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Comparative Politics

The field of Comparative Politics involves the study of politics across local, national, and cultural boundaries. It encompasses a subject matter (i.e. political experience beyond but including the United States) and a methodology (i.e. systematic comparison). Students are expected to become familiar with various ways in which scholars conceptualize and theorize to make sub-national and cross-national comparisons of phenomena such as political development, national integration, political institutions, electoral systems, elites and mass behavior, interest groups, political parties, and policy-making processes. Insightful questions lead us not only to amass illustrative case study data or aggregate data comparable across countries or sub-national units, but they also guide us to understand the context and impact of political decisions. In addition, the student should become knowledgeable about the nature of the political system in modern democratic industrialized nations, the developing world, and transitional settings. Students should actively seek to understand the role of human and cultural elements shaping comparative institutions and behavior through interdisciplinary as well as disciplinary perspectives.

Specific areas of interest in the field include:

  • The comparison of political institutions and political economies across countries and across time.
  • Elections, voting, and election administration
  • Comparative political economy and development
  • Authoritarianism and democratic backsliding
  • Comparison of political behavior and ideologies across countries and across time
  • Mixed and multi-method approaches including statistical, experimental, computational methods, case-study, and comparative methods. 
The Law and Conflict Research Lab brings together scholars studying the implications of law for armed intra- and inter-state conflict, governance, foreign policy, and peace processes.

 Research and Faculty


  • Bachelor of Arts | Undergraduate
  • Master of Arts | Graduate
  • Doctor of Philosophy | Graduate