Undergraduate Degree Programs
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The Department of Political Science and Public Administration is one of the oldest departments in the Faculty of Arts.  It is also one of the biggest departments.  The Department of Political Science and Public Administration currently offer two degree programmes, namely, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Arts Public Administration.

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (B.A. )


The objectives of the programme are:

  • To understand and appreciate the role of politics in human life.
  • To equip students with skills of understanding and conducting research on politics, political processes and political systems globally.
  • To acquire appropriate skills that can enable students to effectively participate and contribute to political development in the country.

Entry Requirements

The common regulations governing admission into the Bachelor of Arts degree in the Faculty of Arts shall apply.

Course Structure and Duration

All the 1st level courses are compulsory for candidates students in the Department. In second year, students shall take 4 courses, any two in chosen from three each of the two semesters. From the 3rd year onwards, a candidate may opt for any of the four degree options offered in the Faculty of Arts as detailed in the Faculty’s Regulations for Degree Programmes.  That is one may opt to:

  • Take Political Science as one of two Majors (option 1) ;
  • Take political Science as the only Major (option 2);
  • Take Political Science as a Major plus another discipline in the Faculty of Arts as a Minor (option 3); or
  • Take political Science as one Major with other two disciplines in the Faculty of Arts as Minor (option 4).

Whichever option the candidate chooses, the regulations governing each degree options and loading in the Faculty of Arts apply. The duration period for the programme is sixteen (16) semesters, assuming two (2) semesters per academic year. Each semester lasts for 15 weeks. Each course under the programme shall be covered in 45 contact hours.

Transfer of Credits

A candidate from a recognized University, or any other equivalent institution, wishing to transfer to the Programme at the University of Nairobi shall be allowed to transfer Credits from his/her University if these credits are equivalent.  The transferred Credits shall not be more than a third (1/3) of the total credits required for the award of the B.A. degree.

Course Descriptions and Outlines:

Courses offered are clustered around the six sub-disciplines of the discipline of Political Science, that is, Political Theory, Political Sociology, Political Economy, International Relations, Comparative Politics and Public Administration.  However, in First Year courses, introduce students to general issues in Political Science and are compulsory.

First Year Courses

CPS 101:    Introduction to Political Science

The course introduces students to Political Science as a social science discipline.  It examines the specific areas of human and governmental activities that constitute the focus of political study; the nature, scope, methods and the scientific basis of political study; Analyses the nature, processes and ends of the modern state as well as the various types of political systems; the role of such key political institutions as parties, pressure groups executives, legislatures and other arms of government.

CPS 102:    Politics and Government in Africa

The course examines historically and thematically, the political developments in Africa both during the colonial and post-independence periods with emphasis on the latter period.  The topics covered include: colonial formations, movements and institution building; the political economy of colonialism; post-independence political trends with special reference to the struggle for power and its social and economic dimensions; the role of the various institutions in the political process; the militarization of politics; patterns of social formation and their effects on the political process; politics of resource allocation and development; role of external forces in national politics; race, class and ethnicity.  These themes will be covered through comparative analysis of the experiences of selected African countries.

CPS 103:    Basic Concepts in Political Science

The course introduces students to the nature and role of concepts in the scientific study of politics and examines the origins and the modern applications of key concepts in the analysis and understanding of politics.  Some of the concepts treated are the state, bureaucracy, power, authority. Democracy, class, legitimacy, sovereignty, etc. 

CPS 104:    Politics and Government in Kenya

The focus of the course is on Politics and Government in the post independence period.  However the pre-colonial and colonial situations are highlighted where necessary.  The topics covered under Politics are: The politics of transition to independence; the colonial heritage, the struggle for the state in the post independence period (i.e. ideological, ethnic, etc); party state relations in historical perspective; electoral polities; the politics of resource allocation, Kenya’s foreign policy from Kenyatta to the present. The topics  covered under Government  are: The structure of National and Local Government, Centre Local Relations in governance and resource allocation, the role of the Civil Bureaucracy in the state system; the constitutional base of the Government of Kenya; Crisis in governance in historical perspective.

Second Year Courses

CPS 201:    Introduction to Political Theory

Emphasis will be placed on political theorizing, which is of significance in the world today or in the explanation of historical and political trends.  Examines political obligation order and freedom, the state, and justice.

CPS 211: Introduction to Political Sociology

Examines the major theories in the sociology of politics as found in the principal writings of thinks like Weber, Pareto Marx, Mosca, Michels; analyzes principles and channels of political socialization, recruitment and participation.

