Department of Political Studies

Department of Political Studies
Department of Political Studies


*Please note: all POLS graduate courses are held in room B313 in Mackintosh-Corry Hall. To locate the building, please refer to the campus map. To locate the classroom, please see below:


MA & PhD in Political Studies Program

Details about courses that will be offered and their instructors can be found below. Please note that these courses are subject to change.

Internal Courses Offered in 2021-2022

Field courses (POLS 910, POLS 930, POLS 950, POLS 960, and POLS 980) are the PhD-level equivalents of the MA-level core courses (POLS 810, POLS 830, POLS 850, POLS 860, POLS 880) offered in each field. PhD and MA-level courses are offered jointly in each related field. Doctoral students will be registered under the field course number and Master’s students will be registered under the core course number. Doctoral students will receive a supplementary reading list that will provide additional depth on the topics covered in the core course to help them prepare for their field examinations. In years when a field cannot offer the 800-level core course, the doctoral field course will be offered as a reading course to doctoral students taking it for field exam preparation.

POLS 801* Quantitative Data Analysis
Professor: Fan Lu
Term: Winter 2022
Description: Introduction to quantitative data analysis, including types of data commonly used in political studies, appropriate methods for analyzing each type, and best practices in data management. Students will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be informed, critical consumers of quantitative research, laying the foundation for further study.
POLS 810*/910* Canadian Politics / Field Course in Canadian Politics
Professor: Elizabeth Baisley
Term: Fall 2021
Description: This course provides a survey of the major traditions and themes in Canadian politics through an examination of the institutions, groups, and processes that characterize the Canadian political system.  We start with an introduction to the field of Canadian politics as a discipline, including accounts of the historical development of the field and an overview of major debates.  From there, we move to an analysis of the primary institutions that structure politics in the country, including parliament, the executive, federalism, the courts, elections, media, and both parties and the party system as a whole.  We also examine voting behaviour and public opinion, with an introduction to the cleavages and social forces that characterize our electoral politics, and Canadian politics more generally.  Finally, the course examines the major social cleavages in Canadian society and the politics that have arisen from these forces, focusing in particular on multiculturalism and race, Quebec and Canada, Indigenous peoples, and women/gender. 
POLS 821* Elections
Professor: Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant
Term: Winter 2022
Description: An examination of the importance of elections to the maintenance of democratic systems. Six themes are discussed: the history and theory of democratic participation; the legal framework; campaign organization; why people vote the way they do; the manifestation of social cleavages during campaigns; and the future of electoral participation. Canadian examples are placed in a comparative context. (Offered jointly with POLS-421*)
POLS 832* Theories and Politics of Nationalism     
Professor: Zsuzsa Csergo
Term: Fall 2021
Description: This course examines major theoretical debates in the scholarship of nationalism and evaluates influential contributions to the understanding of nationalism in sub-state and global politics. Readings combine broader theoretical approaches and empirical studies.
*NEPC designated course*
POLS 838* Politics of Ethnic Conflict
Professor: Oded Haklai
Term: Winter 2022
Description: This course will explore a variety of theoretical and empirical issues related to the politics of ethnic conflict. The politics of ethnic conflict encompass a wide range of issues that present distinct challenges to states and societies. Themes invested in this course include the construction of ethnic identities, sources of conflict, types of mobilization, state-ethnicity relations, changes in territorial and social boundaries, and the complex interaction between ethnicity and democracy.
*NEPC designated course*
POLS 839* Topics in American Politics
Professor: Paul Gardner
Term: Fall 2021
Description: The focus of this seminar will vary from year to year depending on the research interests of the faculty members involved. See the departmental homepage for further details. (Offered jointly with POLS-439*). 
POLS 840* Comparative Politics of Development
Professor: Poulomi Chakrabarti 
Term: Winter 2022
Description: A critical survey of the main theoretical approaches to development, including modernization theory, neo-Marxism, underdeveloped theory and neo-liberalism. These are considered in relation to issues of ethnicity and culture, the role of the nation state in development, technology and industrialization and the globalization of the world economy.
*NEPC designated course*
POLS 844* Macro-Political Regulation of Ethnic Conflict
Professor: John McGarry 
Term: Fall 2021
Description: The course offers an advanced study of how states respond to ethnic conflict and diversity. The course will focus on the best analytical (empirical) explanations and normative critiques of the different state responses to diversity.
*NEPC designated course*
POLS 851 Global Justice
Professor: Margaret Moore
Term: Fall 2021
