Comparative Politics - Group 1

Graduate Program (& Advanced Certificate) Status

Course Level: 
Course Open to: 
Students on-site
Academic Year: 
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ECTS Credits: 
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Course Description: 

The aims of this course consist in making students familiar with the basic rules of doing comparative research and introducing the most influential approaches and salient topics in comparative political science. The course, thus, will help students to evaluate the methodological merits of those political science publications that use a comparative approach, to recognize which intellectual tradition they belong to, and to design their own comparative research strategy. The course  is structured into two parts. In the first part, we introduce the basic rationale of comparing in political science. Furthermore, we discuss crucial research design and methodological issues in comparative social research, such as the processes of concept formation. During the longer second part, we will deal with some of the major themes in comparative political research. The course meets once a week.

Learning Outcomes: 

During the course work, students are asked to write a short position paper, to actively participate during in-class discussions, and to prepare in-class presentations. The position papers are expected to help develop the ability to synthesize the information gathered from the mandatory readings, determine a focus point, and to develop a coherent line of argumentation. The written exercises are expected to improve the ability to generate logical, plausible, and persuasive arguments, to compare and contrast, and to derive theoretical conclusions from comparative empirical observations. The emphasis on in-class participation and in-class presentations is meant to foster the skills of expressing informative reflections ’on the spot’ and to decrease potential fears of speaking in front of others. 
potential fears of speaking in front of others.


The grading follows the standard scale adopted by Central European University:

A: 100-96; A-: 95-88; B+: 87-80; B: 79-71; B-: 70-63; C+: 62-58; F: 57-0


Students who audit the class are expected to be present at all sessions, to do the mandatory readings, and to actively participate in class discussions. Auditing students do not have to submit any written assignment, nor take part in the group presentation.

Grade composition: 

  • In-class participation 15%
  • Poster presentation 25%
  • Position paper 25%
  • Book review 35%

Late submission

In case of late submissions, three grade points from the final grade of the assignment are deducted for every 12 hours of delay. For instance, submitting 15 hours late leads to a deduction of six points.

Word-limit violation

A violation consists in writing more words than the upper limit or less than the lower limit. In case of violations of word limits, one grade point from the final grade of the assignment is deducted for every 5% of word limit violation, regardless of whether the upper or the lower limit was violated. For instance, a paper is required to be 750-800 words and somebody writes 600 (= 20% below the bottom limit), four points are deducted. Similarly, if somebody writes 808 or 840 words (respectively, 1% and 5% above the upper limit), one point is deducted in both cases.