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 POLSC100 and POLSC101, or 15 points from POLSC100 and POLSC101 and 15 points from IRSST103 and POLCY105; 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 POLSC100 and POLSC101, or 15 points from POLSC100 and POLSC101 and 15 points from IRSST103 and POLCY105; 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.

Note: Students who commenced a major in Political Science in 2016 or prior and are undertaking their third year in 2018 will do so using existing 20 point papers. Students are encouraged to contact the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences for programme advice.


  • 100 level

  • 200 level

  • 300 level

  • 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 POLS591) 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) and have gained at least a B+ average in either the best three of their 300 level Political Science or Public Policy papers or all of their undergraduate Political Science or Public Policy papers, or

    b) a BA(Hons) or BSocSc(Hons) in Political Science or Public Policy (or equivalent) and have gained at least a B+ average across all 500 level papers.

    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 POLS502, POLS503, POLS527 or POLS537, 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 POLS592, at least a B+ average to be admitted to POLS593 and at least an A- average to be admitted to POLS594.

  • 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.

2018 Catalogue of Papers information as of 20 September 2017 4:40pm

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