DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
Chairperson: David C. Docherty
Graduate Officer: Dejan Guzina
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.
- Brown, Andrea, PhD (Toronto)
- Brown, Steven D., PhD (Alberta)
- Campbell, Robert, PhD (London School of Economics)
- Docherty, David, PhD (Toronto)
- Edgar, Alistair, PhD (Queen's)
- Goff, Patricia, PhD (Northwestern)
- Guzina, Dejan, PhD (Carleton)
- Henderson, Ailsa, PhD (Edinburgh)
- Hueglin, Thomas O., PhD (St. Gall, Switzerland), DrHabil (Konstanz, W. Germany)
- Kay, Barry J., PhD (Rochester)
- McMenemy, John M., PhD (Toronto)
- Preece, Rodney J. C., PhD (Leicester)
- Shamsie, Yasmine, PhD (York)
- Tanguay, A. Brian, PhD (Carleton)
- VanNijnatten, Debora, PhD (Queen's)
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.
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: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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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. (Not available for credit to students holding credit for PO497n.)
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.
Contemporary Issues in Canadian Politics
This course focusses on the impact of Canada's political institutions on political behaviour and policy outputs in Canada. It has four major objectives: analytical, professional, political and research. The first half of the course takes a broad overview of the Canadian political and policy setting from an institutional perspective. The second half examines a number of policy areas from these perspectives. (Not available for credit to students holding credit for PO497k, PO453 or PO691s.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
An analysis of the media and the role it plays in the political process.
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.)
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.)
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.)
The Global Environment
Students discuss the major schools of environmental thought, the cultural and socio-economic context of environmental degradation, and the debates associated with different approaches to solving environmental problems. Major challenges associated with environmental politics, including trade and globalization, North-South conflicts and transboundary co-operation are covered. (Not available for credit to students holding credit for PO497h.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
International Human Rights
This interdisciplinary course will address issues in the study of international human rights. The course will cover a number of common debates in the literature, including but not limited to cultural relativism and human rights, the role of human rights in foreign policy, and the place of economic rights. Additional topics could include gender issues in human rights, and human rights and retrospective justice. (Not available for credit to students holding credit for PO497p, PO491 or PO691w.)
This course will address the phenomenon of genocide in a comparative and interdisciplinary manner. The course will typically focus on four or five genocides, with a view to explaining their origins, how they were carried out, and national and international reactions. Topics will normally also include the international law of genocide; debates about the appropriate definition of genocide; discussion of the "roots of evil", or how ordinary people can be persuaded to participate in genocide; gender and genocide; the politics of memory; the role of bystander nations; and the role of humanitarian intervention. (Not available for credit to students holding credit for PO497q or PO492.)
Directed Research I
Directed Research II
Seminar in Selected Problems I
Seminar in Selected Problems II
Major Research Paper
The research paper must be defended successfully before an examination committee which shall include the student's supervisor, the assigned committee member, and one reader who shall serve as chair of the committee.