Course Descriptions

PO 121 Introduction to American Government     3 CR
Explores a variety of areas that collectively comprise the American political system. Examines the theoretical foundation of American government, the U.S. Constitution, political behavior, Congress, the presidency and the Supreme Court.

PO 122 Introduction to International Relations     3 CR
Focuses on fundamental factors in understanding international relations. Sovereignty, nation-states, national interests, power, diplomacy, United Nations, war, terrorism, ethnicity and low-intensity warfare, the environment and global politics are studied.
PO 123 Human Rights and Social Justice     3 CR
This course will introduce students to current and historical issues and controversies of human rights and social justice through case studies, lectures and group work.

PO 200 Approaches to Political Science     3 CR
Required of majors, this course introduces students to the ways in which government and politics is studied in the discipline. Students will examine and compare the strengths and weaknesses of a number of qualitative and quantitative methods, in preparation for work in other courses and in particular their senior research project. 

PO 212 American State and Local Government     3 CR
Examines the subnational level of American politics. Topics include the constitutional position of state governments, federal-state interaction, financing of state governments, political parties, group activity and public policies. Prerequisite: PO 121

PO 215 Political Parties     3 CR
Focuses on the role of political parties in America's democracy. Examines the structure and function of party organization, behavior of the American electorate and effectiveness of parties in the governing process. Platforms and categories of minor parties are also discussed. Prerequisite: PO 121
PO 216 Congress and the Legislative Process     3 CR
Examines the Constitutional powers of Congress, historical development, legislative process and relationship with executive branch of government. Prerequisite: PO 121

PO 217 The American Presidency     3 CR
Traces the role of the chief executive in the American political system. Attention is given to the evolution, functions and limits of executive leadership, as well as to relations with Congress, courts, bureaucracy, public opinion and the role of personal style in the office. Prerequisite: PO 121

PO 218 The Politics of Presidential Elections     3 CR
Explores the dimensions of presidential elections. Topics include political coalitions, campaign strategy, the role of media and money, conventions and presidential debates. Prerequisite: PO 121

PO 240 War and Conflict     3 CR
An exploration of the western way of war to the global war on terrorism. Includes the nine principles of war, the four generations of warfare, and the complex interrelationship among society technology, economics, and warfare. Special focus on the historical development of the U.S. Army, with course learning objectives through a battlefield study.

PO 242 International Organizations     3 CR
Focuses on the role of international organizations in coordinating relations between the countries with specific reference to the United Nations. The impact of other international organizations on international relations, like the WTO, the IMF and the European Union, is also examined. The course includes a trip to the United Nations.

PO 243 Terrorism     3 CR
History and evolution of terrorism in its global, cultural, psychological, religious, and secular contexts. Special focus on military, diplomatic, political, and economic responses as nuclear, chemical, biological, and cyberwarfare capabilities spread in the 21st century.

PO 244 American Foreign Policy since 1945     3 CR
Examines themes of American foreign policy. Topics include containment, deterrence, détente, changing bases of national power, foreign policy development, terrorism, narco-criminality and environmental issues.

PO 298 Democracy     3 CR
Examines the theories and practices surrounding popular government from its origins to the present day. Topics include representation, presidentialism and democratization. 

PO 299 Special Topics in Political Science     3 CR
Designates new or occasional courses that may or may not become part of the department's permanent offerings. Courses capitalize on a timely topic, a faculty member's particular interest, an experimental alternative to existing courses, etc. Prerequisites established by the department as appropriate for the specific course. Course title is shown on the student's transcript. Consult the current course schedule for available topics and current prerequisites.

PO 300 Foundations of Political Thought     3 CR
This survey course covers the essential thinkers (Plato, Machiavelli, Rousseau, etc.) and fundamental concepts (the nature of justice, liberty and equality, and the question of who should rule, etc.) in the history of political science.

PO 304 American Political Thought     3 CR
The Constitution of 1787 was based on speculation and a series of untested principles: it is possible for a territory as large as the United States to be self-governing; self-interest can be made to serve the common good; and minority rights can be protected in a system based on majority rule. Yet what was once the “American experiment,” we now know as America's gift to the world. This course examines documents related to the founding, such as the Declaration of Independence and The Federalist Papers, and other readings, including those by Tocqueville, Lincoln and Dewey, as they shape, question and are inspired by political life in our country.

