The Department

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

The Master's program in political science is designed to allow specialization in one of four areas: political behaviour/psychology, Canadian political studies, political theory and comparative politics. Individual study programs are flexibly tailored to personal research interests and faculty strengths. The faculty provides particular area expertise in North America, Western and Eastern Europe, Africa and Japan.

Faculty/Research Interests
Brown, Andrea, BA (Queen’s), MPhil (Cambridge), PhD (Toronto). International development, African politics, gender and politics, international political economy.
Brown, Steven D., BA (York), MA, PhD (Alberta). Political psychology and Canadian political behaviour, research methodology.
Campbell, Robert, BA, MA (Trent), PhD (London School of Economics). Canadian politics, public policy, comparative public policy, the politics of economic policy.
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, foreign and defence policy analysis, strategic studies.
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). Political theory, comparative federalism, European Union and globalization.
Kay, Barry J., BA (McMaster), MA (Pennsylvania), PhD (Rochester). Public opinion and elections, the politics of policy making, 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). Inernational relations, organizations and law, international security, conflict analysis.
Preece, Rodney J. C., BA, PhD (Leicester). Political philosophy, comparative political ideology, environmental issues.
Tanguay, A. Brian, BA (McMaster), MA, PhD (Carleton). Interest groups, social movements and political parties, Canadian, Ontario 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/psychology, Canadian political studies, political theory and comparative politics. All students must enrol in two core seminars, one of which examines some of the central epistemological debates in contemporary social science in general, and political science in particular, and the second which introduces students to the logic of research design and methodology. 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.
    There are three options for completing the MA degree requirements:

  • Course Option: PO601, PO602 and six half-credit courses.
  • Major Research Paper Option: PO601, PO602, four half-credit courses and PO695 (Major Research Paper).
  • Thesis Option: PO601, PO602, two half-credit courses and PO699 (Thesis).
  • Students may choose their electives from those courses offered by the political science MA program at Laurier, 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 Laurier.

    Graduate Courses
    Note: PO601 and PO602 are 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.

    PO602    0.5
    Understanding Research Methods
    The course examines the logic of research design and methodology.  There are two primary objectives of the course:  to familiarize students with the strengths and weaknesses of different research designs, and to provide students with the ability to evaluate critically research findings that are based on empirical research.

    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 credit for PO619.)
    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.

    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 credit for PO497p/691d.)

    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 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 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 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 credit for PO454.)

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

    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 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 credit for PO691b.)

    PO642    0.5
    Politics and Governance Beyond the State
    A globalizing world can  no longer be understood and analysed in terms of nation-states and international relations alone. While the European Union may be the first transnational polity in the making, similar trends are becoming visible world-wide. This seminar will explore major transformations in political institutions, political economy and political culture in European and global politics and governance. (Not available for credit to students holding credit for PO459.)

    PO643    0.5
    Transitions to Democracy
    This course examines political, economic, social and legal dimensions of changes taking place in post-communist states of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and compares them with similar processes in selected former authoritarian states in Southern Europe, Latin America and Asia. (Not available for credit to students holding credit for PO487, PO497y or PO691e.)

    PO646     0.5
    Conflict Analysis and Management: Theories
    A systematic study of the theoretical literature and debates in the subfield of conflict analysis, management and resolution.(Not available for credit to students holding credit for PO488 or PO691k.)

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

    PO648     0.5
    Peace and Reconstruction
    This course examines the problem(s) of postwar and post conflict reconstruction in states and societies. Using examples and case studies as well as conceptual frameworks, peace and reconstruction covers war and conflict termination and the political, economic, military, legal and societal issues arising from (and after) war's end. (Not available for credit to students holding credit for PO497a or PO691m.)

    Directed Research I

    Directed Research II

    Seminar in Selected Problems I

    Seminar in Selected Problems II

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