Study Program Liberal Studies,
academic field Political Science
Academic Year – 2022/2023
The BISLA curriculum offers a broad range of courses in social sciences and humanities, which prepare students for a broad range of opportunities in pursuing further studies worldwide as well as in their professional careers. BISLA offers a personal approach, interdisciplinarity, and focus on skills of academic writing, independent research, and critical thinking.
BISLA’s liberal arts curriculum is designed to foster well-rounded, skills equipped, independently-minded individuals through a rigorous bachelor-level course of study. All students major in Political Science, and choose one of the following minors: International Relations, Political Thought, or Sociology. With the aid of their academic advisors, students can also build minors in other fields.
BISLA also provides directed studies for students with specific interests and offers a range of extracurricular non-credited courses free of charge (e.g. foreign languages, presentation and argumentation skills, etc.).
All courses are in English, taught by select lecturers, all experts in their fields.
Degree and Concentrations
A graduate of BISLA receives the title Bachelor of Arts, consisting of 180 (or more) credits within the major of political science.
While at BISLA, student can acquire, in addition to the major in political science, a study minor in the field of philosophy, Central Europe area studies, or international relations.
The study minor (concentration) is a cluster of interdisciplinary courses consisting of at least 30 course credits and writing a bachelor thesis in the selected field. This study minor enables the graduate to apply for further studies at a graduate level in specialized study fields.
POLITICAL SCIENCE MAJOR
All BISLA students receive their bachelor degree in political science. It is the main concentration of the studies, although following the liberal arts tradition, the span of the subjects included within this major is broader than in typical political science departments. Courses within the political science major are compulsory for all BISLA students and represent the bulk of the core curriculum.
This concentration introduces students to the study of political systems, institutions, cultures. In their first year, students are introduced to the field through comparison of political systems and study of basic democratic institutions and processes. The
second year focuses on analysis of historical and current sources of political cultures, ideologies, modes of conflict and cooperation. Advanced courses are a focused study of a particular geographic region or topic.
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS MINOR
International Relations concentration is devoted to the study of international politics, international organizations, diplomacy, history and theories of international relations and regional studies. Courses in the track of International Relations are sequenced to provide a student general introduction into the field and theories of international relations, history of the evolution of the international system, and basic overview of
international mechanisms and organizations. Alumni often successfully continue in pursing International Relations as their main field of study after completion of their bachelor studies at BISLA.
The International Relations minor is designed to provide students with at least 30 ECTS credits in the field of international relations over the three years of their undergraduate studies.
Students minoring in international relations are also required to write their bachelor’s thesis in the field of international relations and to pass their state exams in the subfield of international relations.
Upon successful completion of these requirements, students receive a certificate signifying completion of the International Relations Minor in addition to their Bachelor of Arts diploma in Political Science.
- Narratives of Conflict and Peace, and Justice: Transition in Post-apartheid South Africa (Dagmar Kusá)
- International Human Rights Mechanisms (Human and Civil Rights) (Dagmar Kusá)
- Theories of Conflict Resolution (Dagmar Kusá)
- Russian Politics (Aliaksiei Kazharski)
- China and Central Europe (Gabriela Pleschová)
- Ethnic Conflict and Violence in International Relations (Dagmar Kusá)
CENTRAL EUROPE AREA STUDIES MINOR
Concentration in Central Europe Area Studies is an inderdisciplinary study field which approaches the geographical region of Central Europe from a variety of perspectives. Students engage in researching the political systems, their cooperation and their position in the broader European region and international system, development of political thought in the area of Central Europe, artistic influences and
trends. They consider the spread and the role of phenomena as nationalism and populism and their lasting impact on current societies.
Central Europe Area Studies minor consist of 30 or more ECTS course credits in this field. Students write their bachelor thesis on topic related to Central Europe, and a portion of the final state exams draws questions from this study field.
In addition, foreign students also take Slovak or Russian language.
