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Sample courses

From distant lands to your own backyard

Our courses give you the opportunity to discover and pursue the aspect of political science that most interests you. Whether you’re passionate about local politics, foreign relations, or the politicization of social issues, there is a course for you. First-year courses provide a great overview of political theory and history and serve as a solid foundation for more specialization in the upper years. While our professors use their own unique teaching methods, all our courses focus on developing strong research, critical thinking, and writing skills.

POLI 2520
World Politics

Why do states fight wars? Commit genocide? Sign treaties? Acquire and sell ballistic missile and nuclear technologies? Join economic and military alliances? Enforce and/or dismantle sanctions against states like Iraq, Iran or North Korea? Why can’t we enforce international law as effectively as we enforce domestic law? Can we identify (and enforce) an objective set of universal moral values to guide relations between states and peoples? Is the U.N. a useful institution or is it destined to fail? This class delves into these questions by examining the historical roots of different components of the international political system, and analyzing topical issues in world politics.

Prerequisites: An introductory class in Political Science is recommended.
Exclusions: POLI 2500

POLI 3311
Sport and Politics

This class examines the role of sport in domestic, transnational, and international politics. It addresses the gap in much of mainstream political science concerning the pervasive influence of popular cultural trends and practices on political life. Some topics include: the role of sport in political socialization and the creation of national identity; the politics of the Olympic Games; sport and globalization; and sport and the politics of gender and wealth accumulation.

Prerequisites: POLI 2300 or POLI 2520 or permission of instructor


New courses for - 2016-2017

POLI 1050
Ideas, Politics, and People

This course is an introduction to major political concepts, ideas, and disputes. It provides a foundation for all further courses in political science. By reference to current political issues, we explore the ideologies of nationalism, liberalism, socialism, conservatism, fascism, feminism, and other political ideas. A unit on political economy elucidates what these ideologies mean in practice. Another unit on political culture examines how these ideologies work out differently in individual nation-states. POLI 1055.03 follows sequentially.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites.
Exclusions: POLI 1100X/Y.06, POLI 1103X/Y.06, POLI 1010.03, POLI 1015.03, POLI 1020.03, POLI 1025.03, POLI 1030.03, POLI 1035.03, POLI 1060,03, POLI 1065.03

POLI 3385
Politics of the Environment

This course examines competing perspectives on the political, social, and economic forces driving environmental degradation, as well as differing visions of the types of political change required for ecological sustainability. Topics include: competing perspectives on ideas of limits to growth and sustainable development; the links between poverty, North-South inequality, and environmental degradation; population growth; the promise and limits of technological solutions; consumerism and ecological degradation; market-based environmentalism; ecological modernization; and ecological critiques of capitalism.

Prerequisites: Previous course in Political Science recommended
Exclusions: POLI 3585.03

POLI 3532
Model UN

The primary goal of this course is to help students understand the operation of the UN system through preparation for Model UN meetings. The course is designed for students who are participating in Model UN meetings and aims to help students prepare effectively for those meetings. Through preparatory research for the meetings, you’ll learn the politics of UN voting practices of various countries and the relationships between domestic politics, international politics and UN voting records. This course will also enable you to understand the internal dynamics of the UN General Assembly and committee systems, how UN meetings operate, and the professional skills involved in drafting and negotiating the text of resolutions. The course will also provide you with the opportunity to learn about the political issues that influence the positions at the UN of various countries (assigned by the Model UN Assembly to individual students), and about committee issues under debate at the UN (assigned by the Model UN Assembly to individual students).

Prerequisites: POLI 2520 or permission of the instructor

Meet our students

Bryn Karcha

Political Science is more than just theory.  For students like Bryn Karcha, it allows for a unique perspective for international travel and work.  When Bryn finishes his degree in Political Science at Dal, he will continue his work as a photo journalist.