School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Political Studies

Not all courses listed below will be offered in any one year. Early in the summer the Department publishes a handbook with a list of courses offered in the coming year, and other changes made subsequent to the publication of the Calendar. See also our Department of Political Studies website.
Courses marked † are offered jointly with a 400-level (fourth-year under-graduate) course.


POLS-810*     Canadian Politics     
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     
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. (Offered jointly with POLS-414*)

†POLS-818*     Canadian Federalism     
An examination of the evolution and operation of the Canadian federal system. Topics include the concept and meaning of federalism, the implications of provincial/federal interdependence, and the politics of constitutional reform. (Offered jointly with POLS-415*)

†POLS-819*     Political Communication     
Communication in the modern state with special attention to the role of the mass media, the concept of public opinion in political and social philosophy, and a theoretical and empirical study of mass communication. (Offered jointly with POLS-419*)

†POLS-821*     Elections     
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*) One 3-hour seminar.

†POLS-822*     Public Opinion     
This course presents a critical analysis of opinion research, examining both the ways in which its results have been interpreted and used and the methodologies by which it is conducted. This analysis is set in the context of a discussion of assumptions in liberal-democratic theory about the citizen's role in politics and government. (Offered jointly with POLS-422*) One 3-hour seminar.

POLS-829*     Canadian Political Institutions     
An analysis of the role of political institutions in Canadian politics. The course will examine institutionalist theories in the Canadian context, and provide an in-depth analysis of selected aspects of the institutional framework of Canadian politics.

POLS-830*     Comparative Politics I     
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     
This course deals with major topics in the current literature in the sub-field, including democracy and democratization, institutions and parties, political economy, political culture, selected policy areas, or particular parties, movements, and interest groups.  Greater stress is laid on the empirical reference of theoretical approaches than in POLS-830*.
One 3-hour seminar.

POLS-832*     Theories and Politics of Nationalism     
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.

†POLS-833*     Problems of American Democracy     
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. (Offered jointly with POLS-433*)

POLS-838*     Politics of Ethnic Conflict     
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-839*     Topics in American Politics     
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      
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     
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     
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. One 3-hour seminar.

POLS-844*     Macro-Political Regulation of Ethnic Conflict     
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-846*     Citizenship and Non-Citizenship     
Focussing on issues of citizenship and non-citizenship in the modern world. How issues of nationality and nationalism, minority rights, gender, class, race and ethnicity, and immigration status impact on the rights and obligations of citizenship is central to the politics of these debates. The relevance of these issues to the current Canadian context will be an ongoing theme of the course. (Offered jointly with POLS-446*) One 3 hour seminar.

POLS-848*     Democracy and Globalization     
The course examines how domestic and international politics intersect to produce transition processes in contemporary "Third Wave democracies" and how national and global forces continue to shape political development in the post-transition period.

POLS-850*     Political Theory     
This course provides an introduction to contemporary normative political theory. The course will focus on the analysis basic concepts, such as liberty, equality, power, and authority, their use in different theoretical traditions, and their application to current debates about politics and policy.

POLS-851*     Global Distributive Justice     
This course discusses contemporary debates about the obligation of persons in wealthy countries to alleviate poverty among those in the developing world. The course addresses the proper currency of global justice, the source of the obligation of the rich and poor, and examines the criticisms that have been made. These inquiries require examining anew the basis of the nation state in the international order and the extent to which people are morally required to help those who are not fellow citizens.

POLS-852*     Contemporary Liberal-Democratic Theory     
This course examines the main theoretical approaches in contemporary liberal-democratic theory including theories of justice, conceptions of equality and the  'deliberative turn’ in democratic theory. One 3-hour seminar.

POLS-853*     Topics in Political Theory     
An examination of the reorientations in contemporary political thought.  One 3-hour seminar.

†POLS-856*     Debates in Contemporary Political Theory     
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     
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. Prerequisites: M.A. or Ph.D. student in Political Studies, or permission of instructor.

POLS-858*     Pol, Legal and Moral Phil Colloquium     
This course examines new work in political, legal and moral philosophy or at the interstice of these three. One 3-hour seminar.

†POLS-859*     Marxist Theories and Debates     
A study of a selected topic or topics in Marxist theory with an emphasis on the reading of original texts and recent interpretations and applications. (Offered jointly with POLS-459*) One 3-hour seminar.


POLS-860*     International Relations     
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-861*     International Security     
This course will focus on foreign policy analysis and international security, with a focus on alliances, defence cooperation, and issues affecting national and international peace and security.

†POLS-862*     Topics in American Foreign Policy     
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-864*     International Political Economy     
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-865*     Political Economy of Global Development     
This course examines the political, social, spatial and ideological dimensions of the global financial system, with special reference to the role of debt.  By drawing on an interdisciplinary lens, we explore a wide range of issues and theories relating to finance and debt in both the developed and developing worlds.  

POLS-867*      Approaches to Global Governance     
An exploration of the theory and practice of global governance which traces the emergence of the concept in modern international relations; the academic and public-policy debates to which it has given rise; and its application in the design and work of selected international institutions.   Cross Listed with MPA-855*.

†POLS-869*     Issues in Canadian Foreign Policy:     
This course focuses on Canadian-American relations, emphasizing the interaction both in bilateral and multilateral contexts. Primary concern will be with issues of trade, investment and resources, with some attention paid to security issues. (Offered jointly with POLS-469*) One 3-hour seminar.

POLS-843* also relevant to the field.

POLS-880*     Gender and Politics     
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-883*     Feminist Theory and Political Science     
This course examines the ways in which political science has characteristically studied women's relationships to political life and, by way of comparison, what feminist perspectives bring to political study. The purpose of the inquiry is to situate feminist theory within the broad corpus of theoretical approaches to political study. (Offered jointly with POLS-483*)

†POLS-886*     The Politics of Rights     
An examination of contemporary debates about whether rights provide an appropriate critical standard for evaluating state action and looks at different institutional methods to assess the justification of state actions. (Offered jointly with POLS-486*) One 3-hour seminar.

†POLS-891*     Topics in Political Studies     
Seminars offered by regular and visiting faculty on topics related to their own research or interests. See the departmental brochure for further details.

POLS-898     Master's Research Project     

POLS-899     Master's Thesis Research     

POLS-900*     Methods of Political Studies     
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.

POLS-999     Ph.D. Thesis Research     

POLS-901*     Readings in Political Studies I     
Reading course in political science.

POLS-902*     Readings in Political Studies II     
Reading course in political science.

POLS-910*     Field Course in Canadian Politics     

POLS-911*     Readings in Canadian Politics     

POLS-930*     Field Course in Comparative Politics     

POLS-931*     Readings in Comparative Politics       

POLS-941*     Readings in Comparative Politics of Development     

POLS-950*     Field Course in Political Theory     

POLS-951*     Readings in Political Theory     

POLS 953*     Topics in Political Theory     
This course focuses on a specific debate or topic in political theory. The course might focus on the work of a leading theorist, or on an important theoretical tradition, or it might engage a number of different theoretical perspectives on a particular political problem.

POLS-960*     Field Course in International Relations     

POLS-961*     Readings in International Relations     

POLS-980*     Field Course in Gender and Politics     

POLS-981*     Readings in Gender and Politics     
Reading course in gender and politics.

Courses in Related Fields     
Students may also take courses in cognate fields, such as Economics, Geography, History, Law, Philosophy,  Policy Studies, etc.