Loading, please wait.

MA in Political Science and International Relations (in English)

Why Political Science and International Relations at Ibn Haldun University?

The MA in Political Science and International Relations program, with its nationally and internationally experienced faculty, aims at producing theoretical and practical knowledge in the field of Political Science and International Relations. It seeks to contribute to academic knowledge in these fields by focusing on current debates on political theory and international relations theories, Turkish political life and Turkish foreign policy, developments in the global international system, and current changes in regional studies with special emphasis on the Middle East and the Balkans.

More specifically, the program covers a vast ground from the basic concepts and topics of Political Science to current debates of political theory, from contemporary issues of Turkish political life to analyses of Turkish foreign policy, from social movements to conflict resolutions, and the regional studies with special emphasis on the Middle East region.

MA in Political Science and International Relations aims to produce researchers that can handily employ positivistic, critical, and interpretative methods; that can use local and global knowledge sources comparatively and critically; that can contribute to Islamic and global accumulated knowledge with scientific and moral responsibility, and that can conduct culturally and historically comprehensive studies.

Head of The Department:

Assoc. Prof. Ali Aslan

Scope of the Program

MA in Political Science and International Relations seeks to combine theories and perspectives with social and political issues of practical life to provide in-depth analysis and real-life solutions. Thus, alongside basic theoretical courses, it offers courses that provide empirical studies on national, regional, and global levels. After finishing the program students will have knowledge and ability in these fields:

  • Political Theory
  • International Relations Theories
  • Turkish Politics and Intellectual History
  • Foreign Policy Analysis
  • Regional Studies
  • Peace and Conflict Resolution
  • Global Politics
  • Islamic Political Thought
  • Ottoman Political Thought
  • Comparative Politics

Who Should Participate?

The program may serve particularly useful for:

  • Those who have some sort of managerial experience, but seek to increase their managerial skills both in the public and private sectors
  • Those who plan to work in international organizations, tink-tank institutions, and non-governmental organizations
  • Those who seek to build an academic career in Political Science and International Relations

Visit the curriculum page.

Course Contents

POLS 500 Seminar

In this course, the presentations of the students’ thesis proposals are heard one by one. It is ensured that the thesis proposals are strengthened by giving feedback and criticizing for their deficiencies. Thus, mental clarity is provided for students’ thesis and the issues they deal with in the thesis.

POLS 501 Methodology in Political Science 

The course will introduce the main research methods used in political science, and their comparative advantages and disadvantages. Students will learn debates on criteria for scientificity, different understandings of science; structures of scientific revolutions, and paradigmatic transformations. Theoretical foundations and practical applications of major terms such as conceptualization, abstraction, case study, discourse analysis, and causality will also be dıscussed.


POLS 502 Theories of International Relations

This course introduces graduate students to important theoretical perspectives in the study of international relations. It covers the works that address major theoretical paradigms, including Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism, Marxism, and the English School. It also puts light on some other perspectives such as International Political Economy, International Historical Sociology, Critical Theory, Poststructuralism, and non-Western International Relations Theory. Last but not least, it draws attention to the works that seek to bring Ibn Khaldun into the study of International Relations. It overall discusses intellectual history as well as cutting-edge contributions to the field.

POLS 503 Political Theory 

This course offers to give a general picture of the field of political theory. In this context, it grapples with debates within the liberal school and between liberals and communitarians and lays out critical approaches. More, it discusses critical concepts such as democracy, identity, and populism that shape contemporary political life.


POLS 505 Turkish Politics

This course aims to introduce traditions of political thought that shape Turkish political life such as the traditions of politics in Tanzimat and the Constitutionalist Period, Ottomanism, Westernism, Kemalism, nationalism, left-wing, right-wing, conservatism, Islamism, liberalism, Kurdish political movement, and feminism. It also elaborates on some critical issues such as democratization, the relations between religion and politics, economy and politics, media and politics, and military and politics.

POLS 507 Turkey from 1980 to the Present

This course focuses on the political, economic, and cultural transformations that Turkey experienced since 1980. In the field of politics, the struggles between bureaucracy, political institutions, and civil society-capital class are discussed. In the field of economy, the country’s transition to the neo-liberal economic model and the consequent problems are discussed. In the field of culture, social changes are examined through the tensions in the axes of religiosity-secularism and individualization-collectivism.

