Programs in Comparative Politics and International Relations

These programs offer courses in the politics and international affairs of their respective regions. They are valuable in several respects. First, they offer Political Science courses that are far more detailed than classes offered at WVU, particularly with respect to covering current politics and policy debates within the region. Second, although taught in English, they are taught by faculty members of the host country’s university and, as such, expose students to the historical and cultural logic of non-U.S. perspectives on regional and international affairs. Third, with the exception of the WVU Strasbourg Summer Program, these programs are offered as programs for international students directly enrolled in these foreign universities. WVU students are enrolled in courses—and, actually, housed with—students from throughout the regions and world at the host universities.

Summer Programs

Several summer programs are currently approved for credit by the Political Science Department. Students reside at these Universities for three to four weeks. Each provides transfer credit from the university that is equivalent to six WVU credits, and Political Science courses count as electives in comparative politics or international politics.

Tartu ISU Program.. The 2011 summer program offers intensive three-week program on the international relations of the Baltic region and Eastern Europe. This year’s topic is European and Russian Foreign Policy and Security Challenges in the new Millennium. It consists of three modules addressing (a) the enlargement of the European Union, (2) NATO enlargement and European security frameworks, and (3) evolving Russian foreign and security policy since 2000. For further information click on the above University of Tartu ISU Program link and look at the section on academic programs in the social sciences. .

Marburg ISU Program. This program offers a three-week curriculum on contemporary European foreign policies and international politics. The subject of the 2011 program will be Peace and Conflict. Near and Middle East-A European Perspective. This course is supplemented by a German cultural course, and the program includes excursions to cultural and political sites in the region. For further details, click on the above link to the University of Marburg ISU and browse through the section on program information and downloading additional materials.

Buenos Aires Program in Latin American Affairs This is a program offered in collaboration with the WVU Department of Foreign Languages and hosted by the Foundacion Otrega y Gasset in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Along with optional Spanish language courses, this program offers two courses in Latin American international affairs. These are a comparative politics course on “Latin American Politics and Political Economy” and an economics course on “Globalization, Business, and International Economy in Latin America”. This is a four-week program during the month of July.

WVU Strasbourg Program in European Law and Institutions Although originally designed for pre-law systems, students interested in comparative politics and international relations have found this program to be equally relevant. It offers both a comparative politics course (“Comparative Legal Systems”) and an international relations course (“EU Law and Institutions”). This program is particularly relevant for majors who are interested in international law. The program provides ideal preparation (and prerequisites) for students interested in studying at WVU’s partner program at the School of Law at the University of Manchester.

Courses taken at these programs can be used to count as electives in the Political Science major in the sub-fields of comparative politics and international relations. Furthermore, if accompanied with an otherwise optional research paper, each program can be used to satisfy the Political Science capstone requirement.

Full Semester Programs

In addition to the above summer programs, Political Science majors can engage in foreign study for a full semester through one of WVU semester exchange programs. Several of the WVU exchange programs offer strong course offerings in political science and international relations, typically supplemented by courses on their own culture and language. These programs include the Institute for Political Studies in Grenoble, France, the University of Tartu in Estonia, Linkoping University in Sweden, the University of Aalborg in Denmark, Al Akhawayn University in Morocco, Bogazici University in Turkey, as well as multiple university programs in China, Ireland,Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Finally, note that our students are able to take Political Science courses through the Amizade Programs, which offers courses on regional and international development in Latin America (Bolivia) and sub-Saharan Africa (Tanzania).

These programs offer a full semester of courses, most of which can be transferred toWVU as electives for the Political Science Major. For further information on semester programs abroad, click on this link at the Full Semester Study Abroad Programs section of the International Studies Program website.