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Courses

POLS 200
Introduction to Political Science
4 credits

Introduction to the field of political science. Focus on political communities and the way in which groups organize to form governments. This is done in reference to the concept of democracy and the way in which political communities either attain or fall short of the democratic ideal. Required of political science majors. Offered: Fall and Spring.

POLS 205
Introduction to American Politics
4 credits

Survey of the structures and processes of the American political system with an emphasis on citizen participation. Required of political science majors. Offered: Fall and Spring.

POLS 301
Methods and Practice of Political Science
4 credits

Introduction to political science methods and research tactics. Emphasis on integration of qualitative and quantitative analysis. Required of political science majors. Offered: Spring.

POLS 305
American National Government
4 credits

Study of the political process in America, focusing on national political institutions. Subfield: American Politics.

POLS 310
U.S. Foreign Policy
4 credits

Review of the development of the cardinal principles of American foreign policy, the changing role of the United States in international relations, and historic aspects of American diplomacy. Subfields: American Politics and World Politics.

POLS 312
State and Local Government
4 credits

Study of the structure and functioning of various state and local governments. Subfield: American Politics.

POLS 313
International Organization
4 credits

Explores the challenges to cooperation amongst state actors and the efforts of various international organizations to coordinate states’ actions, regulate interstate political and economic relations, and minimize international conflict. Offered: Fall. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 315
Topics in Political Theory
4 credits

Intensive study of western political philosophy, presenting selected topics such as systems of thought (the classic Greeks, the democratic, the socialist) or time periods (medieval to Machiavellian, early modern to Rousseau, recent and contemporary). Four credits for each topic, maximum eight credits. Students may substitute PHIL 301 and 302 for 315. Subfield: Political Theory.

POLS 316
Public Administration
4 credits

Overview of the scope and methods of public administration, emphasizing political aspects. Reviews the growth and development of public administration as a field of intellectual inquiry; considers the role of administration in the political process and in policy-making; and examines the political relationships of the administrative environment. Subfield: American Politics.

POLS 319
International Relations
4 credits

Historical and analytical study of the U.S. and the international community since WWII, surveying the political, military, and economic struggles of the major powers and third-world nations. Subfields: Political Theory, World Politics.

POLS 321
Post-Soviet Politics
4 credits

Covers the post-Soviet region in its diverse geographic, historical, cultural, economic, and political settings. Examines the problems of building nations and states, democratizing authoritarian regimes, reforming command economies, and responding to new security threats. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 322
Latin American Politics
4 credits

Examination of the politics of Latin America. Compares and contrasts nations from the Caribbean, and North, Central, and South America. Uses history and theory to understand larger forces at work in these regions, and focuses on specific cases and accounts to bring out the human drama of Latin America. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 323
African Politics
4 credits

Study of social, economic, and political dimensions of Africa from the nineteenth century to the present. Special focus on state-society relations. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 325
The Constitution and the Federalist Papers
4 credits

Review of the United States Constitution and the Federalist Papers as an introduction to the ideas these founding documents represent. Subfields: Political Theory, American Politics.

POLS 330
Classical Political Thought
4 credits

Introduction to the most influential philosophical texts of the ancient world, with attention paid to the context of Greek cultural development. Subfield: Political Theory.

POLS 332
Human Rights
4 credits

Explores the concept of human rights, defined as the rights which each human being, upon birth, automatically enjoys, regardless of the race, religion, political system, or gender into which he or she is born. Offered: Fall. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 333
Genocide
4 credits

Study of genocide, working toward an understanding of what might seem impossible to understand: why people and institutions have attempted to exterminate a distinct racial, cultural or ethnic group; the conditions which give rise to these efforts; and the extent to which the world is becoming more or less hospitable to genocide. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 334
Terrorism
4 credits

Examination of the theories, literature, and policies of terrorism and counterterrorism in order to understand better the contemporary terrorist's motivations and strategy. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 335
Medieval and Christian Political Theory
4 credits

Close reading of original texts with a view to gaining insight into the medieval approach to learning. Focus on Thomas Aquinas’ view of Natural Law. Themes of medieval political life are described in light of Thomas’ union of classical and Christian themes. Subfield: Political Theory.

