Politics Courses

POL 101. Controversies in Contemporary Politics. This course uses contemporary political controversies affecting the U. S. and other countries in order to understand basic concepts in politics. The issues vary from year to year.   Fulfills general education requirement: Liberal Studies Area 2 (Social Science). 3 credits.

POL 110. The Architecture of American Power. This course provides a survey of key developments, institutions, and issues in American politics. Topics include the ideas that shaped the original American political system; the presidency; Congress and federal courts; the operation of political parties and interest groups; domestic and foreign policy debates; and contemporary issues such as civil rights and affirmative action.   Fulfills general education requirement: Liberal Studies Area 2 (Social Science). 3 credits.

POL 200. The Discipline of Political Science. This course is a broadly-based introduction to the discipline of political science, with an emphasis on the design and evaluation of political research. Students will get practice writing a literature review, using empirical theories to formulate clear hypotheses, testing those hypotheses, and writing a compelling conclusion. We focus on improving information literacy and the kinds of research and communication skills necessary to succeed both in college and in today's workplace, in the context of learning more about political activity throughout the world.  3 credits.

POL 207. Europe in the 20th Century. An introduction to the main political, social, economic and intellectual developments in twentieth-century Europe. The major themes of the course include the experience of the two world wars; the development of fascist and communist regimes under Lenin and Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler; the weakness of the western democracies after World War I; the Holocaust; the Cold War; the Communist Bloc; the end to colonialism; the European Union; the development of the welfare state, and the new nationalism.   Fulfills general education requirement: Writing Process. Liberal Studies Area 1 (History). Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. 3 credits. [This course is cross-listed with HIS 207]

POL 210. Comparative Politics. This is an introduction to the study of comparative politics: the comparison of political systems in order to understand how and why these systems function differently. The course is built around three fundamental questions: What is comparative politics? What kinds of phenomena do we compare? What are the major theoretical approaches that guide our studies? We also examine distinctions between the "developing" and the "developed" worlds, and between authoritarian and democratic political regimes. The last half of the semester is devoted to the study of individual country case studies, with an emphasis on those in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.  Fulfills general education requirement: Intercultural Diversity. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. 3 credits.

POL 230. Electing the President. This course uses the current presidential election as a case study from which students can analyze the history of American parties and elections. The course will use political science concepts such as realignment and de-alignment to study the rise and fall of the various "party systems" in American history, and will attempt to place the current presidential election within its historical context.  Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. 3 credits. [This course is cross-listed with HIS 230]

POL 245. Conceptions of Global Power and World Politics. This course uses the levels of analysis approach to understand international politics and applies theories in international relations to draw connections between political concepts and contemporary world issues.  Fulfills general education requirement: Writing Process. 3 credits.

POL 256. Political Behavior. A key principle of democratic theory is the sovereignty of the people. Thus, the notion of the "will" and "power" of the people matters in democratic societies such as the U. S. , and helps us understand how the political system operates. This course examines critical topics including interest group behavior, political parties, elections, public opinion, and political communication and the mass media.   3 credits.

POL 275. Understanding Human Rights. This course develops an understanding of the practice of global human rights at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.  3 credits.

POL 312. American Foreign Policy. This course focuses on the roles and processes of formal and informal institutions shaping U.S. foreign policy and examines current and critical foreign policy problems and issues in contemporary geopolitical context.  Fulfills general education requirement: Writing Process. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. 3 credits.

POL 313. Contemporary Global Security. This course examines strategic thinking and theory in international politics, diplomacy and military muscle, cyber power and technological innovation in the changing world order, and security in the contemporary world.  Fulfills general education requirement: Writing Process. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. 3 credits.

POL 314. Global Politics of Wealth and Poverty. This course highlights world issues at the nexus of states and markets and focuses on how and why events unfold in the international political economy. Students will become versed in the primary assumptions and structural/macro conditions of economic and political geography in the global arena and examine micro-level conditions and mechanisms that influence political and economic outcomes to make sense of past and present changes in the global political economy.  Fulfills general education requirement: Writing Process. 3 credits.

