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Introduction to Comparative Politics


Admission requirements

Introduction to Comparative Politics gives entry to the 200-level courses in the World Politics major.


The course provides an introduction to Comparative Politics, and more broadly to the discipline of Political Science. It focuses on the internal politics of the nation-state and seeks to provide an overview of the main concepts, approaches and theoretical perspectives, and current research topics within Comparative Politics.

The theoretical part goes hand in hand with the application to current issues, ranging from the economic crisis, political violence, immigration, religion and politics and new forms of representative politics. The classroom debates will cover industralised, as well as developing and emerging countries. Overall, the course aims to apply theories and concepts of political science to study how nation-states deal with challenges. The emphasis lies on the emergence of modern democratic politics, nation-building and state-building, cleavages and institutions.

Course objectives

The course seeks to provide basic knowledge and understanding of Political Science in general, and Comparative Politics in particular. It seeks to offer students concepts and theories to interpret politics, develop and support arguments, and learn to structure and write essays in political science. Students apply their knowledge and understanding to current issues, through acquired oral and written skills.


Please see the LUC website:

Mode of instruction

The course is taught through two two-hour seminars. Each seminar will include a short lecture and class discussions of the readings and key aspects of the topic. The textbook Essentials of Comparative Politics provides the theoretical and conceptual basis for the topics. These are then further developed and tested through parallel articles in Essential Readings in Comparative Politics. These also form the basis for the Review essay. The formal readings and lectures are complemented by classroom discussions. Students are encouraged to participate actively and learn to articulate ideas and engage in discussion. The seminars also seek to clarify any outstanding questions from the readings or lectures.

Assessment method

  1. Interactive engagement with course material and Understanding of course content: assessed through In-class participation (20% of final grade): Ongoing Weeks 1 – 7
  2. Expression of holistic understanding of the course: assessed through Review essay (2,500 – 3,000 words; 40% of final grade): due in Week 7 Friday at 17:00 (Wednesday in block 3)
  3. Individual engagement with course readings: assessed through Individual essays (2,500 – 3,000 words; 40% of final grade): due in week 8 Thursday at 17:00 (Wednesday in block 3)


This course is supported by a BlackBoard site

Reading list

Patrick H. O’Neill (2010), Essentials of Comparative Politics, Third Edition, W.W. Norton.

Patrick H. O’Neill and Ronald Rogowski (2010), Essential Readings in Comparative Politics, Third Edition, W.W. Norton.


This course is only open for LUC The Hague students.

Contact information

dr. Lucie Cerna:

Weekly Overview

Week 1: Introduction: What is Comparative Politics?

Week 2: State

Week 3: Nation

Week 4: Political Economy

Week 5: Industrialised Western World

Week 6: Developing World and Emerging Markets

Week 7: Contemporary Challenges facing the Nation-State