Political Science Courses

Political Science Courses

(GP) indicates the course fulfills the Global Perspective Elective requirement in the General Education core.

PSC 1510 AMERICAN GOVERNMENT (3 s.h.)

This general introduction to the study of American government and politics focuses on the national level and on the actors and interests who contend for power and influence in Washington DC. Students will gain an understanding of the origins, structure, and operation of American government. Topics include American political culture, the framing of the Constitution, political parties, campaigns and elections, interest groups, the media, the Presidency, the Congress, the federal judiciary, and current issues of public policy. This course is offered every semester.

PSC 1710-1780 MODEL UNITED NATIONS/ARAB LEAGUE PRACTICUM (1 s.h. each)

The Model United Nations/Arab League Practicum is a one hour course designed to prepare students participating in Model United Nations and Model Arab League conferences. Course of study includes effective debate tactics, policy paper writing, resolution writing, parliamentary rules of procedures, the United Nations/Arab League’s principal and subsidiary organs, and research strategies for country assignments. Offered as needed.

PSC 2010 STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT (3 s.h.)

Can a Mississippi lobbyist working in Vermont expect to encounter the same political opponents and friends that he or she would encounter back home? Why do superstars like the Terminator get elected to office? How do politics shape public policy? This course is designed to take up these questions and more. Students will be introduced to theories and empirical work related to state and local politics and will apply this knowledge in an American state research paper. The course will take a comparative approach to study, examining variation in governing methods, political culture and other political phenomena. This course is offered fall semesters in odd numbered years.

PSC 2100 RESEARCH METHODS IN POLITICAL SCIENCE (3 s.h.)

An introduction to the process of political inquiry and written analysis, this course helps students develop good research and writing habits in the specialized field of political science. Topics include the steps in the research process, the types of papers in political research, alternative approaches to research, and the techniques of quantitative analysis. This course is required for all political science majors, and it is recommended for students in a pre-law curriculum and the paralegal program. This course is offered every spring semester.

PSC 2270 COMPARATIVE POLITICS (3 s.h.)

(GP) Parliaments, politburos, juntas, revolutions, Islamic jihads — this introductory course explores the politics of other countries and regions, and compares them to the United States. Topics include political culture, geography, history, types of political systems, patterns of governance, political thought, and issues of public policy. This course is offered every fall semester.

PSC 3050 DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES AND THEORY (3 s.h.)

One of the most fascinating topics within the realm of political science is the interpretations of democracy held by people around the globe and throughout modern history. This course begins with an examination of the concept of democracy held by the ancient thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle and then fast-forwards to modernity to investigate modern conceptions of democracy through the lens of ideologies. Students will investigate the assumptions of these ideologies regarding human nature and freedom and will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in interpreting current American policy debates surrounding hot-button issues. This course is offered in the fall semester, even-numbered years.

PSC 3100 LAW AND THE LEGAL SYSTEM (3 s.h.)

From lynchings to landmark decisions, this course examines the traditions and historical development of the law in America, emphasizing the judicial process. Topics include the types and sources of law, the structure and functions of the state and federal court systems, civil and criminal law procedure, and judicial governance with special attention placed on the U.S. Supreme Court. This course is offered every spring semester. Cross listed as LAW 3100 and JUS 3100.

PSC 3330 PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION (3 s.h.)

What do public managers do and how do they do it? These and other questions are addressed as this course explores the theory and processes of the modern bureaucratic state. Topics include administrative structure and functions, organizational direction, personnel and financial management, and bureaucratic governance and discretion. Consideration is given to the interaction of governmental and non-profit agencies. This course is offered every fall semester.

PSC 3410 CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENCY (3 s.h.)

The U.S. Congress can be challenging to comprehend, even for the close follower of national politics. The American Presidency has transformed over time into the most powerful political office in the world. This course is designed to provide students a thorough background on the character of these two institutions and introduce them to contemporary research. The course begins with an examination of Congress as both a representative body and a carefully designed political institution. Next the course proceeds to an examination of the Presidency and the relationship between Congress and the Executive branch. This course is offered in the spring semester, even-numbered years.

PSC 3450 POLITICAL PARTIES AND INTEREST GROUPS (3 s.h.)

Faction checking faction! This principle was constitutional framer James Madison’s ideal for the new American republic, but in contemporary politics does representative governance fall prey to “special interests” and elitist political parties? Do moneyed interests and ideological parties so dominate the political arena that the voice of the commoner goes unheard? This course will introduce students to the history and contemporary state of political parties and interest groups in the United States, scholarly debates surrounding parties and interest groups, and these organizations’ roles in elections and in governing. This course is offered in the spring semester, odd numbered years.

PSC 3470 AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY (3 s.h.)

The Persian Gulf, Vietnam, the Cold War, World War II, and other significant past experiences are examined in an effort to understand the “how” and “why” of American foreign policy. The policy-making process of the national security establishment is observed. Key concepts include vital national interests, national policy objectives, institutional roles, and the domestic sources of foreign policy. This course is offered in the fall semester, even-numbered years.

