First Year Course Descriptions

PSIA300 Western Political Thought (3 credits)

This course is an introduction to Western Political Thought from a historical perspective. It covers all the essential ideas since early Greeks to the twentieth century that have shaped the political process and institutionalization of governance in Europe and the United States.

PSIA302 Graduate Research & Scholarly Writing in the Social Sciences (3 credits)

This is an entry graduate-level course in research methods with a dual emphasis on: (1) comprehension of the fundamentals of social science research and competencies in identifying and consuming research literature; and (2) improvement of individual academic writing, including summarizing and synthesizing, critical analysis, argumentation, using citations, paraphrasing, etc.  As a part of these two components, the course will also touch upon working with Excel – data entry, basic analysis, use of workbooks and graphs.  The teaching methodology used in this course is learning by doing, with guided feedback, accompanied by readings, lectures, exercises, home assignments, peer reviews, and group work.

PSIA303  Research Methods in Political Science (3 credits)

Introduction to research methods in political science covering the overall logic and theory of empirical research and the major quantitative and qualitative data collection methodologies and statistical analyses used.

PSIA 310 Comparative Politics (3 credits)

Introduces key themes in comparative political systems as they impact government, societies, and statist vs. non-statist countries. Focuses on political regimes and transitions; political instability and conflict; governance and its components; political demands, distribution and re-distribution of public inputs and outputs.  Methods consider rational choice, culture/history, game theory, rationality vs. human behavior, principal/agent; structure/agency; institutionalism and network theory.

PSIA311 Regional Politics (3 credits)

The course gives an insight into the regional political developments. Features of political cultures, traditions of statehood and key domestic developments in Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Georgia will be addressed. The course also reflects upon Armenia’s relations with those countries. The course is composed of lectures, seminars, discussions, and presentations.

PSIA320 International Relations (3 credits)

This course aims at giving students an introductory level knowledge required to understand and analyze contemporary international politics. The course targets examining the theoretical and normative foundations of international relations, analyzing the mission, objectives, and policies of international intergovernmental organisations, critically “reading” and understanding foreign policies of selected leading and small states alike, as well as touching upon the role that various non-state actors play in the world.

PSIA340 Public Administration (3 credits)

The course studies the role and scope of bureaucracy in the modern state; examination of issues in the formulation and implementation of public policy; planning, programming, and decision-making in the bureaucratic policy-making process.

PSIA352 Economics for Political Science (3 credits)

This course covers concepts and principles in economics which are most relevant for political science and international affairs. Special focus will be placed on topics concerning the government’s role in the economy. Topics covered include production and consumption, supply and demand, the concept of utility, the public and private sector, welfare economics, market failures (monopoly, externalities, and public goods) and government control, game theory and applications, GDP and national income, growth (capital accumulation, institutions, and technological advances), money and inflation, international flow of goods and capital (migration, external trade, exchange rates, and foreign investment), and monetary and fiscal policy. Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.

PSIA360 Armenian Politics (3 credits)

This course provides an in-depth understanding of Armenian politics. It examines the major turning points of the country’s political transitions and examines questions related to the system of governance, democratic transition, institutional, political, economic, and social developments in the post-Soviet Armenia. Issues of the Soviet heritage, as well as questions related to the impact of the Karabakh conflict on the domestic developments of Armenia will be considered too. The course will also discuss topics related to elections, political parties, power relations, problems of migration, democratic consolidation, and relations with the Armenian Diaspora. The course consists of lectures, discussions and student presentations. Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.

PSIA371 European Union and the World (3 credits)

This course examines the relationship between the European Union and the World. It focuses on the emerging role of the EU as a bloc in foreign affairs; we examine how the EU has evolved as a major player in international affairs in different policy domains. Theoretical streams of regionalism and governance will concentrate on past, present and future geo-strategic interests and behavior.

PSIA383 Contemporary Political Philosophy (3 credits)

This course examines contemporary theories in political philosophy. The theories to be examined are utilitarianism, liberal egalitarianism, capabilities approach, libertarianism, and communitarianism. In examining these theories, the course will cover topics such as justice in the distribution of income and wealth, equality, taxation and incentives, unconditional basic income, and the moral limits of the market. Thinkers include such authors as Rawls, Nozick, Dworkin, Cohen, Sen, Walzer, Sandel, and Marx. Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.

Note: Not all above listed courses are offered during each semester.