The study of political systems and theories represents an essential basis for explaining, understanding, and comparing the units and actors that comprise the political world of the early 21st century.
This field focuses on alternative theoretical approaches for the conduct of research and analysis about political systems, major forces shaping the emerging world, the nature of international change and continuity, and the basis for theoretical development. It offers students the opportunity to explore, evaluate, and compare theories about such crucially important phenomena as power, legitimacy, institutions, cooperation, conflict, peace, and war. Conceptually, the field is integral to courses that comprise the "practice" parts of the Fletcher curriculum.
Students taking this field acquire basic knowledge about the major theories that shape international and comparative politics, both traditional and modern. The field also comprises topics including:
- international relations theory;
- non-governmental organizations in international politics;
- geography as a factor in international politics; and
- theories of statecraft, bureaucracy, ethno-religious conflict, identity, sovereignty, national identity, and self-determination.
The Political Systems and Theories field of study requires the completion of a minimum of three courses.