Political Science (2018)

In Political Science we study all aspects of political life. We ask such questions as: Why do some crises lead to conflict while others are resolved peacefully? What lessons can we draw from the policy experience of other countries? How ought we to deal with the growing international environmental crisis? Why does democracy survive in some countries and not in others? Can we have both freedom and security - or must we choose between them? What did the great political thinkers of the past really say?

Political Science comprises four main areas of study. Comparative Politics examines the political institutions and societies of particular countries, and looks at the comparisons and contrasts between them. International Relations focuses on the relations between states, on their foreign policies, and on international organisations like the UN and NATO. Political Theory examines theories about politics and society, and the philosophical and methodological questions that arise in studying political life. Public Policy explores and evaluates the processes by which national, regional and local institutions of the state formulate and implement policies. Students taking political science papers may focus on one or more of these areas, or follow a broader programme reflecting the diverse interests of political science.

Political Science is available as a major for the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Social Sciences. Political Science may also be taken as a second major or as a minor, subject to academic approval of the Faculty in which the student is enrolled.

To complete Political Science as a single major, students must gain 135 points from papers listed for Political Science, including 105 points above 100 level, and 60 points above 200 level. Students must include POLSC101 and POLSC102, or 15 points from POLSC101 and POLSC102 and 15 points from IRSST103 and IRSST104; and POLSC201 and POLSC211, or 15 points from POLSC201 and POLSC211, and 15 points from IRSST206 and POLCY212.

To complete Political Science as part of a double major, students must gain 120 points from papers listed for Political Science, including 90 points above 100 level, and 45 points above 200 level. Students must include POLSC101 and POLSC102, or 15 points from POLSC101 and POLSC102, and 15 points from IRSST103 and IRSST104; and POLSC201 and POLSC211, or 15 points from POLSC201 and POLSC211, and 15 points from IRSST206 and POLCY212.

To complete a minor in Political Science, students must complete 60 points from the papers listed for the Political Science major, including at least 30 points above 100 level. Students must include at least one of POLSC101 or POLSC102, and one of POLSC201 or POLSC211; and select their remaining papers from the papers listed for the Political Science major.


On this page


  • Prescriptions for the GradCert(PolSc) and GradDip(PolSc)

    A Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma are available to graduates who have not included Political Science at an advanced level in their first degree.

    For further details, contact the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Office.

  • Prescriptions for the PGCert(PolSc), PGDip(PolSc), BA(Hons), BSocSc(Hons), MA and MSocSc

    To be eligible to be considered for enrolment in graduate Political Science papers, a student should normally have at least a B average in either the best three of their 300 level Political Science papers or all their undergraduate Political Science papers.

    To complete a BA(Hons) or BSocSc(Hons) in Political Science, students must gain 120 points at 500 level, including at least 30 points in research (normally POLSC591) and at least 30 points from papers listed for Political Science.

    To be eligible to be considered for enrolment in the MA or MSocSc in Political Science, a student should have completed either:

    a) a BA or BSocSc in Political Science or Public Policy (or equivalent) with at least a B grade average across the 300 level, or for a qualification considered by the Academic Board to be equivalent, or

    b) a BA(Hons) or BSocSc(Hons) in Political Science or Public Policy (or equivalent) with at least second class honours (second division).

    Completion requirements for the MA or MSocSc in Political Science vary according to admission criteria:

    Students admitted under a) above must complete 180 points from approved 500 level papers, including at least 60 points from POLSC502, POLSC503, POLSC527 or POLSC537, and either a 120 point thesis, a 90 point thesis or a 60 point dissertation.

    Students admitted under b) above, must complete a 120 point thesis, a 90 point thesis and a further 30 points from approved 500 level papers, or a 60 point dissertation and a further 60 points from approved 500 level papers.

    To be considered for enrolment in a dissertation or thesis, all students must have completed at least 60 points from approved 500 level papers and have gained at least a B average to be admitted to POLSC592, at least a B+ average to be admitted to POLSC593 and at least an A- average to be admitted to POLSC594.

  • Prescriptions for the MPhil

    The Master of Philosophy is a one year research-based degree in which students undertake a programme of approved and supervised research that leads to a thesis which critically investigates an approved topic of substance and significance, demonstrates expertise in the methods of research and scholarship, displays intellectual independence and makes a substantial original contribution to the subject area concerned, and is of publishable quality.

  • Prescriptions for the PhD

    The Doctor of Philosophy is a three year research-based degree in which students undertake a programme of approved and supervised research that leads to a thesis which critically investigates an approved topic of substance and significance, demonstrates expertise in the methods of research and scholarship, displays intellectual independence and makes a substantial original contribution to the subject area concerned, and is of publishable quality.

