A degree in Political Science prepares students for jobs in rewarding career areas

Political Studies Courses

Vancouver Island University offers a Bachelor of Arts Major and Minor in Political Studies degree.

Course offerings vary from year to year. Check Generate a Timetable for available course offerings.

POLI 100 (3) Identities and Communities: An Introduction to Politics

An introduction to the study of politics through an examination of contemporary issues and problems, Canadian and international. Topics include changing political ideals and ideologies, the interaction of political actors and institutions and the impact of globalizing forces on national governments and politics. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

POLI 151 (3) Law and Politics in Canada

An introduction to the Canadian judicial system in its contemporary political context. Topics include the courts and the constitution, parliament and law-making, the evolving significance of the Charter of Rights and selected judicial decisions. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

POLI 200 (3) International Peace and Security

An examination of causes of war and peace, and human and national security over time. Topics include great power rivalries, foreign policy analysis, contemporary problems such as global terrorism and humanitarian crises due to genocide, intra-state conflict, and refugee flows across borders. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

POLI 201 (3) An Introduction to International Political Economy

An examination of global political economic relations. Topics include North-South relations over time, globalization and its impact on states, inter-state relations and non-state actors, and contemporary global challenges related to an interdependent world such as global environmental and health issues. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

POLI 220 (3) American Politics and Government

A study of American politics and government, including American political culture, the constitution and federalism, political parties and the electoral process, interest group politics, the Congress and the Presidency, bureaucracy, the judiciary and state and local governments. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

POLI 221 (3) Canadian Politics and Society

An examination of the social and political forces that have shaped Canadian politics. Topics include enduring cleavages relating to Indigenous peoples, Quebec, ethnicity, race, region, gender and class; political cultures and ideologies; political parties; elections; interest groups and social movements. POLI 221 was formerly called POLI 121, POLI 122, POLI 222; credit will not be granted for both courses. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

POLI 222 (3) Governance and Public Policy in Canada

A study of changing governance and public policy in Canada. Topics may include, the rise of executive power, the new public administration, federalism, multilevel governance, private-public partnerships, First Nations governance, the judiciary, public policy theory and analysis, and selected key case studies. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: One of POLI 100, POLI 151 or POLI 221 is recommended.

POLI 231 (3) Comparative Politics

An examination of various government institutions and political processes throughout the world in a comparative context. Topics include theoretical perspectives and case studies including the Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, India, China, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, and Israel. POLI 231 was formerly called POLI 101; credit will not be granted for both courses. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

POLI 245 (3) Ideologies and Political Thought

An introduction to the clash of major political ideologies in modern politics, including conservatism and neoconservatism, liberalism, socialism, fascism, nationalism, anarchism, and the ideologies of new social movements. Credit will not be granted for both POLI 245 and 112. Credit will only be granted for one of POLI 112 or POLI 245. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

POLI 247 (3) Politics, Literature, Film

What can film and literature teach us about politics? Through literature and film this course explores fascism, authoritarianism, freedom, class and gender inequality and oppression, honour in public life, and violence in politics. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 247,LBST 347 or POLI 247. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Min. 6 credits of first-year university English courses, with a minimum grade of "C" in both or completion of LBST 111 and LBST 112 with a minimum grade of "C" in both.

POLI 260 (3) Justice and the Good Life: an Introduction to Political Thought

What is justice? What is freedom? Is there a proper goal for a good and happy life? Does the individual's good conflict with the common good? Does might make right? These and other timeless questions are explored through classical texts from such thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli,and Hobbes. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

POLI 265 (3) Freedom and Authority: Introduction to Modern Political Thought

An introduction to modern political thought. Topics such as the nature of modern states, human freedom, justifications for political authority, theories of justice, modern liberalism, and alternatives to liberal political thought, will be examined through central political thinkers from the Enlightenment to today. POLI 265 was formerly called Poli 340; credit will not be granted for both courses. Credit will only be granted for one of Poli 340 or POLI 265. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Second-year standing. POLI 260 is recommended.

POLI 300 (3) International Organizations

An examination of the role of international organizations within the context of the international political system with a focus on the United Nations and its components. Topics will include peace and security, the implementation of international regimes, economic and social development and international organizations as a potential source of employment. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

POLI 301 (3) Implementing Human Rights

An examination of definitions, issues, debates, and challenges surrounding the global implementation of human rights since 1945. Topics include various aspects of human rights violations around the world and the solutions offered by a variety of private and public actors. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

POLI 302 (3) Political Dimensions of International Development

An examination of the political aspects of development theory and practice over the past half century. Topics include in-depth analyses of case studies from Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Studies cover a broad spectrum of actors and levels analysis ranging from the global-institutional levels to the local and individual levels. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

POLI 303 (3) Diplomacy and Power at the United Nations

This experiential learning course integrates the study of multilateral diplomacy with practical skills used in inter-state negotiations. Students practice the craft of negotiating through the simulation of United Nations parliamentary diplomacy. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Second-year standing.

