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Studying Comparative Politics at Vanderbilt

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 diverse, with faculty experts on Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. This geographic diversity is complemented by a number of different interdisciplinary centers on campus, including the Asia Studies Program, Max Kade Center for European and German Studies, and the Center for Latin American Studies. All of these centers maintain active lecture series throughout the academic year. Methodologically, the subfield is committed to rigor, innovation, and pluralism.

Some important programs associated with the comparative subfield include the Comparative Politics Colloquium Series and 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).

Course Requirements

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. 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.