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Athabasca University

Bachelor of Arts - Political Science

As a discipline, Political Science is very much concerned with the study of power, authority, and governance in human affairs.

In today's world, forms of power, authority, and governance are changing rapidly and becoming increasingly complex. Governance is no longer confined to the nation-state, but involves a range of institutions—public, private, and non-governmental—involved in the process of governing and steering a society at the international, national, and sub-national levels.

Program Learning Outcomes

As a result of completing this program, students should be able to

  • distinguish the various sub-disciplines, major themes, and analytical techniques in political science
  • categorize interactions between the individual, the state and other institutions of governance, public affairs and public policy
  • anticipate human cultural and political variability both within Canada and the global community, with an attendant appreciation of others’ viewpoints and cultures, attitudes, values, and practices
  • recognize the nature and sources of power and authority
  • appraise the sources of societal conflict and how they can be resolved by political means
  • situate contemporary events in broader institutional, political and social contexts
  • compare the Canadian system of government to those in other countries
  • describe the nature of change in the global political community, and the complex character of processes such as globalization
  • think critically and analytically, reason logically and communicate effectively about politics
  • study, learn, conduct research and communicate effectively in an on-line environment
  • discuss major trends and issues of debate within the political science discipline
  • plan, conduct, interpret and communicate the results of original research using basic research methods.

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Program Goals

The general program goals are to

  • to provide a knowledge base that will prepare students to successfully complete graduate studies in political science or related fields
  • to educate critically aware citizens that can better understand and participate in the process of governing at all levels
  • to provide students intending to pursue careers in, or presently working for, institutions involved in governance with the theoretical, communicative and practical skills (e.g. research) to work successfully in their environment
  • to prepare students for career work in areas directly associated with political life,  such as elected office, party organizations, campaign management and polling, public service, law, journalism, public relations, policy analysis, research and education

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Possible Career Options

  • elected official
  • campaign manager or pollster
  • public servant
  • local government administrator
  • policy analyst
  • research specialist
  • lawyer
  • journalist
  • public relations specialist
  • teacher
  • academic

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Possible Further Education Options

At Athabasca University

At Other Educational Institutions*

  • Political Science (MA and PhD)
  • Public Administration and Governance (MA, MPA, MPP and Phd)
  • Education (Bachelor/Master)
  • Law (LLB or JD)
  • Journalism (BA or MA)

* Entrance requirements vary among educational institutions. It is the students' responsibility to research the entrance requirements of other educational institutions.

Athabasca University offers two degree programs in Political Science. View the online calendar for complete program regulations:

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Specific Requirements for Major

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BA Political Science Major (4 Year)

Students complete the program regulations in effect at the time of their enrolment.

Requirements in addition to the general program requirements for the 4-year BA with Major:

  1. A minimum of 45 credits in designated Political Science courses including a minimum of 30 senior (300/400) level credits (a minimum of 12, 400-level credits).
  2. Required core courses: 18 credits in the following designated political science major core courses:
    • 6 senior (300/400) level credits in political philosophy/theory, POLI 355 and POLI 357.
    • 3 senior (300/400) level credits in Canadian politics and government, POLI 309.
    • 3 senior (300/400) level credits in either international and global politics (POLI/INTR 330) or comparative politics (POLI 342), or direct equivalent credit approved by Athabasca University.
    • 6 junior (200) level credits, POLI 277 and 278.
  3. A minimum of 27 credits in the following designated Political Science major elective courses.
    CMNS 401 Cultural Policy in Canada (3)
    GLST/GOVN 403 Public Policy in a Global Era (3)
    GLST/GOVN 440 Global Governance and Law (3)
    GLST/POEC 483 International Political Economy: The Politics of Globalization (3)
    GOVN 301 Governance, the Public Sector and Corporate Power (3)
    GOVN 390 Public Policy and Administrative Governance (3)
    GOVN/HSRV 400 Governance and Leadership (3)
    GOVN 405 Innovative Public Management (3)
    HADM 369 Health Policy in Canada (3)
    POEC 230 Globalization and World Politics (3)
    POEC 393 Canada and the Global Political Economy (3)
    POLI All courses  

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Political Science Minor

General information on Minors

30 credits in courses designated as Political Science:

  1. 15 senior credits in courses designated Political Science.

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Updated April 28 2015 by Student & Academic Services

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