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Political Science Department
- Factual information: American politics
- Factual information: World/international politics
- Factual information: Comparative politics
- Factual information: Political thought/philosophy
- Communication skills: Written, oral and listening
- Diversity issues: U.S./global diversity of population and societies
- Diversity issues: Relationship between politics and differences
- Diversity issues: Criticize views of categories of diversity/portray others' perceptions/views
American Government & Politics
POLI-111 American Government and Politics
An introductory course covering the major institutions and processes of American government and politics, with a focus on the Constitution, mass political behavior, and the decision-making of elected officials. 4 SH. CC: Oral Intensive, Social Interactions.
POLI-211 Women and U.S. Politics
An introductory examination of the role of women in the U.S. political system. The course includes a theoretical and historical view of the development of women's political activity in the United States, as well as a contemporary look at women as activists, voters and candidates. Current issues are incorporated as appropriate. Same as WMST-211. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. 4 SH. CC: Diversity Intensive, Interdisciplinary, Team Intensive.
POLI-212 Introduction to Public Policy
"Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made", a quote often attributed to Prince Otto von Bismarck. Against this advice, this course focuses on understanding how laws are made. We will examine the policy-making process in the United States and, to a lesser extent, in other countries. Who sets the agenda adopted by politicians and policy-makers? What role(s) are played by private actors in the policy-making process? What factors help or hinder the process of implementing policies? Students will consider all of these questions and focus in depth on a number of current policy debates, including immigration policy, environmental policy, and education policy. This course is intended to provide students with an understanding of the theories explaining how policies are shaped by the political process and a familiarity with the practical tools used by policy-makers to develop and enforce the rules, policies, and laws that we all must follow. 4 SH. CC: Ethics Intensive.
POLI-310 Public Opinion and Political Psychology
This course examines the psychological dimensions of politics, with a particular focus on how citizens make sense of their political surroundings and how their understandings of the political world are linked to their political beliefs and behaviors. Topics include the effects of personality, the role of emotion and reason, the nature of mass decision-making, and the impact of the media on other sources of information. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. POLI-111 is recommended but not required. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary.
POLI-312 Elections and Voting Behavior
This course examines two main questions about political behavior in the American public: why do people participate in politics and why do they vote the way they do? Emphasizes the diverse nature of the American electorate and how decisions are shaped by geographic and demographic factors. Also discusses normative issues associated with voting rights, political knowledge in the electorate, and polarization in American politics. There are no prerequisites for this course, but POLI-111 is recommended. 4 SH. CC: Diversity Intensive.
POLI-314 Diversity in American Politics
Studies the many shapes of diversity found in the United States and how this diversity impacts the American political system. Analyzes how different groups have been denied or granted access to the political system and the success or failure of these groups in affecting the political system as voters, candidates and office holders, and in bringing new principles, values and practices into American politics. The theoretical challenges presented by the general concept of diversity will also be examined. There are no prerequisites for this course; however, POLI-111 is recommended. 4 SH. CC: Diversity Intensive.
POLI-316 The American Presidency
An exploration of the power of the American presidency as it has developed over time. Studies presidential authority, the limitations on presidential power and the presidency's impact on public policy in the United States. Explores the interplay between individual presidents and the institution of the presidency. Topics covered include the presidential selection process and the relationship between the president and the Congress, "the bureaucracy" and the courts. There are no prerequisites; however, POLI-111 is recommended. 4 SH. CC: Writing Intensive.
POLI-317 The U. S. Congress
Examines the U. S. Congress as an institution, its responsiveness to public opinion, its relations with other branches of government, and its impact on public policy. Topics include congressional elections, the quality of representation, the internal working of the House and Senate, and the comparison of Congress with state legislatures. There are no prerequisites for this course, but POLI-111 is recommended. 4 SH.
POLI-319 State and Local Government and Politics
Study and analysis of state and local government in the U.S. political system. Examines the influence of intergovernmental relations on these political systems and the "how, why and so what" of governmental operation. Compares the different ways state and local governments operate in 50 states and thousands of local governments, with an emphasis on the role of Pennsylvania and other states of particular interest to students. Contemporary policy issues are incorporated. 4 SH.
POLI-341 American Political Thought
Examines writings of representative political thinkers and movements from colonial through contemporary America. Stresses debates over relevant issues, such as religious freedom, the constitutional system, civil rights for minorities and women, and the role of government in the economy. 4 SH.
POLI-215 Law and Politics
Examines the law and the legal system in the United States, assessing the possibilities and limitations of the law. Studies the political basis of the law and critiques of the American legal system. Discusses the major players in the legal system, including lawyers, judges and juries. Course culminates with a mock trial. 4 SH. CC: Team Intensive.
POLI-411 Constitutional Law
Examines the U.S. Supreme Court with an emphasis on its major decisions in questions of judicial review, federalism, separation of powers, interstate commerce, state police powers and substantive due process. Emphasizes the court's political role and judicial decision making. Prerequisite: Junior standing. POLI-111 is recommended. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary, Writing Intensive.
