Political Science

Political Science Course Descriptions

POLS 111 American Political Systems
Credit Hours:
3

Introduces students to the institutions, processes, and values that constitute the American political system. In dealing with such topics as First Amendment rights, Congress, the Presidency, parties and interest groups, bureaucracy, and public policy, some time is spent in examining select aspects of the social and political background to American politics.

POLS 121 Introduction to Public Administration and Policy
Credit Hours:
3

Introduces students to the broad environment in which public policies are made in Europe and the United States. The relationship between the social ends desired and the administration employed and the difficulties of transferring the Western model of administration to other cultures are developed as themes. The intimate link between government administration and civilization is explored, and students are exposed to major elements of public administration, including administrative processes, organizational theory, human relations, and implementation.

POLS 131 Introduction to Comparative Politics
Credit Hours:
3

Introduces students to foundational concepts and dynamics in the field of comparative politics. The course discusses patterns of political behavior, the essential elements of a political system, the institutions of different regimes, and the various ways in which states reconcile freedom, order, and equality. Numerous political systems are studied in comparative context. Both democracies and non-democracies are examined, with attention to the process of democratization in different systems.

POLS 151 Introduction to International Relations
Credit Hours:
3

Introduces students to foundational concepts and dynamics in the field of international relations. Topics focus on the nature of interaction between political entities on the world stage, including states, IGOs, NGOs, and other entities. Topics covered include globalization and its consequences, the nature of East-West and North-South relations, the international economic system, the causes and consequences of war, and the international paths to peace.

POLS 240 Introduction to Research Methods
Credit Hours:
3

This course covers the basics of a cross-section of research methods used in Criminal Justice, Political Science, and other social sciences.  The research methods covered include a basic quantitative method, a qualitative method, a field research method, and components of conducting a literature review.  Students will learn problem formulation, hypothesis construction, and hypothesis testing.  The course emphasizes the consumption of social science research and research methods skill development to be used in upper level Criminal Justice and Political Science courses.  Cross listed with CRMJ 240.

POLS 310 US National Security
Credit Hours:
3

Examines the nature of national and homeland security in the United States, including actors, institutions, and the impact of national security structures and behavior on the US and the world. Areas of concentration include the history of national security issues and concerns, changes in the post-9/11 world, homeland security issues, intergovernmental coordination and conflict, domestic and global implications of US policy, and both current and future challenges to US national security.

POLS 311 Congress and the Presidency
Credit Hours:
3

Provides an understanding of the central policy-making institutions of the federal government: Congress and the Presidency. Attention is given to the constitutional power of Congress and the Presidency; the separation and delegation of powers; the evolution of powers and the inter-institutional power relationship; the policy making process; and historical and contemporary political polarization.

POLS 312 Constitutional Law Governmental Powers
Credit Hours:
3

Focuses on the activity of the Supreme Court in interpreting the meaning of the Constitution through case law specific to the areas of governmental powers. After examining the powers and activities of the Court, specific areas of law are examined. These include powers and limitations of each branch, separation of powers, checks and balances, issues of federalism, taxing and spending powers, and economic powers.

POLS 314 Political Communication
Credit Hours:
3

Focuses on how communication manifests itself through politics. Attention is given to the nature and impact of mass media, which informs, shapes, and legitimizes political attitudes. Emphasis is given to theories of attitude formation and change, mass media as instruments of political communication and opinion leadership, how the media shapes public perceptions, the influence of political communication on public policy, and the media as a tool of political influence and control.

POLS 317 Constitutional Law II: Civil Rights and Liberties
Credit Hours:
3

Focuses on the activity of the Supreme Court in interpreting the meaning of the Constitution through case law specific to the areas of civil rights and civil liberties. After examining the powers and activities of the Court, specific areas of law are examined. These include civil liberties (religion, speech, privacy, etc.), rights of the accused (search and seizure, due process, fair trial, etc.), and civil rights (equal protection, discrimination, etc.).

