Political Science Curriculum
Political science is a wide ranging discipline composed of many separate fields and specializations at the local, national and international levels.
What holds all the separate fields together is a common interest in questions regarding the following governmental and international institutions and their sources of power, political conflict and its resolution, political mechanisms for defining and achieving justice, and the origins and results of policy choices at the national and international level, among other things.
The department addresses these and other issues through a variety of courses in American government, public policy and administration, comparative government and international relations.
Given the diversity of interests within the field, majors will work with their advisor to tailor their program to their particular interest. Most are encouraged to undertake internships or engage in other experiences to bolster their understanding of political processes.
Majors are encouraged to take courses outside the Department that support their academic interests and/or their career goals. Those with a very strong interest in international politics and issues might want to consider the Global Studies major.
POL 101 - AMERICAN POLITICS
An examination of the American political system through an analysis of the political culture, Constitution, party and interest group structure, governmental institutions, and the decision-making process in the United States. Hours credit: 3.
POL 105 - COMPARATIVE DEMOCRACIES
Provides students with an understanding of core concepts and theories in comparative politics. Through an examination of political institutions, ideologies, and political culture, the course will address various questions about democracy. Students will explore fundamental challenges countries (China, India, Nigeria, Iraq, and others) face such as economic development, ethnic conflict, political violence, and treatment of religious and gender minorities through seven case studies. Hours credit: 3.
POL 107 - PEACE & CONFLICT RESOLUTION
Introduces students to different ways of understanding peace, violence, and war and of analyzing the war culture which encourages aggression, violence, and injustice in our immediate and global communities. Toward the goal of social and political change, students will be challenged to examine various approaches to peacemaking and peacebuilding, including nonviolence, peace education, and reconciliation. Hours credit: 3.
POL 113 - WORLD POLITICS AND ORGANIZATION
Surveys the dominant international relations theories and contemporary forces that shape human, national, and global security. Special attention is given to new players, such as intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental actors, and civil society, and issues, such as terrorism and the global justice movement, that are giving new shape to the global political environment. Hours credit: 3.
POL 115 - INTRO EAST ASIAN POLITICS AND CULTURE
An introduction to the societies and politics of East Asia with the focus on Japan, China, and Korea. Topics covered will include gender and cultural issues, immigration, minority politics, and nationalism. Hours Credit: 3.
POL 187 - RIGHTS OF A CHILD
Examines why violations of the most vulnerable continue to exist in countries from different regions of the world through issues such as children’s slavery, forced marriage, forced participation in armed conflict and terrorism, sex-trafficking, and denied access to health care and education. In the process, students will learn about ways in which power is abused and the rule of law is ignored. Hours credit: 3. One time only.
POL 211 - ELECTIONS AND PUBLIC OPINION
An examination of the interaction of political parties and public opinion in electoral politics in the U.S. Topics will include the history and current status of political parties; the changing nature of elections; and trends in public opinion. This course is schedule to coincide with a national election which will be used as a case study. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Offered alternate years.
POL 215 - HUMAN RIGHTS LATIN AMERICAN CONTEXT
Examines the human rights landscape across contemporary Latin America. Themes include reconciliation following mass atrocity, economic versus political rights, and new social movements that prod governments to follow their human rights obligations. The unique role of the United States and free trade agreements is worked into the analysis of hemispheric human rights patterns. Hours credit: 3.
POL 220 - GLOBAL ISSUES AT UNITED NATIONS
Covers the basics of the UN system, including its history, structures, and documentation system. Heavy emphasis is placed on writing, research, speaking, and collaboration skills. The class will undertake a parallel study of a specific country in conjunction with the spring National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference. Only students selected in late fall for the NMUN Conference can enroll in the course and participate in the NMUN conference. All conference participants must be enrolled in the course for full credit during the semester of the conference. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. May be repeated for credit when topic differs up to a maximum of 9 hours. This course fulfills the intercultural competence graduation requirement.
POL 222 - GENDER POLITICS IN ASIA
Surveys the ways gender is experienced by women in Asia. Issues covered include sexual and reproductive decision making, domestic violence, human trafficking, son preference, dowry, and honor killing drawn from Asia. The class will also learn how gender issues are treated in their societies and politics and explore how different actors seek solutions to these issues in the context of global politics. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.
POL 228 - THE US CONGRESS & PRESIDENCY
This is an intermediate course on institutional politics in the United States, focusing on the behavior of members of Congress and presidents. Students will examine how the organization, rules, and norms of Congress influence both the individual behavior of congresspersons as well as legislative agendas and outcomes. The course will examine how presidents use the institutional advantages of the White House to pursue policy goals. Particular attention will be paid to conflicts between the three branches and how congresspersons, presidents, and judges attempt to enact favored policies. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.
