Each course is 5 ECTS credits. The list of courses that are finally offered for each edition can slightly vary. For the current edition of the master, see the information about the 2018-19 Edition.


Compulsory courses

Techniques of Statistical Analysis I. The course is aimed to provide basic statistical knowledge for using and analyzing quantitative data in empirical social science research. Techniques of data analysis, basic inference and simple linear regression will be the main topics of the course. The course is problem-based, that is, a theoretical presentation of the statistical techniques is always presented in the context of a practical problem needing solution. Students will also learn how to use Stata, the statistical software most used by social scientist.

Techniques of Statistical Analysis II. The course is the continuation of Techniques of Statistical Analysis I. Its goal is to deepen and enlarge the linear and non-linear modeling techniques learned previously with multiple explanatory variables. The stress is on model diagnosis and in strategies to cope with situations in which there is a violation of the model assumptions. The course also covers logit and probit models, introducing students to categorical data analyses.

Fundamentals of Political and Social Research. This course is an introduction to theoretical issues and practical problems and options encountered in empirical social and political research. Comparative methods, case studies, and interviewing with both a survey and qualitative format will be studied. The course aims to develop the capacity to link practical research choices with broad theoretical issues. It focuses on techniques to delimit the object of study, collect data and develop causal hypotheses.

Idioms of Analysis in Political Science. This course is designed to introduce students to the main paradigms and analytical approaches of the contemporary political science. It examines the explanatory approaches and scientific narratives from which political scientists build their hypothesis to explain political behaviour and social results. The languages or idioms that the course covers are rational choice, institutionalism, functionalism/systemic analysis and discourse analysis/interactionism. These approaches are some of the main building blocks of theoretical and analytical research on which is based the contemporary political science. The course also includes an introduction to the basic epistemological debates in social sciences, which are common to all social sciences in their quest to explain.

Master Thesis Seminar. The aim of this class is to help students in the design and conduct of the research for their final master thesis, as well as in the writing of this thesis. During their undergraduate and graduate studies, students will have acquired a number of skills. They have learned the main theories and results from various fields of political science research, they have acquiredknowledge on various approaches and research methods in political science, they have learnt to use various statistical or qualitative techniques for data collection and analysis. Most students, also, have written small pieces of research, for instance in the form of seminar papers. The final master thesis represents an important additional step in one's academic training. Students are asked to write an original piece of research, at a more professional level, that has the potential of representing a genuine contribution to their field of research.

 

Optional courses

Electoral Systems. This seminar focuses on the comparative study of electoral systems and their consequences for the way governments are chosen by the mass of citizens. Substantively, the course examines how a range of electoral institutions affect the extent and ease with which party elites and voters can coordinate to provide outcomes or opportunities for transacting that improve on their status quo, but would not happen in the absence of these electoral institutions. For our purposes, the basic idea of a coordination game can be conveyed by considering a classis illustrative game, the Battle of the Sexes.

Federalism and Federations: Political Theory and Comparative Politics. About 40% of the world's population live in federal systems. Federalism is said to stabilize political systems by respecting autonomy and furthering cooperation, to enhance democracy by governing closer to the people, to establish an additional division of powers against the tyranny of the majority, but it is also accused to provide a stepping stone for the break-up of states, and to further the interests of bureaucrats and political classes. The course combines political theory with case studies. It will analyze the main currents of federal thought with their philosophical, sociological, and political aspects, and it will analyze federal states and arrangements around the world, and help to compare their raison d'être and logics. We will not only see what federalism is, but also why it was chosen, and what ends it may serve (or not).

The Current Financial and Economic Crises and their Impact on the Social Wellbeing of Populations. This course will critically analyze the major explanations given in academic and popular media for the financial, economic and political crises in existence on both sides of the North Atlantic, i.e., European Union and the U.S. The course will also analyze the consequences of such crises for the happiness, wellbeing and quality of life of the populations in those and other continents, including Latin America and Asia. While the course will be centered in Europe and the U.S., other parts of the world will also be analyzed.

Research and Data Analysis Seminar. This course teaches students how to conduct good quantitative research. Half of the course is practical. It teaches students how to access and manage key data-sets used in sociological and demographic research: how to open and read different types of data files and prepare them for analyses using the available documentation; do basic data management operations (merging, adding, transposing, etc.); determine if the data need weighting and how to do it; select sub-samples of cases randomly or by other means; and transform the original data into derived variables and indicators. The other half of the course aims to provide students with examples of good research practice, using published work. Students learn how authors justify their research question; frame it within an existing theoretical framework; formulate appropriate aims and objectives, operationalize them into testable hypotheses; choose adequate research designs, data and techniques of analyses; and present results concisely and effectively.

