The Department

Chairperson: David C. Docherty
Graduate Officer: Thomas O. Hueglin

The Master's program in Political Science is designed to allow graduate students to concentrate their study and research in one of the following four areas: political behaviour and political psychology, Canadian political studies, comparative politics or Canadian-American relations. The structure of each of these concentrations is aimed at providing students with a greater capacity for critical analysis within their areas of specialization.

Faculty/Research Interests
Barr, Cathy, BA, MA (WLU), PhD (York). Canadian politics, political behaviour, political communication, political psychology, research methodology.
Brown, Steven D., BA (York), MA, PhD (Alberta). Political psychology and Canadian political behaviour, research methodology.
Docherty, David, BA (WLU), MA (McMaster), PhD (Toronto). Canadian politics, Canadian Parliament and political parties, comparative legislative behaviour, research methodology.
Edgar, Alistair, BA (Cambridge), MA (UBC), PhD (Queen's). International relations, Canadian-American foreign policy, strategic studies, U.S. foreign economic policy.
Guzina, Dejan, BA (Belgrade), MA, PhD (Carleton). Liberalism and the politics of ethnicity in Southeastern Europe, democratic theory and the politics of transition in East-Central Europe, state sovereignty, national rights and human rights.
Hueglin, Thomas O., Univ. Dip., PhD (St. Gall, Switzerland), DrHabil (Konstanz, W. Germany). Comparative political economy, the state and society, regionalism and federalism.
Kay, Barry J., BA (McMaster), MA (Pennsylvania), PhD (Rochester). Voting behaviour, Canadian and American politics, research methodology.
McMenemy, John M., BA, MA (McMaster), PhD (Toronto). Canadian government and politics, political parties, political communication, urban politics.
Miljan, Toivo, BA, MA (Toronto), PhD (London). European politics, international relations and foreign policy, ethnic minorities, First- and Third-World trade and monetary relations.
Preece, Rodney J. C., BA, PhD (Leicester). Political philosophy, comparative political ideology.
Tanguay, A. Brian, BA (McMaster), MA, PhD (Carleton). Interest groups, social movements and political parties, Canadian and Quebec politics, labour relations.
VanNijnatten, Debora, BA (Brock), MA, PhD (Queen's). Canadian politics, comparative public policy, environmental policy.

Admission Requirements
In order to be admitted to the Master's program, a student must meet the General Admission Requirements of the University. An Honours graduate in a program other than Political Science and General degree graduates may be admitted if evidence justifying admission is offered; however, a program of appropriate preparatory studies (Qualifying Year) may be required of such applicants. Honours graduates in Political Science may also be required to successfully complete additional undergraduate courses before they are admitted to the Master's program.

Program Requirements
Candidates in the Master's program in Political Science may specialize in one of four fields of study: political behaviour and political psychology, Canadian political studies, comparative politics or Canadian-American relations. All students must enrol in the Core Seminar, which examines some of the central epistemological debates in contemporary social science in general, and political science in particular. All other courses in the program are organized as seminars and therefore include a significant research and presentation component. In each course, students will be required to complete at least one substantial research paper and to defend that paper during the seminar. Students may select any course offered by the Department, but are required to complete a research project which reflects their area of specialization.
    There are three options for completing the MA degree requirements:

  • Course Option: PO601, six half-credit courses, and PO694 (the written comprehensive examination). Students will normally enrol in PO694 at the beginning of their second term in the course-work option; at that time reading lists and potential topics for examination will be distributed by the Graduate Officer, after consulting with the faculty teaching in the four areas of specialization. A comprehensive examination will be written in the final month of that term. A committee of three department faculty will grade the examination on a pass/fail basis. In the event of failure, the student will have one opportunity for prompt re-examination.
  • Major Research Paper Option: PO601, five half-credit courses, and PO695 (Major Research Paper).
  • Thesis Option: PO601, three half-credit courses, and PO699 (Thesis).
  • Students may choose their electives from those courses offered by the Political Science MA program at Wilfrid Laurier University, or by another university (e.g., the University of Waterloo or the University of Guelph). Alternatively, with the approval of the Graduate Officer and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, electives may be taken from the Master's program of any other department at Wilfrid Laurier University.

    Graduate Courses
    Note: PO601 is offered each year. Not all of the remaining courses are offered every year. Contact the Department before accepting an Offer of Admission to determine whether the courses you wish to complete will be offered during your period of residency.

    PO601    0.5
    Core Seminar: The Scope of Political Science
    A review of some of the basic concepts, approaches and debates in the discipline. Topics may include the philosophy of science, theories of power and the state, Marxism, feminism and post-modernism.

