Course Descriptions

Political Science


POL 300
American Politics
3 credits

This course is a survey of the political institutions of the federal republic of the U.S.A. and their interaction, strengths, and weaknesses. The survey includes a description of the U.S. federal system contained in the Constitution as amended formally and through legislation, the institutions which make up the vertical and horizontal separations of powers, the role of interest groups and elections in society, and the concept of civil rights and equality as opposed to freedoms in the culture.


POL 304
Constitutional Law and Procedures
3 credits

The focus of this course is the interaction, strengths, and weaknesses of the U.S. federal government. The course includes a study of selected Supreme Court cases which have clarified the roles of government and police power. It also includes a description of the U.S. federal system contained in the Constitution as amended formally and through legislation, the institutions which make up the vertical and horizontal separations of powers, the role of interest groups and elections in the society, and the concept of civil rights and equality as opposed to freedoms in the culture.


POL 315
Comparative Government and Politics
3 credits

This is a survey that approaches different forms of government from a theoretical and structural basis. The survey includes a review of political ideologies and the resultant governmental institutions of selected nation-states from democratic, communist, and other governmental forms. The institutional aspects reviewed are the organization of nation-state governments, including the executive, legislative, and judicial branches; political parties; the role of individual leaders; and domestic policies and stability.


POL 321
International Organization and Politics
3 credits

This course surveys the international arena, with a focus on political relations among states. It includes a description of the international political environment and its historical development; the principal institutions; the American organizations that conduct foreign policy; the contemporary issues resulting in cooperation and conflict; and the nature of, and reasons for, war.


POL 326
Public Policy and Social Issues
3 credits

This course studies how American societal problems become public policy issues; how those issues become part of the public agenda; and how public problems reshape or reorganize governmental institutions, structures, programs, and budgets. It includes both the process and the principles–public and private.

Prerequisite(s): POL 300 or LES 316


POL 340
Criminal Justice Policy
3 credits

This course provides an overview of the policies and ethics surrounding criminal justice. Topics covered include capital punishment, drugs, violent crime, decriminalization, gun control, mandatory sentencing, public assistance, inequality, and redistribution of wealth.

Prerequisite(s): ENG 102; and POL 326 or Criminal Justice major.


POL 350
Economic, Welfare and Income Policy
3 credits

This course provides an overview of the policies and ethics surrounding the economy, welfare, and income. Topics covered include taxation and tax reform, guns vs. butter, poverty, Social Security, public assistance, inequality, and redistribution of wealth.

Prerequisite(s): POL 326 and ENG 102


POL 360
Education Policy
3 credits

This course provides an overview of the policies and ethics surrounding education. Topics covered include federal, state and local involvement in education, school choice, student achievement, multiculturalism, and the No Child Left Behind Act.

Prerequisite(s): POL 326 and ENG 102


POL 370
Energy and Environmental Policy
3 credits

This course provides an overview of the policies and ethics surrounding energy and the environment. Topics covered include policies effecting the production, distribution, and consumption of traditional and alternative energy sources, natural resources, air pollution, water pollution, toxic wastes, the Clean Air Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Prerequisite(s): POL 326 and ENG 102


POL 380
Health Care Policy
3 credits

This course provides an overview of the policies and ethics surrounding health care. Topics covered include managed care, quality of health care, cost of and payment for health care, access to health care, Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and health care reform.

Prerequisite(s): POL 326 and ENG 102


POL 401
Special Topics: Chinese Politics
3 credits

This course examines China’s political institutions and their interaction, strengths, and weaknesses, both historically and since 1949. The study includes the Chinese Communist Party, the National People’s Congress, and the Supreme People’s Court. Students will also examine the differences between the Mao Zedong era and the post-Mao Zedong era, including China’s status as an emerging superpower.


POL 402
Analysis of Public Policy
3 credits

This course combines theory and application. From a theory perspective, it evaluates the processes through which policy is created and the dynamics of power and access to the policy process. Measurements of policy success and ways to improve both policy quality and the efficiencies of its implementation are evaluated and explored. From an application perspective, each student selects a hypothetical new law that is of interest. Students conduct research, using primary as well as secondary sources, to justify and design their potential laws. They also analyze potential allies and foes, and develop strategies to get their issues on the "public agenda."

Prerequisite(s): POL 326 and junior or senior status


POL 403
Writing for Public Policy
3 credits

This capstone course examines the theories, principles and ethics of government writing. Students apply this learning to the potential laws they researched in POL 402. Specifically, each student writes press releases, memos, and speeches relating to building public awareness and support as well as drafting an original law.

Prerequisite(s): POL 402


POL 405
Special Topics: Political Strategy
3 credits

This course will give students an objective look at how candidates maneuver, plot, position, calculate, attack, defend, and strategize in order to give themselves the best chance at winning in November. Students will learn the power of perception over reality, the role of truths and half-truths, how to add up election math, how to use the media, how to win a debate, and identify parallels between this election and elections of the past.


POL 490
Public Policy Internship
3 credits

This course consists of supervised, practical work experience in a government office, nonprofit organization, or another appropriate entity

Prerequisite(s): Junior status; POL 300 and POL 326; Approval from Program Chair is required prior to registering for this course.