PSC Course Descriptions


PSC Course Descriptions


PSC 2201 - INTRODUCTION TO AMERICAN GOVERNMENT (3 credits) An introductory course on the major institutions and processes of the U.S. political system. Topics discussed include the principles of governance, separation of powers, checks and balances, federalism, civil rights and liberties, and policymaking. Offered every semester. May be used in General Education (Ethics and Civic Responsibility theme). Required of all Political Science majors, including Pre-Law and International Security Concentrations.

PSC 2204 - STATE AND LOCAL POLITICS (3 credits) Examines the institutions and actors of state and local governments. Emphasizes the challenges facing subnational governments and the process and implementation of policymaking. The comparative method is used to explore a variety of approaches to state and local governance. Offered in alternate years. May be used in General Education (Ethics and Civic Responsibility theme). May be used as PSC elective in International Security concentration.

PSC 2210 - INTRODUCTION TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (3 credits) Introduces students to the basic concepts, theories, actors, and issues of international relations. Provides an analytical framework from which to understand contemporary international relations. Topics discussed include causes of war, cooperation among countries, threats to international security, non-state actors, human rights, globalization, and transnational issues. Offered every Spring semester and most summers. May be used in General Education (Social Science block). Required of all Political Science majors, including Pre-Law and International Security Concentrations.

PSC 2212 - INTRODUCTION TO COMPARATIVE POLITICS (3 credits) This course examines several major countries from all regions of the world. It addresses historical development, economic systems, political institutions and processes of each country from a comparative perspective. Offered every Spring semester. May be used in General Education (Global Perspectives block). Required of all Political Science majors, including Pre-Law and International Security Concentrations.

PSC 2245 – TERRORISM (3 credits) This course examines terrorism in a global and political context. It covers varied definitions of terrorism, its sources, methods, and organizational structures. Specific movements in all regions of the world are included. Additional attention is given to the US in the post-9/11 world and issues that involve counter-terrorism and democracy. Offered in alternate years. May be used in General Education (Social Science block). Required of majors in the International Security concentration.

PSC 3301 - CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND PARTICIPATION (3 credits) Examines how social, economic, and psychological factors shape political attitudes and behavior. Covers the study of public opinion, political participation, and voting behavior. Addresses issues related to building a civic-minded public. Prerequisites: Must have 15 earned credits. Offered in alternate years.

PSC 3306 - CAMPAIGNS and ELECTIONS (3 credits) This course focuses on the US electoral process and the actors involved in political campaigns, including political parties and interest groups. It critiques the strategies and tactics of political campaigns. Topics include grassroots organizing, the effect of media, negative campaigns, and campaign finance and electoral reform. Prerequisites: 3 credits of PSC. Offered in alternate years.

PSC 3308 - SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH METHODS (3 credits) Techniques and procedures for processing social science data. Ability to develop and evaluate research report and to judge how findings may be applied to improve political science practices are the primary goals of the course. Previous training in statistics strongly recommended. Offered in alternate years. Required of all Political Science majors, including Pre-Law and International Security Concentrations.

PSC 3311 - SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY (3 credits) An analysis of philosophical concepts and arguments presupposed in social and political discourse. Topics include: liberty and its limits, human rights, economic and social justice, the nature of political obligation and disobedience. Emphasis is on evaluating philosophical theories from both contemporary and historical sources. Prerequisites: PHL 2201, PHL 2202, PHL 2205 or PHL 2350. Offered in alternate years.

PSC 3312 - CANADA, MEXICO AND THE U.S. (3 credits) Explores the political systems of these three North American countries in a comparative perspective. Specific focus on political institutions, cultures, processes, policies in each country. Special attention to NAFTA.

PSC 3322 - PHILOSOPHY OF LAW (3 credits) An analysis of philosophical concepts and arguments presupposed in legal discourse and reasoning. Topics will include the nature of law and legal decision making, theories of justice, privacy, responsibility and punishment. Emphasis is on examining specific legal cases from both contemporary and historical sources. Prerequisites: PHL 2201, PHL 2202, or permission of instructor. Offered in alternate years.

PSC 3328 – GLOBALIZATION (3 credits) Examines the major theoretical approaches to globalization. Explores the growth and impact of globalization and how it affects economic, cultural, political, and human development. Analyzes global issues and the major actors involved in globalization, including states, international organizations, multinational corporations, and nongovernmental organizations. Prerequisites: Must have 15 earned credits. Offered in alternate years. May be used in General Education (Global Perspectives block). May be used as PSC elective in International Security concentration.

PSC 3340 - INTELLIGENCE STUDIES (3 credits) This course focuses on intelligence analysis-what it is, who does it, and who uses it. It includes an examination of the development of the intelligence community, tensions between this community and policy makers, and implications for democratic governance. Prerequisites: 15 earned credits. Offered in alternate years. Required of PSC majors in the International Security concentration. May be used as PSC elective in the Pre-Law concentration.