Description: An exploration of issues of justice in international politics from a normative and philosophical perspective. The course will explore the nature of our duties to people in other countries, the basis of the nation state and the limits of its territorial claims, and the justification of global institutions. The course will cover topics such as just war theory, humanitarian intervention. secession, migration, human rights, and global distributive justice
*NEPC designated course*
POLS 853* Social and Political Philosophy III – Black Political Thought
Professor: TBD
Term: Winter 2022
Description: TBD
*cross-listed with PHIL 807*
POLS 856* Debates in Contemporary Political Theory
Professor: Eleanor MacDonald
Term: Winter 2022
Description: An investigation into different theoretical perspectives on the issue of identity and the importance of these perspectives for the politics of identity. Theories of gender, race, class, nation, and sexual orientation, from a variety of perspectives, including Marxist, feminist, postmodern, and psychoanalytic theory. (Offered jointly with POLS-456*). 
POLS 857* Science and Justice
Professor: Colin Farrelly
Term: Winter 2022
Description: The word "science" comes from the Latin scientia which means "having knowledge".  What is the relation between science and normative political ideals like democracy, justice and equality?  The topics covered in any given year will vary, but may include the ethical, legal and social consequences of advances in the biomedical or environmental sciences. 
POLS 860*/960* International Relations/Field Course in International Relations
Professor: Stefanie von Hlatky
Term: Winter 2022
Description: This course is a comprehensive examination of the evolution and current state of the field of International Relations (IR). It covers international theory, the structure of the international system, key concepts, readings from the canon, and themes in the study of IR such as war, security, foreign policy, the state, gender, global systems, and concepts of power. This course also locates IR in relation to Global Political Economy (GPE) and other related fields of study. 
POLS 862* Topics in American Foreign Policy
Professor: David Haglund
Term: Fall 2021
Description: The course examines major trends in American foreign policy covering domestic as well as external variables in pre- and post-war administrations. Emphasis is placed on the USA's global role, the part it plays in international organizations and alliance systems, and the conflicts and controversies that characterize them. 
POLS 863* Race and International Politics
Professor: Yolande Bouka
Term: Fall 2021
Description: This course is about the role of race and racism in international politics. The goal of the course is to provide a foundation into critical race approaches to understand IR’s disciplinary origins, its theories, and how they help shape the world order. The course integrates various concepts, theories, and issues from different subfield to bring back the concept of “the color line” into our conversations about global politics.
POLS 864* International Political Economy
Professor: Wayne Cox
Term: Winter 2022
Description: This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the systematic study of international relations and international political economy. It will attempt to address a wide range of theoretical approaches and issues within the field, paying particular attention to the foreign economic policies of advanced industrial states and the various issues surrounding the redistribution of wealth and influence in the contemporary international system.  
POLS 880*/980* Gender and Politics
Professor: Margaret Little
Term: Fall 2021
Description: This course addresses the diverse and developing field of Gender and Politics in the discipline of Political Science. The focus will vary depending on the instructor, addressing topics such as: representation; feminist methodology; identity; gender and work; gender and citizenship; the politics of the family; queer theory; intersectionality of race, gender and class; and gender and globalization. 
POLS 900* Methods of Political Studies
Professor: Kyle Hanniman
Term: Fall 2021
Description: This course is an introduction to empirical methods of political science research. It focuses on the fundamentals of descriptive and causal inference and how political scientists use surveys, interviews, experiments and other tools to develop and test causal and descriptive claims. The course is also designed to get you started on your own research. You will also learn how to write research and grant proposals.  
External Course Options

Graduate students are permitted to take one external course that is not offered in the Political Studies department. Below are links to external departments that may be of interest. Enrollment in external courses is subject to availability. All course selections should be discussed with the Graduate Coordinator.

Course of Research Ethics

The non-credit Course of Research Ethics (CORE) is mandatory for all incoming graduate students who will engage in research involving human subjects. It is a web-based tutorial providing familiarity with and practical application of Canada's national standard of ethics for research as outlined in the Tri-Council Policy Statement. For more information and to access the course, please go to the Government of Canada's website


MA in Political and Legal Thought (PLT) Program

Courses Offered in 2021-2022

For detailed descriptions of the Political and Legal Thought courses, please refer to each link organized by department:

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