Political Science (BA Program)

Alex Michalos, Professor Emeritus

Boris DeWiel, Associate Professor and Chair
Gary Wilson, Professor
Natalia Louacheva, Associate Professor, and Canada Research Chair, Aboriginal Governance and Law
Michael Murphy, Associate Professor, and Canada Research Chair, Comparative Indigenous-State Relations
Tracy Summerville, Associate Professor
John Young, Associate Professor
Jason Lacharite, Assistant Professor
Walter Babicz, Adjunct Professor
Alberto De Feo, Adjunct Professor
Jason Morris, Lecturer

Besides literacy and numeracy, citizenship and diplomacy are fundamental skills needed to achieve a good quality of life. Citizenship includes both the rights and duties of membership in a political community. Diplomacy is the art and practice of reaching agreements through negotiation. A healthy democracy requires the active and informed participation of its citizens, but this is only possible with a good understanding of its political institutions, processes and issues. Political Science is the discipline devoted to the systematic investigation of citizenship and diplomacy in local, national and international communities.

To achieve its purposes, the Department of Political Science offers the opportunity to study political philosophy, comparative politics, Canadian government, international politics and public administration. The latter field is offered in two public administration certificates. These certificates are available in municipal administration and First Nations administration.

Majors in Political Science must take a minimum of 51credit hours  in Political Science or other designated disciplines.

The minor requires a minimum of six Political Science courses. Students may also choose to complete one or both of the above mentioned certificates in public administration (see below for a description and a listing of requirements for the two certificate programs).

Political Philosophy

Political philosophy investigates normative questions about political life: What is the best form of government? What is justice? Is there an inherent right to self-government?

Comparative Politics

Comparative politics examines the relationships between government and society around the world. This includes studies of individual countries such as Russia or Japan, as well as political issues such as the role of government in the economy, transitions to democracy or aboriginal-state relations across sets of countries.

Canadian Government

The study of Canadian government investigates the conflicts and challenges within Canadian society and the institutions of government at federal, provincial, local and First Nations levels. This includes such topics as Canadian political culture, federalism, political economy and the Charter.
International Politics

International politics examines politics among nations and will cover a wide variety of topics such as Canadian Foreign Policy, International Organizations as well as a diversity of theoretical approaches.

Major in Political Science

Political Science majors are required to take 51 credit hours in Political Science and related disciplines.

The Political Science major offers a foundation in four fields of political science: Canadian Government, Comparative Politics, Political Philosophy, and International Politics.

The minimum requirement for completion of a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Political Science is 120 credit hours.

Program Requirements

Lower-Division Requirement

100 Level
POLS 100-3Contemporary Political Issues
INTS 100-3Introduction to Global Studies
200 Level
POLS 200-3Canadian Government and Politics
POLS 202-3Canada in Comparative Perspective
POLS 270-3Political Philosophy: Antiquity to Early Modernity
Research and Writing in Political Science 
Upper-Division Requirements

POLS 303-3Democracy and Democratization
POLS 320-3Canadian Politics and Policy
POLS 370-3Political Philosophy: Early Modernity to Post-Modernity

Nine credit hours of 400-level Political Science courses.

Six additional credit hours of upper-division Political Science courses.

Nine credit hours of upper-division Global and International Studies courses.

Elective and Academic Breadth Requirement

Students take electives at any level in any subject sufficient to ensure completion of a minimum of 120 credit hours.  This include taking any additional credits necessary to meet the Academic Breadth requirement of the University (see Academic Regulation 15).

Economics/Political Science Joint Major

See Calendar entry under Economics.

English/Political Science Joint Major

See Calendar entry under English.

Environmental Studies/Political Science Joint Major

See Calendar entry under Environmental Studies.

History/Political Science Joint Major

See Calendar entry under History.

International Studies/Political Science Joint Major

See Calendar entry under International Studies.

Joint Major in Political Science/Women's Studies

The Political Science/Women's Studies Joint Major equips students to understand the relationship between the study of the literature and its women's studies context. The degree is particularly attractive to students who intend to pursue a career in teaching or further studies in Political Science or Women's Studies.

The minimum requirement for completion of a Bachelor of Arts with a Joint Major in Political Science and Women's Studies is 120 credit hours.

Program Requirements

Lower Division Requirement

    or STAT 240-3
Statistics for the Social and Management Sciences
Basic Statistics 
POLS 100-3Contemporary Political Issues
POLS 200-3Canadian Government and Politics
POLS 202-3Canada in Comparative Perspective
POLS 270-3Political Philosophy: Plato to Locke
Research and Writing for Political Science 
WMST 100-3Introduction to Women's Studies
Three additional Women's Studies courses at the 100 or 200 level. 

Upper Division Requirement

HIST 311-3History of Feminism
INTS 308-3Gender and International Studies
POLS 320-3Canadian Politics and Policy
POLS 370-3Political Philosophy: Locke to Marx
WMST 302-3Women and the Contemporary World
Qualitative Research Methods 

Three additional Political Science courses (9 credit hours) at the 400 level.

Additional Requirement

Three additional courses selected from the following:

ANTH 401-3Anthropological Perspectives on Inequality
ANTH 406-3Feminist Perspectives in Anthropology
COMM 333-3Women in Organizations
ECON 301-3Women and the Economy
Contemporary Women's Literature 
ENVS 309-3Women and Environmental Studies
First Nations Perspectives on Race, Class, Gender and Power 
HIST 309-3Women in Canada
HIST 453 (3-6)Topics in the History of Gender
HIST 454 (3-6)Topics in Women's History
Women and Health 
Women in the Human Services 
Gender and Sexuality
Lesbian and Bisexual Lives 
WMST 304-3Contemporary Women's Writing in an International Frame
Gender and Film 
An Introduction to the History of Gender
Cultural Studies: Gender, Race, and Reproduction 
Feminist Political Philosophy 
Contemporary Feminist Theories 
Contemporary Women's Literature
Selected Topics in Women's Studies


Elective and Academic Breadth Requirement

Electives at any level in any subject sufficient to ensure completion of a minimum of 120 credit hours, including any additional credits necessary to meet the Academic Breadth requirement of the University (see Academic Regulation 15).

Minor in Political Science

This minor provides students with a foundation in each of the fields of Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, and Political Theory, as well as permits some specialization in upper division courses.

A minor in Political Science requires students to take at least six Political Science courses (18 credit hours), at least four of which must be upper division.

A maximum of two courses (six credit hours) used to fulfill program requirements for a major or another minor may also be used to fulfill requirements for a minor in Political Science.

To fulfill the minor, students must successfully complete the following courses:

POLS 100-3Contemporary Political Issues
One of:
POLS 200-3Canadian Government and Politics
POLS 202-3Canada in Comparative Perspective
POLS 270-3Political Philosophy: Plato to Locke

and four upper division courses in Political Science.

Alternative courses may be substituted for the above with the written permission of the Department Chair or Dean of the College.