PSC 3350 - HUMAN RIGHTS and INTERNATIONAL ACTIVISM (3 credits) Focuses on the promotion and protection of human rights in the international political system. Examines international networks of activists and their effect on international relations. Topics include war crimes, humanitarian intervention, environmental policies, and workers’ rights. Prerequisites: 3 credits of PSC. Offered in alternate years. Required of PSC majors in the International Security concentration.

PSC 3351 - INTERNATIONAL LAW (3 credits) This course focuses on the major principles of international jurisprudence. It includes an analysis of the purposes and functions of international organizational (IOs), which play a significant role in bringing order to the international political system. Particular attention will be paid to case law involving the World Court and the International Criminal Court, as well as other international legal institutions. Prerequisites: Must have 15 earned credits. Offered in alternate years. Required of PSC majors in the International Security and Pre-Law concentrations.

PSC 3365 - POLITICS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES (3 credits) This course is an introduction to the economic, social, and political changes in those countries sometimes described as “emerging,” “developing,” underdeveloped,” “Third World,” or “Southern.” Drawing from the nations of Latin America, Africa, and Asia, we examine the role of the state in the struggle for political and economic development. Prerequisites: Must complete 15 earned credits. Offered in alternate years. May be used in General Education (Global Perspectives). May be used as PSC elective in International Security concentration.

PSC 3377 - LATIN AMERICAN POLITICS (3 credits) Examines the political systems of the Latin American region in terms of historical, political, economic, and social aspects. Special attention to the idea of political development and change. Prerequisites: Must have 15 earned credits. Offered in alternate years.

PSC 3385 - FIELD RESEARCH ABROAD (3-6 credits) This is short-term study abroad option (country may vary) usually offered during a summer session. The course examines the politics and culture of a specific country through local experience and interviews. Prerequisites: Must have 15 earned credits. Offered in alternate summers as study abroad in Belize. May be used in General Education (Global Perspectives).

PSC 4401 - TOPICS IN AMERICAN POLITICS (3 credits) Examines in depth a specific aspect of the American political system, such as interest groups, political parties, the media, political campaigns and elections, or the judicial system. Prerequisites: Must have 15 earned credits. Periodic offering.

PSC 4402 - THE US PRESIDENCY (3 credits) Examines the roles and powers of the executive branch in the US political system. Addresses the historical development of the institution and the relationship with other political actors (particularly Congress). Includes how the changing media and public environment has impacted the presidency and highlights the most recent campaigns. Prerequisites: Must have 15 earned credits. Offered in alternate years. May be used in General Education (Ethics and Civic Responsibility theme). May be used as PSC elective in International Security concentration.

PSC 4404 - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW (3 credits) Studies the U.S. Constitution in a historical context. Focuses on the federal judiciary, mainly the Supreme Court, as the primary interpreter of the Constitution. Analyzes major landmark court decisions that have shaped American civil liberties and civil rights. Prerequisites: Must have 15 earned credits. Offered in alternate years. May be used in General Education (Ethics and Civic Responsibility theme). Required of PSC majors in the Pre-Law concentration.

PSC 4412 - TOPICS IN GLOBAL POLITICS (3 credits) Examines a global aspect of politics, such as a regional focus (e.g. the Middle East) or a thematic focus (e.g. developing countries, international war and peace). Prerequisites: Must have 15 earned credits. Periodic offering.  

PSC 4415 - U S FOREIGN POLICY (3 credits) Examines the content and process of U.S. foreign policy since 1900. Emphasis is on interests, objectives and strategies in key regions as well as domestic forces and constraints. Prerequisites: Must have 15 earned credits. Cross-listed as HST 4415. Offered in alternate years. Required of PSC majors in the International Security Concentration.

PSC 4430 - GLOBAL DEMOCRATICIZATION (3 credits) Examines the concepts related to democratic theory, early forms of democratic practices, the development of democracy in Europe and the U.S., and the spread of democracy worldwide. Special attention given to why and how countries become – or fail to become – democratic. Prerequisites: Take 3 credits of PSC and Must have 15 earned credits. Offered in alternate years. May be used as PSC elective in International Security concentration.

PSC 4444 - POLITICAL SCIENCE SEMINAR (1 credit) This capstone course centers on a student driven research project that demonstrates discipline-specific skills and knowledge. Prerequisites & Notes: Must have 60 earned credits and PSC major. Offered periodically. Required of all Political Science majors, including Pre-Law and International Security concentrations.

PSC 4449 – PRACTICUM (1-5 credits) Designed to give experience in the work of an agency or organization and an understanding of its position in the community. The student should become aware of the agency/organization’s philosophy and goals, its formal and informal organization, and its role in the political system. Offered as requested by students.

PSC 4450 – INTERNSHIP (6-15 credits) Designed to give experience in the work of an agency or organization and an understanding of its position in the community. The student should become aware of the agency/organization’s philosophy and goals, its formal and informal organization, and its role in the political system. Offered as requested by students.