PSC 3510 INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (3 s.h.)

(GP) What are the games nations play? What are the rules? Are there any rules? The balance of power, diplomacy, imperialism, and collective security are just some of the topics surveyed in this wide-ranging look at world politics. This course focuses on the issues of war, development, and trade in the international system, while also including some attention to international organizations and international law. This course is offered every spring semester.

PSC 3850 THE U. S. CONSTITUTION (3 s.h.)

Prayer in schools, abortion, gay rights, burning the American flag, term limits—these are some of the constitutional issues this course examines as it studies the actors and actions that develop constitutional law. Topics include leading Supreme Court decisions, the amending process, separation of powers, federalism, economic liberties, civil liberties, civil rights, and due process. This course is offered in the fall semester, odd-numbered years. Cross listed as LAW 3850.

PSC 4010 - 4100 AREA STUDIES (3 s.h.)

The courses in area studies examine the political setting, patterns of governance, and current political problems of a particular region of the world. Selected countries within each region are identified for in-depth comparison. Topics include political culture, political thought, geography, history, political and economic development, and comparative public policy. These courses are offered as needed. These courses may offer a Study Abroad component. Specific regions covered are:

  • PSC 4010 EUROPEAN POLITICS (GP) (3 s.h.)
  • PSC 4020 MIDDLE EAST POLITICS (GP) (3 s.h.)
  • PSC 4030 POLITICS IN AFRICA (3 s.h.)
  • PSC 4040 POLITICS IN EAST ASIA (3 s.h.)
  • PSC 4050 LATIN AMERICAN POLITICS (GP) (3 s.h.)
  • PSC 4060 ADVANCED INDUSTRIAL COUNTRIES (3 s.h.)
  • PSC 4070 POLITICS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA (3 s.h.)
  • PSC 4080 POLITICS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES (3 s.h.)

PSC 4200 POLICY ANALYSIS AND PROGRAM EVALUATION (3 s.h.)

This course examines how government policies and programs are analyzed and evaluated. Initially, the course examines how public policy issues are framed within the policy process. Then the course examines the practice of program evaluation. The course includes discussions of ethical issues, quantitative and qualitative methods, cost/benefit analysis, and how to communicate the results of policy analysis and evaluation. The course is offered spring semesters, even numbered years.

PSC 4250 SPECIAL TOPICS SEMINAR (3 s.h.)

When warranted, instructors can offer this course to examine topics not covered by the normal course offerings. Students engage in discussion, research, and writing. It is open to sophomore, junior, and senior Political Science Majors and to others by permission of the instructor. Topics vary and are announced in advance. This course is offered as needed.

PSC 4300 POLITICAL CAMPAIGN SEMINAR (3 s.h.)

Learn what constitutes a winning campaign. This course examines the major elements of a political campaign, including campaign strategy and finance, issue selection, event planning, polling, election law, as well as the influence of the media and campaign ethics. Normally offered during an election year, current events form an important part of the course material, and there is opportunity for campaign field experience. This course is offered in the fall semester, even-numbered years.

PSC 4400 INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS (3 s.h.)

(GP) This course studies the structures that attempt to organize interstate relations, which includes both governmental and non-governmental organizations, international law, and international regimes. Specific study of the United Nations system and the European Union is included. This course is offered fall semesters, odd numbered years.

PSC 4510 INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY (3 s.h.)

(GP) This course examines the political dynamics of the development and management of the contemporary international economic system. Among the topics covered are the decision-making role of international economic organizations, the political implications of interdependence, and the activities of transnational actors. This course is offered spring semesters, odd-numbered years.

PSC 4600 SENIOR SEMINAR (3 s.h.)

This is a senior-level, capstone course required for all students majoring in Political Science. Students draw upon all the knowledge, theory, and skills from their earlier courses to undertake an original, empirical research project using quantitative methods. Students complete a Senior Thesis and a Power-Point presentation. Juniors must receive the consent of the instructor to be admitted. Prerequisites: completion of PSC 2100. Prerequisites can be waived with the permission of the instructor. This course is offered every fall semester.

PSC 4700 INTERNSHIP (TBD)

Internships provide opportunities for well-qualified, upper-division students to work in a “real world” professional setting and gain invaluable experience. These can be found locally or in Washington DC, and could be with a government agency, non-profit organization, or private enterprise. The instructor must grant permission and determine the hours of credit before registration for the internship. Internships are available each semester; however, arrangements must be made during the preceding semester.

PSC 4990 INDEPENDENT STUDY IN POLITICAL SCIENCE (TBD)

This is an individual, tutorial course established at the request of the student when special needs or circumstances require examination of subject matter not available in other courses. Students engage in an individual program of reading, research, and written requirements. This provides an opportunity for well-qualified, upper-division students to engage in special research in Political Science. It requires approval by the faculty advisor, the supervising professor, the department chair, and the school dean before approval is sought from the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Credit to be determined.

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