POLS 337
Elections and Political Participation
4 credits

Study of electoral behavior and other forms of political participation, including questions about who votes and why, what influences voter choice, and whether changes in turnout influence policy. Subfield: American Politics.

POLS 340
Political Parties and Interest Groups
4 credits

Examination of the historical development, current development, institutional ramifications, and central explanatory theories of the most pervasive conduits of mass political participation, political parties, and interest groups. Subfield: American Politics.

POLS 345
Modern Political Theory
4 credits

Introduction to the major texts in modern political theory. Focus on interpretation of the most influential texts of the modern period, beginning with Machiavelli and concluding with Marx, with attention paid to the context of European cultural, economic, and political development. Subfield: Political Theory. 

POLS 348
Riots, Rebellion, and Revolution
4 credits

Comparison of the English, French, Russian, and Chinese Revolutions, with a goal of understanding the political factors involved in radical political change. Co-listed as HIST 348. Offered: Jan Term, on rotation. Subfield: Political Theory, World Politics. 

POLS 350
Impeachment
4 credits

Study of impeachment procedures. Addresses issuing of articles of impeachment by the United States House of Representatives and trial by the United States Senate. Offered: Jan Term. Subfield: American Politics.

POLS 351
European Politics
4 credits

Descriptions of structure; analysis of functioning. Subfield: World Politics. POLS 355 Politics in Film (4) In-depth assessment of the treatment of political themes in film. Subfield: American Politics.

POLS 360
Urban Geography: The North American City
4 credits

Geographic perspective of the past, present, and future of the American city. Topics include the historic roots of cities, development of the U.S. urban system, transportation, and the shaping of cities; social, political, and economic dynamics of urban areas; urban growth, decline, and revitalization; suburbanization; and challenges facing cities in the twenty-first century. Co-listed as GEOG 360 and SOCI 360. Offered: Spring. Subfield: American Politics. 

POLS 363
Politics of Developing Nations
4 credits

Study of the developing nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Examination of their societies, the impact of European Colonialism, and their problems since independence. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 365
Women in U.S. Politics
4 credits

Examination of how the U.S. Government’s relationship to its female citizens has changed through the years and how important gender is in determining political attitudes and participation. Students encounter and assess competing perspectives on current issues in women’s and gender politics. Subfield: American Politics.

POLS 370
Women and World Politics
4 credits

Investigation of contemporary women’s issues in world politics, with emphasis on cultural politics, women and development, gender and war, and civil and human rights for women. Students may take this course for either political science or Christian women’s leadership credit. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 390
Monarchs, Bishops, and Martyrs: The English Reformation
4 credits

Study of historical and religious factors of the English Reformation. Course is taught in London with visits to historical sites. Co-listed as HIST 390 and RELG 390. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 392
Geographies of Africa
4 credits

Presents a geographical exploration of Africa, focusing primarily on cultural issues. A broad range of topics will be investigated including: African stereotypes, environmental crises, social geographies of gender and religion, legacies of colonialism, and the impact of development policies throughout the region. Co-listed as GEOG 392. Offered: On rotation. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 394
International Studies in Economics
3 credits

Cross-disciplinary introduction to the scope, causes, and consequences of poverty. Examination of the various measures of poverty as well as basic economic theory, explaining differences in income, wealth, and economic growth among regions. Emphasis on understanding poverty issues from a Biblical perspective. Course relies heavily on site visits to observe a wide variety of anti-poverty projects, including faith-based organizations and international nonprofit agencies. International travel required. Co-listed with ECON 394. Offered: Jan Term. Subfield: World Politics.  

