Curriculum and Requirements

Curriculum and Requirements in Democracy and Governance

Georgetown's Master of Arts Program in Democracy and Governance addresses the diverse challenges and obstacles to achieving sustained democratization and effective governance. Leading scholars and practitioners in the field teach core courses, while courses offered by the Department of Government and other Georgetown departments permits students to design a program that meets their specific interests (see recent course offerings and alumni recommendations).

The program typically takes two years to complete on a full-time basis, though some students elect to complete the program on a part-time basis over three years. Full-time students take anywhere from three to five courses per semester (9 to 15 credits), though nine credits qualifies as full-time. Part-time students typically take two courses per semester, and may also participate in the summer session.

All students must complete the following three requirements:

1. GOVT 564: Comparative Democratization -or- GOVT 645: Theories of Political Development
2. GOVT 538: Program Design and Evaluation -or- GOVT 541: Research Design in Democracy and Democratization
3. GOVT 657: Political Institutions -or- GOVT 550: Democracy Promotion

The program requires students to take at least one course in each of the following themes:

History and Theories of Democracy and Democratization
Democracy, Governance, and Institutions
Democracy and Society
Democracy, Governance, and Development Policy
Regional Studies in Democracy

Each thematic area encompasses issues that are central to an understanding of current debates in the study of democracy and governance, with a balance of applied and theoretical training. In addition, we encourage students to take courses that allow them to focus on the unique political trajectory of a particular world region.

Students must also fulfill the following requirements:

Six Elective Courses (including possible internship for credit)
Language Requirement
Oral Examinations

Download a copy of the curriculum requirements:

Curriculum Requirements 2015.pdf

Access the MA Program Handbook here.

 
 

I. History and Theories of Democracy and Democratization

Students receive the conceptual and historical foundations necessary to comprehend the varied forms and practices that constitute contemporary democracy, as well as an understanding of democratic political institutions and the policies that maintain them through this focus field. It includes courses that address:

  • The origins and trajectories of democracy
  • Democracy in Western political thought
  • Ideologies and norms, including religion, in the study of democracy
  • The quality of democracy

II. Democracy, Governance, and Institutions 

Policymakers and scholars agree that concerns over responsible governance and effective representation are at the forefront of current debate about the future prospects for democratic life. They are also central for understanding conditions that impede accountable government and how processes such as globalization are transforming representation and institutional capacity. Courses in this focus field will cover concepts and approaches to:

  • Corruption and rule of law
  • Institutions of governance and representation
  • Globalization and democracy
  • Political economy of development and economic reform

III. Democracy and Society

Coursework in this area covers the full range of issues associated with contemporary experiences of civil society, social movements, religion, identity, and migration on democratization and political reform, as well as the role of civil society in consolidated democracies, and the links between globalization and transnational civil society. Courses in this area include:

  • Civil society in transitioning countries and emerging democracies
  • Social movements and political change
  • Citizenship and migration
  • Globalization and trans-national civil society

IV. Democracy, Governance, and Development Policy

The complex and still contested relationship between development, governance, and democracy is our fourth focus field. Courses in this area address foundation questions about democracy and economic development: Are development and democracy linked intrinsically? Does democracy promote economic development or vice-versa? Is good economic governance the same as good political governance? Are there differences between effective development policies in democracies and non-democracies? In this focus field we examine:

  • Theories of democracy and economic development
  • Governance and economic development
  • Development policies of states and international organizations
  • Theories of political development

V. Regional Studies in Democracy

Students are required to take one course that focuses on the experience of democracy within a specific global region. This complements the broader and comparative nature of our program with useful contextual and specific knowledge of areas of interest to students.


VI. Elective Courses (Including Internship for Credit)

Students can take up to seven elective courses to help them gain greater expertise on a sub-field of their interest such as electoral studies, democracy promotion, governance and economic reform, or methodological tools for policy. These classes are available through the MA Program in Democracy and Governance, but also from the wider Georgetown course catalog. Students are limited to two 400-level courses per year.

In addition students may opt to complete an internship in lieu of one or two 3-credit electives. This internship must receive approval from the associate director of the program and must have relevant to the academic focus of the program.


VII. Language Requirement

In order to graduate from the program, students must pass a written language proficiency examination in which they must translate a short article in a foreign language to English. The document is typically a piece of popular news or current events of about two pages in length. Students may bring a dictionary to the exam, but Internet use is prohibited. International students from countries where English is not the primary language may request an exemption from the exam. The exam is administered once in both the fall and spring semester. See details on the Government Department;s language policy here.


VIII. Oral Exams

In the month prior to graduation, students must also pass an oral comprehensive examination. This exam lasts 30-45 minutes and is administered by the program directors. Students are given a study guide in advance.


IX. Alumni Recommendations

DG_Alumni_CourseRec

Graduates of the Democracy and Governance program frequently provide feedback for professors and course recommendations for incoming students. Our alumni, working in diverse fields the world over, have provided personal recommendations for more than thirty graduate courses at Georgetown. Graduates recommend courses and course-sequencing on the basis of their individual careers and professional experience.

More on our alumni's endorsements can be found in the 2013 Graduate Survey.