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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
August 25, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Political Science at Laurier

Welcome! Our outstanding faculty, innovative research, and small class sizes are a few of the many good reasons for studying political science at Laurier. Our department is home to the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy, and several of our faculty are active within the Center for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo. In addition to offering strong undergraduate and graduate programs in political science, our department is active in Laurier's honours degree in North American Studies, the Masters program in International Public Policy and the Ph.D. in GLobal Governance.


Welcome to the Department of Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University!

The discipline of political science, which studies governments, governing and political behaviour, remains as relevant for our professional and personal lives as ever. Governments, societal groups and businessES - our own and those of other societies – have a profound impact on our economic well-being, our sense of security and community, and how we solve our collective problems. Political Science provides us with the tools we need to understand how we might, for example, promote rural development in Haiti, reach our greenhouse gas reduction goals in Canada, integrate Syrian refugees into new communities, engage in peace-building in the Balkans, negotiate trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, ensure food security in African cities or understand how people voted in the last election – all issues that faculty in our Department are actively researching!

About one third of all Laurier students complete at least one course in political science, and each year, about 80-100 new undergraduate students select our BA Honours Political Science or BA Honours Political Science with Research Specialization as their major field of study. We will also welcome our first cohort in the combined Sussex LLB + BA Political Science in the fall of 2016. In this program, students spend their first two years at Laurier, the next three years at Sussex University in the UK (where they attain their LLB credentials), and a final year back at Laurier to complete the requirements of the BA Honours. In addition, more than 100 students from across the university participate in our Legal Studies Option, and we also offer a Minors in both Political Science and Public Policy for students from other programs.

With 18 full-time professors, the department is able to provide students with a range of courses that encompasses all of the major fields of interest in the discipline, including international relations and trade, public policy, law and legal studies, Canadian government and politics, comparative government and area studies, political philosophy and political research methodology. Our undergraduate curriculum is carefully structured to build a foundation of knowledge about politics and political concepts in the first year of study, to introduce students to the various fields of study in our second year offerings, and then move on to more advanced analyses in third and fourth year courses, which are often paired with simulations, applied projects and interactions with practitioners. Students can also pursue a Certificate in Practical Politics which bundles together a series of skills-building workshops in areas such as media relations, advocacy and policy-making.

At the graduate level, the department offers a one-year Master of Applied Politics which pairs academic study in the field of political science with applied skills such as social advocacy, public opinion survey design and analysis, policy analysis, media relations, and problem-solving in global governance.

There are two features of our department and its undergraduate and graduate programs that we think make it distinctive. First, we stress the acquisition of those applied, analytic and research skills that are essential to career success after graduation, whether you go on to do policy analysis and design, advocacy work, market research/polling, or – as many of our students do – work in the field of law. Second, we are large enough to provide comprehensive coverage of all fields in political science, yet small enough to learn the names of our students and to tailor programs to fit their particular interests. Students benefit from this close interaction, and have many opportunities to pursue independent research opportunities and to hone their leadership skills.

Please visit the various sites of our webpage to learn more about us. If you have feedback or questions about what you find there, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Dr. Debora VanNijnatten, Chair
Department of Political Science
Wilfrid Laurier University