POLS 510 Philosophy of Social Science 

In this course, formative processes and the emergence of social sciences; and their relation with natural sciences will be discussed. Philosophical foundations of qualitative and quantitative research methods will be covered. The place of ontology, epistemology, and methodology in scientific disciplines will be analyzed concerning debates of positivism and post-positivism.

POLS 511 Comparative Politics 

This course is about one of the major subfields of political science. Major theoretical approaches to comparative politics such as structuralism and institutionalism will be discussed. In addition, party systems, regime types, and debates over problems of categorization will be analyzed. Other important issues in comparative politics such as discussions on centralization, decentralization, federation; revolutions, democratization, and political violence will be introduced.

POLS 512 Turkish Foreign Policy

The course focuses on the regional and international environment and also leading personalities in Turkey, the course aims to tell the students about the trends and turning points in Turkish foreign policy

POLS 513 Contemporary Issues in European Politics 

A major transformation in the European Union since its foundation; the causes for these changes and their results will be discussed. The enlargement vision of the union and geopolitical and economic implications of this vision will be assessed. Special attention will be paid to recent debates over Brexit, the rise of rightist and leftist populism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia. EU foreign policy, the consequences of the economic crisis of 2008, and its political effects will be evaluated. The relationship between Turkey and the EU will be discussed from a historical perspective.

POLS 514 International Security 

The course will introduce major theoretical approaches to international security. Students will be familiar with the discussion of contemporary cases and problems of international security. Major international actors’ attitudes towards international security and the influence of state and non-state actors on security will be analyzed. The relation between political violence and terror and security policies will be discussed. Evaluation of non-conventional security threats such as nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons, and terrorism will also be another topic in the course.

POLS 515 Strategic Planning and Management

have a firm understanding of the concept of strategy; – be able to identify the features of strategy in different social and organizational settings; – be able to detect and explain the functioning of the strategic process; – be able to use procedural and analytic techniques and accurately interpret the results of the analysis

POLS 516 Theories of Strategy

This course discusses numerous theoretical and practical issues in strategic studies as a subfield of international relations. The course examines theories, concepts, and issues, which explain the evolution, nature, and state’s intention to prepare and use military power to serve its political needs and interests. The topics include The Meaning and Core Dimensions of Strategy, Strategy as a Science, Strategy, and Security Environment. Grand Strategy and Emergent Strategy, Historical Setting of Strategic Studies, Instruments of Strategy such as War and Types of Regular Warfare (Land Warfare, Naval Warfare. Air Warfare), Asymmetric and Irregular Wars (Guerrilla War, Civil War, and Strategic Terrorism), Strategic Issues (Arms Control and Disarmament, Nuclear Deterrence, Balance of Terror and Proliferation, Insurgency and Counterinsurgency Warfare), Drone Strikes, the Uses of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Attacks and Grand Strategy and New Directions for Strategy and Strategic Studies. Students are expected to engage in the readings fully and actively participate in class discussions and debates.

POLS 518 Foreign Policy Analysis 

The course aims at understanding and analyze major factors and criteria influencing the foreign policies of states and other international actors. The course will introduce levels of analysis in international politics and main theoretical approaches that explain foreign policy decisions. The course will equip the students with the knowledge of different cases of foreign policymaking through various theoretical and methodological tools.

POLS 521 Comparative Political Thought 

This course attempts to understand how non-Western political thinkers challenge the basic concepts and debates of Western political thought. In this context, it dwells on phenomena like orientalism, Eurocentrism, modernity, and multiculturalism. Besides, it introduces the political thought of various pre-modern and non-modern political thinkers.

POLS 522 Social and Political Thought of Ibn Khaldun 

This course discusses Ibn Khaldun’s social and political thought in the context of Islamic political thought. It deals with Ibn Khaldun’s philosophy of history and socio-political philosophy in comparing them with modern Western political thought. It, therefore, introduces the basic concepts and theories of Ibn Khaldun such as asabiyyah, civilization, and umran.

POLS 523 Comparative International System

This course seeks to analyze how international systems that belong to different historical periods and geographical areas come to being, operate, transform and finally collapse through the prism of main theories of International Relations such as realism, liberalism, the English School, and constructivism. It aspires to provide depth to comprehend the working of current global and regional international systems.

