Political Science Courses

POLS 130 American Politics

4 hours

An overview of the historical and contemporary practice of American politics that focuses on the nature of politics and government; the founders' ideas about the democratic republic; the constitutional theory and actual distribution of political power among the branches and levels of government; the problems and possibilities of governing America today; and the avenues available for citizen participation and influence. (HBSSM, Hist)

POLS 132 Global Politics

4 hours

This course will introduce students to (1) global issues, with examination of themes like globalization, economic development and poverty, global warming, ethnic conflict, democratization and war, and (2) global governance, with an emphasis on the role of states, nonstate actors and multilateral institutions. (HBSSM, Intcl)

POLS 139, 239, 339, 439 Special Topics

Credit arr.

These courses offer student and faculty the opportunity to explore an area of mutual interest. Topics have included Vietnam and Its Legacy; Political Novels and Films; Regional International Conflict; Courts in American Society.

POLS 171 Mock Trial

0 hours

This course involves preparation by students for the annual National Intercollegiate Mock Trial Tournament. The class will meet one to three times a week, September through early April. Students will work closely with a faculty sponsor and local attorneys who will guide them in preparing the case. Course may be repeated.

POLS 185 First-Year Seminar

4 hours

A variety of seminars for first-year students offered each January Term.

POLS 237 Politics of the Middle East

4 hours

This course examines the political problems of this vital region of the world, with a focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the politics of oil, and other resource issues, the role of religion in politics, and the question of democratization. Offered alternate years. (HB, Hist, Intcl)

POLS 242 Comparative Political Analysis

4 hours

An introduction to the theories and concepts of comparative politics. Case studies cover major political systems around the world. The course will emphasize performance as well as historical, cultural and ideological bases of these diverse political systems. (HBSSM, Hist, Intcl)

POLS 243 Law and the Quest for Justice

4 hours

This course will explore the relation between law and justice, with special emphasis on the American legal system. Students will read both imaginative literature and classical and modern legal thinkers and explore the way criminal, civil, and human rights operate both in the United States and globally. (HB)

POLS 247 Social Policy

4 hours

By focusing on current governmental efforts to reduce poverty, this course will investigate the influence of race, gender, class, ideology, demography, organized interests, and a market economy on how social policy is made in America. (HBSSM, Hist, Intcl)

POLS 252 Politics and Religion

4 hours

This course will focus on both the history of the relationship between politics and religion in America and current political issues that are difficult to separate from a very religious and a religiously diverse nation. We will devote significant attention to how religious beliefs influence the way citizens think and act politically and about how government decisions influence religious practices. (Students may use this course to fulfill either the second Religion requirement or the Human Behavior requirement, but not both). (Rel, HB, Hist)

POLS 258 Environmental Politics and Policy

4 hours

In this course, students will identify and examine environmental issues confronting the United States, as well as the larger world. Students will identify and evaluate both current and proposed policies for addressing those issues. We will pay particular attention to the range of actors involved in the making of environmental policy and will emphasize the relationship among politics, economics, ethics, and science in the making of environmental policies in the United States and internationally. (HBSSM)

POLS 285/295 Directed Study

2, 4 hours

An opportunity to pursue individualized or experiential learning with a faculty member, at the sophomore level or above, either within or outside the major. POLS 285 can be taken only during January Term, POLS 295 can be taken during the fall, spring, or summer terms.

POLS 335 Terrorism and Democracy

4 hours

This course will use works of social science, fiction and film to explore the following issues: the sources of modern terrorism, the political nature of terrorism and the tensions inherent in democracies between civil liberties and national security. A variety of terrorist organizations and countries will be investigated, with special attention to how the United States and other democracies have responded to terrorist attacks. (HBSSM, Hist, Intcl)

POLS 350 Economic Policy

4 hours

This course will examine the role of the state in the economy in democratic societies. Topics covered will include international trade policy, the government's capacity to manage the economy, the balance between state and market forces and political pressures that influence economic policies. Offered alternate years. (HB)

POLS 353 Political Parties and Interest Groups

4 hours

An examination of the function of political parties and interest groups as links between voters and government. What has been the impact of third parties, new campaign techniques, party reforms, single issue and public interest groups, and campaign finance rules? Will American political parties decline as interest groups build strength, or will there be a new party alignment? (HBSSM, Hist)

POLS 355 Constitutional Law

4 hours

Relying primarily on Supreme Court opinion, the course emphasizes how the Supreme Court has and should interpret the Constitution. The course examines the role of the Supreme Court and the allocation of governmental powers within the American constitutional/political system. (HEPT, HB)

POLS 356 Civil Rights and Liberties

4 hours

A study of the relationships between the individual and the state, emphasizing the limitations of government and the civil and political rights of individuals. Both Supreme Court cases and theoretical writings will be used. Offered alternate years. (HEPT, HB)

POLS 357 Congress and the Presidency

4 hours

An examination of the role of Congress and the Presidency in the American political system. Included are the powers and responsibilities of both institutions, the relationship between them, struggles over power and influence, and the capacity of Congress and the President to work together to make effective public policy. (HBSSM, Hist)

POLS 363 International Relations

4 hours

An examination of theories and contemporary issues in international relations and international political economy. (HB, Hist)

POLS 364 United States Foreign Policy

4 hours

The first segment of the course examines the evolution of American foreign policy from 19th century isolationism to global power in the 20th and 21st centuries. The second segment explores the making of foreign policy today, with focus on the alternative strategies available to decision makers. (HBSSM, Hist)

POLS 365 American Political Thought

4 hours

An examination of how American political thinkers, leaders, and contemporary commentators have dealt with the issues of power, equality, sovereignty, and representation. The course also focuses on the relations in American political thinking between abstract political concepts and practical politics. Offered alternate years. (HBSSM, HE)

POLS 366 Political Thought

4 hours

Historical survey of western political thought that explores competing visions of the political order. Readings will include selections from classical, modern, and contemporary political philosophy. (HB, HEPT)

POLS 367 Political Leadership

4 hours

Political leadership is different than other forms of leadership because politics is a unique activity. We will use biography, fiction, classical political theory, speeches, and contemporary social science writings to study the nature of political leadership. The course will pay special attention to the tension between being a good person and a good leader and will explore the idea of politics as a vocation. (HB, HEPT)

POLS 375 Directed Readings

1, 2, or 4 hours

Individual or group directed reading programs on specific topics under the direction of a member of the department of political science. Weekly conferences required.

POLS 380 Internship

2-8 hours

Supervised off-campus work situations in public or private organizations.

POLS 389 Directed Research

1, 2, or 4 hours

Directed research involves students in research projects conducted under the supervision of departmental faculty.

POLS 395 Independent Study

1, 2, or 4 hours

POLS 485 Seminar

4 hours

Open to junior or senior political science majors, the seminar will focus on major political thinkers or themes. The course will rely on discussion, student presentations, and independent projects. (W)

POLS 490 Senior Project

1, 2, or 4 hours

POLS 493 Senior Honors Project

4 hours

A yearlong independent research project. Applications are completed on the Honors Program form available at the registrar's office, requiring the signatures of a faculty supervisor, the department head, the honors program director, and the registrar. Interdisciplinary projects require the signatures of two faculty supervisors. The project must be completed by the due date for senior projects. The completed project is evaluated by a review committee consisting of the faculty supervisor, another faculty member from the major department, and a faculty member from outside the major department. All projects must be presented publicly. Only projects awarded an "A-" or "A" qualify for "department honors" designation. The honors project fulfills the all-college senior project requirement.