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Political Science Course Descriptions


GEOG 200 Global Geography (3)
A study of interactions between people, places and environments. Focuses on cultures of difference and diversity with respect to religion, language, food, industry and urbanization. Economic and political development, geodemography, natural resources and globalization will also be emphasized. (Spring)

PSCI 100 Foundations of Political Science: Democratic Processes in America (3)
With emphasis on social scientific thinking, examines the American political system, including the Constitution, Congress, the presidency, the courts, federalism, elections and campaigns, and political parties. Selected contemporary issues in American politics also examined. Fulfills the social sciences requirement for the core curriculum. (Fall)

PSCI 115 The Presidential Election (3)
An introductory level course designed for freshmen. Course examines: the procedures for nominating and electing presidents, the candidates running for president, the strategies used by the campaigns, the role of the media, the role of money, and day-to-day changes in the political environment. (Offered in the fall semester of presidential election years).

PSCI 116 Law and the Legal System: A Citizen’s Guide (3)
This course examines the fundamental principles and issues of American law that every citizen needs to know. (As needed)

PSCI 120 Politics and Film (3)
This is an introductory course, designed primarily for freshmen, that examines basic concepts and issues in politics through film including how movies portray politically and culturally significant topics in the United States and abroad, such as revolutions, corruption, the death penalty, corporate interests, social justice, and war. (As needed)

PSCI 126 Politics of Sexuality & Gender (3)
This course examines gender and sexuality in politics and policy in the United States. Students will be introduced to past and present social science theories of sexuality and gender. We will explore social movements, interest group politics, and public policy surrounding gender and LGBT issues.

PSCI 170 Thinking about Islam (3)
“Thinking about Islam” will explore the “essentials of Islam” and ask questions about justice, politics, war, gender, and culture that underlie some of the thorny issues making headlines today under the banners of Islamic extremists – and policies of governments in the wake of the Arab Spring.

PSCI 190 Terrorism and Counter insurgence (3)
Examines the development and changes in the use of terrorism in order to achieve political objectives in the contemporary world. In addition to learning about the different forms of terrorism and insurgency, the course also examines the challenges of formulating both short- and long-term responses.

PSCI 200 Comparative Politics (3)
An introduction to the comparative study of politics in both advanced industrial states and the third world. Includes topics such as political culture, nationalism, state-building, socioeconomic development, regime types, and political institutions. (Spring)

CVPS 201 The West in the Modern World (3)
An interdisciplinary examination of the transformation of the international system from one based on a collection of interacting nation states to a more integrated global system of political, economic and cultural interaction. Examines the period of 1850 to 2000 by surveying the different attempts to produce new forms of order (nationalism, imperialism, ideological conflict) in a world undergoing rapid technological, economic and political change. As students examine domestic and international responses to industrialization and modernization, they have the opportunity to study the impact of Western values on others in the world. Students will develop the ability to critically analyze the evolution of the modern world system and the rise of globalism. (As needed)

PSCI/IS 207 International Relations (3)
An introductory examination of the nation-state system, with emphasis on the factors governing the behavior and interaction of states. Examines various international relations paradigms. (Fall)

THPS 207 Catholic Social Teaching (3)
An examination of modern Catholic social thought from within the broad context of Scripture and the Christian tradition. The course considers philosophical and theological questions about the role of faith in modern social and political life, while dealing with topics such as labor, poverty, war and peace, and other issues of human rights and social justice. (Spring)

PSCI 210 Public Policy (3)
Examines the public policy-making process by analyzing the formation, implementation and evaluation of public policies and by applying this framework to issues in healthcare, economics, social welfare, education and the environment. (Spring)

PSCI 212 State and Local Government (3)
An examination of institutions, processes and contemporary public policy issues as they relate to state and local governments. Explores the structure of executive, legislative and judicial institutions; political parties, interest groups and citizen participation; and central policy issues including education, social welfare, and crime and corrections policy. (As needed)

PSCI/PSGS 226 Politics of Gender (3)
This course takes a look at the way gender affects our lives, with a particular focus on the political arena. The course first explores theories of how gender matters in society in general and then turn to issues of equal protection and gender discrimination; political participation; public opinion (the gender gap); and public office holding. The course also explores the women’s movement and how it has changed over time in terms of participants and priorities. Finally, the course turns to public policy and examines how government policies in various areas can have differential effects on men and women.