POLS 524 Qualitative and Interpretive Methods 

This course introduces qualitative and interpretive research methods and approaches. It compares these approaches with competing for positivistic and quantitative approaches to determine their comparative advantages and disadvantages. It also aims to make students familiar with main methods such as interviews, archive research, ethnography, and discourse analysis.

POLS 525 Islamic Political Thought 

The main issues of Islamic political thought in the classical and modern age will be discussed. Concepts like justice, state, sovereignty, law, liberty, pluralism, and democracy will be evaluated from the perspective of Islamic political thought.

POLS 526 Islam and Politics

The change after the Arab Revolutions has strengthened the view that Islamic movements are still the most significant political actors in contemporary Middle East politics. This course aims to provide you with an overview and understanding of the main trends of Islamic movements in the Middle East with a special reference to the leading thinkers of modern Islamic political thought. This course attempts to understand the roots, the evolution, the political views, and the impact of Islamic movements in the region. Drawing upon theoretical discussions of sharia, secularism, democracy, and religion, as well as referring to Islamist thinkers, this course emphasizes how politics and Islam shape each other.

POLS 527 Comparative Politics of the Middle East 

This course focuses on the comparative analysis of state-building and the emergence of nation-states in the Middle East. The comparison of party systems and regime types in the region; and the differences between oil-rich and oil-poor states will be covered. Civil-military relations in the Middle East will also be analyzed.

POLS 528 International Politics of the Middle East 

The course discusses the foreign policies of the states in the Middle East, and the factors that affect their decision-making. Arab-Israeli wars, Gulf wars, and the Cold War’s influence in the region will be covered. Relations of the regional actors with the superpowers and regional international organizations such as GCC and the Arab Union will be analyzed.

POLS 529 Quantitative Research Methods 

This course discusses the philosophical foundations of research based on quantitative data, data collection, and methods of research design. Designing and application of methods like survey research, simulation, and content analysis that use quantitative data will be covered alongside quantitative data literacy and how to use big data. Methods of data mapping and software programs like STATA and R for quantitative analysis will be taught.

POLS 530 International Political Economy 

The topics that will be discussed in this course include but are not limited to policies of development, import-substituting industrialization, export-oriented growth; effects of Keynesian and neoliberal policies of development on international relations. Post-WWII economic order and Bretton Woods institutions will also be discussed. International investment funds; IMF and The World Bank; the influence of energy resources on the political economy will be evaluated.

POLS 531 Comparative Political Economy

The course focuses on the logic and operations of economic markets; the role of the state in the market, and the possibilities and limitations of state involvement. The emphasis throughout the course will be on economic and political ideas and historical perspectives. Themes include financial institutions, poverty and inequality, economic growth, entrepreneurship, consumerism, work and unemployment, climate change, and globalization.

POLS 532 Cities and Citizenship

The course allows students to understand the role of place and space in shaping politics. It will examine the historical formations of the urban, its relation to the rural and tribal societies, and the social, political, and economic factors determining the rise of modern cities. The city in political thought will be explored, and how we can compare diverse ideas and experiences across civilizations and regions. Students will be introduced to the theories of citizenship, cosmopolitanism, and globalization. The theme of social movements and urban political logic of action, participation, and engagement will be highlighted, with a special focus on the Arab spring.

POLS 535 Identity, Ethnicity, and Nationalism 

The course focuses on the political and social effects of ethnic, religious, sectarian, tribal, and local identities; and their influence on shaping politics and the transformation of social structures. Experiences of coexistence and conflict in multicultural settings will be analyzed. Theoretical approaches to the formation processes of national identities will be discussed with specific emphasis on nationalism and ethnic conflict in Turkey and surrounding geographies.

POLS 540 Theories of the State

The course provides a historical and theoretical overview of the concept of the state. Each week we will discuss a different kind of state, beginning with the very first states in ancient Mesopotamia and finishing with contemporary examples such as welfare-, developmental- and patrimonial states. We will look at the way the respective states were organized, their aims and the scope of their power, and the rights and obligations of the people subject to them. The course will be held entirely online. There will be one weekly lecture, but also online lectures that students can listen to in their own time. One 5,000-word research paper is required, but in addition, students are expected to complete various online exercises, including quizzes and discussion forums. All students are required to record a presentation and upload it to the website. The final grade will be determined based on all the submitted material.