POL 231 - RESEARCH METHODS IN POLITICAL SCIENCE
This course familiarizes students with a variety of techniques for the investigation of political problems. The first half of the semester is an exploration of how to ask and answer social science questions. In the second half of the course students gain hands-on experience using statistical software to investigate and describe political problems. No prior familiarity with statistics is assumed. Hours credit: 3. A student may receive credit for two of these courses: MATH 227, POL 231, PSYC 227R or SOC 395. Alternate years.
POL 239 - GLOBAL TO LOCAL STUDIES
Surveys issues, such as health and food security, at the global and local levels of analysis. Students intending to major in global studies learn about the options for the focus area, and the class includes a service learning project that involves local leaders and contributes to the community in mutually beneficial ways. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: POL 113R.
POL 323 - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW & POLITICS
A study of the role of the Supreme Court in describing the powers of government and in defining the civil liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. An emphasis is placed on freedom of expression and religion. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: junior standing. Alternate years.
POL 324 - CIVIL RIGHTS
An examination of the Constitutional and statutory basis for the rights of minorities and women. The readings consist mostly of Supreme Court opinions, supplemented with readings about civil rights movements and political and policy issues raised by the legal decisions. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: junior standing. Offered alternate years.
POL 326 - PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSIS
This is an entry-level course on federal domestic policy making in the United States. In the first half of the course students will discuss the theory of public policy analysis, focusing on the influence of institutional norms and rules, interest groups, and the public. The second half of the course will consist of a series of case studies of domestic policy issues. Topics may include social security, health care, employment discrimination, criminal justice, and/or anti-poverty policy. Students will pay particular attention to how individuals and institutions interpret policy questions differently as a result of their position in society. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. Alternate years.
POL 328 - ETHNIC & POLITICAL CONFLICTS IN ASIA
This is an in-depth analysis of the causes, escalation, and resolution of ethnic and political conflicts within and between communities, societies, ethnic groups, and states in Asia. The class will examine various explanations of conflicts by analyzing the political implications of nationalism, race, ethnicity, and religion and explore ways to prevent, manage, and/or resolve conflicts. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of the instructor.
POL 330 - INTERNATIONAL LAW AND GLOBAL GOVERNANCE
A study of the principles and practices of international law and its major issue areas, including state responsibility, international versus. domestic legal systems, and trends in universal jurisdiction. The course covers contemporary developments, such as the International Criminal Court, ad hoc war crimes tribunals, and post-9/11 debates governing the rules of torture. Later in the course, students simulate an international court on a topic of global concern. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.
POL 332 - GLOBAL POLITICS OF EXTREMISM
Surveys why extremism emerges in societies and transcends borders. Through case studies, students will explore topics including psychology of terrorism, gendered violence, rhetoric of terror, recruitment and use of social networks, cyber terrorism, and the political economy of terrorism. This will be followed by a section on deradicalization and disengagement of extremist actors and groups. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.
POL 376 - TOPICS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
An examination of themes in Western political philosophy relying on the works of philosophers from the classical through the modern era. Topics will vary from year to year and will include themes such as justice, equality, liberty, and democracy. Identical with Philosophy 376. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: junior standing. May be repeated for credit when topic differs up to a maximum of 9 hours.
POL 390 - INDEPENDENT STUDY
POL 489 - INDEPENDENT STUDY
POL 494 - SENIOR RESEARCH
Each student will work on a research problem chosen in consultation with departmental faculty. A final paper embodying original research in an area of politics will be required. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: senior standing.
POL 495 - SEMINAR
A discussion of current issues in U.S. world politics combined with a major research paper. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: permission of the Department. Required of all political science majors.
POL 496 - GLOBAL STUDIES CAPSTONE
Completes the student's course of study in the major. In addition to doing weekly assignments, each student undertakes a capstone project that integrates coursework done in the focus area and facilitates one class discussion on the topic. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: permission of the Department.
POL 497H - HONORS IN THE MAJOR
POL 498H - HONORS IN THE MAJOR
POL 509 - WAR & STRATEGY IN THE NUCLEAR AGE
An introduction to the development of strategy and major military events during the Cold War and after, including such topics as theories of deterrence, nuclear proliferation, conventional wars in the nuclear age, the new world order, asymmetrical warfare, and the morality of military strategy.