Core courses :
Formation of international system
Politics of Central Europe
Modern European History
China and Central Europe (Gabriela Pleschová)
Art History (Juraj Meško)
Crisis in the European Union (Karen Henderson)
Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Race (Michal Vašečka)
Introduction to International Migration (Michal Vašečka)
Russian Politics (Aliaksei Kazharski)
Various other electives on offer
Dissertation Unit: Students minoring in Central Europe Area Studies write their
bachelor thesis in the field of Central Europe.
POLITICAL THOUGHT MINOR
Concentration in Political Thought offers students an intensive introduction into the world of political thought and philosophy. In this concentration, BISLA highlights the historical roots of present political thought and analyses of political systems in history
of political thought.
Courses are designed to cultivate skills of independent and creative thinking, analysis, and academic writing.
Minor in Political Thought consists of min. 30 ECTS credits of course work, submission and defense of a bachelor thesis within this field, and passing the state exams within this subfield.
Fall Semester: History of Political Thought III: Late Modern and Contemporary
Spring Semester: Theories of Democracy
Introduction to Philosophy
History of Political Thought I: Antiquity
History of Political Thought I: Early Modern
History of Political Thought III: Late Modern and Contemporary
Theories of Democracy
• Kierkegaard and the Philosophy of the 19th Century (Peter Šajda)
• Philosophy of Culturedness (Peter Šajda)
• Non-Western Philosophy
• Various other electives on offer
Dissertation Unit: Students minoring in Political Thought write their bachelor thesis in this field.
STRUCTURE OF THE FIRST YEAR
In the first week of the semester, first year students take part in orientation which prepares them for academic life at BISLA and gets them acquainted with the faculty and their older colleagues. In this week, students develop creative writing skills
Focus on Skills Development
In their first years, students acquire the correct academic habits through writing short essays, they learn and practice to think critically, and to read original texts. Students are also practicing discussion and presentation skills.
All students participate in common core courses that are of introductory nature to a variety of disciplines within social science and humanities.
Academic Writing and English
During the first two semesters, students can significantly improve their English language skills, especially their comprehension of academic literature, broaden their vocabulary, and gain confidence in writing and presenting in English language.
J-Term (short, intensive semester)
During five weeks in January and February, first year students attend intensive seminars on methodology of social research and take workshops designed to practice the soft skills of independent research, public presentations, problem solving, conflict resolution, and the like.
STRUCTURE OF THE SECOND YEAR
Declaring a Minor
In their second year, students choose their concentration, if they wish to graduate with certificate of minor in Central European Area Studies, Political Thought, or International Relations. They work with their academic advisors to build their study program accordingly to achieve this goal upon graduation.
All BISLA students are required to undertake internships in public administration or non-governmental institutions in the fields of politics, foreign relations, culture, media, environment, law. Students are expected to complete at least 60 hours of supervised internships. However, they are encouraged to take on internships for a prolonged period of time – semester or longer- to get acquainted with the institutions, programs, strategic planning, organization of events, etc.
Choosing bachelor thesis topic and advisor
In their fourth semester, students choose the topic and the first reader for their bachelor theses. By the end of the semester, students submit a brief proposal and design the study plan together with their thesis advisors.
The second year at BISLA is devoted to advance the academic writing skills of the students, of independent research in social sciences, and public presentation.
J-Term (short, intensive semester)
STRUCTURE OF THE THIRD YEAR
Bachelor thesis represents the main outcome of academic research and writing at BISLA. Students are free to choose from a broad range of fields and topics from within the BISLA curriculum, in cooperation with their thesis advisors. They start preparing for the writing in their second year, by selecting a topic, the thesis advisor, and crafting a study plan. In their fifth semester, students develop a comprehensive bachelor thesis proposal, which receives feedback from the advisor and the second reader of the thesis. Bachelor theses include original research, substantial review of
literature within the field, discussion of findings, and implications. All theses are published on BISLA website.
As their transition towards graduate level of education or employment and internships after graduation approaches, students are offered career counseling and collaborate with the Undergraduate Studies Coordinator and their academic advisors on preparation for this phase of life.
At this level of studies, students focus on advanced level of reading and writing long- form texts, and getting acquainted with advanced social science research methods. Students are encouraged to present at international student conferences, and publish in student academic journals.