Georgetown's Master of Arts Program in Democracy and Governance addresses the diverse challenges and obstacles to promoting sustained democratization and achieving effective governance. The curriculum requires 42 credit hours. Core courses on democracy promotion, political reform, and institutional and policy development, taught by leading scholars and practitioners in the field, provide a crucial analytical foundation, while courses offered by the Department of Government and other Georgetown departments permit students to design a program that meets their specific interests.
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 (nine 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.
The program provides training organized around four thematic areas:
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.
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 Civil Society
Coursework in this area covers the full range of issues associated with contemporary experiences of civil society and social movements 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
- The relationship between democracy and civil society
- 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
In order to graduate from the program, students much 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.
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.
From the Democracy and Society Blog