Social Psychological Approaches to Society and the Individual. This course will provide an overview of the discipline of social psychology and its main theories and paradigms, while also highlighting social psychology's contributions to the understanding of key social, sociological, political, economic, and cultural issues. The course will be structured around the following five themes: Introduction to social psychology: What social psychology is, and its history and methodological emphases; Links to political psychology, sociology, and economics; Social-psychological basis of ideology: Socio-cognitive dimensions of ideology; Personality and political behavior; Social cognition and inter-group dynamics: Attitudes and their cognitive/affective/behavioral components; Political identity and social identity; Intra and inter-group dynamics and biases; Social influence: Cognitive dissonance; Conformity; Obedience; Persuasion; Immigration, globalization, and cultural diversity: Acculturation processes; Interculturalism and multiculturalism at the state, community, group and individual levels; Psychosocial effects of cultural diversity and globalization.

The Construction of the EU and its Consequences on the European Population. This seminar examines current debates in comparative European politics. It focuses on discourses on democracy, policy-making and public policy. The approach of the course is to establish a substantive link between the theoretical, empirical and normative analysis of the European Union (EU) policy process. More specifically, the course analyzes the modes of governance in Europe and it discusses how and why the European Integration has progressed the way it has. The focus of the course rests on the existing relationship between institutions and the outputs of the public policies implemented in the EU.

Migration and Society. During the past few decades, the world witnessed a significant increase in the exchange of goods, services and information; these developments have only partially been accompanied by parallel trends in international migration. However, migration and the growth of ethnic minorities are becoming more and more an element of concern in both the receiving and the sending countries. The course provides an introduction to the analysis of migration, with an emphasis in methodological and theoretical aspects. The course analyzes trends in international migration and discusses the main theories that explain them. It pays attention to migration policies and the models of integration of migrants into host societies.

Qualitative Research Methods. The course deals with how to make valid causal inferences with qualitative techniques. It provides an overview of the existing, most popular qualitative techniques. The course aims to develop students' capacity to define and make inferences about causal effects, make pertinent comparisons, choose relevant observations, and avoid bias in the interpretation of complex chains of events and personal histories.

Democracy and Political Liberalism: Theoretical and Institutional Features. This subject deals with the analysis of the main theories and institutions of democracy and political liberalism, focusing specially on the current debates on socioeconomic and cultural and national justice in diverse societies. The democracy of Ancient Greece and different conceptions of political liberalism and modern and contemporary democracy will be addressed from key concepts of political legitimacy: equality, liberty, pluralism, justice, federalism, representation, and participation. Students will also analyse different legitimising approaches and political tensions through the analysis of Ancient Greek and Shakespeare's tragedies. classical Political theory, applied empirical comparative politics and history are the main approaches included in this subject.

Actors and Institutions in the Analysis of Public Policies. The course introduces students to the role that actors and institutions play in public policy analysis. It does so by exploring the key conceptual and methodological issues and their practical application in public policy. The main objective of the course is to provide students with the necessary analytical tools to evaluate the reasons and mechanisms whereby certain problems are included in political agendas and the ways in which such problems get defined. This will allow students to understand why certain solutions are chosen in different economic, social and political contexts.

Citizenship and Democracy in the European Union. This course will have two distinctive although related parts. The first part will be focused on the study and analysis of basic political attitudes towards the EU, tackling different dimensions such as European Identity, Trust in the EU institutions, EU scope of Government, support to the EU, attitudes toward the EU enlargement and more. The second, it is mostly focused on the European Elections and European voting behavior for the European Elections. This is a course basically on political behavior on the EU, so it will not covered the institutions and decision making of the EU, which is covered by other courses of theprogram.

Comparative Political Economy: Regimes, Conflict and Development. This course is designed to provide an overview of the literature on Comparative Political Economy.In particular, the course focuses on the mechanisms by which political institutions affect economic performance and policies, how economic conditions(domestic and international)and institutions influencea number of key political events, and how political institutions emerge and are sustained.It does so by surveying theleading contemporary research on the main topics in the field of comparative politics and political economy. The main goal of the course is to think critically about a set of substantive questions regardingthe mutual effects existing between institutions and polities and the economy. This course requires substantial reading, student discussion and presentations, and a written assignment. The course is organized in three different sections, each addressing a different general topic: the emergence and institutional configurations of political regimes; the impact of regimes on economic performance;andthe political economy of conflict and development. The underlying question we aim atansweringis: what are the determinants that make some countries fall into a trap of poverty and violent conflict whereas others are able to reach a superior equilibrium made of development and political stability?

Multilevel Political Competition: Parties, Citizens and Elections. Elections are one of the core processes of democracy. They are disputed by political parties, which compete for political support among citizens. Despite the strong agreement on such basic concepts, many different strands of research have developed on the electoral connection between citizens and parties, highlighting how different individual and institutional factors lead to differences in voters' behavior and the structure of party systems (i.e. the configuration of relationships among parties, and their competition model). To complicate things, the complex territorial and institutional structure of some democracies affects parties' discourse, voters' perceptions and behaviors and the interactions between these two actors. The course aims at presenting a broad overview of different (often rival) theories on such citizens-parties relationships, in order to offer students a toolkit to understand the evolution and changes of contemporary democracies characterized by multilevel governance. A special attention is dedicated to the challenges posed to such electoral connection by contemporary multilevel governance arrangements, including regional elections, European Parliament elections, and the interplay of these with the national electoral cycle.