The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Comparative Politics

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COMPARATIVE POLITICS is the study of domestic politics in foreign countries in a comparative perspective. Substantively, domestic politics includes political institutions (e.g., legislatures, executives, and judiciaries); political behavior (e.g., voting, protests, and migration); and/or public policies (e.g., tax cuts, social goods provisions, and minority recognition). Geographically, foreign countries can mean multiple countries in one region (e.g., Latin America or Western Europe); one country over different time periods (e.g., Russia before, during, and after the Cold War); and/or one country at the subnational unit (e.g., Chinese provinces or Indian states). And methodologically, the comparative perspective can range from observational to experimental data, from qualitative interviews to text as data.

At the University of Texas at Austin, comparative politics is the largest field in the department – whether in number of faculty, courses, and graduate students. Collectively, we are substantially, regionally, and methodologically diverse – thus permitting students a broad range of choices in what they study, where they study, and how they study.


We offer a diversity of courses. The core course, GOV 390K - Comparative Study of Political Systems, is taught every fall semester and is required of all first field Comparative Politics students. No other specific courses are required, although students are expected to take three additional courses beyond the core. Courses that are offered regularly on an annual basis (with different lead faculty each time) include authoritarianism, political institutions, and political parties. We also offer the following courses on a once-every-two year cycle: comparative behavior, comparative judicial politics, comparative political economy, comparative race and ethnic politics, contentious politics, democracy, development, and transnationalism. In addition to this breadth, we also offer depth. We currently offer three courses that are cotaught with other fields. These include political parties (with American Politics), political economy (with International Relations), and race and ethnic politics (with American Politics). 


Sample Listing of Graduate Courses

  • Authoritarianism
  • Comparative Behavior
  • Comparative Constitutional Courts
  • Comparative Judicial Politics
  • Comparative Political Economy
  • Comparative Race and Ethnic Politics
  • Comparative Study of Political Systems
  • Contentious Politics
  • Democracy
  • Development in the Global South
  • Political Institutions
  • Political Parties
  • Transnationalism

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    The University of Texas at Austin
    158 W 21st ST STOP A1800
    Batts Hall 2.116
    Austin, TX 78712-1704