Curriculum planning is based on the four major areas of political thought: comparative politics, international relations, administration and policy. Undergraduate students are required to take courses from all four areas, while Master’s students can choose one primary research area and one secondary research area. Ph.D. students are required to choose two areas of research.
All courses are designed in the spirit of "expanding global vision, understanding political workings, aware of social trend, and care about public interests.” With regards to curriculum planning and teaching, the objectives include the inculcation of "fundamental political science knowledge,” "public speaking and organizational skills,” "talents in political science research,” "talents for public affairs participation,” "talents in political science teaching and research,” "leaders who participate in public affairs.” In terms of teaching strategy, the Department’s objectives include: the ability to understand political behaviour and political interaction, the ability to understand the constitutional system and the legal system, the ability to understand international affairs and international organization, the ability to understand ideology and political thought, possess skills of foreign language and cross-cultural communication, the ability to understand and participate in public affairs, the ability to critique rationally and democratic communication, leadership and organizational skills, analysis and decision making skills, argument and discourse skills, problem solving skills, research method skills, and the ability to conduct political science teaching and research. Information on program description and course enrolment is as follows:
The Undergraduate Program
To graduate, undergraduate students must complete 128 credits (79 for required course and 49 for selective courses). In addition to the common required courses designated by the University (including 12 credits of general education), fundamental department requirements include Political Studies, ROC Constitution and Government, and Methods for Political Studies. Students must also complete 10 courses in the following areas of studies: Introduction to Chinese Political Thought, Introduction to Western Political Thought, Study of Political Codes and Records, Political Thought and Contemporary Issues from the area of political thought; International Politics and Public International Law, or International Political Economy, from the area of international relations; Comparative Government and Politics, and Party Politics and Election System, or Voting Behaviour and Election Strategy, from the area of comparative politics; as well as Administration and Public Policy, or City Governance, from the area of administration and policy.
The area of political thought is subdivided into history (ancient, middle ages, modern, and contemporary), and contemporary issues in political philosophy (feminism, environmentalism). International relations is subdivided into theories of international relations, foreign policy, peace, war, and history of international relations. Comparative politics has the following areas of focus: regional politics, comparative political theories, and election research. Administration and policy has three areas of concentrations that aim to develop students’ understanding of core functions, values and operation of the government: Public Law Training, Administrative Management, Public Management and Policy.
Since 2006, to strengthen our students’ level of internationalization, the Department has offered courses lectured in English. To graduate, students must least complete a course lectured in English offered by the Department. During the 2013 academic year, six such courses were available: Voting Behavior, International Human Rights Protection: Asia, Political Development in Taiwan, Theory and Practice of Negotiation, Case Studies in Public Management Practice. Students must also pass any standardized English proficiency test and achieve a mark equivalent to CEF B1 or Soochow University’s English proficiency exam.
To integrate between research and teaching, the Department has established Legislature and Election Study Groups and City Governance Study Groups, and has also modularized the courses under the four areas of studies, in order to promote integrative cross-disciplinary course groups. This is aimed to be a feature of the political science curriculum at Soochow University. Also, considering the emergence of China as a major player in the political and economic development of Asia Pacific, as well as the importance of the China problem and cross-strait issues, the Department has established a China Study Group.
Curriculum structure of the undergraduate program
*Required courses are in bold.
Master’s and Ph.D. Programs
Soochow University’s graduate programs in political science offers five streams of studies: methodology, political thought, comparative politics, international politics, and administration and policy. With the exception of the methodology stream, graduate students should choose one major research area and one minor research area. All students, regardless of research streams, must complete a core theory course for their respective research steam: Contemporary European and American Political Philosophy for the Political Thought stream, Comparative Politics and Research for the Comparative Politics Stream, Theory of International Politics for the International Relations Stream, and Public Administration Theory for the administration and policy stream.
