Comparative Politics subfield

The Notre Dame Political Science program should be considered as a top option of every student who is contemplating graduate study in comparative politics.  With 14 full-time faculty members in comparative politics, our group is larger than the comparative faculty in other strong and prestigious political science departments, and has considerable geographical and thematic breadth.

We have five faculty members specializing in Latin American politics, five with expertise in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, or the former Soviet Union, and multiple faculty members focusing on either Asian or African politics.  Many among our faculty also have made important intellectual contributions that transcend the regions in which they specialize. Our department is particularly well known for cross-regional strength in democratization and regime change, as well as political parties and institutions.  Michael Coppedge, Scott Mainwaring, and Timothy Scully have published influential research on regimes, political parties and institutions, and democratic governance. We also have several other emerging clusters of thematic strength: Guillermo Trejo, Sarah Zukerman-Daly, George Lopez, and Ernesto Verdeja bring us recognition in the areas of political conflict/violence and conflict resolution, especially human rights violations/genocide and peace-building. They join Debra Javeline, well known for her work in political protest and contentious politics, and Victoria Tin-bor Hui, for her work on state formation in China and Western Europe. We also are strong in the areas of identity politics, with several faculty members working on religion, ethnicity, and nationalism (Robert Dowd, Andrew Gould, Sean McGraw, Peter Moody and Timothy Scully). Monika Nalepa, Debra Javeline, and James McAdams work on comparative judicial politics and transitional justice. Our faculty also has wide-ranging methodological interests and expertise: Michael Coppedge is known for his writings on multi-method research and chaired an APSA Task Force on Indicators of Democracy and Governance. Debra Javeline has conducted important and innovative original survey research, and Monika Nalepa uses game-theoretic approaches to political science.

As a group, we are methodologically eclectic, a collegial community of research scholars that is not rigidly divided along methodological lines.  We encourage our students to work in whatever methodological tradition that is most appropriate for their projects, whether it is institutional analysis, survey research, historical approaches, class analysis, textual analysis, or game theory. 

In addition to departmental resources, many of our students receive travel and research funding from other University sources, including the internationally renowned Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies. These institutes are vibrant centers of intellectual activity and scholarly exchange.  Through their visiting fellows programs and their financial sponsorship of research working groups and external speakers’ series, Kellogg, Kroc and Nanovic enrich the intellectual environment by exposing students to distinguished scholars from other universities in the U.S. and around the world.



Specialty within Comparative Politics


Jaimie Bleck

African politics, democratization, education, citizenship


Michael Coppedge

Latin American politics, democratization, political parties, research design and methods, measurement


Rev. Robert Dowd, C.S.C.

African politics, religion and politics, democratization, political development, ethnic politics


Andrew Gould

European politics, political development, taxes, religion and politics, research methods


Victoria Tin-Bor Hui

Asian and European politics, state formation, contentious politics, political culture, Chinese politics


Debra Javeline

Mass political behavior, survey research, post-Soviet and post-communist politics, the politics of climate change adaptation


Scott Mainwaring

Latin American politics, democratic and authoritarian regimes, transitions to democracy, political parties


A. James McAdams

European politics, communist and post-communist politics, German politics, religion and politics, comparative judicial politics, transitional justice


Rev. Sean McGraw, C.S.C.

European politics, political parties, civil society, religion and politics, Irish politics


Monika Nalepa

Transitional justice, democratic transitions, comparative judicial and legislative politics, Eastern Europe, game theoretic approaches


Timothy Scully, C.S.C.

Latin American politics, political parties, religion and politics, democratization, electoral politics


Naunihal Singh

Political conflict, civil-military relations, civil wars, democratization, African politics


Guillermo Trejo

Latin American politics, collective action and social protest, political violence and conflict resolution, religious and ethnic politics




Field Expectations for Second-Year and Third-Year Reviews.