POLI-412 Civil Liberties
Examines significant Supreme Court decisions concerning the protection of liberty and equality. Topics covered include freedom of speech and press, church-state relations, right to privacy, criminal procedure, and racial and gender discrimination. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing. POLI-111 is recommended. 4 SH. CC: Writing Intensive.
POLI-121 Comparative Government and Politics
Surveys the political systems, ideologies and socioeconomic policies and issues in various countries and regions of the world. 4 SH. CC: Diversity, Social Interactions.
POLI-224 Government and Politics of Europe
Comparative study of contemporary government, politics, problems and policies in Europe, with a special focus on Western Europe, though some attention is given to countries in Central and Eastern Europe. 4 SH. CC: Social Interactions.
POLI-226 Soviet and Russian Politics
Looks at Russian and Soviet politics and foreign policy. The Soviet Union is examined, with particular emphasis on the policies of Gorbachev and the 1991 disintegration of the U.S.S.R. The post-Soviet period is also studied, especially the challenges of democratization and of moving toward a market economy. While primary attention is paid to the situation in Russia, issues in the other former Soviet republics and Eastern Europe are also discussed. Same as HIST-226. 4 SH.
POLI-228 Middle East Politics and Society
This course examines the ways in which politics and society in the Middle East are shaped by historical and contemporary structures, processes and practices. The geographic and temporal focus of the course includes the Arab world, Iran, Turkey and Israel during the past century and a half, from the reforms of the late Ottoman Empire, through the years of European colonialism, to the emergence of postcolonial states and their contemporary development. Same as JWST-228. Prerequisities: Sophomore standing. 4 SH. CC: Historical Perspective, Diversity Intensive, Interdisciplinary.
POLI-321 European Union
Examines the post-World War II development, institutional structure and policies of the European Union and its predecessors in the movement toward European integration, with a special emphasis on the current situation. Same as HIST-321. 4 SH.
POLI-323 Comparative Foreign Policy
This course introduces the academic study of foreign policy analysis in comparative perspective. Foreign policy analysis explores every level of foreign policy decision making. Foreign policy is influenced by a multitude of factors: psychologies of individuals involved, a state's characteristics (historical experience, political culture, foreign policy bureaucracy, political opposition, interest groups and public opinion), as well as the international environment. Based on this conceptual and theoretical background, this course reviews foreign policies of many different (types of) countries: among others, Russia, China, Brazil, and Turkey. There are no prerequisites, but POLI-131 or POLI-133 or INTD-201 is recommended. 4 SH. CC: Social Interactions, Writing Intensive.
POLI-324 Issues in Comparative Politics
This course focuses on topics relevant to the study of politics and governance outside of the United States. Such topics include the origins, development and current state of party systems in modern democratic governments; the comparison of different modes of political behavior (including public opinion, elections and voting, and protest) in advanced industrial democracies; an examination of how economic policies (including social welfare policies) are developed and implemented under different political systems; and the complex relationship between national identity and the legitimacy of the state. This course is intended to provide students interested in Comparative Politics with a deeper understanding of some of the current lines of inquiry in that field. The course may be repeated for credit if the subtitle (and therefore the course content) is changed. There are no prerequisites, however POLI-121 is recommended. 4 SH. CC: Social Interactions.
POLI-337 Protest in the Middle East
This course is theoretically based on the social mobilization literature and geographically concerns the Middle East. Concisely, the class seeks an answer to the question: Why do masses mobilize? Class meetings explore such themes as mobilization, repression, protest, as well as democratic deficit, economic deprivation in the Middle East. Case studies include but are not limited to the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the Palestinian Intifadas, and various mobilization events during the "Arab Spring." There are no prerequisites, but POLI-228 is recommended. 4 SH.
International Politics & Foreign Policy
POLI-131 World Affairs
Examines state behavior in the international system in light of countries' abilities and limitations. Causes of state action, leaders' decision making and the role of power are discussed. Explores why states go to war, the role of the United Nations, the benefits and costs of free trade, and the effects of the environmental and human rights movements. Case studies and current events are used to illustrate theories and provide a framework for discussion. A student may not receive credit for both POLI-131 and POLI-133. 4 SH. CC: Social Interactions.
POLI-133 World Affairs: Statecraft
Taught in a Team Intensive format, this course examines state behavior in the international system in light of countries' abilities and limitations. Causes of state action, leaders' decision making and the role of power are discussed. Explores why states go to war, the role of the United Nations, the benefits and costs of free trade, and the effects of the environmental and human rights movements. Case studies and current events are used to illustrate theories and provide a framework for discussion. A student may not receive credit for both POLI-131 and POLI-133. 4 SH. CC: Social Interactions, Team Intensive.
POLI-325 Political Leadership
This course focuses on political leaders' influence on the actions and policies of institutions they govern at the national/federal level. The class primarily explores the psychological dimensions of politics in political leaders and as such serves as a basic introduction to political psychology. The course surveys historical and contemporary approaches to studying political leaders, and places an emphasis on the relationship between leaders' personalities, leadership styles, beliefs, psychological disorders on the one hand and decision making (in particular, in foreign policy) on the other. Case studies assess political leaders from around the world: American presidents, British prime ministers, Israeli leaders, and Iranian presidents. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. Recommended: POLI-111 or POLI-131 or POLI-133 or PSYC-101. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary.