PSCI/PSGS 227 Politics of Race and Ethnicity (3)
This course takes a look at the way race and ethnicity are defined and socially constructed, and how these factors matter in the political realm. The course first explore theories of how race and ethnicity matter in society in general and then turns to issues of equal protection and discrimination, political participation differences, public opinion differences, and descriptive representation. The course also considers the legacy of the civil rights movement and the form it takes today.

PSCI 230 Politics and the Environment (3)
An interdisciplinary examination of the relationship between politics and the environment. Examines how multiple and, at times, conflicting interest groups compete within the political arena in order to influence policies that directly affect both the national and international biosphere. Explores why diverging views about the need for economic expansion and the human need for a productive and habitable environment have resulted in a series of incomplete and disconnected policy promises by both national (U.S.) and international actors. Following sections of the course that briefly examine the rise of the modern economic-political-environmental order, students will focus on the political challenges of introducing a paradigmatic shift towards the concept of sustainable development for both the United States and the international system. (As needed)

PSCI 235 Peace and Justice in the Abrahamic Tradition (3)
Does America have values? If so, what are they? Where do we get them? And how do we use them in the public space? This course will review broad strands of political theory that underpin American values, examine strategies by which key values are articulated politically, and explore ways in which citizens and groups advocate within the public space. (As needed)

PSCI 238 Religious Values in the Public Square
This course explores the role religion and religious values have played in the American political discourse from our founding to the present day; the origins and different interpretations of the “wall of separation” between Church and State; and Supreme Court cases interpreting both the “establishment” and “free exercise” clauses of the First Amendment. (As needed)

PSCI/IS 250 Democracy and Democratization (3)
An examination of democratic politics around the world with an emphasis on transitions to democracy (both historical and contemporary), the role of political institutions, and social movements. Case studies and regional analysis from Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa will be combined with examination of broader issues such as the advantages and disadvantages of democracy, the relationship between democracy and development, and the impact of globalization.

PSCI/IS 270 Israel and Palestine (3)
This course will explore the complex issue of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Topics include the past 100 years of history from the perspective of national longing on both sides, how each side’s narrative about the conflict has evolved, the major peace proposals that have been considered, and on-the-ground projects that have been tried to change hearts and minds at the grassroots levels. (As needed)

PSCI/IS 271 Model Arab League Simulation (1)
This one-credit course is for students who participate in the Model Arab League simulation, but who are not otherwise enrolled in a course for which credit is given for their participation.

PSCI/IS 280 Government and Politics in Europe (3)
This course is an introduction to the politics of Europe, including the emergence of the modern state, political institutions, and the European Union. Topics include both the political history of Europe and more recent and politically charged issues such as the role of the European Union, immigration, welfare policy and environmental policy. Participation in the Mid-Atlantic European Union simulation may be required. (As needed)

PSCI/IS 281 European Union Simulation (3)
This one-credit course is for students who participate in the European Union simulation, but who are not otherwise enrolled in a course for which credit is given for their participation.

PSCI 311 Social Welfare Policy (3)
An exploration of the development and implementation of social welfare policies in the United States at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on the transition from the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program to the Temporary Aid to Needy Families program. Traces these and other social programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid through the entire policy process and evaluates whether they attain the goals they were designed to achieve. (As needed)

PSCI 312 Parties and Elections (3)
An examination of the operations and functions of American political parties, as well as the various processes of nominations and elections at all levels in the country. Topics covered also include campaign finance, congressional districting, the role of the media, and campaign strategies. Particular focus is placed on the federal elections taking place in the semester when the course is offered. (Fall, even years)

PSCI/IS 313 Comparative Political Systems: Middle East (3)
A study of the political systems and the sociopolitical ideologies of the Middle East, with emphasis on Islam, nation-building and the rise of modern state institutions. (As needed)

PSCI/IS 314 Comparative Political Systems: Latin America (3)
A comparative introduction to modern Latin American politics with emphasis on different approaches to economic and social problems, the role of the military, the struggle to establish democracy, and contemporary social movements. (As needed)

