Curriculum / Enseignements
All coursework takes the form of reading and discussion seminars, held in the autumn term. Attendance is mandatory. Reading and research seminar topics may change from year to year. Finalized seminar offerings for the year to come are posted in early May.
 Methodology Seminar
(6 ECTS) – Marc Smyrl, William Genieys, et al.
Meeting every week throughout the autumn term, this seminar provides an overview of a variety of research methods and approaches, as well as practical direction for preparation of the Master’s thesis. The general focus of the seminar is on the practical aspects of designing and carrying out comparative research, from formulating hypotheses and evaluating qualitative and quantitative evidence through strategies and methods of writing for the social sciences. This is complemented by a series of thematic modules presented by resident and visiting faculty highlighting a variety of theoretical approaches and practical methods.
In addition, the seminar offers opportunities for participation in one of the CEPEL’s ongoing research projects.
The seminar culminates in the production of a theoretical overview paper of approximately 7,500 words due at the end of January. Drawing from the material presented in the reading, research, and methodology seminars, this paper provides both a synthesis of the student’s progress and a preliminary theory and methods chapter of the Master’s thesis.
 Reading Seminars
(3 x 4 ECTS)
Reading seminars are structured around an extensive bibliography and meet for three hours every two weeks. They provide a thorough grounding both in the intellectual history and the contemporary state of the art of their respective sub-fields. Grading is based on participation and the preparation and diffusion of précis and critical reviews.
Elites, States, and Regimes – William Genieys and Saïd Darviche
Examines the interaction between social and political elites, state power, and policy-making in a variety of political regimes, with particular emphasis on France, Spain, and the United States. Beginning with a comprehensive survey of the literature in the sociology of elites, the seminar leads to a comparative assessment of the role of elites in policy reform and regime change. Social policy and national defense provide contrasting sectoral cases this investigation.
Institutions and Public Policy – Marc Smyrl and Laura Michel
Presents an in-depth study of the descriptive and analytical tools developed by researchers studying policy making and implementation since the 1970s. Emphasis is on three dimensions of comparison: among the tools themselves, among policy sectors, and finally among various national and supra-national policy systems. France, the Unites States and the European Union are the principle cases considered.
Identity and Mobilization – Hubert Peres and Christophe Roux
Seeks to clarify the notion of “identity” as used by political actors. Focuses both on the theoretical distinction and the practical complexity of relationships among the rhetoric of identity-based movements and the more purely political dimension of the formation of individual identity. From this starting point the seminar focuses on concrete situations in the countries of Southern Europe, with a particular focus on Italy, Spain, and France. In these national cases, we study the articulation between political demands for the recognition of identities and the various ways in which these demands are managed by political institutions and policy instruments.
 Research Seminars
(5 x 2 ECTS)
Each research seminar is structured around a specific ongoing or recently completed research project related to one of the program’s thematic axes, presented by its principal author. Each seminar meets for a total of six hours. Grading is based on participation and a brief reaction paper.
 Language Instruction
All students will take a semester-long course in either academic French or academic English. Courses will focus on reading strategies and professional presentations. Readings will be drawn from the source material used in that year’s reading and research seminars; presentations on the student’s ongoing thesis research.
 Master’s Thesis
(30 ECTS – approximately 30,000 words – due June 15)
Based on the student’s original research, the Master’s thesis is the ultimate outcome of a project approved by the program director and carried out under the supervision of a thesis director chosen by the student. The thesis paper should pose a clear scientific question and propose to it an answer that is an original contribution to the literature on the topic.
Thesis direction is intended as a year-long tutorial and mentorship, with regular meetings between the director and student. All members of the political science faculty are available as thesis directors. In addition, a member of the program’s external faculty may serve as a co-director if appropriate.