POLS 319 Political Parties and Elections
Credit Hours:
3

Examines political parties found in democratic nations including multi-party systems with an emphasis on the case in the United States, and the meaning of parties for governing, political participation, and citizenship. Different election processes, election law, political finance, and the effects on outcomes are also studied.

POLS 321 Public Administration
Credit Hours:
3

Studies the structures and processes for formulating and implementing public policies. Emphasis is given to the role of the national-level bureaucracy. State and local managerial and administrative concerns are addressed broadly and through specific illustrative examples.

POLS 322 Public Policy
Credit Hours:
3

Establishes a framework for the policy cycle and applies it to selected policy concerns. The nature of public policy, making public policy, substantive policy issues, and policy analysis are explored.

POLS 323 Administrative Law
Credit Hours:
3

Provides an understanding of the legal concepts that define what has been called “the bureaucratic state.” Students examine the law governing the creation of, powers of, and limitations upon administrative agencies of all sorts.

POLS 324 Urban Politics
Credit Hours:
3

Focuses on the political and policy choices and the constraints cities face. Students are provided a theoretical base to analyze cities in terms of the issues they face, the factors that affect them, and the structure that they operate in. Important policy issues such as smart-growth strategies, economic development, and downtown revitalization are stressed.

POLS 325 Public Sector Human Resource Management
Credit Hours:
3

Examines the environment of public employment. Differences between the public and private sector, the historical growth of the personnel system in the public sector, and topics in administration, staffing, and productivity are explored. Public sector processes for recruitment, selection, development, motivation, evaluation, compensation, and discipline are given particular attention.

POLS 326 Regional Planning
Credit Hours:
3

Introduces students to planning at the city level and offers a unique opportunity to apply directly what has been learned in the classroom. Students are exposed to the major ideas behind regional planning, including land use planning, MPDUs and regional coalitions.

POLS 328 Applied Policy: Occupational Safety and Health
Credit Hours:
3

Provides students with the tools necessary to develop and design an effective occupational and safety health program in a wide variety of industries to mitigate risk and protect workers.  The course is designed to give students training in policy development and program implementation which can both be used in a multitude of settings and serve as a transferable skill. 

POLS 331 Politics of Western Europe
Credit Hours:
3

Studies such states as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and others in depth, with comparisons being drawn among them. The emphasis is on the distribution of power and the organization for governing in parliamentary, presidential, and related democracies.

POLS 334 Ethnic Conflict and Nationalism
Credit Hours:
3

Examines the roles of ethnicity and national identity in constructing the modern world, ethnic conflicts, racism, and separatism through discussion of theoretical articles and real-world cases. The course includes the study of waves of national and current ethnic conflicts.

POLS 336 Russian Politics and Society
Credit Hours:
3

This course introduces students to political and social issues in the Russian Federation of democratization, nation-building, and building capitalism from the ground up.  The course recaps Russian and Soviet history before discussing some of the issues the country faces.  These issues include territorial disintegrated, ethnic conflict, demographic change, gender roles, corruption, and other issues of contemporary significance.  Cross Listed with SOCI-336.

POLS 342 Ethical Issues in Politics
Credit Hours:
3

Examines the ethical aspects of some of the difficult political issues facing the United States and the world community, including such topics as the influence of money on political systems, the role of ethics in addressing domestic social welfare issues, the moral aspects of humanitarian and economic development issues, and ethical concerns relating to issues of war and peace.

POLS 343 Social and Political Philosophy
Credit Hours:
3

Considers theories of the nature and legitimacy of the state and its laws. It also deals with topics, such as the rights and responsibilities of citizens, ethics in political decision-making, economic justice, punishment, race and gender oppression, political and cultural identity, and the value and meaning of democracy. Cross listed as PHIL 343, SOCI 335.

