About POLS 071 ZRB

An examination of questions such as why some countries are democratic and others authoritarian, and why some countries are poor and others wealthier. The course considers important political questions like these through the study and comparison of domestic politics across countries.


CDE students only even after level restrictions are removed;Degree students enroll in POLS 071 B

Section Description

The goal of this introductory course is to help students look at politics from a comparative perspective. On the one hand, we will obtain a better grasp of major differences between political systems, building our conceptual vocabulary and research skills so that we can more effectively discuss and describe politics in different countries. On the other hand, we will learn and apply techniques and theories that can be used to account for differences among countries. Questions we will explore include: Why does authoritarianism persist in the Arab world? Why has democracy failed in Russia? Why does the United States lack a European-style welfare state? Why have some countries achieved peace and stability while others have not? In answering these, students will not only learn about important issues, but also improve their ability to make informed evaluations about politics outside the United States.

Section Expectation

This course combines lecture and discussion formats, with a heavier reliance on the latter given the size of the class. Students are expected to attend class and complete several assignments outside of class times. These are described below; please be advised that there will be regular homework assignments in this class. Students should expect to spend 4-6 hours a week on coursework outside of class


Exams: There will be several exams in this course, probably three total, including a final exam. These will cover both lecture materials and readings. The questions will be multiple choice, identification, short answer and essay variety. These will account for at least half of the grade for the class. Reading Synopses: Students must complete several thesis synopses. For these, they will first read an academic article and then write a brief (1-2 pages) summary and reflection on the piece. These will account for 15-20 percent of the class grade. Homework: Students will also be expected to complete homework assignments on Blackboard over the course of the semester. These will count for 10-15 percent of the class grade.

Course Dates



Lafayette Hall L207 (View Campus Map)


to on Tuesday and Thursday

Important Dates

Note: These dates may change before registration begins.

Note: These dates may not be accurate for select courses during the Summer Session.

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Last Day to Withdraw with 50% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw with 25% Refund
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