CPS 212:    Politics and Social Integration

Surveys policies and institutions, which states have used for the purpose of historical and contemporary periods taken and evaluate the social pluralism in developing areas and challenges it poses for development and stability.

CPS 221:        Introduction to Comparative Politics

Examines systems analysis, political behaviour, social-structural and social class analysis.  Major theoretical and empirical studies, which illustrate the different approaches, will be examined.

CPS 231: Introduction to International Relations

An examination of the theoretical foundation of international relations, international political behaviour and institutions.  The course explores of the basic concepts, approaches, theories and their implications in understanding international relations.  The student is expected to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the major contending schools of thought in the study of International Relations.

CPS 241:    Introduction to Public Administration

The concept of public administration; the evolution and development of the discipline of public administration; classical theories of public administration such as scientific management and human relations; principles of public administration such as span of control, unity of command; power, authority and leadership; and agencies of public administration and their relationship.

CPS 251:        Introduction to Political Economy

Examines theoretical perspectives including the physiocrats, utilitarianism, Ricardian thought, Marxism, contribution of J.S. Mill, Adam Smith etc.  The contribution of political economy to modern economic and political analysis. The relevance of Political Economy to contemporary development problems.

Third Year Courses

(The Units offered in the third and fourth years are organized around six sub-disciplines)


CPS 301:        Major Themes in African Political Thought

The major themes include: origin and nature of modern African political thought, colonial-imperialism in Africa; African nationalism, decolonization and violence; organization of authority, and African democracy; Pan-African Unity and integration(s) and nation building; and African non-alignment.

CPS 302:    African Political Thought (selected works)

Examines the comparative analysis and evaluation of works on African problems by a selected number of African political thinkers.  Emphasis will be placed on those thinkers who underscore African approach on African political problems and their resolution, and the significance of African culture in present Africa.

CPS 303:    Theory of Political Inquiry

The course covers scientific inquiry in social sciences; scientific knowledge and ideological percussion; logical induction, fact-value problem; value judgements and objectivity; social facts; the logic of historical analysis.

CPS 305:    Modern Political Theory

The contributions of some major political thinkers since the 15th century will be analyzed.  In particular, emphasis will be placed on theories supportive of liberal democracy and various theories of collectivism and the significance of these in the world today.

CPS 304:    Method of Political Inquiry

The student will be introduced to: problem selection and formulation; functions and types of research design; data collection, storage, and retrieval; qualitative and quantitative data analysis; construction, use and verification of theories and reporting.


CPS 311: Politics of Social Movement

The course discusses pre-political movements (social banditry, millenarian movements), analyses agrarian movement including peasant-supported rebellions and revolutions; agrarian capitalism and the social and political consequences, which it occasions.

CPS 312:    Parties and Pressure Groups

The course examines different party-structure, functions, ideologies and leadership; the characteristics of parties in competitive and non-competitive political systems.  The role of pressure groups, both formal and informal, will be studied emphasizing the different patterns and strategies of persuasion and lobbying in relationship to the formulation of public policy.


CPS 321:    Politics and Government in East Africa

Comparison of developmental ideologies and strategies; an evaluation of relative performance in economic, social and political fields.  Political developments, processes and institutions of the East African states. 

CPS 322:    Politics and Government of a Selected African Region

The character of social and political conflict in the post-independence period.  The interplay of local, regional and internal forces is emphasized.  From year to year, selection shall be made from Southern Africa, West Africa, the Horn, North Africa or Francophone Africa.

CPS 323:    Politics and Government in a Selected Developing Region

The specific social and historical conditions underlying political process is examined.  Problems of promoting economic development and political stability are dealt with.

CPS 324:    Comparative Politics of Developing Areas

The institutional basis of developing countries’ constitutions; the rise of authoritarianism and military rule; the capacity of the political systems to deal with developmental needs; the political consequences of the breakdown of traditional society and the problems of developing new institutional forms and procedures, all issues are examined in a comparative perspective.

CPS 325: Comparative Politics of Industrial States

The central concepts of comparative political analysis will be used to illuminate and explain politics in an industrial setting.  Development, structure, and functioning of government and politics in the industrialized states.  Two industrial states will be selected for comparison.


CPS 331:        North-South Relations

The North will be treated as an entity and in its functional groups (e.g. EEC, NATO, Warsaw Pact, COMECON, THE group of 77, etc.) The South will also be considered as an entity and in its various regional and functional groups (e.g. OAC, OAU, OPEC, etc.)  Linkages between North-South and East-West relations are analyzed.

