Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2023
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture per week (48 total per quarter)
Advisory: Not open to students with credit in POLI 2H.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Compare and contrast governmental systems to understand theories concerning both democratization and social justice (human rights, unemployment, equitable distribution, etc.).
  • Critically analyze concepts and apply research to support hypothesis about course content.


Introductory analysis of comparative governmental systems and politics emphasizing a variety of political forms; theory of political differentiation and development; and patterns, processes, and regularities among political systems in developing and developed world.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Compare and contrast variety of governmental systems and politics
  2. Identify and distinguish range of political forms
  3. Analyze patterns, processes, and regularities among political systems
  4. Compare and contrast models of development strategies
  5. Analyze theoretical formulations on comparative politics
  6. Formulate research design of comparative politics study

Course Content

  1. Introduction to comparative politics: what is it?
    1. Comparative politics as a field of study
    2. Comparative study of state, society, country, political system
    3. Comparative politics as different from international relations
    4. Defining key concepts in comparative politics: state, nation, nation-state, government
    5. Historical overview of field since World War II
  2. Some methodological issues in comparative politics
    1. The structural-functional approach
    2. The three legs of comparative analysis: theory, evidence, method
    3. The systems theory approach
    4. The historical/structural/dialectical approach
    5. World systems theory approach
  3. Review of some major studies in comparative politics
    1. The Cold War and its impact on capitalist and socialist societies
    2. The stages of capitalist economic growth
    3. Dependency, structural dependency, and dependent underdevelopment
    4. Incorporation of of nation-states into core, semiperiphery, and periphery
    5. Modernity

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

When taught via Foothill Global Access, on-going access to computer with email software and hardware; email address.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Systematic and continuous participation in course
Oral presentations to class of appropriate topics focusing on analysis
Development of research project in comparative politics
Development of critical, analytical, research, and writing skills
Presentation of assigned research paper to class

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:


Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

O'Neil, P.. Essentials of Comparative Politics, 7th ed.. 2021.

O'Neil, P., K. Fields, and D. Share. Cases in Comparative Politics, 7th ed.. 2021.

O'Neil, P., and R. Rogowski. Essential Readings in Comparative Politics, 5th ed.. 2017.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Students may be asked to read the Economist
  2. Students may be asked to write a research paper and review articles from political science journals


Political Science