POLI 304 (3) Human Displacement and Refugees

Critically explores the international framework for the protection of refugees, emphasizing laws and organizations dealing with displaced persons, and the social and legal construction of refugee identity. Students will examine legal, literary, theoretical and cinematic texts and may work collaboratively on a case study and/or a final project. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

POLI 320 (3) American Foreign Policy

An examination of the development of American foreign policy through various presidencies to the present. Topics include the presidency and the domestic sources of foreign policy-making. This course will also examine the current issues and challenges to the United States as it pursues its national interests abroad. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

POLI 321 (3) Canadian Foreign Policy

An examination of the development of Canadian foreign policy from 1867 to the present, with most of the attention focused on issues and problems emerging since 1945. Topics also include the domestic sources of foreign policy-making, Canadian-American relations, as well as Canada's recent commitments to international institutions and development. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

POLI 323 (3) Canadian Political Parties

An examination of the federal and provincial party organizations and systems that have played a crucial role in Canada's electoral democracy. Themes include ideologies, activism, leadership and candidate selection, election campaigning and technology, party and election financing, and reforms to enhance internal party democracy and electoral democracy. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing. POLI 151 or 221 is recommended.

POLI 328 (3) First Nations, Municipal, Regional Government and Politics

A study of First Nations, municipal, and regional governance in the context of globalization in an era of reconciliation. Topics may include the historical foundations of local government, the colonial foundations of Indian Act governance, Aboriginal rights and post-colonial models of First Nations Governance, urbanization and models of regional government. POLI 328 was formerly called POLI 228; credit will not be granted for both courses. Credit will only be granted for one of POLI 228 or POLI 328. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Second-year standing.

POLI 330 (3) Comparative Public Policy

An examination of the formulation and evaluation of public policy through a comparative approach. Topics may include those issues addressed by different governments such as education, health, environment, immigration, indigenous peoples, and international trade policy. POLI 330 was formerly called POLI 230; credit will not be granted for both courses. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

POLI 332 (3) Middle East Government and Politics

Explores government and politics within the Middle East. Topics may include Orientalism, colonialism, nationalism and state building, the Arab-Israeli conflict, war, economic strategies including the politics of oil, demographic pressures, democratization, the `Arab Spring', religion and politics, ethnicity, gender, and the Middle East within the international community. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing. POLI 231 is recommended.

POLI 334 (3) Contemporary European Politics and Government

An examination of the governing institutions and structures and the civil societies of European nations as well as the critical challenges that they have been facing, including eroding welfare states, increased forced migration and asylum-seeking, growing support for far-right groups and parties, and European integration. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing. POLI 231 is recommended.

POLI 335 (3) Asian Governments and Politics

A comparative analysis of the political processes and institutions of government in Asia with special emphasis on the Pacific Rim states including Japan, Korea, Indonesia, and China. POLI 335 was formerly called POLI 240; credit will not be granted for both courses. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

POLI 336 (3) Gender and Politics

An examination of how gender, or the social construction of femininity and masculinity, affects governance. Following an examination of key theoretical perspectives, we analyze how gender affects participation in state structures and civil society groups in established and new democracies. Special attention will be paid to electoral gender quotas. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing and one POLI course, or permission of the instructor.

POLI 338 (3) Multiculturalism, Citizenship and Immigration

Why are some states able to manage `multiculturalism' better than others? This course explores this question in a comparative perspective. Topics include different models and theories of multiculturalism and national integration, and their relationship to electoral politics, citizenship, immigration, nationalism(s), indigenous peoples, integration, social and national security policies. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing. POLI 231 is recommended.

POLI 345 (3) Democratic Theory and Practice

An examination of fundamental and contemporary debates around the practice and ideal of democracy. Topics may include: the justness of democratic rule; the ennobling of democratic citizenship; democratization; participatory versus representative democracy; the nature of democratic representation and leadership; the tension between liberty and equality; deliberative and radical democracy. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

POLI 350 (3) Religion and Global Politics

An examination of major world religions and their orientations to the political as well as of the varied and changing political roles of religion in global politics. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing and one POLI course.

