MA and PhD candidates generally choose their major and minor areas of concentration from among the five principal fields within the program.
With the approval of the Graduate program students may, for purposes of the minor, substitute a specialized field within Political Science for a field in a related discipline.
The Canadian Politics field is especially strong and broadly focused, providing students with exposure to a number of competing approaches to the study of Canadian politics. Faculty members have displayed teaching and research excellence in virtually all areas of Canadian politics, including: political economy, public policy and administration, federalism and intergovernmental relations, provincial politics, regionalism, public and constitutional law, political communications, ideology, political culture and political thought, urban politics, the Canadian women' s movement, women and politics in Canada, and political parties and voting. More generally, the Programme has broad strength in the study of public policy.
The Comparative Politics Field, considered one of the strongest in the country, embraces both a wide variety of approaches and considerable depth in specific area studies; the field research covers most parts of the world. Numerous faculty specialise in North American and European studies. In addition, Middle Eastern, African, East Asian, and Latin American and Caribbean studies, as well as post-Soviet and East European studies, can all be pursued with at least two, frequently many more, faculty members.
Teaching and research in the field is concentrated in four main areas: foreign policy analysis, including both theoretical (decision-making, comparative foreign policy) and empirical (Canadian, American, Russian, etc.); security studies, encompassing defence policy, the role of force, arms control, and conflict resolution; international political economy, including various Marxist and non-Marxist approaches to the study of international economic relations; and international organisation and public law. The general orientation emphasises both theories of international relations and the substance of international practice.
Instruction in the political theory field is designed to provide candidates with a rounded background in the history and historiography of political thought, and a broad orientation to current trends in political theory. The Program currently has teaching strengths in particular in early-modern and modern political thought, in critical and post-modern theory and in many varieties and domains of Marxian theory.
Several faculty members engage in feminist research in various areas of the discipline of political science, including the study of feminist epistemology and theory, the political economy of gender, gender and development, gender and international relations, gender and public policy, women' s electoral behaviour, women and political parties, the women' s movement and women' s organisations.