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Classics in Political Science and Public Administration



Classics in Political Science and Public Administration is an advanced level introduction to the state-of-the-art in both academic disciplines. The course provides an overviewed understanding of the nature of political life and the formation of political institutions. Reading classic texts from both academic disciplines, students will gain a broad understanding of the historical development of both disciplines from the early twentieth century until today. Each week will be dedicated to a main research theme in political science and public administration (e.g. the state, democracy, political culture, public policy). We will study how scholarship on these common themes has advanced over time and within subfields by reviewing different theoretical and methodological approaches (e.g. behavioralism, institutionalism, rational choice) to the topics at hand.

Course objectives:

After taking this course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of important research themes in political science and public administration;

  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the major theoretical and methodological approaches in political science and public administration, that have developed over time and within the disciplinary subfields;

  • Position a piece of scholarship within a broader theoretical or methodological approach to political science or public administration;

  • Independently select relevant and high-quality publications in political science and/or public administration and apply these to a theoretical framework that engages with the issues central to political science and/or public administration;

  • Produce a critical analysis that evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of a particular theoretical or methodological approach to study one of the major themes in political science or public administration research.

Mode of instruction:

Seminars and self-study.

Course load:

Total course load is 140 hours, of which 16 contact hours, 54 hours for assignments and 70 self-study hours.

Assessment method

Assessment consists of two written assignments (30% and 50% respectively) and class participation (20%). Each assignment needs to be completed with a grade of 5.5 or higher to pass the course. The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the partial grades. Compensation of partial grades is not possible.


A Blackboard website for this course will be made available one week prior to the start of the course. Blackboard will be used for course communication, the distribution of course information (syllabus, readings, assignments) and for the submission of assignments.

Reading list

Course readings will consist of academic journal articles and book chapters. Readings will be announced on Blackboard one week prior to the start of the course.


See Preliminary Information




Dr. Natascha van der Zwan