manner in which forms of ownership, constitutional developments, party formation, political personalities, and domestic and international pressure influence events in Russia’s developing system. Credit will be granted for only one of PSCI 366 and PSCI 360. Three credits.
370 Third World Politics/South-North Politics
A critical introduction to the political economy of new nations. Topics include: the impact of colonization; theories of development and dependency; the role of the state; the debt crisis and the IMF; north-south dialogue; and prospects for democracy in the Third World. Two case studies drawn from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa will be considered in detail. Six credits. Sample course outline.
372 Iran and the Muslim World
A critical study of Iranian politics since the 1979 Revolution with particular focus on the role of Shiite Islam and Iranian culture in shaping the Iranian state, its internal dynamics, and its political influence in Lebanon and Iraq. This course will also consider Iranian relations with the West and Israel. Students will be introduced to the basic tenets of Islam. Prerequisite: PSCI 210 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
380 African Politics and Society
A critical exploration of the history, politics, economics and culture of sub-Saharan African states, in the context of Africa's place in global politics and the world economy. Topics will include the colonial legacies, development strategy, state and national formation, economic autonomy, the impact of AIDS, the IMF and World Bank policies. Several case studies, drawn from Southern, Central and East Africa, will be the focus of intensive study each year. Prerequisite: 12 credits PSCI or permission of the instructor. Offered in alternate years. Six credits.
391 Democratization and Development in Latin America
This course examines issues related to the challenges of development and democracy in the region. It provides historical background as well as discussions of theoretical approaches and specific public policies. Credit will be granted for only one of PSCI 391 and PSCI 390. Three credits.
395 Mexican Politics
This course looks at Mexico’s distinct political tradition. It presents and discusses Mexico’s main political actors (political parties, groups, social movements) and institutions (democratic, republican, federal, presidential), and examines the political challenges of democratization and liberalization. Prerequisite:PSCI 210 recommended. Three credits.
399 Research Methods and Statistics
Covers research methods controversies in the field of political science today. Students learn to use statistics and computers in political science research, broadening their employment opportunities and introducing them to post-graduate research methods. Requires no mathematics or computer skills. Three credits. Sample course outline.
401 Political Theory I (Seminar)
This seminar will involve an advanced, in-depth analysis of selected concepts, problems, themes and controversies in Western classical, medieval and early modern political theory, and their current relevance to the discipline of political science and politics. Prerequisite: PSCI 200 recommended. Three credits.
402 Political Theory II (Seminar)
This seminar will critically analyze selcted themes, issues and controversies in contemporary political theory as well consider non-western political thought and its relevance to Western political science and politics. Prerequisite: PSCI 200 recommended. Three credits.
421 Canadian Politics I (Seminar)
This seminar will consider theoretical perspectives on Canadian politics and the Canadian state, followed by an examination of Canadian political institutions and their settings. Prerequisite: PSCI 210 recommended. Three credits. Sample course outline.
422 Canadian Politics II (Seminar)
This seminar deals with social power in Canada and the politics of identity and rights, as well as various issues and policy problems stemming from globalization and Canada's relations with the United States. Prerequisite: PSCI 220 or 240 recommended. Three credits.
442 Advanced Public Policy (Seminar)
This seminar is a cross-disciplinary, social science seminar focusing on a single public policy issue that varies from year to year. Senior honours students in the social sciences can gain admittance to the seminar as well as others at the course co-ordinator's discretion, based on a set of academic achievement criteria. This three-credit course is organized around two visits to campus, one each in the fall and spring terms, of a public sector policy analyst who will bring the practitioner's perspective to the seminar. Students will prepare and present formal reports in policy recommended form. A faculty co-ordinator will guide and supervise student work. Prerequisite: PSCI 220 recommended. Cross-listed as IDS 405. Three credits over the full academic year.
451 International Relations (Seminar).
This seminar seeks to introduce the student to the advanced theories and great works of International Relations. Prerequisite: PSCI 210 or 250 recommended. Three credits.
452 International and Comparative Politics II (Seminar).
This seminar discusses major issues in comparative politics and examines the advanced theories, methods, and concepts in the field. Prerequisite: PSCI 210 or 250 recommended. Three credits.
For additional information, please consult the Academic Calendar