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GPIS Concentration:Comparative & Regional Studies

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Participants gather for a group photo at the ODU Graduate Program in International Studies’ Annual Graduate Research Conference. College of Arts and Letters

Comparative and Regional Studies Field Seminars


  • Students selecting this track as their major or minor must complete Comparative Studies Theory as their required course.
  • M.A. students and Ph.D. students selecting Comparative and Regional Studies as their minor field must select TWO more courses within the track.
  • Ph.D. students selecting Comparative and Regional Studies as their major field must choose FOUR more courses.
  • All students in the track are expected to acquire adequate knowledge of at least two geographic regions (or countries) in their course study.
  • In consultation with the track director, students may take courses other than those listed in the track to fulfill the track requirements.

IS 716/816* Theories of Comparative Sociopolitical Studies

Lecture, 3 hours; 3 credits. The fundamental goal of the course is to provide the theoretical basis for subsequent coursework and research in the comparative and regional studies concentration. To achieve this goal, this seminar examines major theories and debates in comparative political studies based on extensive and intensive literature review.

IS 703/803 Ethics and Foreign Policy

Lecture, 3 hours; 3 credits. The focus of this research seminar will be on the role of normative ideas in international relations. Students will be introduced to the growing literature on normative approaches to international relations as well as the traditional literature on the practical and philosophical problems of ethical action in the relations of states. Although a number of policy applications will be considered, the primary focus will be on the theoretical incorporation of normative ideas into our understanding of state action in the anarchic international environment.

IS 704/804 Latin American Politics

Seminar, 3 hours; 3 credits. This course examines Latin American politics from comparative and historical perspectives. Particular focus is placed on various manifestations of political authority in the region and the major societal challenges to state power. The course reviews and critiques alternative theoretical approaches to the study of state-societal relations in Latin America.

IS 722/822 Democracy and International Relations

Lecture, 3 hours; 3 credits. An examination of the relationship between democratic politics, democratic ideals, and international relations. Subjects covered will include trends and processes of democratization and their implications for international relations, the distinctiveness of democratic states in their international behavior, the impact of the international environment on the internal politics of democratic states, and the problems of democracy in global governance.

IS 740/840 Political Economy of Development

This seminar examines alternate theoretical perspectives on development. These perspectives are then employed to understand contemporary political and economic changes in the developing world, including the consolidation of democratic governance and the liberalization of domestic economics.

IS 741/841 Globalization and Social Change in the World Economy

Seminar, 3 hours; 3 credits. This course is intended to first identify the distinguishing characteristics of globalization. It then attempts to examine its implications on a number of critical issues, including the future of democracy, income distribution and ethnic, class, and gender relations.

IS 795/895 Asian Politics

Seminar, 3 hours; 3 credits. This course is a graduate seminar on the domestic politics and international relations of (East) Asia focusing on both Northeast and Southeast Asia. The first half of the course examines the domestic politics of Asian countries, with a focus on mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. The topics include political development, state-society relations, and political economy. The second half of the course turns to foreign relations in the region, exploring various topics and different levels of analysis to understanding the regional dynamics.

IS 795/895 Politics of the Middle East

Seminar, 3 hours; 3 credits. Explores the international relations of the Middle East from World War I to the present. Examines the origins of the Arab-Israeli and Persian Gulf Wars and their modern dimensions. Examines the role of oil, outside powers and religion.

*Core Seminar

WAP = "With Appropriate Paper."

With the approval of the instructor and the concentration coordinator, students may count a course towards the field requirements if the semester research paper has a focus on comparative studies, broadly defined. This constitutes an appropriate paper.