RequirementsA minor in Political Science requires 18 credits and that the student take PS 111, 141, 151,260, plus an additional 6 credits, at least 3 credits of which must be at the 300-level or higher.
PS-111. Introduction to American Government
How and why does the American federal system work? This course introduces students to the constitutional foundations of the American governmental system and explains how and why the system changed over time to function as it does today. Many examples are employed to illustrate the challenges facing those who occupy elected office and the voters who placed them in office. Students are also introduced to basic social science research methods and how they are applied to the study of American politics. Offered every semester.
PS-141. Introduction to International Relations
An introduction to the field of international relations. Attention is given to basic theories of international relations as well as the issues and problems that confront contemporary world politics. Factors that determine a nation's foreign policy are also examined. Offered every spring.
PS-151. Introduction to Comparative Politics
This course is an introduction to the study of the politics and government of selected foreign countries. The course will begin with the examination of the various structures and concepts of government around the world and their regional variations. Progressing from the study of a number of alternative structures of politics and government, the course examines several countries in detail providing a specific introduction to the political structures of a number of countries.
PS-212. Urban Government and Politics
An examination of the structure and operation of urban governments. Metropolitan politics is also considered. Special attention is given to the politics and policy problems confronting American cities and the political dynamics that complicate solving the problems. Cross listed with SOC-263. Counts as a Criminology elective.
PS-213. Parties and Elections
Though America's Founding Fathers may have had no love for or willingness to incorporate political parties into the Constitution of 1787, parties emerged anyway over the next twenty years. This course explores the origins and developments of political parties and their essential role in our democratic, representative political system. The ideas on which the parties were founded are examined and the evolution to their current positions is analyzed. Many examples of parties and elections at the federal, state and local levels of government are used. Offered every fall semester even years.
PS-221. Introduction to Public Administration
An introduction to the principles and problems of public administration in an increasingly complex society. Topic such as leadership, informal organizational processes, the relationship of administration to its cultural context, and the question of administrative responsibilities are examined as well as public finance, human resources, ethics, management and administrative law.
PS-224. Public Policy Analysis
This course is an introduction to the study of public policy at the national level. It examines approaches to public policy and the operation of the 'policy process.' A range of public policy examples is employed, from social welfare to energy and environment to foreign and defense issues.
PS-232. Criminal Law
An introduction to the study of criminal law. The principles of criminal law are presented using the case method. The structure and operation of the criminal justice system are also reviewed. Offered every fall.
PS-233. Law and Society
An introduction to the study of law and its role in social and political systems. Attention is given to theories of law and to the structure of the legal system. Students are given the opportunity to engage in hypothetical dispute resolutions using common law methods. Offered every spring.
PS-242. International Law and Organization
The study of the nature, application, and sources of international law and how it relates to the evolution of global and regional organizations and alliances, including international non-governmental organizations and other non-state factors.
PS-251. European Politics
Comparison of the development, institutions, problems and prospects of democratic systems is Europe, both west and east. Attention is given to the European Community and its role in the transformation of Europe as well as the development of the former communist states in eastern Europe.
PS-260. Introduction to Political Thinking
An introduction to the study of politics through an examination of the crucial issues with which political scientists grapple: justice, equality, freedom, power, and the good life, to name a few. Offered every spring.
PS-261. Research Methods in Political Science
A survey of the major concepts, theories and methods of political science as a discipline. Preparation of a research design and a review of quantitative methods also included. Offered every fall.
PS-262. American Political Thought
The study of the political ideas, ideals, and ideologies that contributed to and developed from the American experience. An analysis of the ideas that underlie America’s political institutions and practices. Cross listed with PHL-236. May not be used to meet Area I requirements of the General Education Curriculum.
PS-265. Quantitative Reasoning for the Social Sciences
This course is an introduction to quantitative analysis for the social sciences using SPSS, one of the most frequently and widely used statistical packages in the world. Students will learn how to enter and manipulate data in SPSS, apply and interpret statistics from descriptive through multiple regression, and test hypotheses using statistical methods. Cross listed with SOC-373.
PS-309. Career Mentoring for the Social Sciences
This course will offer career guidance for students in the Behavioral and Social Sciences. The course will include topics such as mentoring, networking, résumés and interviewing skills. Course credits will not count towards minor credits. Open only to majors in the social and behavioral sciences.
PS-311. The American Presidency
An exploration and analysis of the development of the American President as political leader, chief executive, and world leader as well as the origins and growth of the institutional presidency. Special attention is given to the selection process and its effect on the Presidency. Offered in the fall semester in odd years.
PS-312. The US Congress
Congress is often referred to as "the People's Branch" of government because voters now directly elect members of both houses, which is different than the other two branches. Yet Congress regularly is held in low esteem by the public. This course explores the constitutional basis of Congress: how it is elected, its powers and its role in a system of separate branches with checks and balances. It also traces Congress's historical development and explains how and why it functions today. Multiple case studies are used to illustrate important points, and a congressional simulation is conducted at the semester's end in which students assume the role of a newly elected member of the House. Offered every spring semester in even years.
PS-331. The Constitution and the Federal System
PS-332. Civil Rights and Liberties
The study of the growth and change of the American Constitution through analyses of the landmark decisions regarding free speech and press, separation of church and state, rights of persons accused of crimes, equal protection of the laws, voting rights. Offered in the fall semester in even years.
PS-345. American National Security Policy
This course analyzes U.S. National Security Policy, the combination of foreign and defense policies. Using theories of international politics and foreign policy, students learn about the evolution of U.S. national security from the War of Independence to the contemporary period. Theoretical approaches, such as geopolitics, balance of power, and force doctrines, are examined. The agencies and personnel that develop and implement security policy are also studied.
PS-350. Comparative Politics: Theory and Analysis
This course is an introduction to the study of politics and governments from a comparative perspective. It is not a survey course of the governmental institutions of particular countries, but rather an examination of types of governments and regimes, the transitions that may occur between types of government, and approaches to studying these topics. The course examines the ways that ethnicity and cultural ideas affect governments and regime transition.
PS-354. Ecotourism Development in Costa Rica
As an international service-learning course, this class will work with a selected community in Costa Rica on their ecotourism development plan. Students will assist this community with a variety of tasks including an ecotourism business plan, sustainability projects and other tasks determined by our community partner. The course will begin with an examination of the public policy and economic aspects of the development of ecotourism in Costa Rica and how it can benefit our community partner. The second portion of the course will provide an intensive in-country experience with ecotourism stakeholders from both the public and private sector. Students will design and implement a number of projects in Costa Rica to assist the community in the development of its ecotourism industry. The final segment of the course will examine the effects of the service projects completed in Costa Rica on campus.
PS-380. Political Science Senior Project
This course is the capstone experience for Political Science majors. During the semester, the student completes the research project begun during PS-261 (that is, data and information are gathered and analyzed), and the results written in a formal paper. Students present their findings in a public forum where the department’s faculty and students are present. Offered every semester.
PS-399. Cooperative Education
Professional cooperative education placement in a private or public organization related to the student’s academic objectives and career goals. In addition to their work experience, students are required to submit weekly reaction papers and an academic project to a Faculty Coordinator in the student’s discipline. (See the Cooperative Education section of this bulletin for placement procedures.)