PO 305 Ethics and Politics     3 CR
Readings in ethics and the lives of practicing politicians from George Washington to the present that reaffirm foundations of democratic life, including virtue, integrity, honor and trust.

PO 308 Theories of Political Economy     3 CR
Examines the foundation of and challenges to market capitalism. The role of political actors, shortcomings of the market, and the trend toward globalization are emphasized. Includes seminal works by Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes.

PO/EC 313 The Politics of European Integration     3 CR
Explores the political complexities associated with the integration of European nations. The structure and function of European governing institutions are examined and analyzed.

PO 314 Middle East Politics     3 CR
An introduction and survey of Middle East Politics. Sources of conflict and accommodation are explored, including, among others, water rights, oil resources, the allocation of production, the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the impact of U.S. Elections.

PO 315 Latin American Politics     3 CR
An introduction to the political culture and structures of Latin America. Through a series of case studies (e.g., Cuba, Mexico, Brazil), this course addresses key themes and challenges for the region, including democratization, economic development, violence and revolution, militarism and the relationship with the United States.

PO 316 South Asian Politics     3 CR
Explores South Asia as a region with special emphasis on India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The domestic and international politics of these countries is examined along with their bilateral relations. The role of South Asia in a globalized world is also studied in light of growing political, cultural and economic interdependence.

PO 317 African Politics     3 CR
Examines Africa as it has evolved over the years under outside influence - colonial rule, post colonial or cold war period and under globalization during the 1990s.  Explores the reasons for political conflict in Africa and barriers to conflict resolution.  The most recent trend of Africa’s economic resurgence in the 21st century is also discussed. 

PO 318 Contemporary European Politics     3 CR
A comparative analysis of several European political systems. Similarities and differences are explored with respect to governing structures, political culture, and patterns of political behavior.

PO 319/PS 224 Political Psychology     3 CR
Themes and concepts related to the expanding field of political psychology. Topics include the impact of media, nationalism, extremism, and security. The psychology of leadership is examined through case studies.

PO 320 Modern Political Economy     3 CR
Examines free market and centralized approaches to economic development. Impact of approaches toward income distribution, welfare policy, heath care, and Social Security are explored through case studies.

PO 321 Public Administration     3 CR
Survey of organizational theories and professional skills useful to those contemplating public sector service. Addresses public service context, planning, budgeting, communication, leadership and other skills.

PO 322 American Public Policy     3 CR
Models of policy making. Examines government policies toward civil, gender and minority rights, crime, health, welfare, education, environment and other areas.

PO 323 American Education Policy     3 CR
Overview of the major issues and themes affecting education policy in the U.S. Historical, political and social setting of American education are explored, with special focus on the major actors involved in the policy making process.

PO 325 Politics, Law, and Judicial Behavior     3 CR
Examines the judiciary's role in the American political process. Topics include the nature of law, political influence in judicial decision making, court organization, judicial recruitment and the powers and limitations of the judiciary. Prerequisite: PO 121

PO 331 Model UN

PO 332 Introduction to International Political Economy     3 CR
International economic relations examined in terms of interaction between political and economic phenomena on an international and global scale. Topics include trade, finance, economic and regional integration, and role of international institutions. 

PO 341 International Law     3 CR
Traces the development of international law and reviews principles and cases in major topical areas.

PO 351 Constitutional Law     3 CR
An inquiry into American constitutional law through the study of outstanding cases. Attention is given to the development of constitutional doctrines and the processes of legal reasoning. Prerequisite: PO 121

PO 352 The First Amendment     3 CR
Examines U.S. Supreme Court cases involving the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. Special attention is given to the balance between personal liberty and societal order. Prerequisite: PO 121

PO 391 Internship Program     3–6 CR
Congressional district staff, state Capitol or Washington, D.C., internships; election campaign and party organization internships; not-for-profit organization internships and others. Prerequisite: Permission of department chair

PO 395 Senior Seminar in Political Science     3 CR
Advanced study of a particular theme or topic in a seminar setting. Required capstone course for Political Science majors. Prerequisite: Senior standing

PO 399 Independent Study     1–3 CR
Guided study of a topic that goes beyond normal course offerings under the direction of a member of the Political Science faculty. Approval of the chair of the Political Science program required. By special arrangement.

PO 400 Senior Thesis     3 CR
An independent research project 35-40 pages in length conducted under the guidance of a faculty member.