The four major streams have theoretical core courses. Graduate students must complete one primary research area (at least 12 credits, including requirements for the respective stream), with one secondary research area (at least 6 credits). Methodology is the fundamental course for all streams of research. Under this umbrella, "Basic Statistics” and "Research Design” are requirements for the Comparative Politics stream; "Basic Statistics” and "Public Administration Methods” are for the Administration and Policy stream; "Research Methods for International Politics” is for International Relations stream; and "Political Thought Method” is for the Political Thought stream. Total required credits for graduation are 30 credits; during their course of study, students must publish one academic paper and complete a master’s thesis.
Ph.D. and masters students will take courses together. In addition, there are courses designed specifically for Ph.D. students. Graduate students in the Ph.D. program must choose one primacy research area and one secondary research area. Program completion requirement for the primary research area is at least 4 courses, and it is at least 2 courses for the secondary research area, with the inclusion of the required courses for the student’s chosen research areas. The Ph.D. program places an emphasis on the training of research methodology and teaching abilities, therefore the students must complete 2 methodology courses and training in political science teaching. Total required credits for graduation for the Ph.D. program are 27 credits; during their course of study, students must publish one academic paper or two conference papers, pass a second language test and doctoral exam, and complete a Ph.D. dissertation.
For course names, syllabi, or description for the graduate programs, please go to :http://www2.scu.edu.tw/politics/default.asp?Subject=eCourse
In the recent years, cross-disciplinary integration and research has been the Department’s focus. The Department has established the following centers and workshops: Center for Globalization Studies, Center for Legislature Studies, Center for EU Studies, Center for UN Studies, Metropolitan Governance Studies Center, Workshop for Human Rights and Democratic Teachings.
"Globalization” was first coined in the early 1960s. Until 1980s, the term was neither in popular nor academic vernacular. However, since 1990s, "globalization” has become a slogan, appearing in various newspapers, magazines and media, and often being mentioned by entrepreneurs, statesmen, politicians, academics, experts, and even the unemployed. So, from being little known to becoming everywhere, "globalization” became a very important subject of research.
For more information about the center, please see: http://classi.ppo.scu.edu.tw/cgs
Since the emergence of democratic ideas in the 17th century, representative democracy has been a critical part of the democratic ideas. The purpose of representative democracy is to ensure the will of the people is expressed through legislators, as well as implemented. Since democratization, in Taiwan, legislature became an important political instrument. However, at present, the Taiwanese public have been disappointed by the legislature, and continued to call for reforms. Despite the implementation of new election rules and the streamlining of the legislature since the 7th legislator election, it is uncertain whether such changes will further the democratization process and representative democracy in Taiwan. Therefore it’s our job to keep paying attention to, observing and monitoring the legislature.
The establishment of a specialized Center for Legislative Studies is the realization of such objective. Employing long-term, scientific method to monitor and analyze the operation and performance of Taiwan’s legislature, analyzing through databases the impact on the legislative process of political parties, committees, and procedure committee, comparing between Taiwan’s law-making body with that of other countries, and offering critiques and suggestion to the Legislature. Changes in the foreign and domestic systems, election results, rise and demise of political parties, and various international events all have potential impacts on the legislative behavior and results. Therefore there must be a non-partisan research institution like ours that conducts systemic, long-term monitoring of the legislative body. Aside from sharing research results, we also hope to contribute through our non-partisan academic research to the positive changes in real politics.
For more information about the center, please see: http://classi.ppo.scu.edu.tw/congress/
It has been half a century since the beginning of the European integration. Progress in the areas of deepened economic and political ties has been remarkable: the Euros have been a new generation of hard currency, the implementation of a single European market, competition between EU countries and the United States in international politics. Even though there is great geographic distance between the EU and Taiwan, and the two have neither common interests nor threats, but between the EU and Taiwan economic and cultural interactions are growing closer. As such, having an in-depth understanding of the EU is critical. Since 2006, as a result of many discussions and meetings, the Department integrated 4 areas – political thought, international politics, comparative politics, and public administration – and established the Center for EU Studies, hoping to add another unique feature to Soochow University’s political science department.
