Political Science course descriptions
PO 105 American Politics 3 Credits
A study of the theoretical, institutional, and behavioral elements of the U.S. political system. Offered both semesters. Open freshman only, except by permission of department chair or unless a major requirement for another program or major. Open to students with freshmen and sophomore standing only, otherwise instructor permission.
PO 106 Introduction to Public Policy and Administration 3 Credits
An introductory examination of theoretical and practical approaches to policymaking and administration, the essential steps in the proces, and the roles of key actors at all levels. This course prepares students for more in-depth study of all other facets of the political realm. Open to students with freshmen and sophomore standing only, otherwise instructor permission.
PO 202 Introduction to Comparative Politics 3 Credits
An introductory course that acquaints students with the comparative study of politics. The course will compare executive and legislative relationships, electoral systems, ideologies, and political parties. Various countries from around the world will be used to illustrate the application and consequences of different institutions and ideas. Open to students with freshmen and sophomore standing only, otherwise instructor's permission.
PO 215 International Relations 3 Credits
An inquiry in assumptions, theories, and dogmas of the modern state system. Examination and evaluation of such topics as realist theory; conflict resolution; game theory; decision-making theory; and ecopolitics. Open to students with freshmen and sophomore standing only, otherwise instructor's permission.
PO 220 Research Methods 3 Credits
An introduction to the methods of political analysis, standard nomenclature, and basic research methods relied upon in the study of politics. Emphasis is placed on quantitative methods and ethical issues in conducting research. Not open to freshman without instructor's permission.
PO 300 Special Topics in Politics 3 Credits
Select topics offered on occasion. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
PO 301 Special Topics in International Relations 3 Credits
Select topics in the area of International Relations offered on occasion. Topics courses may be repeated for credit as long as a different topic is offered. 3 lecture hours. pre-req of PO 215, C or higher; open to all students.
PO 303 Political Philosophy 3 Credits
After introducing the political philosophies of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, this course explores the ideas of major Western thinkers from the Renaissance through the Industrial Revolution. The course not only examines each philosopher's understandings of power, justice, equality and freedom, but also contemporary applications and implications of these ideas. Open to Sophomore 2 and above, otherwise instructor permission.
PO 305 Geopolitics 3 Credits
Geopolitics will give students an increased appreciation of the influence of geography on political decision-making. This course will help students "visualize" world politics and understand how geography affects both national and transnational political behaviors. Students will learn to think and write critically about such issues and forces as globalization, development, and conflict. Students will develop an understanding of how interests and perceptions are shaped by geography. Pre-req of PO 202 or PO 215, C or higher; open to all students.
PO 310 European Politics 3 Credits
A study of the political systems, cultures, and issues of selected countries from western, northern and southern Europe as well as Russia and the European Union. This course will also consider the relationship between domestic and foreign policies and the relationship between the United States and Europe. Pre-req of PO 202, C or higher; open to all students.
PO 312 The Presidency 3 Credits
A study of the presidential office and its relationship with the major American political institutions. Pre-req of PO 105, C or higher; open to all students.
PO 313 Political Parties and Interest Groups 3 Credits
A study of political parties and interest groups as they influence the decision making process, the formulation of government policy, and the selection of official personnel. Pre-req of PO 105, C or higher; open to all students.
PO 314 The Legislative Process 3 Credits
A study of the national and state legislatures in the United States through a combination of lectures, readings, contact with legislators, and actual investigations on the state legislative scene itself. Pre-req of PO 105, C or higher; open to all students.
PO 315 Public Opinion and Political Behavior 3 Credits
A study of the development of political attitudes and the formation of public opinion; the influence of public opinion on governmental policy through its relationship to political participation representation and leadership. Pre-req of PO 105, C or higher; open to all students.
PO 320 Topics in Area Studies 3 Credits
Selected topics in area studies will be offered on occasion. This course will be used to cover subjects not included in the regular offerings in comparative politics. Topics may include the politics of a particular country or region such as Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, or the Middle East. A topics course may also be offered on a particular issue area such as foreign and defense policy, healthcare policy, welfare policy, or environmental policy. Pre-req of PO 202, C or higher; open to all students.
PO 321 U.S. Constitutional Law 3 Credits
Introduction to the evolution and structure of the American constitutional system, focusing on the federal relationship, the separation of powers, and judicial review, relying primarily upon the case method of analysis. Open to Sophomore 2 and above, otherwise instructor permission.
PO 324 Civil Liberties 3 Credits
An examination of the relationship of individuals to government, relying primarily upon the case method of study, with specific consideration of problems of equal protection, due process, privacy, and freedoms of speech and religion. Open to Sophomore 2 and above, otherwise instructor permission.
PO 330 American Citizenship 3 Credits
Using the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as a foundation, this course examines what it means to be a citizen of the United States. The course addresses such questions as: What are citizens entitled to and what do they owe the state and each other? Is there an obligation to obey political authority? Is there ever an obligation to disobey authority? An important consideration is the role of the military in American political life and in particular, the relationship between the military ethic and republican values. Pre-req of PO 105, C or higher; open to all students.
PO 331 State and Local Politics 3 Credits
The primary objective of this course is to gain an understanding of the role of the state and local political institutions within the context of American federalism. Emphasis is placed on procedural and policy differences as well as political issues in state, regional, and local governments. Pre-req of PO 105, C or higher; open to all students.
