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Political Science

  • Laura van Assendelft, department head
    Cara Jones, Sarah Ludwig, Steven Mosher

  • Requirements for the Major in Political Science

    36 semester hours
    One American government course: POLS 100, POLS 101, POLS 203, POLS 205, POLS 210, POLS 213, POLS 260, POLS 300, POLS 321, or POLS 322
    One comparative government course: POLS 111 or POLS 215
    One international relations course: POLS 128, POLS 221, POLS 310, or POLS 311
    One political theory course: PHIL 201, PHIL 202, PHIL 211 or PHIL 235
    One senior project/thesis: POLS 400A or 400B
    Additional courses in Political Science to total 36 s.h.

    Senior Requirement: Satisfactory completion of POLS 400 A or B.

    Requirements for the Minor in Political Science

    18 semester hours
    One American government courses: POLS 100, POLS 101, POLS 203, POLS 205, POLS 210, POLS 213, POLS 260, POLS 300, POLS 321, or POLS 322
    One comparative government course: POLS 111 or POLS 215
    One international relations course: POLS 128, POLS 221, POLS 310, or POLS 311
    Three additional Political Science courses

    Minor in Environmental Policy Analysis
    Please see Environmental Policy Analysis

  • Civic Engagement Opportunities

    • Civic engagement contracts associated with any course in political science
    • POLS 287/CE 287: MBC Election Live Broadcast
    • Political science internships approved by the political science faculty supervisor
    • Study abroad for academic credit through student participation in issues of public concern and reflection on the public issues encountered
    • Senior projects in political science designed to emphasize civic engagement
  • Political Science Course Descriptions

    100 Introduction to American Government and Politics (3 s.h.) (S)
    Students are introduced to political science by studying the U.S. Constitution, major institutions, political processes (elections and lobbying), and political behavior.

    101 Introduction to Public Administration (3 s.h.) (S)
    This course introduces students to the management of governmental organizations. The theory and practice of public agencies will be reviewed to see just how government actually “works.” Functions such as planning, organizing, communicating, and budgeting will be reviewed. One area of special interest is emergency management, especially as public health is concerned.

    111 Comparative Politics (3 s.h.) (I)
    Students examine challenges to democratic government by studying the domestic politics of several non-U.S. political systems. Particular attention is paid to social foundations of government. The status of the individual and the rights of minorities provide themes for learning about the distinction between democratic and non-democratic political systems.

    128 U.S. Foreign Policy (3 s.h.) (I)
    Students study the institutions and events that have shaped the relations of the United States with the rest of the world. Diplomatic, covert, and military techniques used to maximize U.S. national interests are addressed in the period since 1945.

    200 State and Local Government (3 s.h.) (S)
    Students examine the regional political units in the U.S. federal system, their relationships with each other and with the national government. The course focuses on the contemporary functions of state and local governments and their role in managing diversity among competing social, political, and judicial pressures.

    203 The U.S. Congress (3 s.h.)
    Students examine the historical origins and contemporary operation of the United States Congress, including the nature of congressional campaigns, institutional differences in leadership and process between the House and Senate, and executive-legislative relations in domestic, budget, and foreign policy arenas. Students participate in a congressional simulation, experiencing all stages of the legislative process as they play the roles of members of Congress, interest group representatives, and constituents.

    205 Political Parties and Interest Groups (3 s.h.)
    Students examine the nature of political parties and interest groups and the role they play in American politics, including analysis of platforms, purposes, strategies and influence in elections and policymaking. Students engage in writing assignments, hands-on experiments, group exercises, and oral presentations, including a mock political convention.

    209 Women and Politics (3 s.h.) (G)
    Students examine the roles and influences of women in politics and the effect of politics upon their status and life choices. Students analyze gender differences in patterns of political participation, including voting, working in campaigns, running for public office, serving as elected officials, and participating in various kinds of interest groups.