POLI 360 (3) Canadian Federalism and Multilevel Governance

An examination of the constitutional, political, social, economic, and cultural bases of Canadian federalism. Topics may include the changing nature of regional power, Quebec nationalism, First Nations Governance, and the effects of neoliberalism on the dynamics of intergovernmental relations and multilevel governance. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

POLI 365 (3) Progressivism and Rise of Administrative Government

A critical examination of the principles of American Progressivism and the subsequent rise of administrative government, including practical and philosophic challenges to Progressive thought. Major political thinkers typically covered include Locke, Hegel, Madison, John Dewey, Woodrow Wilson. Progressivism's influence on Canadian politics may also be examined. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: One of the following: Poli 260, Poli 265, Poli 245, Phil 205, LBST 215, or LBST 315.

POLI 370 (3) Canadian Provincial and Territorial Politics

An advanced study of provincial and territorial politics. Topics may include the role of provinces and territories in contemporary Canadian politics, Indigenous-provincial cleavages, political cultures and democratic styles and practices, governing institutions, provincial and territorial political economies, and federalism and public policy. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

POLI 380 (3) Political Psychology

Political Psychology adopts the lens of psychology in order to understand politics by focusing on individuals within social and institutional settings. It is an interdisciplinary approach that examines the psychological aspects of both national and international political developments, providing commentary on voting patterns, polarization, and threat perception. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

POLI 390 (3) Selected Topics in Political Theory

Presentation of various topics in Political Theory. Students should ask the Department Chair about when the course is to be offered and what substantive areas are to be studied. Students may take this course up to three times provided it is a different topic each time. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

POLI 391 (3) Selected Topics in Canadian Politics and Government

Presentation of various topics in Canadian Politics and Government. Students should ask the Department Chair about when the course is to be offered and what substantive areas are to be studied. The course may be taken this course up to three times provided it is a different topic each time. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

POLI 392 (3) Selected Topics in Comparative Politics

Presentation of selected topics in Comparative Politics. Topics vary and students should ask the Department Chair about when the course is to be offered and what substantive areas are to be studied. Students may take this course up to three times provided it is a different topic each time. POLI 392 was formerly called POLI 310; credit will not be granted for both courses. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

POLI 393 (3) Selected Topics in International Relations

Presentation of various topics in International Relations. Students should ask the Department Chair about when the course is to be offered and what substantive areas are to be studied. Students may take this course up to three times provided it is a different topic each time. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

POLI 400 (3) Theories of International Relations

An examination of theories of international relations as they relate to power, foreign policy and statecraft, international political economy, the state and globalization, international conflict and world order (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

POLI 440 (3) Contemporary Themes in Political Thought

An examination of recent issues in political theory which may include multiculturalism and the rights or minorities, current developments in democratic theory, and the future of the nation state in the global economy. Emphasis on attempting to recast the terms of some seemingly intractable problems of contemporary politics in ways that promise to open up new possibilities for political practice. (0:3:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

POLI 445 (3) Canadian Political Culture and Elections

The course will examine questions concerning civic education and political participation, particularly among young people in Canada. Is civic participation a right? An obligation? Both? Why do some eligible voters not vote? What influences political participation rates? Students will be expected to design a research project examining BC electoral behavior. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing; and one of POLI 151, POLI 100, POLI 221 or POLI 222; and one of SOCI 250, SSID 250, or CRIM 220.

POLI 457 (3) Public Policy and Global Resources

The politics of resource policy in a global context, including minerals, forests and fish, in Canadian and international contexts. Topics may include international trade, environmental impacts, and national security. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

POLI 470 (3) Canadian Political Economy in a Global Era

A study of key concepts and schools of thought in Political Economy, providing an overview of liberal, socialist, and staples approaches to political economy and to our understanding of Canadian economic and political development. Topics include the history of resource dependency, regionalism, and continental and global integration. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing. POLI 221 strongly recommended.

POLI 490 (3) Senior Project I

Independent research under the supervision of an available faculty member. To be taken after consultation with the Department Chair. (0:3:0 for 30 weeks)

Prerequisite: Enrolled in B.A. Minor in Political Science.

POLI 491 (3) Senior Project II

A continuation of POLI 490. To be taken after consultation with the Department Chair. (0:3:0)

Prerequisite: POLI 490.

POLI 492 (3) Politics in Practice

Students volunteer or work with a party or candidate during an election at either the local, provincial, or federal level, or intern with government or an NGO. Arrangements must be made with a supervising faculty member before registration and have permission of the Chair. May take up to 2 times. (0:0.5:0 -36)

Prerequisite: Majors or Minors in Political Studies only. POLI 221 or POLI 323 recommended.