Graduate Courses

2016-2017 Graduate Courses: Download Now

Course outlines will be made available to students by the first day of class. All course outlines should provide a clear written statement of purpose, course requirements, mark breakdown, and a discussion of the criteria the professor will use to evaluate student performance. When there is more than one component to the grade, students should be informed of their performance on each component.


One purpose of courses collectively is to introduce students to a wide variety of ideas, theories, and methodologies in Political Science. We are proud to offer our graduate students a wide range of courses in five subfields, offered by faculty who are thought leaders and whose cutting-edge research continues to garner awards and accolades.

Students are expected to make use of our regular graduate courses in designing their individual program. While course selection does not require the approval of the Department before registering, students should discuss their program with the Director of Graduate Studies and their initial academic supervisor during the first two weeks of September to ensure their program meets the Department’s requirements and lays a strong foundation for undertaking dissertation research.

In certain circumstances, and with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, arrangements can be made for students to supplement their Political Science course work with:

  • courses taken outside of the Department
  • modified senior undergraduate courses*
  • POLI 580 -Directed Studies course

*Normally students are expected to take only graduate courses; undergraduate courses will be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies only in cases where the student is seeking to supplement the course with substantial work at the graduate level (in which case, students usually register for a 580 Directed Studies course).

Beyond Political Science Graduate Courses

Enrolling in courses outside the Department’s graduate program is permitted, but requires the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.
For MA students, up to six credits may be taken in another department or at the senior undergraduate level*, as long as a minimum of 12 credits of graduate course work are taken within the Department. PhD students may take courses outside of the department pending approval, and ensuring that at least eight graduate seminars in Political Science are completed.

Directed Studies

POLI 580 is an open-ended course inserted in the Calendar to provide flexibility for those students whose academic needs cannot be satisfied by the regular courses, and is only available for use in exceptional circumstances. A student seeking Directed Studies in a particular field must find a Faculty member willing to direct his/her readings. Since the normal graduate seminar offerings cover the basic fields in Political Science, and since Faculty members have full teaching loads, there can be no assurance that every request will be met. If an arrangement is made, the decisions on readings, on the frequency of meetings, essay requirements, etc., will be decided on by the student and professor concerned. In all cases, students must complete the Political Science 580 Directed Studies Course information and application form (available from the Department) and obtain the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.

Previous graduate level coursework:

Previous graduate level coursework up to a maximum of 18 credits may be accepted for PhD program credit to the extent that it fulfills UBC Political Science PhD course requirements. Students are encouraged to consult with their initial academic supervisor as well as the Director of Graduate Studies to see whether courses taken elsewhere might be counted toward fulfilling PhD coursework requirements. This allows MA students in Political Science to enter our PhD program without having to repeat coursework and to reduce their coursework requirements from the two years normally required of our PhD students.

Students cannot get credit for the core subfield seminars of our graduate program. Credit for previous graduate courses are generally for Political Science courses, normally taken as part of a Political Science MA program. Other courses may be allowed, but the presumption is that they are functionally equivalent to Political Science courses, provide students with preparation essential for success in the discipline of Political Science, and fit with the student’s overall program of study, all of which will be determined by the Director of Graduate Studies.

To apply to have previous coursework count as credit towards for program credit (up to 18 credits), students must submit the following to the Director of Graduate Studies:

  1. a letter which requests the specific courses to be accepted as fulfilling UBC PhD coursework requirements, and which identifies the Political Science PhD program requirements that are to be satisfied;
  2. a syllabus of each course for which credit is requested.