Using the comparative method, students working in this field examines such phenomena as behavioral patterns and systems, governmental institutions and structures, policy processes and outcomes, and political goals and strategies. These phenomena are considered both within and across national systems. Nation-states are taken as the primary, but not exclusive, units of analysis.
Students preparing for comprehensive examinations in this field should expect some general questions that deal with the comparative approach to politics: its evolution, its major practitioners, its leading conceptual frameworks or paradigms, its utility, its contributions, the difficulties or problems in its application, and ways of surmounting these problems. In addition, students will be required to answer questions from two subfields. The principal subfields are Communist and former Communist systems, developed (Western, democratic) systems, and developing systems.
In order to qualify for the field examination in Comparative Politics, students are required to take a core seminar: POLS 6350 (Comparative Analysis and Method). Additional courses will be selected in consultation with the student’s major professor and advisory committee.