Comparative Politics subfield

The Notre Dame Political Science program is an excellent option for graduate students in comparative politics. With fourteen full-time faculty members and several additional faculty in comparative politics, our group has considerable geographical and thematic breadth.

Five faculty members specialize in Latin American politics; six in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, or the former Soviet Union; and multiple faculty members focus on Africa or Asia. Our faculty 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 have several other emerging clusters of thematic strength. Sarah Daly and Guillermo Trejo bring us recognition in the areas of political conflict and violence, conflict resolution, peace-building and organized crime. Debra Javeline is well known for her work on political protest and contentious politics; Victoria Tin-bor Hui, for her work on state formation in China and Western Europe. Amitava Dutt specializes in the political economy of developing countries, Susanne Wengle studies the political economy of the post-Soviet region, and Jaimie Bleck focuses on political parties and civil society in western Africa. We also are strong in the areas of identity politics; several faculty members work on religion, ethnicity, and nationalism (Daly, Robert Dowd, Andrew Gould, Sean McGraw, Scully, and Trejo). Karrie Koesel examines the intersection of religion and authoritarianism in contemporary Chinese and Russian politics. Javeline and James McAdams work on comparative judicial politics and transitional justice.

Our faculty 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. He currently directs the Varieties of Democracy project, which is based at Notre Dame. Debra Javeline, Bleck, Daly, McGraw, Scully, and Samuel Valenzuela have conducted innovative original survey research and Bleck uses experimental methods in her research. Gary Goertz combines expertise in comparative politics and international relations and has become one of the world’s leading specialists in mixed methods. 

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 is most appropriate for their projects. 

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


Sarah Daly

Latin American politics, civil wars and peace-building, international security, ethnic politics


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


Timothy Scully, C.S.C.

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