POE320-F00 2019 Syllabus

Comparative Political Science

David Last, PhD

Course description

The course will commence with an overview of the many different and competing theories of comparative politics, and will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each framework. In so doing, discussion will take place on the key issues in comparative politics. The course will also explore the increasing variety of measures employed in comparisons of the major regions and countries of the world. During the latter portion of the course, each student will select one country as a brief case study.

Learning objectives

I interpret the course description to encompass the following specific learning objectives related to critical thinking and professional development:

Initial learning objectives (knowledge, comprehension, application)

  • Identify and explain different approaches to comparative politics
  • Identify types of theories and levels of analysis
  • Explain qualitative and quantitative methods in comparative politics
  • Illustrate inductive and deductive logic and method
  • Apply time series and cross-section analysis to comparative cases

Advanced learning objectives (analysis, synthesis, evaluation)

  • Assess how comparative case studies can to contribute to cumulative knowledge
  • udge the utility of comparative theories and methods for understanding politics and political problems, particularly related to security problems
  • Design measures of political efficacy, stability, and political violence
  • Design measures of peace and stability for application in military operations and campaign planning
  • Evaluate your own achievement of the learning objectives of the course

Where it fits in the program

The course is normally taken by third year political science students as an introduction to a field of political science with the associated theories, methods, and cases. Military content includes issues and cases related to national security.


Dickovick & Eastwood (2013) Comparative Politics: Integrating Theories, Methods, and Cases. OUP. Issued to studentsBoix & Stokes Eds (2007) The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Politics. OUP. On reserveCaramani (2008) Comparative Politics. OUP. Instructor resources provided onlineOther resources provided online

Course requirements

  • You will complete written assignments to my satisfaction
  • I will provide a marking guide for each assignment
  • You are expected to attend all classes or their online equivalents unless excused by the professor; you will be objectively assessed on work completed in class and/or online
  • The final exam will be closed book, held in-hall during the college examination period
  • Academic regulation 10.2 is in effect: “The instructor may refuse a student permission to write a final examination in a course if the requirements with regard to course work have not been met


20 percent quizzes (best 4)
10 percent presentations (best 2)
40 percent Written assignments
Proposal 5; Bibliography 10; Present/discuss 5; Final 20 (or more)
30 percent Final exam
Detailed instructions for each graded component are on the web site.


Academic integrity

The college policy on academic integrity governs all work submitted. Written work will be submitted through Turnitin.


  • Normally, I will facilitate, not lecture. Lectures will be provided on request on specific subjects.
  • We will use Moodle to manage collaboratively
  • We will share decisions about learning.
  • We will focus on skills, not content: your ability to read about, write about, understand and explain the essential material for the course.
  • You are responsible for your learning and the learning environment.
  • You will make decisions each week about your learning.


Bring materials you need to class, including connected devices (laptop, tablet, cell-phone).



While the course is running, the primary means of communication and dissemination of course materials will be Moodle (the RMC learning management system). The professor’s web site will be used as an alternate, for when students do not have access to Moodle, or for guests and visitors to the class. Moodle is like a classroom. The professor’s website is like a bulletin board. Please be aware of both.