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look horse blues
 Political Science

Department of Political Science

School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Professors: G. Gerhart, E. Hill (Chair), I. Ivekovic, W. Kazziha (Graduate Studies Coordinator), B. Korany, E. Sullivan (Provost), D. Tschirgi

Associate Professors: B. Baktiari, S. Elmusa, T. Parfitt, C. Reed (Director of Office of African Studies)

Assistant Professors: L. Goodson, E. Shahin (Undergraduate Coordinator), M. Kassem

Lecturer: J. Allain

The graduate program in Political Science offers advanced study in three specializations: Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Professional Development. Courses in other areas of Political Science are offered from time to time as special topics electives when there is faculty and study interest. The strength of Comparative Politics at AUC is in the areas of Third World politics and development with greatest expertise among the faculty being in the Middle East and Africa, and includes international and regional relations in these areas, state and society relations, and political economy. International Relations includes examination of current world politics as well as the many dimensions of the international system. Regional relations, foreign policies of selected states, and international law are included, as well as Middle Eastern and African international and interstate relations, and international political economy. Professional Development is designed for persons who are presently working in development organizations and for those who seek to enter such a career. It includes (but not limited to) courses with practical components and requires an internship. All specializations have gateway courses that situate each specialization within its theoretical context and provide students with analytic tools for other courses. These introductory courses also prepare students for research and analysis needed for writing original seminar papers and for the thesis. In all specializations there are courses that include substantial components of theory and these must be well grounded theoretically.

Master of Arts

Graduate studies in Political Science at AUC is career oriented. The Comparative Politics option seeks to make students knowledgeable about the politics of Egypt's immediate geographic regions- the Middle East and Africa- within larger contexts of state and society, political economy, interstate and regional relations. It seeks to develop analytic skills for analysis and writing so that students may pursue careers that contribute to understanding of their region and its relations with the world. The International Relations option seeks to provide greater depth of understanding of the forces operating in the international arena and the constraints that face foreign policy makers. It gives students practice in analyzing current world and regional events and in the skills of written and oral presentation. The Model United Nations and Model Arab League simulations are extra curricular activities designed to give students practice in acting out some of the things they learn in academic setting, and leadership experience for those who assume responsible roles. The Professional Development option seeks to prepare students to assume positions of greater responsibility in development agencies, and organizations by expanding their understanding of the development field, its aims, objectives, and methods of operation and the broad scope of development work in the world today. It seeks to give them critical and analytical abilities, and practice in developing linguistic and writing skills. Creativity in finding solutions are encouraged so that graduates may have an impact in their chosen areas of development work. Practice in preparing project documents is included in the program.

Comparative Politics is particularly suitable for students who wish to go into journalistic work or seek other kinds of positions where writing and analysis of current politics of the regions is needed or the preparation of political background reports or studies. International Relations is valuable for students who are working or seek to work in foreign relations, either in their own government, or in international organizations. But this field also gives preparation for various kinds of positions that require analytical and writing abilities in areas of national or international politics. Professional Development is for those who are or aspire to be development workers or administrators. In all subfields a thesis is required as the program is academically grounded in the respective areas of specialization, and those students who wish to pursue a higher degree will have been prepared to do so.


The applicant for admission to the master's program should have an acceptable bachelor's degree in political science or in a closely related social science (preferably with a minor in political science), and an overall grade of gayyid giddan or a grade-point average of 3.0. Applicants with deficiencies in their preparation may be required to take appropriate courses at the undergraduate level.


Three specializations are available. The requirements for each are as follows:

1. Students who follow the Comparative Politics specialization take POLS 501, either POLS 502 or 530, choice of two from POLS 525, 535, 540, 545 or 570 (if designated by the Department as relating to a comparative politics topic), two special topics or research seminars approved by the Department, POLS 558, and two other courses, for a total of 27 credit hours.

2. Students in the Professional Development specialization take POLS 502, POLS 584, POLS 585-586 and five additional courses, for a total of 27 credit hours. The additional courses are to be drawn from the following areas, in consultation with the adviser for the Professional Development program:

International Aspects of Development (POLS 525, POLS 550, POLS 562)

Comparative Politics (POLS 530, POLS 535, POLS 540, POLS 545, POLS 551)

Public Policy and Development (POLS 556, POLS 561)

Up to two of the following courses in the Public Administration area may also be taken as electives (PADM 514, PADM 517, PADM 518).

3. Students in the International Relations specialization must take POLS 503, International Relations Theory, in their first two semesters of graduate studies. This course is essential for further studies in international relations at the graduate level, for it introduces students to fundamental theoretical concepts and research skills. Students must also take 525 or 550, 551 or 571 and six additional courses chosen in consultation with the graduate adviser, for a total of 27 credit hours.

With department approval, up to six hours in disciplines other than political science may be counted toward degree requirements.


A thesis, written in English and submitted in accordance with university regulations, is required for the master's degree in political science. A detailed thesis prospectus must be submitted to the department for approval, at which time the student's thesis supervisor is formally designated.

In all specializations of the graduate program, students register for thesis supervision.

Students should familiarize themselves with procedures regarding committee selection, writing of the thesis, presentation to the supervisor and readers, and defense of the thesis. Complying with the procedural requirements within the specified time sequences is the responsibility of the student.

The thesis must be defended in an oral examination during which questions may be asked regarding any aspect of the thesis itself or of courses taken in the program, particularly as they may relate to the thesis.

Graduate Diploma in Political Science

The Diploma in Political Science is designed as a one-year (two semesters) program for students from Egypt and abroad who wish to enhance their professional qualifications or pursue an academic interest in the field of politics. The Diploma Program requires the completion of any six courses chosen from the graduate offerings in Political Science, which include Middle East Politics, African Politics, International Relations, Development Studies, Political Economy, and Law.


Requirements for admission to the Diploma program are the same as those for admission to the graduate degree program of the department. Should a student in good standing decide during or after completion of the requirements for the Diploma that he/she wishes to work towards the MA degree he/she may apply to transfer to one of the degree specializations: Forced Migration and Refugee Studies.

Political Science Courses (POLS)

 CourseNumber CourseTitle


Comparative Theory


Scope and Method of Developmental Analysis


International Relations Theory


Introduction to Forced Migration and Refugees


International Political Economy and Political Change


Comparative Political Development


Middle East Politics


Politics of Modern Egypt


Politics and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa


Problems of Developmental Diplomacy


African International Relations


Comparative Foreign Policy: Theories and Applications


Strategic Theory


Public Policy Theory


Comparative Politics and the Middle East


Contemporary Ideologies


Public Policy and Development


International Development Organizations


Special Topics in Political Science


Seminar: Special Topics in International Relations


Advanced International Law


Special Topics in Public Law


Special Topics in Public International Law


Issues in Forced Migration


Independent Study and Readings


Practicum: Internship or Research


Project Seminar


Research Guidance and Thesis



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