CPS 332:    South-South Relations

The course emphasizes political and economic issues relevant to intra-South relations.  Patterns of conflict and cooperation within the South are treated in the course.  (e.g. neocolonialism, trade, sub-regional and regional integration, debt crisis, etc.)

CPS 333:    International Organizations

Examines the basic assumptions, genesis, growth, structure and functions.  The second part of the course will give similar treatment to regional political, economic and military organizations.  Their relationship with the United Nations will be examined.

CPS 324:    Issues in International Relations

A survey and discussion of contemporary issues in International Relations encompassing phenomena such as terrorism, globalization, internationalization of human rights; humanitarian interventions, nationalism and minority rights; polarity in the international system; international ideologies, etc.

CPS 335:    Relations among African States

It surveys the revolution and development of the quest of unity among African states; examines relations among African states with emphasis on the emergence and development of both conflict and cooperation.  The role of the OAU, for example, in the settlement of inter-state disputes and in the liberation struggle, is explored (prerequisite CPS 220)

CPS 336:    Africa and the Major Powers

The implications of the various dimensions (i.e. military, political, economic) of Africa’s interactions with the major powers (France, U.K., Germany, Portugal, Japan, China) and the superpowers (U.S.A. and USSR) are examined in historical, contemporary and futuristic perspective.

CPS 337:    Introduction to International Law

Examines sources of international law; relations between international and municipal law; subjects of international law; recognition of states and government, and international institutions.  The course also examines territorial questions such as title to territory, national boundaries, the High seas, jurisdiction over national vessels and jurisdiction over national air and outer space.


CPS 341:    Comparative Administrative Systems

The course focuses on the environmental factors such as history, culture, social structure, economic system, politics etc. in relation to the structure and behaviour of public administration in different developed and developing administrative systems.

CPS 342:    Development Administration

The transformation of the old colonial administration into an instrument of development; the environmental factors (politics; culture etc.) that affect the structure and performance of public bureaucracies in the devolution societies.  Case studies are drawn from selected African countries.

CPS 343:    Public Policy Analysis

The roles of the bureaucracy, the political parties and the External Environment in the initiation, execution and evaluation of public policies shall also be examined.

CPS 344:    Public Personnel Management

Problems of recruitment, training and socialization; job design and analysis; leadership and organizational context; public service unionism.

CPS 345:    Comparative Local Government

The comparative study of Local government in developed and developing countries with special emphasis on the latter.  Local Government as a form of decentralization is analyzed and its roles in the governance and development processes are also examined.

CPS 346:    Administrative Theory

Meaning of administrative theory; relations between administrative theory and organization theory; neo-classical theories of administrative organizations; administrative processes such staffing. Control, motivation, communication, decision-making, planning, budgeting and techniques of management, and management by objectives and total quality management.


CPS 351:    Politics of Agricultural Development in Africa

The effects of changes in and tenure, cash crop production and the introduction of financial, labour and land markets in the countryside.  Issues of food production and hunger in Africa and the response of African states to these issues.

CPS 352:    Politics of Industrialization in Africa

The social and political consequences of industrial growth including urbanization, the role of the working class, introduction of foreign technology, foreign capital, and the role of international trade.  Emphasis is laid on the capacity of the African State to handle these multifaceted changes.

CPS 353:    Women in the Political Economy of the Third World

The nature and evolution of women’s roles and status in Third World countries as manifested in their participation in the political economies of their countries.  Examines the political and economic structures; institutions and policies that have affected the position of women and their ability to participate in the development process of their societies.  To examine class, ideology, religion, ethnicity and historical experiences of women as they affect their participation.

CPS 354:    Political Economy of African Development

An outline of basic developmental problems in Africa and the proposed solutions as reflected in the works of leading authors in the sub-discipline (Samir Amin, Wallersterin, A.C. Frank etc.) their major critics and continental organizations concerned with African development i.e. (OAU and UNECA).

Four Year Courses


CPS 401:    Theory of Democracy

Analyzes the basic concepts and problems of democratic theory.  Describes and explains the origins of democracy.  Examines classical and modern origins of democracy; development in the West and elsewhere; institutions and practices; theories and criticisms; application and modern relevance.

CPS 402:    Seminar on Approaches of Political Science

Emphasis is placed on the study of comparative politics and political modernization; system theories, modernizing structural-functional requisite; analysis; systems theories, modernization theories, underdevelopment theories, et al.  The course will be open and may be used to satisfy other sub-discipline requirements.


CPS 411:    Urban Politics

The course examines the development of working classes, industrial and commercial classes, political actions in the form of urban rebellions, industrial strikes are examined against the use of state power and political actions undertaken to contain these.

