May 19, 2024  
2012-2013 Academic Catalog 
2012-2013 Academic Catalog [Published Catalog]

Political Science, with specializations in Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Development Studies (M.A.)

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The graduate program in Political Science Department offers advanced study in the discipline of Political Science, with particular emphasis and specializations in three areas; Comparative Politics; International Relations, and; Development Studies (previously Professional Development).

The Political Science Department values its location in the heart of the Middle East and seeks, through its faculty, courses and activities, to link the discipline of political science to the thriving and complex political realities of Cairo, Egypt and the region. Its graduate programs offer students a thorough grounding in the theoretical underpinnings of the political phenomena as well as a deep understanding of political realities in Egypt, the Arab World and the international arena. The programs combine courses aimed at familiarizing students with the knowledge necessary for developing their understanding of these political realities with research seminars that are required for familiarizing students with research methods that they will need to independently analyze complex political phenomena.

The graduate programs are intended for students who would like to pursue academic careers as well as those presently working, or desiring to work, in international political bodies, government departments concerned with political issues, or in other public, private and international sectors where there is increasingly a need for persons who have a scientific understanding of the political realities of the Middle East and the World.

Students have the option of pursuing a one-year Graduate Diploma or a Master’s degree in any of the three specializations offered by the Department. In addition to the requirements of each option, students will be able to choose elective courses covering the political topics closest to their interest. They are also encouraged to take up to two relevant courses from other departments and units of AUC. The Department works closely with its students to ensure that their chosen courses correspond to and serve their academic and professional goals.

Graduate students constitute an integral part of the academic life of the Political Science Department. They are encouraged to participate, individually and through their association, at the events and activities organized by the Department both inside AUC campus and in the thriving metropolis that constitutes its environment.

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 Egypt and the Middle East. Graduate studies in Comparative Politics seek 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 include examination of current world politics as well as the many dimensions of the international system. This includes regional relations, foreign policies of selected states, as well as Middle Eastern 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 as well as extra curricular activities that are designed to give students the opportunity to put their academic learning into practice. International Relations option 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.

Development Studies

Development Studies (previously 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 requires an internship usually done in the summer between the first and second years. Development Studies (previously 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. Development Studies (previously 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 a grade-point average of at least 3.00 (an overall grade of gayyid giddan for graduates from Egyptian universities). 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.


All specializations require the following course:

Specialization in Comparative Politics

A specialization in Comparative Politics requires the following courses (in addition to POLS 504).

In addition, three courses to be chosen in consultation with the Graduate Studies Director, for a total of 24 credit hours.

Specialization in International Relations

A specialization in International Relations requires the following course (in addition to POLS 504).

In addition, three courses to be chosen in consultation with the Graduate Studies Director, for a total of 24 credit hours.

Specialization in Development Studies

A specialization in Development Studies (previously Professional Development) requires the following courses (in addition to POLS 504):

In addition, two courses to be chosen in consultation with the Graduate Studies Director, for a total of 24 credit hours.


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. Students, working with a supervisor of their choice, should submit a detailed thesis prospectus to the department for approval. Once approved, students must register for thesis supervision until graduation. The thesis must be defended in an oral examination.

The Department encourages its students to familiarize themselves with procedures regarding committee selection, writing of the thesis, presentation to the supervisor and readers, and defense of the thesis. It strongly encourages them to plan ahead their program in order to successfully meet the procedural requirements within the specified time frame.

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