Undergraduate Political Science Programme

 

Introduction

The primary purpose of the Department of Political Science is to provide the officer cadets of the Royal Military College of Canada with the best possible university-level education in political science. This education must benefit foremost the students themselves and, as a direct consequence, the professional development of the future officers of the Canadian Forces. The quality of this education must be such that the doors of every graduate school will be open to the best of these students.

Social scientists seek to understand and to analyze human behaviour. In their study of society they make both normative and positive statements. Normative statements concern what one believes ought to be. They are based on value judgments related to philosophical, cultural and religious systems. Positive statements, on the other hand, are about matters of fact. They are testable statements and can be proved by empirical evidence. Successfully predicting the behaviour of a large group of people, for example, is made possible by the statistical "law" of large numbers, which asserts that irregularities in individual behaviour tend to cancel each other out and regularities tend to show up in repeated observations.

Language and writing skills are a basic requirement for studying social sciences. Hence students are encouraged to take maximum advantage of all the opportunities, including the services of the Writing Centre, made available to them during their first two years of study to develop these skills.

Courses in political science focus on a broad spectrum of domestic and international social issues whose resolution has political implications.

Courses cover a range of issues from the following fields of study:

  • Canadian politics;
  • International relations;
  • Comparative politics;
  • Political theory;
  • Public administration and policy;
  • Geography

Students will complete studies in each of the following fields, consisting of mandatory and optional courses:

  • The field of Canadian politics examines the structure, the institutions and the decision-making process of the Canadian polity in the context of the roles and goals of the citizens in the polity. Political parties, interest groups, elections, the constitution, the Charter of Rights, the Judiciary and the rule of law are studied. As a result, students are able to analyze and evaluate how politics works in Canada, how Canadian governments make decisions, and their own responsibilities as officers and public servants.
  • The field of international relations examines relations between states and within the international system. Theories of international relations help us to understand how and why states act. Strategic studies provide tools for understanding how both state and non-state actors achieve their objectives within the international system. International institutions, international economics, and geopolitics contribute to an understanding of international relations. Students are able to evaluate the contribution of different theories, interpret policies, and analyze international events.
  • The field of comparative politics provides both a method and a subject of study. Because we cannot experiment in the real world, comparative methods provide us tools to answer questions about probable causes. As a subject of study, comparative politics addresses similarities and differences within countries and regions, as well as over time within particular cases. Students learn to design research to answer real-world questions, interprets time series and cross section data, and test hypotheses related to political, economic, and social events, particularly in circumstances of conflict.
  • The field of political theory includes methods of inquiry and political philosophy, addressing the big questions of peace, justice, democracy, and equality. The major political thinkers (from Plato to Rawls) and the major political ideologies (communism, socialism, liberalism, conservatism, and so on) are addressed in theoretical and contemporary perspective. Students are able to interpret and evaluate the elements of major ideas in political life.
  • The field of public administration addresses the institutions of bureaucracy within a state, and the policy of the state to achieve particular ends in the public interest. It provides tools to describe, measure and evaluate programs and policies against their intended effects. Extending to the rules and laws that govern public policy, this field includes several courses in international law.
  • Geography courses survey the evolution of regions, geopolitical patterns and processes including disintegration of empires, geo-strategic theories, spatial patterns, migration, demographics, and the ecological consequences of resource exploitation. Geography courses contribute to Canadian, international, and comparative fields of political science.

Programme Requirements

General Information

Students successfully completing their first year in arts are eligible for entry into the programme leading to a B.A. Hounors Political Science or a B.A. Political Science. The first year political science courses are part of the core compulsory courses and will count toward the degree requirements noted below. In consultation with the department head, students will select courses each year which fulfil the degree requirements, and which are best suited to student interest.

B.A. Honours Political Science

Academic Regulation 3.1:

To earn an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree within a discipline, a student must successfully complete the required courses set out in the applicable Honours Programme of Study, with at least 20 credits within the discipline, must maintain a minimum B average in the Honours courses in all 300-level and 400-level courses in their Honours Programme of Study, and must obtain at least a B- average in the 400-level courses.

The B.A. Honours Political Science requires 40 credits, including the core courses for arts programmes.

Mandatory Courses

  • POE102: Introduction to Political Science
  • POE116: Introduction to International Relations
  • POE205: Canadian Politics and Society
  • POE314: Modern Political Philosophy
  • POE317: Introduction to Contemporary Strategic Studies or GOE202: Introduction to Political Geography;
  • POE320: Comparative Politics
  • POE328: Canadian Political Institutions
  • POE332: Public Administration in Canada
  • POE492: Seminar in Political Science

Optional Courses

Students must take at least one course in each of the five subfields of political science, plus five additional courses consisting of either Political Science or cross-listed courses offered by other departments, of which four should be at the 400-level.