POLS 545 National Security Strategy

The course focuses on a sub-set of Security Studies that deals with the use of force in international relations. Special attention is paid to the impact of technological and normative change on the practice of war among diverse political groups across time. One key, relatively recent, change in this sense is the advent of nuclear weapons—which has originated a paradoxical scenario for traditional ways of implementing foreign policy decisions. Throughout the semester, students will acquire several theoretical, conceptual, and analytical tools with which to filter, order, and attach contextual meaning to a plethora of themes or issue-topics regarding national security, strategy, and foreign policy.

POLS 546 Terrorism and Political Violence 

The course aims at understanding terrorism, social uprising, civil war, and transnational violence movements, as well as the ideological underpinnings of these movements, the symbolic repertoire they utilize, their organizational structures, the social support they receive, and their regional and international networks. Causes of the emergence of political violence and ways to prevent them will be discussed in comparative case studies.

POLS 550 American Foreign Policy

This course is designed to be a general introduction to US foreign policy. In the first part of the course, the focus will be on the historical development of US foreign policy. It will be divided into four major parts: 1-) 1776-1945, 2-) Cold War, 3-) 1990s and 4-) post 9/11. The second part of the course will focus on foreign policy decision-making in the US. In addition to the executive and the Congress, major actors that impact the US foreign policy, such as the public opinion and the interest groups will be discussed. A specific emphasis will be given to the NSC. The last part of the course is intended to provide a brief overview of US foreign policy towards different regions, such as the new Asia-Pacific strategy and new foreign policy towards the EU.

POLS 565 Energy and Geopolitics 

The focus of the course will be on the role energy and energy resources play in global and regional geopolitics, inter-national cooperation, and alliance. Routes for transportation of energy and geopolitical aspects of pipeline projects will be discussed, as well as policies and norms regarding global warming, and alternative and renewable energy resources. The potential of new energy resources on shaping regional geopolitics will be assessed.

POLS 570 Conflict Analysis and Resolution 

The focus of the course will be on the causes of national, international, and inter-group conflicts, their dynamics, and methods of resolution. Economic, psychological, cultural, and political dimensions of conflicts will be covered alongside the methods of conflict resolution such as mediation, peace-building, conflict resolution workshops, negotiation, and peace processes. Comparative analysis of different cases from various regions will be discussed. Conflict mapping and modeling peace-building will be practiced.

POLS 571 Emerging Nations in World Politics 

The focus is on the countries that are labeled as “Underdeveloped”, “developing”, “Third World”, and “South.” The political, and economic problems in these countries will be discussed alongside the relations amongst them and the role they play in the global system. The conceptual literature on the subject will be critically evaluated and alternative explanations will be discussed. The categories such as BRICS, MIKTA, MINT, and LDC will be assessed and their validity will be questioned. States that are expected to play more important roles in world politics such as Brazil, Indonesia, China, Mexico, Nigeria, and India will be comparatively evaluated. Modernization theory, neo-liberal and neo-Marxist theories of development will be assessed.

POLS 575 States, Nations, and Empires

The course provides a historical and theoretical overview of the concepts “state,” “nation,” and “empire” as they have been used in political theory and historical practice both in Europe and elsewhere. We will start with the very first states of ancient antiquity and go on to discuss the idea of the city-state and the republican tradition, the great empires of Asia, the Cameralist states of Central Europe, the rise of nationalism and the transformation of states into “nation-states.” The course concludes with a discussion of “national self-determination” and neo-imperialism in our contemporary world.

POLS 577 The Politics and International Relations of Iran

This course is about important events, actors, and dates of the domestic and international relations of Iran. The transformation of Iran in terms of economy, society, and politics in the 20th century will be analyzed. In addition to Iranian foreign policy during the two World wars, a special focus will be on social movements in the 1970s which led to the revolution. In addition, the course will also discuss the challenges Iran faces in the 21st century.

POLS 579 Ottoman Political Thought

This course elaborates on the foundations of Ottoman political thought and its development and evolution in time. It grapples with how Ottoman political thought approaches the critical concepts of political thought such as justice, order, freedom, legitimacy, etc. It also aims at discussing the institutions and the concepts that are exclusive to the Ottoman world.

POLS 580 Independent Reading 

Students will do readings on focused topics with the approval of their advisors and the request of the instructor offering the course. Subjects should be following the curriculum and consistent with the objectives of the program.


Contact Us