Department of Political Studies

Department of Political Studies
Department of Political Studies


MA & PhD in Political Studies Program

2020-21 POLS Graduate Timetable (Fall and Winter) - v. October 28, 2020

Details about courses that will be offered and their instructors can be found below. 

Internal Courses Offered in 2020-2021

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* Introduction to Quantitative Methods
Professor: Fan Lu
Term: Winter 2021
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: Winter 2021
Description: A critical analysis of the literature on Canadian politics. Topics covered include parliamentary institutions, federalism, the courts, multiculturalism and citizenship, Aboriginal politics, women and politics, political economy, interest groups and social movements, the mass media, political parties, public opinion and voting
POLS 814* Politics in Quebec
Professor: Rachel Laforest
Term: Fall 2020
Description: An introduction to the political history of Quebec: the development of ideologies (including nationalism), constitutional developments, and the building of the Quebec state during the Quiet Revolution. Some contemporary issues in Quebec politics, and the relationship between Quebec and the rest of Canada.
POLS 830*/930* Comparative Politics I / Field Course in Comparative Politics
*Not offered in 2020-2021*
Description: A systematic examination of political systems in order to account for significant similarities and variations among them. At the core of the field are two issues: what are the major contending approaches to determining what is significant, and what is the nature of the comparative method? This course aims to develop criteria for choosing between approaches and research strategies for empirical work. One 3-hour seminar.  
POLS 831*: Comparative Politics II
Professor: Danielle Delaney
Term: Fall 2020
Description: In April of 2016 a group of young indigenous activists came to a small spit of land in the middle of the Cannon Ball River nicknamed ‘Turtle Island,’ so named in honor of Indigenous creation stories, where traditional healers and elders had been holding ceremonies and prayer-protest against the impending construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This meeting was the start of the Sacred Stone and Oceti Sakowin protest camps. Was this a flashpoint protest lead by indigenous activists, or was this the start of a new indigenous social movement? Was this an indigenous protest, an environmental protest, or something else entirely? At what point does political protest become a social movement? When does conflicting, collective political claims levied by polities against each other and third parties move from politics ‘as normal’, to contentious politics, to revolution?

This course grapples with these types of questions through a comparative lens. This course is focused on providing the theoretical tools to analyze social movements and related political phenomena. We will spend some time surveying the social movements and contentious politics literature to build a theoretical base and shared language for describing the political phenomena as well as exploring current methodologies for collecting and analyzing evidence/data. The majority of our time, however, will be spent examining how such forms of contentious politics—and how we understand them as different types of political phenomena—have arisen and developed in different political regimes, regions and eras.

This is an advance political science seminar, students are invited to think creatively and critically about not just the current theories around social movements and contentious politics, but how these theories apply to modern cases of contentious politics. Students will be expected to write a seminar paper analyzing a specific moment of contentious politics.

POLS 833* Problems of American Democracy
Professor: Paul Gardner
Term: Winter 2021
Description: This seminar focuses on the recent debates about the sources of malaise in the American system, with a special emphasis on understanding the dynamics of mass public opinion and the factors influencing public disaffection from political institutions. 
For more information about this course, please see Professor Gardner's homepage.
POLS 838* Politics of Ethnic Conflict
Professor: Oded Haklai
Term: Fall 2020
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. 
POLS 840* Comparative Politics of Development
*Not offered in 2020-2021*
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. One 3-hour seminar.
POLS 842* Topics in Latin American Politics
*Not offered in 2020-2021*
Description: An examination of topics such as economic policy, social movements, parties and elections, women in politics, culture, immigration, Chicano politics, and guerrilla movements and political violence. (Offered jointly with POLS-442*) One 3-hour seminar.
POLS 843* Gender and Globalization
Professor: Yolande Bouka
Term: Winter 2021
Description: The role of women in international resistance acts as an organizational theme. An essential aspect of this is conceptualizing various forms of oppression-based on gender, race and class- in the context of the world system.  (Offered jointly with POLS-443*).
POLS 844* Macro-Political Regulation of Ethnic Conflict
Professor: John McGarry 
Term: Fall 2020
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. 
POLS 851 Global Justice
Professor: Margaret Moore
Term: Fall 2020
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.  
POLS 853* Topics in Political Theory: Unconditional Basic Income
Professor: Andrew Lister
Term: Fall 2020
Description: This course will be examine the main justifications and criticisms of unconditional basic income (UBI). One obvious question of interest is whether instituting a UBI would be a good idea. But examining a debate about a specific policy also provides a good entry point into broader debates about theories of social justice, particularly if the policy is one that has received support from both the right and the left, as is the case with UBI. Studying UBI will allow us to think about questions of principle alongside questions of economic and political feasibility. UBI is of interest to me personally because I am working on a project about social justice and reciprocity, and one of the main principled objections to UBI is that it undermines reciprocity. The course will pay particular attention to the work of Philippe Van Parijs.
POLS 857* Science and Justice
Professor: Colin Farrelly
Term: Winter 2021
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 858* Political, Legal, and Moral Philosophy Colloquium
Professor: Various Instructors
Term: Fall 2020
Description: This course examines new work in political, legal and moral philosophy or at the interstice of these three.
POLS 860*/960* International Relations/Field Course in International Relations
Professor: Stefanie von Hlatky
Term: Winter 2021
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 2020
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. (Offered jointly with POLS-470*).
POLS 864* International Political Economy
Professor: Wayne Cox
Term: Winter 2021
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 867 Approaches to Global Governance
Professor: Stephanie Martel
Term: Winter 2021
Description: This course provides an overview of the main approaches, debates, and challenges relating to the study and practice of global governance. It examines a diversity of theoretical and methodological perspectives on the role of international institutions in world politics, the actors, institutions, regimes, and ideas involved in their maintenance, contestation, and transformation, and the evolution of multilateralism, global governance and world order."
POLS 880*/980* Gender and Politics / Field course in Gender and Politics
Professor: Margaret Little
Term: Winter 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 2020
Description: This course covers approaches to the discipline, the philosophy of social science, and issues and problems in research design. This course is compulsory for doctoral students who have not already completed a similar graduate course. Doctoral students who have completed a similar course will take another course as their sixth. Students in the Political Studies MA program are eligible to take this course with permission from the Graduate Coordinator.​
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

2020-21 PLT Graduate Timetable (Fall and Winter) - v. October 20, 2020

Courses Offered in 2020-2021

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

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