Why UW for Political Science?
Our department is the perfect size for students. It is large enough to have a high level of research prestige; we have faculty members who have been named to the Royal Society of Canada, who are the recipients of esteemed fellowships, and who have won, numerous research grants and awards. In QS World Rankings of Departments of Politics, no comparably-sized political science department in Canada ranks higher.
At the same time, our department is small enough to ensure that our students have close contact with their professors. Teaching and learning is at the core of what we do. Full time faculty members, including our most senior members, teach the majority of our undergraduate courses, including both of the first year courses. This means that Political Science students at UW develop long-term learning relationships with their professors as they proceed through their chosen stream, from introductory to upper-year classes.
Our department also provides exciting opportunities for hands-on experience. As one of three experiential learning pathways, our ‘engagement pathway’ gives students exciting opportunities to fulfill program requirements and course credits through participation in international exchanges, international field courses, directed research assistantships, and voluntary community placements, among other things. Our students are encouraged to make connections between theory and practice, to hone important skills for both academics and work, and to develop critical insights. Given this focus, it’s not surprising that our alumni from the private, public and non-profit sector have won the UW Faculty of Arts Young Alumni Award in five of the past seven years!
Take a closer look...we think you will like what you see!
Research | Recent faculty book publications
David Welch | Understanding Global Conflict and Cooperation
Provides a concise, insightful introduction to world politics in an era of complex interdependence. Authors Joseph Nye and David Welch examine conflict and cooperation among global actors via lessons from theory and history, providing readers with a durable framework with which to analyze the current state of international relations. New to the Tenth Edition, a chapter dedicated to global flashpoints – the places in the world where it is easiest to imagine serious conflicts
Heather Whiteside | Public-Private Partnerships
In a public-private partnership, or P3, a private, for-profit corporation assumes control over the design, construction, financing and operation of public infrastructure and services. P3s have been used in Canada since the early 1990s, but they are now so common that they have become the standard way in which multimillion-dollar projects and services are delivered across the country. The problem? P3s fundamentally transform public infrastructure, public services, labour relations, public sectors and the everyday lives of Canadians… in the end, it is us, the public, who foots the bill for these increasing costs…
Jasmin Habib | America Observed
There is surprisingly little fieldwork done on the United States by anthropologists from abroad. America Observed fills that gap by bringing into greater focus empirical as well as theoretical implications of this phenomenon. Edited by Virginia Dominguez and Jasmin Habib, the essays collected here offer a critique of such an absence, exploring its likely reasons while also illustrating the advantages of studying fieldwork-based anthropological projects conducted by colleagues from outside the U.S
Bessma Momani | Egypt Beyond Tahrir Square
On January 25, 2011, the world's eyes were on Egypt's Tahrir Square as millions of people poured into the city center to call for the resignation of president Hosni Mubarak. Since then, few scholars or journalists have been given the opportunity to reflect on the nationwide moment of transformation and the hope that was embodied by the Egyptian Revolution. In this important and necessary volume, leading Egyptian academics and writers share their eyewitness experiences. They examine how events unfolded in relation to key social groups and institutions such as the military, police, labor, intellectuals, Coptic Christians, and the media; share the mood of the nation; assess what happened when three recent regimes of Egyptian rule came to an end; and account for the dramatic rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Faculty | Meet Professor Alexander Lanoszka
Alexander Lanoszka will be joining the Department of Political Science as an Assistant Professor in July 1, 2018. Professor Lanoszka is an expert in the field of International Relations, focusing on international security, alliance politics, and theories of war. He earned his doctorate in Politics from Princeton University in 2014, as well as his Master’s degree from Princeton University in 2010. Alexander earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Windsor in 2008.
Since 2016 Professor Lanoszka has been teaching in the Department of International Politics at City, University of London. Before that he was a postdoctoral fellow at the J.S. Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College, and a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Professor Lanoszka will teach Global Politics at the introductory level, as well as several of the core courses in the International Relations and Global Governance specializations offered by the Department of Political Science. Dr. Lanoszka’s teaching and research interests are also broad enough to extend to other course offerings, including East and Central European politics.