POLI-331 American Foreign Policy
Studies the formation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. Focuses on both the role of the United States in the post-World War II era and current foreign and security policy issues. 4 SH.
POLI-333 Development, Globalization and Society
A study of the relationship between economic development paradigms, institutions and groups in society. The course focuses on international economic relationships, world order, and the resultant social and political conflict. More specifically, this course examines how global economic development policy since the 1960s has influenced relations between states, major institutions, organizations and social groupings in both the developed and the developing world. Same as SOCI-333. Prerequisite: Junior standing and either SOCI-101 or ANTH-162. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary.
POLI-334 International Organizations and Law
A study of the ways of managing the issues that arise from increasing interdependence among nation-states. The course explores the consequences of the growth of international organizations and the proliferation of treaties in areas of security; economics; the environment; and political, social and human rights. Primary attention is devoted to international governmental organizations, especially the United Nations and the World Court, but international nongovernmental organizations (e.g., Amnesty International and Greenpeace) are also considered. There are no prerequisites; however, POLI-131 or POLI-133 is recommended. 4 SH. CC: Writing Intensive.
POLI-335 War and Politics
Analyzes issues of war and conflict in the international system, largely from a theoretical perspective. Students examine the questions of why states go to war, how wars can be prevented, how states fight wars and how such conflicts end. Case studies of wars, including World War II and the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, will be studied. Arms control, terrorism and peacekeeping are also discussed. There are no prerequisites; however, POLI-131 or POLI-133 is recommended. 4 SH. CC: Team Intensive.
POLI-338 International Political Economy
Examines issues of political interaction with economic forces at the national, international and global levels. Topics studied include economic systems, international trade and finance, the European Union, NAFTA, CAFTA, OPEC, multinational corporations, economic development, poverty, inequality, and global environmental issues. Same as ECON-338. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing; ECON-201 or ECON-105 or instructor's permission. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary.
POLI-202 Topics in Government and Politics
Examines selected topics or problems in American government or comparative government, international politics or political thought. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. 2 or 4 SH.
POLI-205 Research Methods
Introduces students to the social science research process and common techniques of quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Topics include the development of theory, measurement, data collection and analysis, and research ethics. Requirements include compiling a literature review and using statistical software to conduct data analysis. 4 SH. CC: Ethics Intensive.
Detailed research and in-depth discussion on a selected topic. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing and instructor's permission. May be repeated for credit. 2 or 4 SH.
POLI-348 Issues in Democracy
This course examines questions related to the effectiveness and efficacy of democratic forms of governance in serving the people. Who should have a role in decision-making? Are most democratic citizens equipped to participate in decision-making? How can democratic institutions facilitate the participation of large and complex groups of people in geographically large and populous countries? In considering such questions, this course looks to both ancient and modern democratic theorists and analyses politics in both the ancient and post-modern worlds. The course may consider debates surrounding the formation of the Athenian Assembly in Ancient Greece or whether democratic accountability is achievable in international and supranational organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union. The course relies heavily on historical and political simulations, such as those that are part of the Reacting to the Past series. The course is intended to invest students in democratic processes by asking them to consider fundamental questions about democracy while acting as democratic citizens. The course may be repeated for credit if the subtitle (and therefore the course content) is changed. There are no prerequisites. 4 SH. CC: Oral Intensive, Team Intensive.
POLI-501 Senior Seminar
A capstone course for political science majors. Students research, write and present a senior thesis on an approved topic and participate actively in discussions. Required for all senior majors. Prerequisites: Senior standing. 4 SH. Capstone. CC: Writing Intensive, Oral Intensive.
POLI-502 Directed Reading
Readings, essays and tutorials on a selected political science topic. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing and permission and arrangement with a department instructor. May be repeated for credit. 2 or 4 SH.
POLI-503 Independent Research
A major research project on a selected political science topic. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing and permission and arrangement with a department instructor. May be repeated for credit. 2 or 4 SH.
POLI-504 Independent Study
Individualized academic work for qualified students under faculty direction. Usually studies special topics not covered in regularly offered courses. 1-4 SH.
POLI-505 Internship in Government and Politics
Practical experience in a supervised work program. May be for a local, state or federal government agency, legislative body, political party, legal office, or other organization with substantial government-related responsibilities. Only two internship credits may apply to the major requirements. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing and department's permission. 2 or 4 SH.
Honors. The departmental honors program encourages and commends outstanding academic work in political science. To graduate with departmental honors, political science majors must do the following:
- Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.50 in the department and 3.25 overall,
- Request admission to the program at the beginning of their senior seminar, and
- Complete and publicly present and defend an honors-quality project in their senior year
Pi Sigma Alpha. Students who satisfy membership requirements may be invited to join the campus chapter of this national honor society in political science.