POLS 395
Giants of Asia: China and India in the 21st Century
4 credits

Focuses on exploring these two giant countries and understanding their emergence as important world powers in the 21st century. The course investigates the physical environment, history, culture, economy, and politics that help shape these two countries. Co-listed as GEOG 395 and HIST 395. Offered: Fall, on rotation. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 397
Andes to Amazon: Physical Landscapes of Latin America
4 credits

Study of the geographical forces that influence the landscapes of Latin America and how they change over time. This course is organized by substantive topics rather than by country. Topics include regional specific plate tectonics, weather systems, oceanographic systems, and river systems. Co-listed with GEOG 397. Offered: Fall, on rotation. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 398
The Alabama Constitution: 100 Years of Controversy
4 credits

Examination of the creation, structure, and interpretation of state constitutions. Special attention paid to the 1901 Alabama Constitution and issues surrounding the document as well as to current and past reform movements. Co-listed as HIST 398 and JMC 398. Subfield: American Politics. 

POLS 410
Game Theory
4 credits

Elementary examination of the theory of games and strategic behavior with an emphasis on applications. Topics discussed include strategic form games, extensive form games, and games of asymmetric and incomplete information. Various equilibrium concepts also discussed. The course will apply game theoretic concepts to strategic behavior in the social sciences, particularly economics and political science, with applications ranging from cartel behavior to international diplomacy. Co-listed as ECON 410. Prereq: BUSA 130 or POLS 301. Offered: Fall, on rotation. Subfield: Political Theory, World Politics.

POLS 417
Political Communication
4 credits

Focuses on the relationship between media and politics by examining presidential speeches, social movements, and efforts to shape public opinion in the modern era. Co-listed as COMS 417. Offered: Spring. Subfield: American Politics.

POLS 435
Legislative Process
4 credits

Study of state and national legislatures, their internal structures, constituents, and legislators. Subfield: American Politics. 

POLS 443
American Public Policy
4 credits

Examination of the major political, social, economic, and technological forces influencing and shaping the nature, content, and outcomes of public policy in the United States. Subfield: American Politics.

POLS 444
Introduction to Jurisprudence
4 credits

Introduction to standard approaches to jurisprudence and their various applications to the legal and political world. Offered: Spring. Subfield: Political Theory, American Politics.

POLS 445
Constitutional History of the United States
4 credits

Review of the development of the basic concepts of American constitutional law. Co-listed as HIST 445. Subfield: Political Theory, American Politics.

POLS 447
The Development of American Law
4 credits

Review of the development of American Law. Co-listed as HIST 447. Subfield: American Politics.

POLS 450
Law and the World
4 credits

Introduction to the complex issues involved in comparing the various legal systems around the world. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 452
After Authoritarianism
4 credits

Explores the sources of authoritarian regime collapse and the subsequent development of new political institutions in the direction of democracy or some new form of authoritarianism. Case studies of different post-authoritarian regimes provide the empirical bases for the course. Offered: Fall. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 453
The State
4 credits

Explores the origins of the modern state and different theoretical perspectives on the role of the state in society and the international system. Also includes contemporary challenges to state sovereignty and the phenomenon of “failed states” in the international system. Offered: Fall. Subfield: World Politics, Political Theory.

POLS 460
Internship
2-4 credits

Student internships in local, state, national, and international offices and agencies under supervision of the instructor. Variable credit; can be taken more than once for maximum of eight credits. Grading is pass/fail only.

POLS 461
Research and Writing
4 credits

Study of methods and techniques used in various aspects of political science, including bibliography, primary and secondary sources, statistics, computerized materials, etc.

POLS 462
International Studies
4 credits

Independently arranged study from a first-hand, on-site perspective of an international organization, foreign country or countries, or direct involvement in an international study program in the United States. Prereq: Permission of the department chair. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 465
Senior Seminar in Political Science
4 credits

Capstone course for political science and international relations majors in research and methodology of those fields. Required of political science majors. Offered: Fall.

POLS 479
Rise of the British State
4 credits

Examination of the emergence of the national government in Britain over the last 500 years through the lens of government’s growing impact on citizens’ daily life. Co-listed as HIST 479. Offered: Jan Term, in London. Subfield: World Politics.

POLS 499
Special Topics in Political Science
4 credits

Unique, one-time courses offered either by visiting professors or as experimental advanced courses by members of the department.