CPS 412:    Public Opinion and Voting Behaviour

Assesses the role of public opinion and propaganda in modern government.  Examines relations between opinions and public policy.  Analyses voting behaviour; essentials of opinion research; examines the impact of public opinion on voting behaviour.


CPS 421:    Politics and Government in South Africa

Examines the evolution of government and politics in South Africa.  Analyze the political processes and institutions of South Africa.  African resistance to “Apartheid” including the role of African political parties, social and religious movements and the international forces underpinning the state and economy of South Africa are examined.

CPS 422:    The Military in the Politics of a Selected Region

Introduces students to a comparative study of military rule in one region of the developing countries; Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Asia and the pacific.  The institutional capacity of the military to bring social order; political stability and to promote economic development is examined.  The prospects of civilian rule in the post-military era will be assessed.


CPS 431:    Kenya’s Foreign Policy

Analysis of the formulation, conduct and implementation of Kenya’s foreign policy since independence.  The determinants and instruments of Kenya’s foreign policy behaviour will be examined.  Kenya’s foreign policy behaviour is also examined in relation to relevant constitutions, i.e. the executive, legislature and judiciary.

CPS 432:    Comparative Foreign Policies

To examine the formulation and conduct of foreign policy in general.  The nature, factors, processes and instruments of foreign policy of different states will be analyzed.  The analysis will be comparative as much as possible e.g. comparing Francophone and Anglo-phone speaking countries; large and small states that differ economically and politically and comparing the foreign policies of African and non-African states.

CPS 433:    Politics of Regional Cooperation and Conflict

An analysis of different classical and modern theories of regional integration with specific reference to efforts toward regional cooperation at the sub-regional and regional levels.  Selected case studies e.g. EAC, ECOWAS, PTA causes and resolution of conflicts are also analyzed.  Processes for creating peaceful change in the regions are examined in relation to the case studies.

CPS 434:    Superpower Relations

To examine the origins and development of East-West conflict and their implications in international relations.  Sino-American and Sino-Soviet conflict; US-USSR détente and its implications to post-World War II alliance systems; and the implications of US-China rapprochement to superpower relations.            

CPS 435:    Strategic and National Security Studies

To introduce students to major ideas and issues about the fundamental problems of world politics: conflict, war and peace.  The meaning, causes and resolution of conflict as well as the issues, concepts and types of war are covered.  The contributions of the social sciences and social theories to an understanding of the causes of war are emphasized.

CPS 436:    International Law and the Africa States

An examination of the African states’ relations with emphasis on the issues of decolonization, self-determination, sovereignty territorial integrity, human rights, peaceful settlement of disputes, and the Law of the Sea.  The course covers the traditional and contemporary theories of state succession.  The Nyerere Doctrine of state succession and its divergent applications in Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zanzibar serve as the focal point of illumination. 


CPS 441:    Administration of Rural Development

A review of the principles and theories of “Administration for Development” as they relate to the rural sector.  The role of the various government agencies in rural development: the idea of decentralization for rural development; role of non-governmental organizations and of popular institutions.

CPS 442:    Public Finance Administration

An examination of the principles and practices of public finance management.  The fiscal and monetary policies; the budgetary theory; an analysis of fiscal and monetary policies; the budgetary theory as well as the politics of the budgetary process; management of foreign and its relationship to the national budget.

CPS 443:    Administration of Public Enterprises

An introduction to the idea of public enterprises and the politico-economic justification for their establishment.  Types of public enterprises; the growth and performance of public enterprises in Africa; the relationship between public enterprises and other governmental and non-governmental agencies in the development process.

CPS 444:    Public Administration in Kenya

To introduce students to the origins scope and functions of Public Administration in Kenya.  Emphasis is placed on the colonial and post-independence trends.  The relationship between the bureaucracy and the society in the process of both development and governance are emphasized.


CPS 451:    Politics of Multinational Corporations

Multinational corporations and economic development in the Third World.  The state and its relationship to multinational corporations into e developing world.  The role of multinational corporations in the politics of the developing countries and the consequences of their activities for social and economic development.

CPS 452:    Dependency and Underdevelopment in the Third World

The historical and structural relationships between the development capitalist world and the underdeveloped areas of today’s Third World.  The politics of “disengagement”, “delinking” and “self-sustaining growth in comparison with integration in the world market.


CPS 445:    Dissertation

With the approval of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration 4th year students may write a dissertation in lieu of a course in any of the sub-field offered in the department.