Students interested in politics, government, political ideas, political economy, and international affairs should begin their studies with the broad introductions to Political Science in our three introductory courses. Ideally, students take POLI 100 in the first term, and POLI 110 in second term of their first year.
POLI 100 – Introduction to Politics
This course introduces key concepts and ideas underpinning modern western politics, as well as contemporary challenges. It provides students with the conceptual vocabulary of our discipline. It is meant to be an introduction to four areas of study within Political Science at UBC: Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, and International Relations. POLI 100 examines the two foundational concepts of modern politics: the state and citizen. Under this general rubric, ideas such as ideologies, sovereignty, authority, democracy, power, rights, and international relations are considered. POLI 100 also introduces students to studying and debating about the challenges of modern politics, such as globalization and identity politics. In order to examine how these concepts make a difference in our daily political life, tutorial discussion groups will use contemporary case studies to make the discussion specific, concrete and relevant. Students develop and extend their skills in conceptual analysis, argument, and writing.
POLI 101 – Introduction to Canadian Government
This introductory course on Canadian government and politics is particularly relevant for students who are interested in Canadian politics and government, but who are unlikely to major in Political Science. It presumes no background in Political Science, and teaches both government (the core institutions that determine how Canadians are governed) and politics (the issues, controversies, debates that animate Canadian political life). For students interested in pursing a Major or Honours program in Political Science, it is recommended they enroll in POLI 201 in their second year, which will cover similar material but at the second year level.
POLI 110 – Investigating Politics
This course prepares students to engage with the field of political science by introducing the basic logic and tools used by political scientists to understand and explain the political world. The course will teach students how Political Scientists ask answerable questions; how we — students and professors — define key political concepts; how we formulate hypotheses and theories about political dynamics; how we measure the phenomena we want to study; how we think about and assess relationships of cause-and-effect; and how we report our findings to the world. We will consider these issues by examining how Political Scientists have investigated major questions in domestic and international affairs, such as why ethnic diversity sometimes leads to civil war, whether international intervention can bring about democracy, and how we can determine which country has the best healthcare policies.
POLI 100 is a prerequisite for all 200 level Political Science courses.
Students intending to pursue a Major or Honours program in Political Science are strongly advised to take POLI 100, POLI 101, and POLI 110 during their first year. POLI 100 is a prerequisite for POLI 240 and POLI 110 is a prerequisite for POLI 380, both of which are required in the Majors and Honours programs.