The purpose of the Center for EU Studies is to become an academic information and research platform, and through stating the research issues about the EU and looking for a common focus, to establish collaborative relationships for research exchange, to hold keen awareness of domestic and international political development, and to integrate EU-relevant research issues and educational needs. In recent years, the Center has organized various academic seminars, conferences and forums to further exchanges among domestic academics and experts, to increase international dialogues, and to strengthen interactions between domestic and foreign research, in the hope to develop a system of characteristics unique to Soochow University’s political science department and to elevate Taiwan’s academic achievement on the subject of EU.
For more information about the center, please see: http://classi.ppo.scu.edu.tw/EU
Following the expansion and deepening of globalization, cross-country relationships continue to bond and complicate. The importance of global governance also increased, making necessary the integration between different disciplines. The mission of the Center is to focus on the most influential, largest, most diverse international organization— the United Nations— and be a leader in the promotion of UN studies in Taiwan, including international dialogues and cross-departmental projects.
The objective of the center is to encourage the planning and teaching of UN-related courses, strengthen UN-related research, systematically collect information on the UN, promote international cooperation and dialogues, organize relevant academic activities, and the administrative support for the aforementioned objectives. In particular, the "UN-related topics” has three parts: 1) the organization, functions, operation of the UN; 2) topics and issues on which the UN focuses such poverty, environment, safety, population, and disease; 3) the interactions between Taiwan and the UN, including Taiwan’s application to join.
The Soochow University is an institution that focuses on the humanities, social sciences, and law. The University is well known for its faculty and curriculum. This was an important foundation for the University to promote the establishment of a Center for UN Studies. In addition, in recent years, the University has been developing a curriculum in human rights education and green learning, and following issues and events that the UN considers as high priority, so the establishment of the Center serves as a platform for research/teaching/event exchanges between Taiwan and the UN.
For more information about the center, please see: http://classi.ppo.scu.edu.tw/UN
Since the topics of globalization caught the attention of countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, traditional analytic framework focusing on comparative profit, cost or price can no longer explain the competitive advantages of each country. According to the literature of critical mass, locations such as the Silicon Valley in California, Massachusetts Route 128, Third Italy, France’s Toulouse, Rhône-Alpes, and Ile-de-France (Paris), as well as the Science and Industrial Parks in Taiwan’s Hsinchu and Tainan, have continuously focused on product innovation. These locations are also highly competitive in the global trade of branded products.
Many factors contribute to and sustain a location’s unique competitiveness. There must risk-taken companies willing to invest in various products and market innovation, complemented by public infrastructure, local finance public-private financing, administrative agencies and bureaucratic system. Furthermore, technological R&D, education and training, as well as formal and informal public-private and cross-corporation collaborations are important ingredients. In other words, the competitive advantages of these locations are the results of local politics, economics and social model. Why are these aforementioned locations able to become a long-term and steady critical mass and possess competitive advantages?
A system is the aggregation of an area’s local politics, economics, and social structure. It determines the fundamental politics, economics, and social personality of a local government or an area. All other individual policy groups or event networks are built upon this fundamental structure. By extension, the roles, behaviors, and uniqueness of policy groups and event networks of different areas or locations are affected by the fundamental structure of the relevant locations or areas. So, to understand and clarify the uniqueness of different locations or metropolitan areas, we must understand what are the system and governing characteristics of those metropolitan areas.
Relevant studies on metropolitan governance have become a hot topic within the academic circle of political science around the world. But there is still a high degree of differentiation when it comes to theories and practices. At present, compared to other countries, at both the academic and government levels, Taiwan still lack attention to this important topic. There were no relevant research units or center. So the Center was established to promote globalization as an important area of study and research that deserves long-term focus. Within the globalized network, for a country like Taiwan which must continue relentlessly to strengthen the ability to govern and to accumulate sustaining competitiveness, how it can utilize the competitiveness of various metropolitans of and turn it into capital that pushes Taiwan forward, is important.
For more information about the center, please see: http://classi.ppo.scu.edu.tw/MG/index-1.html
This workshop was established for faculty who specialized in human rights and democracy studies to share and present their research results and teaching methods.
For more information about the center, please see: http://classi.ppo.scu.edu.tw/hrd