POL 316. Civil Liberties and Civil Rights. This course uses key cases to study important doctrines established by the Supreme Court with regard to civil rights and civil liberties. Students will examine the Court's rulings concerning the establishment and free exercise of religion, protection of freedom of speech and of the press, privacy rights (abortion and sexual freedom), the rights of the accused in the criminal justice system, and the law governing racial or sexual discrimination. The course places particular emphasis on various forms of textual interpretation used by individual justices to apply the Constitution in deciding cases and writing opinions.   Fulfills general education requirement: Writing Process. American Social Diversity. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. LAW 215 recommended. 3 credits. [This course is cross-listed with LAW 316]

POL 345. The Philosophical Foundations of Politics. Students in this course study the development of Western political thought from Classical Greece to modern times, examining the conceptual evolution of citizenship, civic obligation, and the nature of justice and exploring the connection between moral and positive law in the western tradition.   Fulfills general education requirement: Writing Process. Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of the instructor. 3 credits.

POL 352. Public Administration and the Crafting of Policy. Probably no aspect of the U.S. political system has been more vilified than governmental bureaucracy. Yet public policies affect the lives of all Americans, and public administrators are the main touchstones with government for most citizens. This course provides an understanding of how and why the public policymaking process functions as it does, and how policy is administered. We analyze various areas of domestic policy at the national level, such as budgeting and taxation, education, health, welfare and the environment. We also examine the relationship between politics and government bureaucrats, study the chief functions of the bureaucracy, and learn about the dilemmas facing administrators, through the use of case studies and simulations. The course is of value to all citizens in a democracy and will be particularly helpful for students in careers affected by public policy.  Fulfills general education requirement: Liberal Studies Area 2 (Social Science). 3 credits.

POL 370. Conduct of Political Inquiry. This course challenges students how to reason and think quantitatively about politics to solve and address contemporary problems and inform policy.  Fulfills general education requirement: Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of the instructor. 3 credits.

POL 380. EU Simulation. This course offers an enriching, hands-on, interdisciplinary exploration of the dynamic processes of policy formation in the core institutions of the European Union. Students prepare for participation in the simulation held each November in Washington D. C. , organized by the Mid-Atlantic European Union Simulation Consortium (MEUSC). This experiential learning program endeavors to connect American students to EU policy makers and policy making in a unique way, utilizing the simulation experience to bridge the gap between the academic study of the EU and the actual political processes of the European Union. Students engage in discussions and debates about the EU that are current and topical in EU decision-making circles. A distinct theme is chosen as the focus of the simulation each year.   This course may be repeated for credit as topic changes. Fulfills general education requirement: Disciplinary Perspectives. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing. Course may be repeated for credit. 3 credits. [This course is cross-listed with DSP 380]

POL 391. Special Topics in U.S. Politics. Topic announced at the time of registration.  This course may be repeated for credit as topic changes. 3 credits.

POL 392. Special Topics in Global Politics. Topic announced at the time of registration.  This course may be repeated for credit as topic changes. 3 credits.

POL 400. Internship. Field experience in a political science environment.   May be repeated for credit (up to 12 credits of internship may be counted toward the degree). Fulfills general education requirement: Prerequisite: GPA of 2.50 in major and permission of department chair. Students taking more than six internship credits in politics please note: POL 400 may count for no more than two elective courses in the POL major. 1-12 credits.

POL 450. Politics Conference Presentation. Conduct a conference presentation in the discipline of politics.  Graded¬†pass/fail. 0 credits.

POL 460. Undergraduate Research. This course is designed to provide students opportunities to obtain credit for engaging in undergraduate research projects. Students engage in research projects with faculty on a range of topics, subject to approval of the individual faculty member.  Course may be repeated up to a limit of 12 credits; but only up to 6 credits can be applied to the major. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing, 2.5 GPA, and permission of the instructor/chair. 1-6 credits.

POL 499. Seminar in Politics. This is the capstone class for politics majors, to be taken at the end of the student's junior or senior year. It is a reading- and writing-intensive course, conducted in traditional seminar style. This means that our weekly meetings are primarily discussion-driven (based on the assigned readings), with very little lecturing by the professor. The objective is for students to demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the theoretical and empirical course material, both orally and in their written work. The seminar is based on a theme that changes from year to year; recent examples have been nationalism, democratization and the Arab Spring, and political communication.   Fulfills general education requirement: Writing Process. Prerequisites: Major in politics and junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor. 3 credits.

POL 599. Honors in Politics. Students with junior or senior standing are eligible to apply for Departmental Honors in Politics. Students must have a GPA of 3.5 in their major courses and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. These requirements must be met both at the time of application and at the time of graduation. The honors program includes a substantial piece of work requiring extensive independent research, resulting in a high-caliber thesis. A thesis of this quality requires sustained research effort throughout at least one semester. Normally, students will develop and write their thesis as part of a POL 500 Independent Study. Students who successfully complete and defend their Honors project will receive recognition on their College transcript.  0 credits.