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Learn about comparative politics with online courses

Gain insights into the rich tapestry of global politics and valuable analytical skills for assessing political systems, policies, and international relations. Learn about comparative politics with edX.

What is comparative politics?

Comparative politics is a subfield of political science that involves the systematic study and comparison of political systems, governments, and political behavior across different countries. It seeks to understand the similarities and differences between political structures, institutions, and processes worldwide.

For example, comparative politics may examine the differences between a presidential system in the United States and a parliamentary system in the United Kingdom. It can analyze how political parties operate in multiparty democracies like Germany and two-party systems like the United States. Additionally, it might explore the impact of cultural factors on political behavior, comparing voter turnout rates in Japan and Sweden.

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Comparative politics course curriculum

A course in comparative politics can equip learners with the knowledge and analytical skills to assess and compare political systems and behavior, providing valuable insights into the complexities of governance and global politics. Some topics that could be covered include:

  • Types of political systems

  • Various political institutions

  • Political parties and elections worldwide

  • How policies are formulated in different countries

  • Political culture and behavior

Start building the knowledge you need to work in the comparative politics field with edX. From accelerated boot camps to comprehensive programs that allow you to earn a bachelor’s degree or (for more advanced learners) a master’s degree, there are many different learning formats available to fit your needs. Busy professionals can even take advantage of executive education courses. Find the right course for you.

Explore jobs related to comparative politics

Learning comparative politics equips individuals with the critical thinking, research, and communication skills vital for careers in fields like public policy, international relations, and more. Some examples of careers that could benefit from these studies include:

  • Political analyst: Assesses political developments, policy changes, and international relations, providing insights to governments, think tanks, or media organizations.

  • Foreign service officer: Represents their home country's interests abroad, negotiates agreements, and promotes diplomacy and international cooperation.

  • Foreign correspondent: Reports on international affairs and politics drawing on their knowledge of comparative politics to provide in-depth analysis and reporting.

  • Intelligence analyst: Assesses political and security developments globally, contributing to national security efforts.

Each of these roles will have different education and skills requirements. Some employers may seek candidates with a degree in international relations or political science depending on the role. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the positions you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your career goals.

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