PO 333 American Foreign Policy 3 Credits
Through studies of the three "levels of analysis" personal political psychology, bureaucratic politics, and international relations-this course examines the processes of American foreign policy formulation and execution; it explores the objectives, methods, and consequences of major U.S. foreign and military policies. If practicable, students will take part in role-playing simulations. Pre-req of PO 105 or PO 202, C or higher; open to all students.
PO 340 Revolution and Forces of Change 3 Credits
A critical analysis of several revolutions that will examine causes, outcomes, and accepted explanations in an attempt to discern generalities applicable to all revolutions. Pre-req of PO 202, C or higher; open to all students.
PO 348 Asian Politics 3 Credits
A study of the political systems, cultures, and issues of the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, North and South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Pakistan, and India. This course will pay particular attention to the relationship between the West and Asia, the processes of "modernization," and the role of Asia in contemporary international relations. Pre-req of PO 202, C or higher; open to all students.
PO 400 Independent Study 3 Credits
An opportunity for qualified upperclass students to engage in an intensive reading or research program in fields of interest not satisfactorily covered by regular course offerings. Periodic conferences will be required. Prerequisite: written consent of the instructor to a specific project presented by the applicant. Offered as occasion demands. Open to upperclassmen, otherwise by permission of the instructor.
PO 403 Internship 3-15 Credit
Direct participation in the practical workings of state, municipal, and Federal government. Ordinarily open only to seniors. Offered on availability to internships. Credits to be determined by instructor. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
PO 405 International Organizations 3 Credits
This course focuses on the increasingly influential and varied roles international organizations play in the world today from peace and security to international development, human rights, and environmental protection. It traces the evolution of the thinking behind, and efforts to establish international organizations, and analyzes not only their promise and challenges, but also their successes and failures to date. Although particular attention is paid to the United Nations and its many affiliated bodies, regional organizations (e.g. European Union, Organization of American States, African Union, NATO), international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and multi-national corporations are also assessed. Offered alternate years. pre-req of PO 215, C or higher; open to all students.
PO 410 Capstone Seminar in Political Science 3 Credits
A research and writing course designed to introduce students to graduate standards of original research and critical writing in political science. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
PO 412 War and Peace 3 Credits
An inquiry into the ostensible causes of war-- biological, economic, psychological, strategic, and theological; and an examination of the purported causes of war -- personal probity, military counterpoise, political utopia, and world government. Preparation of a substantial paper is required. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
PO 415 International Law 3 Credits
This course examines the development of international law, and assesses its effectiveness in governing the relations among nation-states. The course examines early as well as more recent efforts to build a body of such law. It compares international law with domestic law, and explores the principal sources of international law. The course uses cases to analyze the development of international law in areas such as extraterritorial jurisdiction, the range of sovereignty, diplomatic relations, the treaty system, arbitration and adjudication, the use of force, human rights, the environment, and economic relations. Offered alternate years. Pre-req of PO 215, C or higher; open to all students.
PO 490 Honors in Political Science 3 Credits
A substantial, sequential, research and writing project. See description of department honors program. Offered as occasion demands. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
PO 491 Honors in Political Science 3 Credits
The second semester of honors in political science. Devoted to writing and defending the honors thesis. Prerequisite: Student must earn a grade of B or higher in PO 490 and permission of the instructor and program coordinator.
POLS 302 National Security Policy 3 Credits
This course introduces students to the issues and institutions of national security policy. Successful students will have an appreciation of strategic thought and strategy formulation, the ability to assess national security issues and threats, and an understanding of the political and military institutions invovled in the making and execution of national security policy. Pre-requisites: none.
POLS 306 Comparative Politics 3 Credits
This course introduces students to the basic methods, concepts and substance of comparative politics. Special attention will be paid to institutions and behaviors as well as development and modernization theories. The course provides students with tools to address such questions as: What is a political system? What are the different varieties of democracies and authoritarian regimes? Are some regimes more vulnerable to political violence than others? What explains the transition from authoritarianism to democracy and can that process be reversed? How does geography impact the political, economic, and social development of a region? Pre- requisites: none.
POLS 316 Domestic Terrorism 3 Credits
This course traces the history, emergence, and growth of domestic terrorist and extremist groups within the United States. Students will assess various groups' intentions, capabilities, and activities within contexts of and ramifications on political, national security, and legal paradigms. Topics include current and active domestic groups and their organizational structure, philosophies, and networks. Pre-requisites: none.
POLS 318 International Terrorism 3 Credits
This course addresses the effects of a variety of forms of sub-state violence on world affairs. Topics include sources of terrorism, its major characteristics, the problems it poses for global peace and stability, responses to terrorism by countries and international organizations, and the problem of balancing public safety and personal freedom in dealing with terrorism. Pre-requisites: none.
POLS 325 Immigration Law and Policy 3 Credits
This course touches upon the major policy debates currently swirling around immigration reform and policy. Students will examine social changes and the development of immigration law over the last few decades, including the emergence and role of social change movements. Other topics to be explored include undocumented immigration, international coordination on migration, judicial review and due process, refugee and asylum policy, immigration and employment, border security, state and local enforcement of immigration law, and the relationship between immigration law and crime. Pre-requisites: none. Note: this course is under development and will be reviewed by the University Curriculum Committee.