BA in Politics and Governance


Program Description

The four-year undergraduate BA program in Politics and Governance is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to understand the relationship between politics, society, and governance. The program focuses on decision-making and conflict resolution at the local, national, and international levels, and how democracy, citizenship, rule of law and human rights are interconnected. Though situated in the Armenian context, the program takes a global view and equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to contextualize and address political and societal challenges in an increasingly interconnected world.

Why start Politics & Governance at AUA

Young people in Armenia need to understand the process of politics and governance in order to shape the economic and social future of the nation.  Politics is defined in many ways: as the art and science of governance, the means by which the will of the community is arrived at and implemented, the pursuit and exercise of political power necessary to make binding policies for the community, and the socialization of conflict. All of these definitions of politics include concepts of government, power, process, groups, and public as key components in its definition.  But one essential question is left out: what do these persons or groups want in the pursuit of political power? The answer is that they want to impose their values on the rest of us. Politics is best understood as the authoritative allocation of values for a society, which means that we use political processes and institutions to determine whose values will govern and then to authoritatively allocate them. Moreover, we have much more space for values conflict than we had one hundred years ago – or even twenty-five years ago – since our conception of what is public (versus what is private) is always expanding.

Politics culminates in good governance when its components – constitutions, legislative, executive and judicial institutions, political parties, elections, etc., combine to make decisions, or produce public policies, that are in alignment with the expectations of citizens and the needs of the society. Governance that is open, transparent, and fair creates the foundation on which successful economies and societies can prosper.

As a fledgling nation, also emerging from revolution, Armenia needs an abundance of young people who have been given an education and training in the arts of politics and governance.  These processes are often extraordinarily complex – involving multiple interests and moving parts – and aimed at highly technical questions, such as: how do we control a society in the face of a global pandemic? Most importantly, the revolution in the production and distribution of information that has occurred over the recent past has demonstrated that entire societies can be moved by forces that are external to them. The ability to recognize who we are and where we are going has never been more difficult for any nation.

The BA in Politics and Governance degree is constructed and implemented in order to take advantage of synergies with a number of existing degree programs and research center activities at AUA – especially in the areas of environmental policy, data science and literacy, business and economics, and political science and international relations. The program provides direct support for the university’s transformative priorities in centers of excellence, reality lab-based teaching and research, and internationalization. Students that graduate from the program will be prepared for leadership and careers in public service with both domestic and international organizations – from municipalities and national ministries to the World Bank and United Nations.  They may also find themselves employed in the private sector with businesses that interact closely with government, or with non-profit organizations that provide a variety of public services outside of government.