Forthcoming at Cornell University Press, his book Atomic Assurance: The Alliance Politics of Nuclear Proliferation explores the alliance dynamics that ensue when states move towards nuclear weapons acquisition upon doubting the credibility of the nuclear security guarantees that they receive from their guarantors. It contains intensive case studies on West Germany, Japan, and South Korea that draw on deep archival work. This project has implications for current policy debates regarding nuclear proliferation and alliance management.
He has published peer-reviewed articles in International Security, Security Studies, International Affairs, International Journal, and elsewhere. Moreover, he has also written commentary for such outlets as The Monkey Cage (Washington Post), World Affairs, E-International Relations, the EastWest Institute, and Small Wars Journal. Finally, he has co-authored with Michael A. Hunzeker of George Mason University a forthcoming monograph for the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute. Tentatively titled Conventional Deterrence and Landpower in Northeastern Europe, this monograph explores how the United States can contribute to the deterrence and defence measures being implemented by Poland and the Baltic states in light of their shared concerns about Russia.
In his spare time, Alexander dabbles in film. His biggest passion is in music, however. He has two places that he considers home: Windsor-Detroit and Krakow, Poland
Meet former Research Assistants
Nicole Georges | Research Assistant
I worked with Dr. Jasmin Habib on various projects that emerged from her work as the lead investigator on a SSHRC project entitled “A Socio-Cultural Mapping of the Canadian Arab Community” as well as in her capacity as the Editor in Chief of Anthropologica, the journal of the Canadian Anthropology Society.
What were your duties? As an RA, my tasks revolved around conducting literature searches, annotating sources, and editing. Some of these responsibilities entailed working alongside another RA to compile a lengthy annotated bibliography on Canadian Arab experiences of migration, settlement and integration and making it accessible to a wider public. I also assisted Dr. Habib with the preparation of her book manuscript, which was in its final stages. This involved not only reading the manuscript, but also situating it within the recent historiography on the Palestinian diaspora and resettlement in the West. Finally, I enjoyed the opportunity to do some translation work (from English to French) for Anthropologica’s Report to the Membership, which Dr. Habib had prepared for the Annual Meetings of the Canadian Anthropology Society.
Were there any specific skills you learned while working on the project?
This was my first time reviewing a manuscript and doing translation work for a major publication. These were very informative experiences and I appreciated the opportunity to be trusted with these responsibilities. The work as an RA also allowed me to further hone my research and writing skills and introduced me to new areas of research.
What was/is the best part of your RA? As an RA, I have gained a better insight into the various projects and responsibilities professors have outside of their teaching roles. Moreover, working on projects outside of my core discipline of History and Global Governance helped me to broaden my research horizons. I was reassured by Dr. Habib that my lack of experience on these subjects could also be considered an advantage in those cases where I was writing for a general public because it allowed me to bring in an outsider’s perspective. Dr. Habib’s trust in me that I could contribute to her work was very encouraging. On a personal note, her mentorship has been very instrumental in helping me to develop my own work. I really enjoyed my experience working as an RA for Dr. Habib.
Michael Opatowski | Research Assistant
I worked on the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded "Sociocultural Mapping of the Canadian Arab-Mapping". I also worked on the "Diplomacy as Practice" project, and on the project entitled "Methodological Nationalism in the Saudi-Yemen Crisis."
Were there any skills you learned while undertaking the project? Working for Dr. Habib was both intellectually stimulating and highly rewarding. I developed many skills through my tasks under her instruction. These included but were not limited to --- conducting comprehensive literature reviews, tracking political events, incorporating field notes and interviews, and examining sources in multiple languages. Dr. Habib showed me how to account for research that utilized different methodologies from a variety of academic disciplines. As a part of this research process, I also drafted annotated bibliographies and several academic papers that eventually were fed into overall projects.