  • 100 Level

    Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
    ARTSC110Old Worlds - New Worlds18A (Hamilton)
    This cross-disciplinary paper offers students with a rich background for study within the Bachelor of Arts. It is structured around metaphors of journey and cultural encounter and focuses on a variety of texts, images and sounds.
    ARTSC111Social Science Theory and Action18B (Hamilton) & 18B (Tauranga)
    This paper introduces University of Waikato social scientists as researchers. Each presenter's research will be discussed to demonstrate how it illustrates key themes of the social sciences and their specific disciplines.
    IRSST103Introduction to International Relations18A (Hamilton) & 18A (Online)
    This paper provides an introduction to the study of international relations in an era of globalisation. It covers the historical background, key concepts and theories, case studies, and contemporary developments in the study of world politics.
    IRSST104Introduction to International Security18B (Hamilton) & 18B (Online)
    This course is an introduction to the study of international security. It examines a variety of contemporary security issues and explores how and why conflict emerges in the international system.
    POLSC100Playing Politics: Conflict, Co-operation and Choice18T (Hamilton)
    This paper introduces students to some of the basic concepts used in thinking about politics: conflict, cooperation, collective choice, and power.
    POLSC101Politics in the Ancient World18A (Hamilton)
    This paper introduces students to politics at the dawn of Western civilization. Topics include Athenian democracy, the Roman republic, Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics, political idealism and political realism.
    POLSC102New Zealand Politics and Policy18B (Hamilton)
    This paper provides a foundation for the study of political science and public policy, with a particular focus on the study of government, politics and policy in New Zealand.
  • 200 Level

    Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
    IRSST206International Relations: The Security Agenda18B (Hamilton)
    This paper introduces students to International Relations' dynamic and evolving security agenda and covers some of the most urgent contemporary security concerns.
    IRSST229The US and the World18T (Hamilton)
    In the post-Cold War era the United States has assumed a prominent role in world politics. This paper explores the domestic and international political dimensions of that role.
    MAORI250Māori Politics18A (Hamilton) & 18B (Tauranga)
    This paper examines Maori and Indigenous politics in a broad sense, from key ideas such as sovereignty, tino rangatiratanga, and autonomy, through to crucial forms of resistance via various political structures including local, Iwi, national and global Indigenous movements.
    PHILO215Moral and Political Philosophy: A Historical Introduction18B (Hamilton)
    A study of the moral and political philosophy of thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Hume and Mill. This paper uses Plato's Republic to introduce students to central issues in Moral and Political Philosophy, including questions about virtue, happiness, justice, liberty, democracy, tyranny, feminism, art, censorship, and moral educat...
    POLCY212Power, Politics and Policy Analysis18B (Hamilton)
    This paper introduces students to public policy analysis. Students focus on the role of politics, public participation and policy in addressing society's big problems, how they are framed and defined, and how solutions are developed and implemented within the context of the policy process.
    POLSC200Politics and the Media18B (Hamilton)
    This course provides an introduction to the complex relationships between mass media, politics, and democratic society. It examines the power of the media in influencing political processes, policies, behaviour, and perceptions.
    POLSC201Modern Political Thinkers18A (Online)
    This course examines the ideas of a number of modern political thinkers such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hegel, and Marx.
    POLSC211Political Systems around the World18A (Hamilton)
    The paper introduces the comparative study of political institutions, the study of the politics of a number of countries, their similarities and differences, from established democracies toauthoritarian regimes.
    POLSC224Terrorism, Violence and the State18A (Hamilton)
    Terrorism is an increasingly prominent global phenomenon. We will clarify it conceptually and situate it historically with theory and case studies in situating it in comparative political and International Relations analysis.
  • 300 Level

    Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
    FASS396Work Placement18D (Block)
    This paper enables students to undertake work placement in an area related to their major as part of their degree. Students work in a chosen field for a period of time in order to gain valuable work experience and learn from experts in their chosen field.
    IRSS331Cyber Security and the Global Politics of the Internet18B (Hamilton)
    This paper explores the global politics of cyber security and the internet. It covers the major political/strategic/theoretical debates around enhancing the security of computer systems and how states and non-state actors are responding.
    LBST301Globalisation and International Development18A (Hamilton)
    This paper examines the impact of globalisation on labour across both developed and developing countries. Assignments focus on the application of comparative methods.
    POLS300Religion and Political Violence18A (Online), 18S (Online) & 18T (Online)
    This paper in the history of political ideas examines Christian attitudes to political violence over the past 2000 years. It gives students knowledge and understanding of both Christian pacifism and Christian 'just war' thought. It does this by examining writings of major Christian thinkers, including Augustine, Aquinas, Luther and...
    POLS301International Relations: The Context, Theory and Practice of New Zealand Foreign Policy18B (Hamilton)
    This paper provides a comprehensive examination of NZ foreign policy, its evolution and practice since WWI. It considers NZ's foreign policy fundamentals, the role of major political parties, and NZ's involvement in major foreign conflicts and controversies.
    POLS315International Politics of India and Pakistan18B (Hamilton)
    This paper provides a narrative political and military history of India and Pakistan's bilateral and international relations from Partition in 1947 up to the end of the Cold War and an analysis of more recent developments.
    POLS318Global Environmental Politics and Policy18A (Hamilton)
    The aim of this paper is to understand and critically evaluate the development of environmental policy and the politics of environmental policy processes in the international arena.
    POLS327Political Ideas18T (Hamilton)
    An introduction to a range of issues in contemporary political philosophy, in particular issues relating to questions of justice. The focus is on the examination of arguments and the clarification of concepts.
    POLS390Directed Study18A (Hamilton), 18B (Hamilton), 18S (Hamilton) & 18T (Hamilton)
    No description available.
    WGST303Gender, State and Public Policy18B (Hamilton)
    This paper introduces students to feminist political theory concerned with issues of state, policy, equality/equity, social justice, rights and representation.
  • 500 Level

    Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
    ANTH520Tribes, Empires, Nations18B (Hamilton)
    This paper examines tribes, empires, and nations as historically distinct types of political systems, and the ongoing influence of tribal and imperial cultures and institutions in diverse contemporary nation-states.
    IRSST505International Security, Strategy and Technology18A (Hamilton)
    This course offers an introduction to Strategic Studies with particular emphasis on how developments in science and technology affect warfare, conflict, and the use of force in international relations.
    IRSST507Cyber Security and Cyber Warfare18B (Hamilton)
    This course examines the poltical, strategic, legal and economic debates around cyber security and cyber warfare. Particular emphasis is placed on how militaries, national security agencies, and law enforcement are adapting to online threats and incorporating cyber in their strategic planning.
    POLS501The Policy Process and Policy Analysis18A (Hamilton)
    This paper introduces students to theoretical perspectives on policy analysis and the policy process providing a conceptual tool-kit for the practice of, and higher level research in, public policy.
    POLS502Security Issues in South East Asia18B (Hamilton)
    After a brief conceptual and historical introduction to security in the region, the paper goes on to consider a range of contemporary security issues. These include ethnic conflict, militant Islam, maritime security, and relations with the major extra-regional powers.
    POLS503Democratisation, Democracy and Mass Politics18B (Hamilton)
    The concepts, approaches and literature of democracy, democratisation and mass politics, including theories of elitism, authoritarianism and transition to democracy and mass political psychology, democratic socialism, and democracy and capitalism, as well as an examination of relevant case studies.
    POLS506International Relations and Global Security18A (Hamilton)
    This paper teaches and utilises major international relations theories to consider pressing global issues. This includes the causes of war and peace, globalisation, the Cold War, the widening security agenda, terrorism, the environment, inequality, new technologies, and international institutions.
    POLS537Environmental Politics and Public Policy18A (Hamilton)
    This paper introduces students to the complexities and challenges of environmental policy processes, and develops skills in scholarly research on environmental policy making. A significant focus of the paper is on analysing and understanding the complex intersections of institutions, culture, science and technology, and systems of ...
    POLS590Directed Study18A (Hamilton), 18B (Hamilton), 18C (Hamilton) & 18Y (Hamilton)
    Students have the opportunity to pursue a topic of their own interest under the guidance of academic staff.
    POLS591Dissertation18A (Hamilton), 18B (Hamilton), 18C (Hamilton) & 18Y (Hamilton)
    A report on the findings of a theoretical or empirical investigation.
    POLS592Dissertation18C (Hamilton)
    A report on the findings of a theoretical or empirical investigation.
    POLS593Political Science Thesis18C (Hamilton) & 18D (Hamilton)
    An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.
    POLS594Political Science Thesis18C (Hamilton)
    An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.
  • 800 Level

    Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
    POLS800Political Science MPhil Thesis18C (Hamilton)
    No description available.
  • 900 Level

    Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
    POLS900Political Science PhD Thesis18C1 (Hamilton), 18C3 (Hamilton), 18D1 (Hamilton) & 18D2 (Hamilton)
    No description available.

2018 Catalogue of Papers information current as of : 20 January 2020 2:00pm

This page has been reformatted for printing.