About POLS 1700 A

An examination of questions such as why some countries are democratic and others authoritarian, and why some countries are poor and others wealthier, through the study and comparison of political institutions and patterns of interaction across countries. Credit not awarded for both POLS 1700 and POLS 1017.


Open to Degree and PACE students

Section Description

This course will introduce you to some of the central issues in the field of comparative politics, one of the four main subfields of political science that focuses on the study of politics within countries or the domestic politics of different countries. Through a combination of readings and lectures, we will examine several major theoretical debates and topics, including the consequences of electoral systems, the characteristics of different political regimes, as well as the causes of political corruption and political violence. Because comparative politics also involves the domestic study of other countries, it is essential that we look at how some of these theoretical issues are empirically represented in different parts of the world. We will thus look at the experiences of different countries, including but not limited to the United Kingdom, Japan, Iran, China, and North Korea. The learning objectives of this class will focus on three broader and interrelated goals. The first is to develop a deeper understanding of many of the concepts and tools used to study different countries. We will spend a considerable time making sense of concepts as well as illustrating different concepts with examples derived from the world of politics beyond the United States. Many of the readings and lectures will focus on concepts and theoretical topics but also on more detailed individual country examples. A second goal is to study and analyze the variety of political systems and institutional differences across countries, as well as consider some of the challenges faced by democratic and authoritarian regimes alike. The third and final objective is to focus on relevant current events as another tool for learning more about comparative world politics.

Section Expectation

This class will combine lecture and discussion formats. Students should spend 6-8 hours a week on coursework outside of class, with additional time for essay or other take-home assignments. There is one recommended textbook for purchase: Patrick O’Neil, Essentials of Comparative Politics, 8th edition dark green cover (New York: W.W. Norton and Company). I didn’t order hard copies at the bookstore since many may prefer to purchase the Ebook and Inquizitive at https://digital.wwnorton.com/esscompol8 If you want to purchase a hard copy, you can also rent one or order online. We will not read the entire book but will rather focus on some of the most important chapters. There will be other readings besides this book that will be posted for you to use on Blackboard.


The general basis for the course grade will likely be composed from the following: 1) around 3 tests focusing on the readings and lecture materials; 2) one or two papers based on specified topics; and 3) additional reading quizzes, any assignments, as well as class attendance and participation.

Important Dates

Note: These dates may change before registration begins.

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

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


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Interest Form

POLS 1700 A is closed to new enrollment.

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