    210 Judicial Process (3 s.h.) (S)
    Students examine the functions of law and its sources. The structure of the federal and state court systems in the United States, the roles of lawyers, the methods for selecting and removing judges, trial and appellate procedures for both criminal and civil cases, judicial decision-making, and the limits on judicial power will be covered. This course is offered online only.

    212 Mass Media Law and Ethics (3 s.h.)
    Students examine the dual judicial system in the U.S. and its effect on media, the protections of speech and press afforded by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in areas of civil and criminal law. Students practice recognizing and resolving ethical conflicts. Cross listed as COMM 212.

    213 The U.S. Presidency (3 s.h.)
    Students examine the origins and evolution of the role of president and of the executive offices of the presidency. Constitutional foundations, key influences on the growth of the modern presidency, and contemporary trends are analyzed.

    215 Politics in the Third World (3 s.h.) (I, W)
    This course studies political problems in the nations outside the affluent North of the globe. The political options of democratic, military, and single party forms are analyzed.

    221 International Relations (3 s.h.) (I)
    This is the basic course in which students apply tools of systematic study to relations among the actors in the international system: states, international organizations, and non-state actors (e.g., terrorist groups). The sources of states’ behavior, including ideological and strategic motivations, are studied. The ways in which the global set of states operates as a system also are analyzed.

    222 Social Science Statistics (3 s.h.) (Q)
    For course description, see INT 222 in the Interdisciplinary Studies listing.

    234 Religion, Politics and Public Policy (3 s.h.)
    For course description, see REL 234 in the Religion listing.

    245 Health Care Policy, Politics, and Law (3 s.h.)
    For course description, see HCA 245 in the Health Care Administration listing.

    260 Public Policy (3 s.h.)
    This course explains the nature of public policy and analyzes stages in its making, including problem identification and policy agenda, formulation, adoption, implementation, and evaluation. Case studies in varied policy areas will show how the process actually works, i.e., what the results of policy look like in the real world. Leadership roles of individuals, groups, and institutions will be reviewed in depth.

    277 Colloquium (3 s.h.)
    These courses look into subjects best covered in intensive group study experiences. Core readings and seminar discussions form common experiences for the group, and individual projects refine understanding. Offered as needed.

    287 MBC Election Live Broadcast
    For course description, see CE 287 in the Civic Engagement listing.

    300 Political Behavior (3 s.h.)
    Students investigate determinants of political behavior, including political socialization, group differences, political efficacy, and civic engagement. They develop skills in empirical analysis as they measure and analyze public opinion and voting behavior.

    301 Advanced Data Analysis (3 s.h.)
    For course description, see ECON 301 in the Economics listing.

    310 International Organizations (3 s.h.) (I)
    This course studies attempts to control and influence the behavior of states. Major attempts to order the international system (League of Nations, United Nations) are reviewed. Regional international bodies are also examined.

    311 Civil Wars and the International System (3 s.h.) (I)
    This course studies modern terrorism with special attention paid to terrorism arising from the Middle East region. The choices and consequences of various counter-terrorism policies of the United States and other states are studied to bring practical dimensions of the problem into focus.

    321 Constitutional Law I: Structure and Powers (3 s.h.)
    This course is a case-method study of the significant decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court that define judicial, presidential, and congressional powers and their limits. Federalism and administrative power also will be examined.

    322 Constitutional Law II: Civil Rights and Liberties (3 s.h.)
    A case-method study of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the areas of First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, and religion. Constitutional protections in criminal law, the right to privacy and equal protection will be examined.

    400A, 400B Senior Seminar in Political Science (3 s.h.) (M)
    Seniors majoring in political science or international relations, or who include this discipline in an independent major, must enroll in this course and complete an acceptable senior thesis on a major independent research project. Political Science majors writing their theses in American politics enroll in section A; International Relations majors and Political Science majors writing their theses in international or comparative politics enroll in section B.