Studying Comparative Politics at Vanderbilt
Explore this Program
The subfield of comparative politics at Vanderbilt offers rigorous instruction and unique opportunities as it prepares them to excel in academic and professional careers in government and the private sector.
Geographically, the subfield is concentrated on Latin America and Europe. Faculty expertise in these regions is complemented by two strong interdisciplinary centers, the Center for Latin American Studies and the Max Kade Center for European and German Studies. Both of these centers maintain active lecture series throughout the academic year and offer Graduate Certificates that can complement the Ph.D. in Political Science.
An important research program associated with the comparative subfield is the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP). Through its regular meetings and activities, LAPOP provides students applied experiences in survey research design, implementation, and analysis, as well as opportunities to present final projects to audiences across the Americas.
Department funds, grant opportunities via the Centers, and extramural funding support our students as they study languages; learn methods; present at conferences; and, travel abroad to conduct pre-dissertation and dissertation research.
Students may also take advantage of the department's graduate exchange program with one of the premier universities in Latin America, the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (current graduate students click here for application information).
First field comparative politics students take a core required class that introduces students to and engages students in key theoretical debates within the discipline. In addition, they take a minimum of two additional courses in the subfield and must further demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language. Second field comparative politics students also take three classes in the subfield. Our students further take the required courses in the department’s research methods sequence, which provides training in research design as well as both quantitative and formal theory methods.
Students who meet these course requirements are eligible to take the comprehensive exam in Comparative Politics.