What were your duties? Dr. Habib has always pushed me to explore the assumptions underlying the questions that we pursued in our research on topics that include but are not limited to – diplomacy, foreign relations between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the political economy of the Middle East, the nexus between humanitarianism and conflict. Factual content was necessary yet never sufficient on its own. In other words, she advised me on the ways to analyze the research methodologies that were employed by various institutions in their studies. And she taught me how to examine the ideological and political constructs that framed information in particular ways.
Political Science Field Courses
Travel to Washington, DC with Prof. Bessma Momani & Political Science 493
Students enjoyed the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC in April 2017 where they participated in a meeting with Canada’s IMF Executive Director and spent four days attending IMF/WB Meetings where they heard world experts talk about the state of the world economy, poverty, environment, and gender. They were able to retain a junior fellowship at the New Rules for Global Finance during the meetings and were encouraged to publish Huffington Post blogs during the event.
The PSCI 493 course, offered in Spring term, critically examines the role of the IMF and World Bank in the global economy. The visit to the IMF in Washington as a Field trip was followed up by several presentations on Global Economy Issues, Poverty, IMF/World Bank Policies as well as a presentation on Gender, Environment and Climate Issues.
“Attending the International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings as a part of PSCI 493 provided the unique opportunity to learn beyond the classroom. My understanding of the global political climate was deepened by witnessing firsthand the political developments we study in courses. This trip allowed me to interact with members of civil society organizations, politicians, and heads of organizations. I was able to use my skill set as a political science student, such as my analytical capacities to raise pressing questions during the meetings on the political and social viability of decisions made by international financial institutions.”
— Mariam FliFli
Master of Arts in Political Science
Our MA in Political Science is designed to foster a deeper understanding of politics across the world at multiple scales (domestic, regional, global) while also allowing students to develop the analytical and professional skills required for success in both academic and non-academic job markets.
With 22 faculty members in our department and an additional 15 associated faculty, our program offers a wide range of courses and graduate research supervision and opportunities across a broad range
of topic areas with specific strengths including the following:
Political Economy | What is the relationship between politics and business, power and wealth, states and markets? Our department has particular strength in the study of these political economy questions with over ten faculty members researching in this field. Our faculty members bring a variety of perspectives to these questions and explore their relevance at the local, national, regional and global levels across various geographical contexts ranging from North America to East Asia and the Middle East.
Conflict and Security Studies | Interested in the role that conflict plays in the contemporary world, the dynamics of domestic security and counter-terrorism, or what happens in a post-conflict era? Many faculty in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo specialize in the study of these and other topics relating to the role of governments, international organizations, and non-state actors in conflict and conflict resolution. Our students learn about the political theories that frame our understandings and debates about national and human security as well as peace building practices and human rights. Our expertise spans many areas of the globe from Europe to the Middle East.
Canadian Politics | A number of faculty in the department have research interests relating to different aspects of Canadian politics. Research strengths include public policy, constitutional politics, political institutions, political parties, local government and Canada-US relations.
You can complete an MA in Political Science (regular or co-op stream) through the Masters Research Paper option or the Thesis option. Our co-op stream enables students to combine their academic studies with practical work experience in positions related to their professional interests in public or private sectors.
- 2 terms of paid teaching or research assistantships
- Various scholarships in each term of study
- Total: $15,000.00
Undergraduate Student Profile | Hannah Beckett
What on-campus opportunities have you been involved in? When I started at Waterloo, I was incredibly focused on getting involved in a wide variety of opportunities, to help meet new people and to discover what I liked doing. That decision is what transformed a degree into an experience for me and I have loved every minute! I currently hold seats on the University’s Senate and Board of Governors, giving me the opportunity to weigh in on major decisions at the administration level from the student perspective. I currently hold two part-time jobs on campus and I am currently writing a Student Health & Wellness policy paper for the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, which is a provincial lobbying body for post-secondary education.
