Aug 13, 2020  
2009-2010 Academic Catalog 
2009-2010 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Political Science (M.A.)

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The graduate program in Political Science offers advanced study in three specializations: Comparative Politics, International Relations, Professional Development, and courses in other areas of Political Science are offered from time to time as special topics electives when there is faculty and study interest. Graduate studies in Political Science at AUC is career oriented.

Comparative Politics

The strength of Comparative Politics at AUC is in the areas of Third World Politics and Development, with greatest faculty expertise being in the Middle East and Africa. Graduate studies in Comparative Politics seeks to increase students knowledge about the political dynamics of disparate systems within the larger contexts of state and society, political economy, interstate and regional relations. It seeks to develop skills of analysis and writing in order to enhance students’ understanding of their region of interest and its relations with the world. Comparative Politics is particularly suitable for students who wish to pursue a career in academia, research, journalism, political consultancy, or similar positions in which a solid political background and analytical abilities are required.

International Relations

International Relations includes examination of current world politics as well as the many dimensions of the international system. Regional relations, foreign policies of selected states, and international law are included, as well as Middle Eastern and African international and interstate relations, and international political economy. The International Relations option seeks to provide greater depth of understanding of the forces operating in the international arena and the constraints that face foreign policy makers. Practice in analyzing current world and regional events and in the skills of written and oral presentation is provided in the student-run Model United Nations and Model Arab League simulations, extra curricular activities that are designed to give students the opportunity to put their academic learning into practice. International Relations is valuable for students who are working or seek to work in foreign relations, either in their own government or in international organizations. The field also prepares students for employment in other kinds of positions that require the ability to analyze and write about national or international politics.

Professional Development

Professional Development is designed for those who have an interest in studying the developing world. The program includes (but is not limited to) courses with practical components, and it requires an internship usually done in the summer between the first and second years. Professional Development seeks to prepare students to assume positions of greater responsibility in development agencies and organizations by expanding their understanding of the development field, its aims, objectives, methods of operation, and the broad scope of development work in the world today. It seeks to develop students’ critical and analytical capacities, and provide practice in linguistic and writing skills needed for development work. Creativity in finding solutions to development problems is encouraged so that graduates may have an impact in their chosen areas of work in development. Practice in preparing project documents is included in the program. Professional Development is designed for those who are either presently working in development organizations or who are seeking to enter a development career.


The applicant for admission to the master’s program should have an acceptable bachelor’s degree in political science or in a closely related social science (preferably with a minor in political science), and an overall grade of gayyid giddan or a grade-point average of 3.0. Applicants with deficiencies in their preparation may be required to take appropriate courses at the undergraduate level.

The requirements for the specializations are as follows

All specializations have gateway courses that situate each specialization within its theoretical context and provide students with analytic tools for other courses. These introductory courses also prepare students for research and analysis needed for writing original seminar papers and for the thesis. In all specializations there are courses that include substantial components of theory and these must be well grounded theoretically.

Specialization in Comparative Politics

Comparative Politics requires

One special topics or research seminar

One special topics or research seminar Approved by the Department, and two other courses, for a total of 27 credit hours.

Specialization in International Relations

A specialization in International Relations requires the following courses in the first two semesters of graduate studies. Both courses are essential for further studies in international relations at the graduate level, for they introduce students to fundamental theoretical concepts and research/methodological skills.

Plus two courses from the following:

And four additional courses chosen in consultation with the graduate adviser, for a total of 27 credit hours.

Specialization in Professional Development

Professional Development requires the following courses, and four additional courses, for a total of 27 credit hours.

Four additional courses

The additional courses may be drawn from the following areas, in consultation with the adviser for the Professional Development program:


With department approval, students are strongly encouraged to take up to six hours of relevant courses outside the department.


A thesis, written in English and submitted in accordance with university regulations, is required of all specializations for the master’s degree in Political Science. A detailed thesis prospectus must be submitted to the department for approval, at which time the student’s thesis supervisor is formally designated. All Political Science graduate students must register for thesis supervision.

Students should familiarize themselves with procedures regarding committee selection, writing of the thesis, presentation to the supervisor and readers, and defense of the thesis. Complying with the procedural requirements within the specified time sequences is the responsibility of the student.

The thesis must be defended in an oral examination during which questions may be asked regarding any aspect of the thesis itself or of courses taken in the program, particularly as they may relate to the thesis.

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