Graduate Courses

Fall 2020 Courses

All information in this guide is tentative and subject to change. Check the Political Science Department Office for updates. Information on rooms and times for the classes listed can be obtained from the university-wide Time Schedule of Classes or from the Political Science office. 


PSC 602 m001 Public Policy Analysis

Instructor: Sarah Pralle
Class #: 21708
Offered: W 12:45 pm-3:30 pm

Cross-listed with SOS 604 m001

Course Description

This course examines the politics of public policy processes. The policy literature is characterized by attention to how politics shapes the set of issues on the policy agenda; the policy programs, solutions and instruments selected by the public and policymakers; the implementation of public policy; and how policies affect subsequent politics. We begin by exploring what is sometimes referred to as a "policy-centered" approach to understanding politics, as well as some classic texts that lay the groundwork for such an approach. Next, we investigate different stages of the policy process, including agenda-setting, policy change, design, and implementation. We also investigate specific policy institutions, such as the bureaucracy and interest groups. The course concludes with an examination of how policies, once created, may in turn restructure political processes and shape subsequent polices. Throughout the course, special attention is given to the U.S. context, although some cross-national comparisons are included.
This course is designed for political science students with an interest in public policy and graduate students from other fields who want to understand a political approach to public policy. The course will help political science students prepare for comprehensive exams in the fields of American politics and/or public policy & public administration. Students whose research interests lie beyond the United States—as well as those whose interest might be at the state or local level—are more than welcome in the course. The U.S.-based cases are meant as a springboard for discussion of other systems


PSC 691 m001 Logic of Political Inquiry

Instructor: Colin Elman
Class #: 13398
Offered: W 9:30 am-12:15 pm

Course Description

This seminar introduces students to the principles of research design in mainstream political science. We will begin with some questions in the philosophy of science as they apply to the social sciences. We will review the purpose of theories, as well as different approaches to generating and evaluating them. We will investigate concept formation and operationalization. We will discuss how different research designs (including the construction of counterfactuals, comparative case studies, large-N regression analysis, and experiments) may be used to help researchers make valid causal inferences.


PSC 693 m001 Intro to Quantitative Political Analysis

Instructor: Seth Jolly
Class #: 118771
Offered: T 12:30 pm-2:30 pm; F 10:35 am-11:30 am Lab

Course Description

This course introduces students to the basic statistical methods used in the study of political science. In the seminars and labs, you will learn to describe and analyze social science data, such as national election surveys. Throughout the course, you will also learn to understand the importance of randomness in statistical research, conduct statistical tests, present your results, and evaluate the implications of quantitative analysis. You will learn to compute most of the techniques both ‘by hand’ and with Stata, a statistical software program commonly used in political science. Contemporary political science research in all subfields utilizes statistical techniques and, consequently, a basic understanding of these methods is crucial. The goal is this course to provide students with the statistical tools necessary to become a sophisticated consumer and producer of quantitative research.


PSC 700 m001 Comparative Institutions

Instructor: Dimitar Gueorguiev
Class #: 13399
Offered: Th 12:30 pm-3:15 pm

Course Description

This seminar is designed to help students prepare for the comprehensive examination and for research in comparative politics, including doctoral dissertations. We will explore different approaches to studying institutions and survey the literature on core political institutions, from electoral systems to bureaucracy. Along the way, we will discuss questions related to institutional change, measurement, as well as the link between institutions and consequential outcomes in social policy and economic development.


PSC 700 m002 Politics of Africa

Instructor: Erin Hern
Class #: 21720
Offered: T 9:30 am-12:15 pm

Course Description

This course approaches issues of governance in Africa through the lens of comparative politics. It seeks to balance contextualized information about the specific challenges that African countries face as a result of their histories and contemporary spot in the global political economy, while also using familiar political science framing to de-mystify the politics of the continent. The course is designed thematically to cover major issues in comparative politics, including state development, institutions, economic development, civil conflict, and variants of democracy and authoritarianism. Each thematic topic is paired with relevant country case studies, allowing a contextualized survey of politics across many African countries along thematic lines. The rationale of this course design is to provide students with specialized knowledge about African politics as well as the tools to analyze politics in unfamiliar regions broadly.


PSC 700 m002 Order and Change in the International System

Instructor: Ryan Griffiths
Class #: 21723
Offered: Th 9:30 am-12:15 pm

Course Description
In this seminar we will explore a number of topics in international relations. We will begin by looking at theories of international order and the origins of the state system. We will then survey a set of spin-off topics including theories of hierarchy and hegemony, theories of change, regional variation in political order across time and space, the importance of borders, and the dynamics of order on the frontier. In doing so, we’ll engage with the latest research in these topic areas. The seminar is meant to not only prepare students for comprehensive exams, but to also assist them in identifying research areas of interest.


PSC 712 m001 Public Opinion & Communication

Instructor: Emily Thorson
Class #21731
Offered: Th 9:30 am-12:15 pm

Course Description
This course explores the processes by which citizens form their opinions, attitudes, and beliefs and the extent to which those opinions do (or do not) affect policymaking. We will examine a wide range of
factors that shape public opinion, including (but not limited to) social identity, the mass media, new technology, and self-interest. The course will also include discussion of some of the major methodological components involved in the construction of surveys as well as approaches to drawing inferences about how individuals form opinions (including experiemnts). In the end, students will understand the challenges citizens face in forming public opinions and the hurdles to accurately measuring and understanding those opinions.


