The discipline of Political Science is known for the breadth of subjects it investigates and the diversity of approaches it employs. Breadth and diversity, therefore, characterize the subject matter of the 100-level courses we offer. These qualities also suggest ways to choose and sequence courses as you begin to build a program of study.
Some disciplines require students to take a set of compulsory courses that serve as a gateway to that discipline – micro and macro economics, for instance or organic and inorganic chemistry. The approach in Political Science is a bit different. There is no single “gateway” into the discipline. Rather, we encourage you to mix and match among the various first-year courses to find the combination that most fully engages your interest.
Here’s how it works: To join the Political Science program (which most students do at the end of their first year or the beginning of their second) you must complete 1.0 FCE (full course equivalents) in Political Science at the100-level. This means that you will want to take two H (or half) courses in your first year from the “menu” of 100-level courses. The large lecture courses (like POL 101H1, 106H1, and 107H1) count towards this requirement, so do the Foundation Year Seminars (designated with a course code in the 190s), and so do a number of the One program courses taught in the Colleges and the Munk School. (To see a list of other courses you can use to fulfil part of the 100-level requirement, go to “Courses” and follow the link to “Other Units FYS”).
So, if you’re interested in Political Science, we strongly recommend that you take two 100-level courses of your choice. That way you will be ready to advance to the next set of courses at the 200-level.
In the second year, students may enrol in POL 101Y or any “200″ level courses. Students concentrating their studies in Political Science should take POL 200Y (Political Theory: Visions of the Just/Good Society) and at least one other core course in the discipline. POL 200Y is the first half of a two‑course sequence with POL 320Y (Modern Political Thought) in the history of political thought, and is the core course in the political theory area.
POL 201Y (Politics of Development: Issues and Controversies), POL 203Y (U.S. Government and Politics), POL 207Y (Politics in Europe) and POL 215Y (Politics and Transformation of Asia-Pacific) deal with a number of different political systems. These courses are classified as comparative politics courses. Because studying the political life and institutions of particular countries involves the use of analytical concepts and techniques of more general significance, it is advisable to complete one or more of these courses before attempting more advanced courses in comparative government.
POL 208Y (Introduction to International Relations) provides an introduction to this important field and should be completed before students attempt courses in international relations at the “300″ or “400″ level. History students taking courses in diplomatic history will also find it valuable.
POL 214Y (Canadian Government and Politics) offers students an in-depth introduction to Canadian political institutions and processes. It serves as a prerequisite for more specialized courses on the constitution, federalism, parties and other courses.
POL 222H and POL 232H acquaints students with some of the major research methods and quantitative techniques employed in contemporary Political Science. It is a requirement for students in the Political Science Major(POL 222H) and Specialist (POL 222H and POL 232H) Programs.
Consult the department’s website for additional general interest courses at the 200-level that may be offered in any year.
Enrolment in 300-level courses is limited, with priority given to students who are enrolled in Political Science programs. Prerequisite requirements are strictly enforced and students’ marks as well as area preparation may also be taken into account.
Students entering their third year should examine the courses at both the “200″ and “300″ levels. Students who have done little previous work in Political Science may be well advised to take one or more courses at the “200″ level. In choosing courses for their third year, students who are concentrating in Political Science should also keep in mind the Department’s requirements for distribution of courses among several of the areas of the discipline.
Students specializing in Political Science should take at least one course in political theory in their third year. POL 320Y (Modern Political Thought) is the second part of the two-course sequence (with POL 200Y) in the history of political thought.
The Department’s 400-series courses are limited and nearly all courses are offered as joint undergraduate-graduate seminars in two and three-hour blocks with class sizes ranging from 15-25 students. Most have specific course prerequisites and require extensive reading, research, and writing as well as seminar discussion. Priority in enrolment is given to graduating POL Specialists and POL majors during the 400-level preference period.