B.A. Political Science

A B.A. Political Science requires 40 credits, including the core courses for arts programmes, with a minimum of 16 credits in Political Science.

Mandatory Courses

  • POE102: Introduction to Political Science
  • POE116: Introduction to International Relations
  • POE205: Canadian Politics and Society
  • POE314: Modern Political Philosophy
  • POE317: Introduction to Contemporary Strategic Studies or GOE202: Introduction to Political Geography
  • POE320: Comparative Politics
  • POE328: Canadian Political Institutions
  • POE332: Public Administration in Canada

Optional Courses

Students must take at least one course in each of the five subfields of political science, plus three additional courses consisting of either political science or cross-listed courses offered by other departments, of which two should be at the 400-level.

It should be noted that "POE490: Directed Readings in Politics," can be offered as an optional course in each of the fields, but can be taken only once.

Subfields of Political Science

Canadian Politics

  • POE416: Canadian Foreign and Security Policy
  • POE438: Canadian Political Parties, Elections and Public Opinion
  • POE452: Topics in Canadian Politics
  • GOE302: Canadian Geography
  • GOF422: Géographie politique du Canada

International

  • POE317: Introduction to Strategic Studies
  • POE324: International Organizations
  • POE410: International Conflict Management
  • POE412: American Foreign and Security Policy
  • POE413: Nuclear Weapons & International Relations
  • POE436: International Law of the Sea
  • POE453: Topics in International Relations
  • POE460: Analysis of Contemporary International Conflict
  • POE462: International Security
  • GOE404: Issues in Contemporary Geopolitics
  • GOF420: Fondements géopolitiques du droit international

Comparative Politics

  • POE425: Regional Comparative Politics
  • POE432: Civil-military relations
  • POE434: Comparative Studies in Development
  • POE435: Terrorism and Political Violence
  • POE437: Contemporary regimes: States and Nations
  • POE454: Topics in Comparative Politics
  • GOE305: World Regional Geography: Europe and /or the Americas
  • GOE307: World Regional Geography: Asia and /or Africa
  • GOE418: Approaches to Cultural and Historical Geography

Political Theory

  • POE312: Classical Political Philosophy
  • POE421: Political Ideologies
  • POE428: Contemporary Political Theory
  • POE455: Topics in Political Theory
  • POE492: Seminar in Political Science

Public Administration

  • POE334: Canadian Public Policy
  • POE433: Public Choice
  • POE440: Foresight Tools and Methods for Public Policy
  • POE456: Topics in Public Administration
  • POE486: Air and Space Law
  • POE488: The Law of Armed Conflict

Cross-listed Courses

One credit can count towards each of the fields listed. Courses counting towards these fields will count in the total of politics credits.

Canadian Politics

  • HIE405: History of the Relations between Canada and the United States
  • HIE406: Canadian External Relations

Comparative Politics

  • ECE242: Introduction to Statistics
  • GOE470: Problems in Political Geography: Focus on Europe and Former Soviet Union
  • GOE472: Understanding Post-Soviet Europe and Asia
  • HIE289: The Impact of Science and Technology on Society and the Environment
  • HIE453: War, Peace and Civil Society in the 20th century

International Relations

  • GOE202: Introduction to Political Geography
  • HIE380: Peacekeeping & Peacemaking

Political Theory

  • PSE452: Advanced Research Methods in Behavioural Sciences

Public Administration

  • ECE411: Public Finance
  • ECE424: Economics of Defence
  • ECE428: Economics of National Security
  • ECE444: Economics of the Environment
  • ECE448: Cost-Benefit Analysis

Programme Outline Tables

The programme outline tables are an example of the typical course load of a student enrolled in an undergraduate political science programme.

B.A. Honours Political Science

Semester Fall
year 1
Winter
year 1
Fall
year 2
Winter
year 2
Courses
  • ENE210 (cont'd)
  • HIE203
  • POE205
  • POE314
  • POE332
Semester total 5 credits 5 credits 5 credits 5 credits
Semester Fall
year 3
Winter
year 3
Fall
year 4
Winter
year 4
Courses
Semester total 5 credits 5 credits 5 credits 5 credits

B.A. Political Science

Semester Fall
year 1
Winter
year 1
Fall
year 2
Winter
year 2
Courses
  • ENE210 (cont'd)
  • HIE203
  • POE205
  • POE314
  • POE332
Semester total 5 credits 5 credits 5 credits 5 credits
Semester Fall
year 3
Winter
year 3
Fall
year 4
Winter
year 4
Courses
Semester total 5 credits 5 credits 5 credits 5 credits
 

Minor in Political Science

This Minor is open to all students

The requirements for the Minor are 8 credits in Political Science. Only POE/POF courses count towards a Minor in Political Science.

Students choosing to Minor in Political Science must obtain a minimum average of B- in their 3 best courses of the Minor.

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