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Welcome to the Department of Political Science

Message from the Chair

Everyone has an opinion on politics! This has never been more true than in today’s turbulent political landscape. This is why you see many op-ed pieces, as well as academics from across all disciplines writing on political issues. But having an opinion is different from having an informed opinion. Our BA programs in Political Science and Public Law & Judicial Studies, and our MA degrees in Political Science and International Relations provide students with the knowledge needed to navigate, understand and critically analyze events in Canada and around our fast changing global world. Our degree programs build analytical, communication, and real-world problem solving skills. And they give students the skills and knowledge to operate in a range of fascinating careers – including law, political advocacy and analysis, journalism, international governance, among many others. At the PhD level, we are training a future generation of political scientists and policy makers, who can provide informed interpretations of world events, educate the next generation of students, and make important contributions to public and private governance

Cutting-edge research that informs teaching

Across all of our degree programs, our curriculum engages with challenging contemporary issues including social and health policy, Indigenous self-governance and redressing past wrongs, the contemporary refugee crisis, border politics, climate change, Trump’s America, international conflict and security, rising authoritarianism, and much more. Our instructors are passionate about their subject matter. They are engaged in cutting-edge research that informs their teaching, and several have been recognized with university and national-level awards. On behalf of all the Department's members, I welcome you to explore our website, and learn more about our programs of study, and what our faculty and students are up to.

Karen Bird,
Department of Political Science Chair & Professor

More about the Chair

Undergraduate Program

Undergraduate Program

Whether you are a current or future student at McMaster considering Political Science as an undergraduate degree or taking only one course for interest, you will find that our Department offers an undergraduate curriculum that is both diverse in scope and high in quality.

Learn more about our Undergraduate offerings

Graduate Program

Graduate Programs

Our Department is the ideal place to do Master's and Doctoral work. We offer the range of specialized seminars needed for strong graduate-level training, but are a small and collegial department so that students and faculty experience the type of intellectual interaction, supervision, and research collaboration that makes graduate work exciting!

Learn more about our Graduate Programs


Our Research

While the department covers all the main fields in Political Science, we also have research expertise and knowledge in the following research clusters. Visit the following research clusters for more information on the faculty members who teach and conduct research in these specific areas, and the types of projects currently being conducted in the department.

Climate & Sustainability
Explore climate change, the global water crisis and a range of environmental and natural resource policy challenges in connection with broader debates about development, political economy, property rights, labour and global governance.

Critical International Relations
Focus internationally with critical approaches to security, theoretical debates about citizenship, sovereignty, globalization, borders, political space-time, feminist, postcolonial and decolonial approaches. 

Gender & Politics 
Key questions and debates on the political leadership and representation of women in parties and electoral politics; the role of gender in shaping social, pension, health policies; issues of identity and community; understanding of globalization, transnational social movement and knowledge production in political science.
Explore a wide range of subjects including areas of social economy, nationalism and political theory, liberalism, imperialism and global relations, Cosmopolitanism, Indigenous peoples' diplomacies, refugees, citizenship, global civil society, labour and globalization.
Labour Issues
Focus on topics like the emergence of a Global Labour Movement and Labour Interaction with Global Governance Institutions or austerity response to the economic crisis , and continuing work on employment policy in the OECD area.
Global Political Economy
McMaster's Department of Political Science has an exceptionally strong concentration of expertise in Global Political Economy (GPE) and are known for their long standing contributions to International Political Economy (IPE). Study the institutional characteristics of the governance of the contemporary global political economy from internationally renowned scholars and award winning teachers.
Politics of Representation
In today’s world, it is more critical than ever that we understand the roles of identity, policy, geography, global relations and culture in shaping citizenship and political representation in Canada and beyond.
Social & Health Policy
Social Policy spans the fields of health, education, pensions, social assistance, and labour policies. Study policy in both the developing and developed world, taking a comparative approach to understanding why jurisdictions choose different solutions to the same social policy problems.