PSCI 315 The Supreme Court and Constitutional Law (3)
A focus on the role of the Supreme Court in the American political order as well as the major cases and controversies in American Constitutional law. (Spring, odd years)

PSCI 317 American Presidency (3)
An examination of the history, operations and politics of the American Presidency, including: the impact of various individual presidents, constitutional questions pertaining to the office, and system for electing presidents. (Spring, even years)

PSCI 318 Congressional Politics (3)
An examination of the legislative process, structures and policy impact of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. (Fall, odd years)

PSCI 322 Perspectives in Political Science (3)
A consideration of a critical issue or theme in political science. (As needed)

PSCI/IS 324 Politics and Economics of the European Union (3)
An examination of the politics and economics of the European Union, theories of regional integration and contemporary issues in the European Union, including the development of a single market and political unification. (As needed)

PSCI/IS 325 The Politics of Developing Nations (3)
An examination of political, social, and economic development in the Third World focusing on the legacies of colonialism, the debate between the modernization and dependency theories, and the process of globalization as applied to Africa, Asia, and Latin America. (As needed)

PSCI 329 Survey of Political Thought (3)
An examination of various topics in classical, modern, and contemporary political thought. (Fall)

PSCI 332 Politics of the Human Body (3)
Explores approaches to policy decision making regarding issues involving the human body, generally referred to as biomedical policy. Focuses on political decision making rather than the technical aspects of biomedical technologies. Areas of policy in biomedical technology include stem-cell and embryo research, human cloning, organ transplantation, assisted reproduction and genetic technology. Designed to further knowledge of different approaches to policy making and to increase understanding of the unique problems that rapidly developing technologies pose for policy makers. (As needed)

PSCI/IS 333 International Law and Organization (3)
Exploration of the nature, origin, development and function of international law with emphasis on the relevance of international law and the role of international organization in the nuclear age. (As needed)

PSCI 335 Politics and Culture in Central America (3)
An interdisciplinary exploration of political culture and governance in contemporary Central America (with connections to Caribbean politics). The focus is on military regimes and human rights, popular uprisings, grass roots initiatives, and contemporary problems of gang violence and urban poverty. The course is designed to engage students through literary, theological, economic, and political readings. (As needed)

PSCI 337 Environmental Law and Politics (3)
This course explores the major themes and issues of environmental law including important legal concepts in the environmental field such as standing and citizen suits; the distinction between public and private law; the challenge of scientific uncertainty; the role of value judgments in developing environmental policy; major federal pollution statutes and court interpretations; international pollution issues such as ozone depletion and climate change; and protection of endangered species. (As needed)

PSCI/IS 338 American Foreign Policy (3)
A study of the making and execution of American foreign policy with an emphasis on the enduring struggle to balance power and principles. Case studies may also be treated, with an emphasis on the modern era. (As needed)

PSCI/IS 339 International Relations of the Middle East (3)
A study of the Middle East in world affairs, and the involvement of the major powers in the area, with emphasis on the 20th century. (As needed)

PSCI/IS 341 Women and War (3)
Women’s roles during wartime are diverse, ranging from service as mothers to service as soldiers, munitions makers, caretakers, or sex workers. This course examines questions that complicate and clarify our understanding of women and war. Addresses larger theoretical debates and draws upon the contributions of scholars who address women’s wartime experiences over a range of disciplines and from many of the world’s regions. (As needed)

PSCI/IS 342 Peace and Security (3)
An examination of theories of conflict and conflict resolution and their application to case studies of particular political conflicts. (As needed)

PSCI/IS 343 Comparative Political Systems: Africa (3)
A comparative analysis of political systems in Africa, with emphasis on nation building. (As needed)

PSCI 345 Politics and Culture of the Andes (3)
An interdisciplinary introduction to the Andes with emphasis on the continuing encounter between European and indigenous civilizations. Topics covered include the process of state-building, religious and cultural syncretism, the rise of new indigenous social movements, the region’s socioeconomic development, and its international relations.