PSC 753 m001 International Political Economy

Instructor: Daniel McDowell
Class #21732
Offered: Th 9:30 am-12:15 pm

Course Description

From the rise of Donald Trump's economic populism to Great Britain's “Brexit” from the European Union, it is impossible to deny the tenuous political underpinnings of economic globalization today. To borrow from Jeffry Frieden, globalization is a choice, not a fact. That is, the global economic integration we observe today is the product of governments' policy decisions over a period of many decades. This seminar introduces the student to the IR subfield of International Political Economy (IPE). At its core, IPE aims to answer one big question: What explains governments’ international economic policy choices? To put it differently, why do states choose to integrate (or, disintegrate) their economies with each other? Existing scholarship provides us with a range of theoretical and empirical answers to these questions across a variety of issue areas. While some work explains policy outcomes by focusing on international structure, other work emphasizes domestic politics and institutions. Though much of the work in the subfield is unequivocally materialist, we will also engage with a growing body of scholarship that explores how ideas and other non-materialist forces also shape policy. Finally, we will continue to debate these diverse analytical approaches as we explore the major issue areas in the subfield including trade, foreign direct investment, capital account liberalization, exchange rates, financial crises, international currencies, and sovereign debt.



PSC 788 m001 Political Leadership

Instructor: Margaret Hermann
Class #: 12065
Offered: W 12:45 pm-3:30 pm

Course Description
This class will focus on answering the question: What is the relationship between what political leaders are like and the political behavior of the institutions or governments that they lead? In responding to this question, we will seek to understand the kinds of leaders that are recruited and selected in various types of political systems and the effects of cultural variables on who becomes a political leader and what political leaders can do. We will also explore the links between leadership style and political decision making as well as between leaders' individual characteristics and the ingredients of leadership. And we
will consider the conditions under which political leaders' personalities and experiences are likely to shape what their political units do. In the course of the class, students will work with several techniques for studying the effects of leaders and leadership on politics by examining the activities and leadership style of one particular leader.
Course requirements will include completing three projects and mini-papers focused around a political leader of interest to the student and an oral presentation on that leader. The projects and mini-papers will focus on (1) doing a social background study on the leader of choice, (2) ascertaining the leader's leadership style using assessment at a distance techniques, and (3) completing a case study of a decision in which the leader was involved to link leadership style and experience to political behavior.


PSC 792 m001 Research Design

Instructor: Christopher Faricy
Class #: 13043
Offered: M 12:45 pm-3:30 pm

Course Description

PSC 792 is required for Ph.D. students and should ideally be taken at the beginning of your third year, the same semester you are taking qualifying examinations. The primary goal of this course is to have each student produce a working draft of a dissertation proposal. Topics to be covered include: what makes for a good dissertation, what a prospectus should look like, how to situate your project in the existing literature, field research, funding, writing tips, and professional development. Each student will write and present several drafts of their proposal, and provide feedback to their colleagues. The course also will include discussions with junior faculty and current ABDs about their experiences, and meetings with university experts on human subjects research and external funding. In addition to the proposal, students will complete short assignments about different aspects of the dissertation process and professional development. Another important goal of the course is to develop the skills of providing feedback to your peers, and accepting constructive criticism from them. You should prepare to submit a 5-page description of your research area and the problem(s) you intend to address in your dissertation at the beginning of the semester. (Instructor consent required.)+


PSC 804 m001 Advanced Topics in Qualitative Methods

Instructor: Jenn Jackson
Class #: 21739
Offered: T 9:00 am-12:15 pm

Course Description
In this course, students will develop the necessary skills to conceptualize, plan, and execute interview-based research projects. The course will involve a special focus on interviewing hard-to-reach
populations like racial, gender, and sexual minorities. We will cover topics such as fine-tuning a research idea, formulating research questions, designing a rigorous research plan, navigating the IRB process, recruiting respondents, creating the interview guide, conducting interviews, and analyzing and writing up data. We will also consider reflexivity, ethics, power and positionality, interviewer effects, and the complexities of interviewing populations that are reluctant to participate. Students at all levels of the graduate student process are welcome, as course participants will be organized into working groups based on their project’s current stage. However, the course tends to focus on issues that arise at the beginning stages of a second year paper or dissertation proposal.

Theoretically, we will consider questions such as the following (among many others): What is qualitative research? What is it best suited for? By what criteria does it meet or fail to meet the standards of scientific evidence? What are the roles of induction and deduction in qualitative research? Can qualitative research verify hypotheses, or only generate them? Can qualitative research explain social phenomena, or only interpret them? Is replicability possible in interview-based research? Is generalizability necessary? What are alternative ways of assessing empirical or theoretical significance? How do you go about starting a project? How do you connect theory, research design, and data collection? How should one structure an interview schedule? How many interviews are enough? How does one give a presentation based on interview data?


PSC 997 m001 Master’s Thesis

Register for class # 13400, PSC 997 m001, 6 credit hours –or-
Register for class # 13401, PSC 997 m002, 0 credit hours

PSC 999 Dissertation Credits

Register for class # 10604 for 1 to 15 credits

GRD 998 Degree in Progress (Zero Hour Registration)

Register for class number 16480, GRD 998.001 or 16481, GRD 998.002
When you have completed all of your coursework and your dissertation credits, you should be registered each fall and spring semester for “Degree in Progress”, GRD 998. Please see Candy Brooks if you have any questions about your credits.


Remember to complete a “Certification of Full-Time Status” form each time you register for zero credit hours to continue your full time status.