Current Student Bulletin



Here are detailed descriptions of political science courses for spring 2018. You'll find date/times, descriptions and how each course fits major requirements.

PLSC's advising period is February 5-9th. Please note that while we encourage you talk to your advisors, you do not have a registration hold (at least from political science) unless you are a transfer or first-year student.

Each professor has their own way of scheduling advisees, so you can expect an email from them about how that will work. We are looking forward to seeing you soon!

2000-01 - Introduction to U.S Politics - Tuesday - Thursday; 8 – 10:05 AM


This course is fundamentally about democracy-- how we know one when we see one. We will take the United States as an extended case study, the lens through which we will examine the challenges that accompany democratic governance. We will thus explore American politics from both the top down (the institutional landscape that shapes the way American government operates) and the bottom up (the attitudes and behaviors of individual Americans) as well as consider the often ignored ideas that underlie the American model of democracy. Along the way, we will be guided by the central question of whether America has too much democracy or too little. Or maybe, just maybe, it has just the right amount.

2300-01 – Comparing Nations – Mon. Wed. Fri. 9:20-10:45AM


This introductory course exposes students to some fundamental concepts and vocabulary used in contemporary comparative politics. The course examines issues such as state and society, political culture, political ideology, political institutions, democracy, authoritarian regimes, international political economy, and globalization. Through this course, students are expected to develop a familiarity with the politics of several countries and political systems, understand important topics in comparative politics, and utilize comparative methods to analyze some of the current political issues in the world.

2500 01 Intro to Political Theory – Tuesday – Thursday; 1:30 – 3:35 PM


This introductory course surveys the basic concepts, principles, theoretical perspectives, and contemporary issues of international politics. We will consider a broad range of topics, including the modern international system, foreign policy international conflict and war, international organization and law, trade, and globalization, among others. During this process, we will seek a better understanding of some of the most pressing issues at the core in international politics.

2600-01 - Intro to International Politics – Tues. – Thur; 10:15 AM – 12:20 PM


This introduction course surveys the basic concepts, principles, theoretical perspectives, and contemporary issues of international politics. We will consider a broad range of topics, including the modern international system, foreign policy international conflict and war, international organization and law, trade, and globalization, among others. During this process we will seek a better understanding of some of the most pressing issues at the core in international politics.

3220-01 – Civil Liberties in American Constitution – Tue. – Thu; 3:45 – 5:50 PM


This course explores legal theory through the concept of justice using a close reading of western political thought, commentary, and case studies. We discuss touchstone works of justice while considering ethical responses to poverty and outlooks on its place in society. The goal is to determine the relationship between law, politics, economics, ideology, and the written word. Subjects for interrogation include: social responsibility, merit, access, scales of economy, capitalism, and the ethical requirements of both citizens and the government.

3380-01 – Political Economy of Africa – Mon. Wed; 3:40- 5:45 PM


This course will address the economic foundations of democratization, revolution, internal war, citizenship, and corruption in Africa as well as the political foundations of economic growth, social welfare, and economic inequities. The opportunities for political vision, inspired democratization, or enlightened leadership in Africa have been in the past sharply limited by a history colonial of neglect, which left in its wake significant resource scarcities, a weak state, and extensive international economic complexities. International actors have consequently been significant players in the economic and political change in Africa. There is, however, a new ‘wind of change’ moving over the African continent. Many economies are now growing at a fast clip and are in the throes of democratization. We will examine particular case studies and students will have an opportunity to follow the development trajectory of a country of their choice.

3910-01 – National Security – Mon. Wed. Fri; 2:05 – 3:30 PM


This seminar will introduce students to national security and its application in an international context. We will trace the historical foundations of national security; study the key national security personnel, organizations, and decision-making processes; understand the instruments of power; and explore contemporary national security issues in selected regions of the world. In Part I, the national security environment, we will examine the history and values on which our evolving concepts of security are based, study the views on the United States’ proper role in the world, and discuss the characteristics of the international environment that shape policy. We will explore the constitutional and legal foundations of security policy, with attention paid to the historical origins of the concept of security and the modern state system. In Part II, national security actors and processes, we will study the domestic and international policy actors and their interactions, with a focus on the National Security Council and interagency process. In Part III, national security ends, ways and means, we consider the instruments of national power and influence and investigate their application and transformation in modern times in the context of several current regional and/or global issues. The course will culminate in students’ investigation and critique of a national security strategy for a current regional and/or global issue of their choice and present their findings to a mock National Security Council headed by a guest expert.

3910-03 – Parties & Interests – Tues. Thurs.; 10:15 am – 12:20 pm


Political parties are an inescapable aspect of American politics. While it has always been popular to decry their influence and the choices one has in elections, the two major parties (as well as a multitude of minor parties) shape the nature and scope of the political debate for the nation. Indeed, most political scientists believe that American democracy can only function with the support of political parties. Parties play many roles in American politics. They educate potential voters about the political process, policy issues, and civic duties. They mobilize citizens into political activity and involvement. They provide vital information about public debates. They control the choices-- candidates and platforms-- that voters face at the ballot box. They influence and organize the activities of government. Most importantly, by providing a link between government and the governed, parties are a central mechanism of representation. These roles-- how well they are performed, what bias exists, how they shape outcomes, how they have changed over time-- have consequences for the working of the American political system.

4220-01 – Law, Politics, and Justice – Tue. Thu; 6:00 – 8:05 PM


In this senior capstone, you will learn about the theoretical and empirical dimensions of the close but often uneasy relationship between law and justice. This seminar-style course will examine legal cases, concepts, institutions, and processes in relation to presidential power.
You will also learn about research methods in different political science subfields, with an emphasis on legal research. Your final paper and project will analyze the lawfulness of the contemporary exercise of presidential power.

4950-01 – Internship - Dates & Times To Be Arranged


Internships are an outstanding vehicle through which to translate political theory into practice as well as to build your resume in advance of your graduation. Students will work off campus at an appropriate site and combine work experience with a guided research project and other academic projects under the supervision of the Internship Coordinator. Internships require the permission of the Internship Coordinator or the Chair, and must be arranged a month before the beginning of the quarter. Please see Dr. Schoettmer (Internship Coordinator) if you are considering signing up for this class.


3600-02: Global Queer – Mon, Wed & Friday; 10:55AM-12:20PM
1600: Concept of Power - (Time TBA)


Download The Printable Version: PLSC Bulletin SQ18





Contact Us

Rose Ernst, PhD

Patrick Schoettmer, PhD
Internship Coordinator 

Joanna Mendoza
Administrative Assistant