PSCI/IS 348 Human Rights (3)
An exploration of the meaning of human rights, the rights that all people have by virtue of their humanity, within an era of globalism in which ideological and cultural definitions of rights are frequently at odds with one another, in which questions of sovereignty are increasingly at issue, and in which environmental issues such as overpopulation, pollution and scarcity of resources have been moved onto human rights agendas. (As needed)

PSCI 355 Political Research Methods and Analysis (4)
A study of the basic procedures that constitute the research process in political science, focusing on theory construction, the relationship between theory and methodology, the principles and problems of data collection in qualitative and quantitative research, and basic competence in the use of statistics for hypothesis testing an measuring central tendency, variability, and correlation. Also introduces students to academic political science research and develops skills for locating, evaluating and utilizing the work of others. (Spring)

PSCI 360 Political Research Methods II: Data Analysis and Statistics (3)
An introduction to the basic statistical skills used by social scientists. Includes the role of statistics in the hypothesis testing process and the concepts of central tendency, variability, correlation and regression. Aims at competence with formulas and calculations for basic statistics as well as with statistical software as a tool for data analysis. (Spring)

BUPS 365 Mock Trial (1)
Using the rules and the case developed by the American Mock Trial Association, students prepare a mock court case and present it at an invitational tournament (in the fall) or a regional tournament (in the spring). Cases alternate between civil matters (in odd years) and criminal matters (in even years). Using this case, students learn rules of evidence and courtroom procedures and develop public-speaking and critical-thinking skills. Attendance at meetings outside of the scheduled class time and travel to tournaments are required.(Every Semester)

Mock Trial may be taken once per semester for PSCI credit, but only 3 credits will count towards the elective requirement of the political science major.

PSCI 390 Special Topics in Public Policy (3)
An in-depth and systematic study of a contemporary policy problem of national concern. (As needed)

PSCI/IS 398 Independent Study (1-3)
Independent study or research. Approval of the instructor, the department chairperson, and the dean for academic affairs. (As needed)

PSCI 405 Fall LSAT Preparation (1)
First part of year-long sequence, this course prepares students to take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). Normally taken in junior year for students intending to take LSAT exam during their senior year. Course does not count as elective credit towards political science major.

PSCI 406 Spring Preparation (1)
Second part of year-long sequence, this course prepares students to take the Law School Admissions Test. Normally taken in junior year for students intending to take LAST exam during their senior year. Course does not count as elective credit towards political science major. Prerequisite: PS405.

PSCI/IS 498 Senior Seminar (3)
The capstone course for political science and international studies majors. Seminars led by political science department faculty on a variety of subjects. Aims at refining students’ skills in researching, writing, speaking, and critical thinking. Seeks to foster reflection in student on possible career paths. Required of all senior political science and international studies majors. (Fall)

PSCI/IS 480 Internship Seminar (3-12)
Field experience, open to juniors and seniors. Only three credit hours count toward elective requirements in the major. Approval of the instructor and the chairperson required.

PSCI 390 Special Topics in Public Policy (3)
An in-depth and systematic study of a contemporary policy problem of national concern. (As needed)

PSCI/IS 398 Independent Study (1-3)
Independent study or research. Approval of the instructor, the department chairperson, and the dean for academic affairs. (As needed)

PSCI 405 Fall LAST Preparation (1)
First part of year-long sequence, this course prepares students to take the Law School Admissions Test. Normally taken in junior year for students intending to take LAST exam during their senior year. Course does not count as elective credit towards political science major.

PSCI 406 Spring Preparation (1)
Second part of year-long sequence, this course prepares students to take the Law School Admissions Test. Normally taken in junior year for students intending to take LAST exam during their senior year. Course does not count as elective credit towards political science major. Prerequisite: PS405.

PSCI/IS 498 Senior Seminar (3)
The capstone course for political science and international studies majors. Seminars led by political science department faculty on a variety of subjects. Aims at refining students’ skills in researching, writing, speaking, and critical thinking. Seeks to foster reflection in student on possible career paths. Required of all senior political science and international studies majors. (Fall)

PSCI/IS 480 Internship Seminar (3-12)
Field experience, open to juniors and seniors. Only three credit hours count toward elective requirements in the major. Approval of the instructor and the chairperson required.


See the full Academic Catalog.

 
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