BA Political Science Course Descriptions

Pls 200 – Introduction to Political Science (3 credit hours) 
Overview of the discipline, including the basic theories, concepts, and approaches of political science; provides students with a foundation of knowledge and analytical skills necessary to understand modern politics in historical context. For the students majoring in PS, this course provides a basis for choosing their direction of study within the discipline.

Pls 201 – American Government (3 credit hours) 
Introduction to the government and political system of the United States, including a study of the values and principles of the U.S. federal system of government, the role of public opinion, the media, voter participation, political parties and interest groups, the institutions of government, and selected issues of public policy.

Pls 207 – Current Political Issues (3 credit hours) 
Study of current political issues, reflecting the trends in the domestic and international environments. The topics discussed include but are not limited to: economic policy, human rights, civil liberties, social policy, foreign policy, international conflict and cooperation, demographics and immigration, and environmental protection.

Pls 210 – Introduction to the American Legal System (3 credit hours) 
Overview of the U.S. legal system, including the U.S. Constitution, judicial branch, and the courts at all levels of government, and their roles in the U.S. legal system. This course informs students in regards to requirements and expectations of law school and careers in law. Prerequisites: Eng 102 and Sph 110.

Pls 215 – Introduction to International Relations (3 credit hours) 
Introduction to international politics, including geographic, demographic, economic, and political factors conditioning the behavior of international actors. Students will study the theoretical framework in which current developments can be analyzed, and familiarize themselves with the most pertinent international issues.

Pls 250 – Politics and Social Issues [formerly Law & Social Issues] (3 credit hours)
Exploration of current domestic and international social problems. Students will examine historical and political development, theoretical approaches, social movements, and legal processes that influenced those issues and their impact on the society. This course aims to show students how individuals shape the quality of social justice.

Pls 302 – History of Political Thought (3 credit hours)
Introduction to historical and theoretical developments of political thought from ancient Greeks to the 20th century scholars. Students will analyze the impact and application of political philosophy on the current political systems and ideologies worldwide.

Pls 303 – Comparative Government (3 credit hours) 
Introduction to the theoretical approaches in the study of comparative politics. Students will compare the nature of governance and society in various types of domestic systems, ac- counting for history, political institutions, culture, economic policy, civil rights and liberties. Prerequisite: Pls 200, Pls 201, or permission of the instructor.

Pls 304 – United States Foreign Policy (3 credit hours) 
Introduction to U.S. foreign policy, including historical and international contexts and deci- sion-making processes. The past, current, and future U.S. foreign policies and the mechanisms through which the U.S. influences international dynamics are explored and evaluated. Prerequisite: Pls 201 or permission of the instructor.

Pls 310 – Public Administration (3 credit hours) 
Survey of concepts and practices related to public administration in the U.S., including the discipline and political context of governmental administration, organization theory, human resources management, intergovernmental relations, budgetary processes, and public service ethics. Prerequisite: Pls 201 or permission of the instructor.

Pls 311 – Ethics in Public Administration (3 credit hours) 
Examination of the relationship between ethical choices and decisions of public administrators. Ethical standards are discussed in light of organizational and public policies. Prerequisite: Pls 310 or permission of the instructor.

Pls 313 – State and Local Government (3 credit hours) 
Introduction of the fundamentals of local and state government systems, including their structures, administration, laws, policies, and decision-making processes. Furthermore, the relationships among various levels of government and between citizens and governments are analyzed. Prerequisite: Pls 201 or permission of the instructor.

Pls 330 – Political Campaigns, Elections, and Public Opinion (3 credit hours) 
Introduction to the nature of electoral system and political campaigns in the U.S. national, state, and local levels, including campaign strategies, financing and its reform, psychology of voters, importance of public opinion, and the role of parties in the processes of campaigns and elections. Prerequisite: Pls 201 or permission of the instructor.

Pls 399 – Independent Study (1-4 credit hours) 
This course designates a field of study that is not a part of the regular curriculum. It is offered based on student interests and needs. Prerequisite: Submission and approval of “Application for Admission to Independent Study.”

Pls 400 – International Relations (3 credit hours) 
Exploration and application of theories relevant to understanding modern world affairs, including positivist and post-positivist theories, global political economy, interdependence, causes of war, conflict and cooperation, international institutions, and decision-making processes. Prerequisite: Pls 215 or permission of the instructor.

Pls 402 – American Political Thought (3 credit hours) 
Overview of the main trends and controversies in U.S. political thought from the country’s founding to the present, including political ideologies and their development over time, the proper role of the government in various areas of policy, the relationship between citizens and their government, federalism, collective identity, political leaders, and political dis- course. Prerequisite: Pls 200 and Pls 201, or permission of the instructor.

Pls 403 – Public Policy (3 credit hours)
Introduction to the study of public policy, including an overview of functions, responsibilities, decisions, and activities involved in determining public policy, from the agenda stage to the selection, implementation, and evaluation of policies. Theoretical and practical approaches to evaluate case studies in order to better understand this essential government function will be used. Prerequisite: Pls 310 or permission of the instructor.

Pls 405 – Research Methods (3 credit hours) 
Introduction to the scientific method, types of research, and forms of research design used in Political Science field. Students will learn how to evaluate the research of others and how to effectively construct and execute their own research inquires in a methodical and rigorous manner. Prerequisites: Junior status and Mth 250. Psy 405 may be substituted.

Pls 411 – American Constitutional Law (3 credit hours) 
Examination of the development of U.S. constitutional law, its impact on government and society, and methods of constitutional analysis, including the role of the Supreme Court in the establishment of rights and liberties, the process and influence of judicial review, federalism, and the relationships between the functional branches of government. Prerequisite: Pls201 or permission of the instructor.

Pls 495 – Political Science Internship (1-9 credit hours) 
With permission of the PS Area Coordinator, internships in a related field are available to students with high grade point average. The internship is administered by the Area Coordinator or the student’s Academic Advisor. To earn one (1) credit hour, student must complete forty (40) hours of work. Prerequisite: Junior status or permission of the instructor.

Pls 499 – Political Science Seminar (3 credit hours) 
This capstone course ties together the practical and theoretical elements of the Political Science major, asking students to synthesize and apply the knowledge and skills they have gained over the course of their learning in Political Science. Prerequisite: Junior status and at least twenty-four (24) Political Science credit hours earned.