Traditional Programs Adult Programs Course Descriptions Graduate Catalog

Political Science Courses

PSC 110 American Politics – 3 credits

This course introduces students to the key institutions, actors, and policy-making processes that collectively constitute the American political system. The course will examine the evolution of the American political system, the expansion of rights and liberties, the role of political parties, voting behavior, and American political culture.

PSC 120 Introduction to International Relations – 3 credits

Why do countries fight wars? Why are some countries rich and others poor? What causes terrorism? Introduction to International Relations will grapple with these and other pressing issues in world politics. Students will develop the tools to understand and analyze the causes of conflict, the conditions that promote peace, and the constraints on achieving international cooperation. Students will also examine the political dimensions of the international economy and international development as well as contemporary issues of concern, such as terrorism, human rights, and international law.

PSC 202 Law and Justice - 3 credits

A historically-based examination of the American legal system as seen from the perspective of the institutional practices and decision making processes whereby justice is administered in the United States. Particular attention is devoted to the subject of legal reasoning as this applies to the task of interpreting constitutions, statutes, and common law principles. The course also addresses the institutional characteristics of the American judicial system, the nature of legal education in the United States and the distinctive role that lawyers and judges play in regard to both the formulation and administration of law.

PSC 204 Legal Research and Writing – 3 credits

This course seeks to provide practical legal research and writing skills for students interested in pre-law, paralegal studies, or assistants working in any legal department or law firm.  Special emphasis will be placed on improving writing skills, learning proper citation, and using legal reasoning in academic work.  This course will serve as an introduction to legal research and writing.  Satisfaction of the WRI-1 requirement is a prerequisite for the course; however, the instructor assumes that students have little, if any, formal background in legal research and writing.

PSC 206 Presidents and Parliaments: Topics in Comparative Politics – 3 credits

This course introduces students to theories, methods, and key topics of comparative politics. It examines similarities and differences among countries, institutions, and political processes, such as regime types, electoral systems and welfare states. The course will address these issues thematically or by global region.

PSC 207 Law and Women’s Rights - 3 credits

This course will be an analysis of the most pressing legal issues confronting women in contemporary American society. Topics include constitutional equality, reproductive rights, education opportunities, family law, employment, sexuality, and economic status. Special consideration is placed on understanding how and when issues become part of the political agenda, changes in debates, and policy outcomes. A review of landmark court decisions will aid in the examination of the issues as they have evolved and how they are understood within the context of contemporary American society. This course will be taught as a seminar to allow students to intelligently discuss the issues. This course serves as an introduction to the historical and contemporary legal issues confronting women in America.

PSC 210 American Public Policy - 3 credits

This course will examine the theories, institutions and processes behind public policymaking and policy analysis. We will explore how and why the government chooses to address some policy issues and not others. What causes some issues to be taken up and pushed forward and others to languish? Who are the main actors involved in policymaking? What are the challenges inherent in policy implementation? The course will also focus on policy analysis, the process by which we assess the effectiveness of policy alternatives and evaluate policy choices through an examination of specific public policy issues, such as social welfare, the budget, education, and homeland security.

PSC 211 The New Global Economy - 3 credits

This course is an introduction to the subject of the development and effects of globalization. It will provide a framework for understanding the forces shaping the contemporary world. We will examine the development and nature of the modern state system and how globalization is affecting state sovereignty, the development and spread of capitalism, the growth of international trade of goods and investments, the division of the world into developed and underdeveloped countries, and the nature and importance of current demographic trends.

PSC 224 (cross listed with History) America as a World Power – 3 credits

An examination of the rise of the United States as a world power in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the growth of American interest in East Asia and the Caribbean region, the American participation in World War I and World War II, and the U. S. role as a super power in the Cold War and post Cold War eras. The course also explores how certain domestic events – the Red Scare, the Great Depression, and the civil rights movement – influenced or were influenced by America’s role in international affairs.

PSC 250 Political –“isms” – 3 credits

How should society be organized? What is the relationship between the individual and the state? How do we conceive of concepts like “freedom” and “equality”? How would contemporary society change based on the answers to those questions? This course offers a comparative analysis of contemporary political ideologies as seen from the perspective of their philosophical assumptions, normative values, substantive political principles, and public policy agendas. Particular attention is devoted to Liberal and Conservative thought, although the course also systematically examines ideologies such as Fundamentalism, Marxism, Fascism, and Feminism.

PSC 260 Special Topics - 1-3 credits
PSC 312 American Foreign Policy – 3 credits

The United States, while no longer a super power, continues to play a key role in global military and economic activities. This course will examine the evolution of the United States’ role in global affairs, key actors in foreign policy decision-making, and theoretical frameworks for studying foreign policy. The course will also address specific foreign policy issues, such as unilateral and multilateral conflict, responses to non-state threats, international trade and investment, and the role of the US in international humanitarian aid. Highly recommended that students take PSC 110 prior to taking 312.

PSC 390 Independent Study - 1-3 credits


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