POLS 352 American Foreign Policy
Credit Hours:
3

Examines the actors, institutions, and the impact of foreign policy structures and behavior on the US and the world. Issue areas given significant attention include the history of AFP, issues of consensus and conflict, pre- and post-9/11 dynamics, inside and outside actors/influences, the impact of politics on policy, national and homeland security issues relating to foreign relations, and both current and future challenges of American foreign policy.

POLS 354 Model United Nations
Credit Hours:
3

Introduces students to the United Nations as an institution, as well as to many of the problems and challenges faced by the international community that the UN addresses. As part of the course, students attend an off-campus Model United Nations simulation, where they take on the role of a particular country and interact with students from other universities representing different countries. A significant portion of the course content is specific to preparation for this off-campus Model UN simulation. Due to this additional practicum experience, there are additional costs associated with this course.

POLS 355 Model United Nations Practicum
Credit Hours:
1

Allows students to gain college credit for attending the Model United Nations conference. Students must educate themselves about the country they are representing and prepare independently to attend the conference. Students in the Model UN Practicum must periodically liaise with their peers taking the course for the first time, on a to-be-announced schedule. Due to the nature of this experience, there are additional costs associated with this course. Prerequisite: POLS 354.

POLS 356 War, Peace, and Security
Credit Hours:
3

Examines the nature of international security, including issues related to war and other forms of military and political conflict. Relevant institutions and actors are discussed, as are prominent challenges to peace and security in the international environment. The ethical implications of these challenges are examined, as are the prospects and possibilities for peace and security on the global stage.

POLS 358 Russian Foreign Policy
Credit Hours:
3

Exposes students to the intricacies of formulating, constructing, and executing Russian Foreign Policy, as well as a consideration of the means by which Moscow seeks to achieve its goals on the international stage. Students consider the different sources and challenges of Russian Foreign Policy coming from Russia’s unique geographical, historical, and ideational position.

POLS 362 Race, Crime, and Justice
Credit Hours:
3

Explores the connection between the American criminal justice system and race.  Attention is given to the nature and impact of the historical and contemporary criminal justice system, public policy, and public opinion.  The course focuses on the use of data, theory, and research to understand individual behavior and American institutions.

POLS 365 International Sport and Politics
Credit Hours:
3

Introduces students to connections and influences between politics and international sport (sporting mega events), including state motives and aims in hosting such mega events. The course begins by considering sports in general before looking at international sport, such as the Olympics and the World Cup.

POLS 370 Topics in Political Science
Credit Hours:
3

Provides students with a semester-long study of a topic of interest under the direction of a departmental faculty member. Topical offerings provide an opportunity for intensive study in a field of interest to the student.

POLS 372 Politics in Film
Credit Hours:
3

Uses popular films to introduce important political issues and processes to a broad set of students. Movies are complemented with readings that center discussion on the political issues that emerge from the films.

POLS 380 Topics: Off-Campus Study
Credit Hours:
3

Provides students with an off-campus structured, faculty-led learning experience in the U.S. or abroad. Prerequisite: Instructor permission required.

POLS 387 Internship in Political Science
Credit Hours:
1-3

Involves a supervised work-study experience in a political structure or environment outside the University. Supervised jointly from within the respective political entity and the political science department, the internship may take place in a private organization or business if it deals directly with the organization's involvement with political or governmental affairs.

POLS 481 Student/Faculty Collaborative Research in Political Science
Credit Hours:
3

Students work one-to-one with a faculty member on a professional project. The final project/paper will list both the faculty member and the student as co-authors. Students are expected to present their findings with the faculty member at a professional conference. Prerequisite: Instructor permission required.

POLS 490 Senior Seminar
Credit Hours:
3

Students in this team-taught course complete a mini-research project (individual or team-based depending on the type of research being conducted) for each of the four interrelated topics, and practice multiple ways of conducing research and answering questions.  The unifying theme is the integration of knowledge.  Students approach problems from different disciplinary perspectives, solve them in differentiated ways, and demonstrate how the knowledge they have gained in their major courses can be applied in multiple and diverse settings.  Prerequisite: CRMJ 240 or POLS 240

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