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Political Science

Political Science is crucial for solving the world’s most complex social problems faced by citizens, firms and governments. Effective solutions require analyzing legal systems, political power and personal motivations, both domestically and globally.

Our programs consider the key issues that impact the future of Canada and other countries around the globe. Some examples include:

  • causes of conflicts
  • conditions for peace
  • impacts of regionalization and globalization
  • environmental, social welfare & health policy
  • economic development
  • practices of government & elections 
photo of Kennedy Fung

Kennedy Fung

Honours Political Science Specialization in Public Law & Judicial Studies BA, Level IV

“Political Science is wonderful because there are so many different areas you can explore within the same program. Politics play such a large role in our everyday lives. Having the chance to learn from professors involved in the political world is so invaluable. I love having professors who both care about what they are teaching you and you as a student, it makes for a great learning environment!”

Focus of Study

International Relations

Covering globalization, international relations theory, international organizations and international political economy.

Comparative Politics

Theories of comparative politics, the methodology of comparative analysis, knowledge of selected geographic areas and political systems, human rights, regional integration and state policies.

Political Theory

Examines political theory and the questions and ideas that provide a basis for political action. Major areas of study include the political thought of the ancient Greeks, liberal-democratic theory including theories of the market and the political economy critique of liberal theory.

Public Policy

Studies the way in which governments, citizen groups, business, and other actors interact in the development and implementation of government policies. Students specializing in public policy learn how to analyze government efforts to address public policy problems.

Canadian Politics

Public policy formation, social movements, political parties, organized interests, foreign defense and economic policy.

Public Law & Judicial Studies

This specialization focuses on the role of the law and legal institutions in democratic systems of governance and the unique constraints and opportunities they place on governments, political actors and ordinary citizens. It explores the role laws and courts play in mediating power in our society, between the state and its citizens.

Global Citizenship 

This specialization is designed to prepare students for their roles as citizens within a globalized world. It examines global citizenship in relation to some of the main challenges faced by contemporary politics. Some of which include:

• refugee movements
• global climate change
• corporate social responsibility
• ethnic conflict
• humanitarian interventions
• global poverty
• advances in communication technologies

Political Science Degree Options

All Social Sciences students start off in Level I. At the end of first-year, students who meet the requirements outlined below can pursue one of the following degree options in Political Science:

  • Honours B.A.
    Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including a grade of at least 5.0 (C) in one of POL SCI 1AA3 or 1AB3.

  • Honours B.A. Specialization in Public Law & Judicial Studies
    Grade Point Average of at least 5.0 (C) and a grade of at least 5.0 (C) in one of POLSCI 1AA3 or 1AB3.

  • Honours B.A. Specialization in Global Citizenship
    Grade Point Average of at least 5.0 (C) and a grade of at least 5.0 (C) in one of POLSCI 1AA3 or 1AB3. Students are also strongly encouraged to complete GLOBALZN 1A03 in Level I.
  • Combined Honours B.A. in Political Science & Another Subject
    Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including a grade a grade of at least 5.0 (C) in one of POL SCI 1AA3 or 1AB3. Satisfaction of admission requirements for the Honours program in the other B.A. subject.
  • B.A.
    Grade Point Average of at least 3.5 including a grade of at least 4.0 (C-) in one of POLSCI 1AA3 or 1AB3.

Please note that enrolment in the Specialization in Public Law & Judicial Studies and Global Citizenship are limited, therefore possession of the published minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.


The Department of Political Science also offers the following Minors that can be taken alongside another degree program:

  • Minor in Political Science
  • Minor in Public Leadership
  • Minor in Justice, Law & Order

Political Science Program Details

Political Science Students

Our undergraduate students run a very successful McMaster Political Science Students Association (MPSSA) and participate in a range of activities such as the yearly Model United Nations event. Please explore these pages for further information and contact us if you have any questions. 

Teaching Facilities 

A number of our courses are held in state-of-the-art active learning classrooms in L.R. Wilson Hall. These dynamic learning environments provide ideal opportunities for courses in political science to move beyond traditional lecture-driven content to produce more engaging academic experiences and deeper understandings of course material.

These classrooms promote an active learning approach which results in small group conversations, problem-based learning scenarios and interactive class discussions.

Political Science Students Association

Build Your Skills

Some of our faculty research includes:

  • The impact of globalization and the reasons for anti-globalization demonstrations
  • Racism and tolerance in the United States and France
  • Private non-governmental authorities in the international system (for example, private authority of the internet)
  • Latin American and South Asian politics
  • The political experience of refugees
  • Reasons for the economic success of East Asia

Also note, political science students have the opportunity to combine theoretical and practical learning: in Political Science 2NN3 “Politics by Design” and 3NN3 “Statistical Analysis of Primary Data”(previously POL SCI 3N06 “The Science & Methods of Politics”), as they conduct a general social survey of the student body and analyze the data in Political Science 3PR3 “Practice of Politics”, as they engage in political activity.

Skill development

Political Science offers an extremely broad skill set which prepares students for a variety of career opportunities. During your time at McMaster, you will develop the following skills:

  • Broad knowledge of national and international issues
  • Seeing more than one side of an issue
  • Awareness and understanding of key political institutions and policy processes
  • Evaluating arguments and research data
  • Expressing ideas clearly and logically
  • Setting and meeting research objectives
  • Excellent communication skills gained through verbal presentations, discussions and debates
  • Planning and organizing work leading to the solution of the problem
  • Competence in designing, setting and meeting research objectives
  • Identifying key factors in power situations

Our graduates have been successful at finding interesting and rewarding careers in a range of fields in both the public and private sectors

Examples of career paths include:

  • Journalists
  • Policy Analysts
  • Data Analysts
  • Lawyers
  • Media and Communication Coordinators
  • Political Assistants
  • Human Resource Personnel
  • Teachers
  • Public Relations Officers
  • Community Workers
  • Management Consultant
  • International Analyst

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