More about Hannah
What PSCI course stood out for you the most? I’ve had the opportunity to take many fascinating courses, but the one that stood out the most was the field course to Israel with Professor Jasmin Habib. It was an incredible experiential learning opportunity and something I will remember the rest of my life. We studied international trade, business development, cultural literacy and how to track down aloe vera in Haifa after scoring a wicked sunburn! Professor Habib’s passion for the region and academic brilliance shone through as she was able to take the things we were seeing and bring them down to a personal level. Visiting the Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv, touring Intel and the Technion, eating dates and drinking chocolate milk in the middle of the desert, and visiting the aquaculture lab in Eilat are some of the phenomenal highlights of the trip. My favourite moment was scuba-diving in the Red Sea – I can’t put to words how incredible that was, seeing the fish up close, surfacing to see Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia in the distance. My classmates on the trip had to talk me into doing it and I am so glad they did!
What was your best co-op experience? My best co-op experience was working for Zenith Insurance in Los Angeles, California. The management team presented a challenge they were experiencing with managing data for medical providers, with multiple files and tedious manual entry. I felt empowered in this role as they gave me the resources and freedom to develop a solution to this problem.
This company enhanced my co-op experience beyond the workplace by encouraging the co-op students to travel, helping us plan out trips and activities and taking us to events, like a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Their corporate culture of work-life balance and healthy living was reflected in everything they did, taking what could have been just a work experience and making it something incredibly memorable. I learned a lot about myself, what I want in a workplace moving forward and how to tackle challenges in new and interesting ways.What advice would you give to upcoming co-op students?
There are endless opportunities for PSCI students and it’s not necessarily a one-track route to a role as a policy analyst for the government or working for a political party. The skills you develop prepare you for a wide breadth of opportunities, creating an arsenal of transferrable skills that will serve you well. Personally, I am pursuing a career in user experience design or product management for a consumer-facing technology company – PSCI was the perfect place to pursue my passions in design courses as electives and I built a strong background in research and critical thinking to take my designs from ideas to robust concepts. I would highly recommend the program to any incoming student!
Graduate Student Profile | Shanaya Vanhooren
During my fourth year of my undergraduate career, I struggled to decide where to
continue in graduate studies in Political Science. I decided to come to Waterloo after I met my current supervisor. Dr. Henstra corresponded with me over email and in- person meetings while I was still finishing my Bachelor of Arts at Laurier. He helped me define a topic for further study in an MA program by pointing to different areas of research and focusing my attention to interesting articles and books in Canadian local politics.
More about Shanaya
Dr. Henstra offered me a position as a research assistant (RA). From May to August 2017, I worked full-time in assisting with a SSHRC-funded project that explored climate change adaptation policy in Ontario. I collected and systematically organized thousands of documents such as industry reports, government policies, conference presentations, stakeholder and interest group letters, media releases, and other policy documents. Using an analytical framework that focused on ideas, actors and institutions, I traced the evolution of climate change adaptation policy in Ontario, focusing specifically on stormwater management policies, from the early 2000s to present. Since this project required a lot of independent work, I learned to motivate myself and set goals each day. Furthermore, meeting preparation was essential – I had to ensure that I was on track with my research and that I came prepared with any questions or particularly interesting findings.
As an RA, I also had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA) conference, as well as the Ontario Climate Consortium. The Ontario Climate Consortium event was valuable for understanding the work of practitioners in the field of climate change adaptation, whereas the CPSA conference offered a greater understanding of the literature regarding multi-level governance and local politics. Both of these events were prime networking experiences. I connected with individuals from fields of employment that I would consider pursuing when I complete my Master of Arts.
As an MA student, I continue to work as a research assistant part-time. I am now working on a project that analyzes municipal-university partnerships. It is expected that by working with universities, municipalities can strengthen their policy capacity specifically by gaining access to expertise in quantitative data analysis. By researching existing partnerships, as well as reviewing the literature on big data and local policymaking, the project hopes to inform practitioners of the benefits of these partnerships. I am lucky to have been able to work on projects that are both focused in my areas of interest and practical in their applications.
Overall, being an RA has enhanced my professional development, by enhancing my skills in data collection and analysis, synthesis, organization and written communication. It encouraged me to further pursue independent research through my MA thesis and future employment.
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