Curriculum Guideline

Introduction to Comparative Politics

Effective Date:
Course Code
POLI 2210
Introduction to Comparative Politics
Political Science
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 2 hrs. per week/semester Seminar: 2hrs. per week/semester
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

Instructor presentation of the course will involve the use of formal lectures, structured group work, and in-class discussion of assigned materials. Additional readings may be assigned for each course unit and placed on library reserve or via selected websites. Audio-visual and interactive materials may be used.

Course Description
Why are some countries democratic and others authoritarian? How and in what ways do different political systems affect citizen welfare? How do we assess competing and rival political systems? This course explores key questions, issues, methods, and developments in the study of comparative politics and government. The nature of politics and governance across different political regimes will be compared using analytical methods that will deepen students’ knowledge of governing and policy alternatives.
Course Content

1. Issues in Comparative Politics:

  • The diversity of political systems and regimes
  • Understanding development
  • Securing democracy, rights, and civil liberties


2. Comparing Political Systems:

  • Why compare?
  • Comparative theories
  • Institutions and regimes


3. Government and Policy Making in Comparative Context:

  • Constitutions
  • Democracy and authoritarianism
  • Branches and levels of governments
  • Political parties, interest groups, and socialization
Learning Outcomes

Upon conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to:

1. Explain the main theoretical approaches of comparative politics;


2. Identify and assess the fundamental concepts in the study of comparative politics;


3. Apply concepts to a comparative analysis of selected contemporary regimes, political institutions, and political processes;


4. Pursue advanced study in comparative politics, scope and methods, area studies, and international relations.

Means of Assessment

The course evaluation will be based on course objectives and in accordance with the policies of Douglas College and the Department of Political Science. A minimum of 40% of the student’s course grade will be assigned to examinations, a minimum of 30% will be assigned to the various components of a formal research essay, and a maximum of 30% will be based upon components such as quizzes, short essays, participation, and class presentations. Specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor in course outlines.


One example of an evaluation system:


Regime Assessment                       10%

Quizzes/Participation                       10%

Mid-term exam                               25%

Term essay                                     30%

Final exam                                      25%

                                Total:             100%

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and readers will be selected based on instructor expertise and preference, and in consultation with the Department of Political Science. There are a range of textbooks and readers that can fulfill course objectives. Some examples include:


Caramani, Daniele. ed., Comparative Politics. Second edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).


Draper, Alan and Ansil Ramsay. The Good Society: An Introduction to Comparative Politics. Second

     edition (New York: Pearson Longman, 2012).


Ishiyama, John T. Comparative Politics: Principles of Democracy and Democratization (West Sussex:

     Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).


Powell Jr., G. Bingham, Russell J. Dalton, and Kaare Strøm. Comparative Politics Today: A

     Theoretical Framework. Sixth edition (Boston: Longman, 2012).


Siaroff, Alan. Comparing Political Regimes: A Thematic Introduction to Comparative Politics. Second

     edition (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009).


POLI 1101 or permission of instructor