    PO603    0.5
    Readings in Contemporary Political Theory
    A critical examination and discussion of a few books which have given the discipline decisive new direction. The focus is on the crisis of government and modernity. (Not available for credit to students holding WLU credit for PO619.)
    PO611    0.5
    Canadian-American Relations-Interpretations and Perspectives
    An analysis of public and private sector interaction with special attention given to major problems. The course will include an analysis of selected political issues related to economies, natural resources, environment and energy. (Not available for credit to students holding WLU credit for PO457.)
    PO612    0.5
    Approaches to Political Culture in North America
    A discussion of values, norms and ideology in their relationship to politics in Canada and the United States.

    PO613    0.5
    Executive-Legislative Relations in Canada and the United States
    An analytic comparison of the structures and processes of government in the United States and Canada, with particular reference to the policy-making function.

    PO614    0.5
    Federalism in Canada and the United States
    A review of intergovernmental relations in Canada and the United States that will also include a comparison with federal processes in other political systems. (Not available for credit to students holding WLU credit for PO458.)

    PO616    0.5
    Canada and the United States in World Affairs
    An advanced study of foreign policies and international relations involving Canada and the United States; an appraisal of NORAD, NATO, the UN as well as other international organizations relevant to Canadian-American affairs.

    PO620    0.5
    The Politics of Rights: Canada in a Comparative Context
    This course examines the effects of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the Canadian political system and uses the experiences of other nations to enhance this understanding. Students will be introduced to the leading approaches to judicial interpretation of rights. (Not available for credit to students holding WLU credit for PO497p/691d.)

    PO621    0.5
    Public Administration and Public Policy in Canada
    A critical and in-depth examination of public administration, and of public policy making and implementation in Canada at the federal level. (Not available for credit to students holding WLU credit for PO615.)

    PO631    0.5
    Political Parties
    A comparative discussion of party systems and the role political parties play in the political process. (Not available for credit to students holding WLU credit for PO452.)

    PO632    0.5
    Electoral Behaviour
    An advanced seminar addressing the electoral process and the various factors that influence individuals' voting behaviour, with special emphasis on Canada and the United States. (Not available for credit to students holding WLU credit for PO466.)

    PO633    0.5
    Public Opinion
    An advanced seminar that explores the structure of political thinking at the individual level, examines factors accounting for individual differences in opinions and attitudes, and investigates factors affecting the movement of public opinion at the aggregate level. (Not available for credit to students holding WLU credit for PO467.)

    PO634    0.5
    Interest Groups and Social Movements
    A comparative discussion, using specific case examples, of the role interest groups and social movements play in the political systems of industrialized nations. (Not available for credit to students holding WLU credit for PO454.)

    PO635    0.5
    Political Communication
    An analysis of the media and the role it plays in the political process.

    PO636    0.5
    Political Sociology
    An examination of the interaction between politics and society, including an examination of political leadership and the relationship between elites and masses.

    PO640    0.5
    International Political Economy
    The course explores major contributions to the study of global political economy in order to account for the political determinants and the consequences of international economic relations. The origins and evolution of the modern world system, including the current process of globalization and its impact on structures of power are discussed. (Not available for credit to students holding WLU credit for PO475, PO497l or PO691g.)

    PO641    0.5
    The Challenges of the Politics of East Asian Development
    This seminar examines the phenomenon of the state in contemporary East Asia. Using a comparative political economy/rational actor perspective, the interactions of (revolutionary or reformist) states and their societies in meeting the challenge of late development are analyzed. The People's Republic of China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Democratic Republic/Socialist Republic of Vietnam serve as referents for revolutionary states; the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Indonesia serve as referents for reformist states. (Not available for credit to students holding WLU credit for PO691b.)

    PO642    0.5
    Politics and Governance in the European Union
    The European Union is examined as a new type of political system which is rapidly and dramatically transforming the ways in which politics and policy making are conducted in Europe. This seminar explores major transformations in political institutions, political economy and political culture. (Not available for credit to students holding WLU credit for PO497r, PO459 or PO691f.)

    PO643    0.5
    Transitions in Eastern Europe
    This course examines political, economic, social and legal dimensions of changes taking place in post-Soviet Eastern Europe. (Not available for credit to students holding WLU credit for PO691e.)

    PO647    0.5
    Conflict Analysis and Management
    Studies of selected cases of conflict and management focussing on contemporary international relations. (Not available for credit to students holding WLU credit for PO489 or PO617.)

    Directed Research I

    Directed Research II

    Seminar in Selected Problems I

    Seminar in Selected Problems II

    Written Comprehensive Examination
    A written comprehensive examination for students in the Course Option, in a student's chosen area of specialization (one of: political behaviour and political psychology, Canadian political studies, comparative political studies, or Canadian-American relations).

    Major Research Paper
    A major essay project to be undertaken in one of the four areas of specialization.