Political Science Bachelor of science degree

81a0d1cd-10e4-4817-a348-79d065cb8224 | 129263

Overview

Integrating the traditional fields of American government and international relations to create principled leaders and responsible citizens for careers in public service and the private sector.


The political science major integrates the traditional fields of American government and international relations in order to prepare students for a life and career in an increasingly globalized world. The major includes three tracks of study – politics and life sciences, digital politics and organization, and political institutions. Students can study the influence of biology and biotechnology on how we understand ourselves as human beings and citizens, or they can examine the use of information technology for political purposes. The major prepares principled leaders and responsible citizens for careers in the public and private sectors.

Through exciting tracks in politics and life sciences, digital politics and organization, and political institutions, students study the influence of recent advances in biology and biotechnology on how we understand ourselves as human beings and citizens, or the use of information technology for political organization and communication. There are few undergraduate political science majors in the country that so fully incorporate both these fields into their curricula, including the opportunity to take courses from the biology and information technology departments as part of their program requirements. 

Core courses

The major consists of four core courses designed to introduce students to the general themes of political science. The major culminates in a capstone course, which ties together the themes of the program through a seminar and significant writing project.

Program tracks

The overarching goal of the political science major is to prepare students for the challenges of life and a career in a world that is increasingly globalized, where the application of biotechnology and biomedicine have become common, and where social computing shapes and influences democratic government and the wider community. Students are required to choose one track for an in-depth study on the political impact of modern biology and biotechnology, the changing role of political institutions in a globalized world, or the development and implementation of technologies that increasingly influence political organization and communication.

Program electives

Students are required to take seven political science electives from the department’s American politics and international relations/comparative government offerings with a minimum of three courses from each area. This requirement recognizes the increasing interdependence of domestic and international politics in this era of globalization. Students focus their studies on American politics, international relations, and comparative politics to provide an integrated national and global political perspective.

Double majors

Students may pursue a double major in political science and a secondary area of study. Students have combined political science with a double major in diverse fields such as computer science, criminal justice, economics, and philosophy.

Experiential education

Cooperative education/Internships–Beginning in the third year, students may participate in optional learning experiences that may include cooperative education or an internship, both of which provide students with hands-on experience in a variety of environments, from government agencies, non-profits, and nongovernmental agencies to political campaigns. Through these experiences, students gain employment experience as well as the opportunity to further develop skills in their chosen profession.

Study abroad–Opportunities to study abroad enhance a student's understanding of global politics and culture. Students may study full time at a variety of host schools and are able to select courses in their major as well as liberal arts courses. Visit RIT Global to learn more about the range of study abroad programs and opportunities available.

Accelerated 4+1 MBA option

An accelerated 4+1 MBA option also is available for students who wish to earn a BS in political science and an MBA. The program is offered in conjunction with Saunders College of Business and allows students to obtain both degrees in five years of study. Students should consult their advisor for more information.

 

Industries


  • Politics

  • International Affairs

  • Government (Local, State, Federal)

  • Non-Profit

  • Other Industries

Typical Job Titles

Government Affairs Manager Grant Writer
Political Analyst Political Lobbyist
Labor Relations Specialist City Planner
Senate Intern Military Police
Paralegal

Latest News

  • May 2, 2019

    Student poses sitting at table with notebook and laptop.

    RIT graduate on her way to Kosovo to teach English

    Growing up in Youngstown, N.Y., near Niagara Falls, Alessandra Santarosa always had the urge to explore. As she readies to graduate this month from RIT with a bachelor’s degree in political science and minors in German, and sociology and anthropology, Santarosa is ready for more adventures: joining the Peace Corps and teaching English in Kosovo for two years.

  • April 19, 2019

    Two men in suits sit in arm chairs listening to audience members' questions.

    Can we bridge the divide of bitter partisanship?

    The Rochester Beacon writes about a presentation titled “An Antidote to Today’s Partisanship: How to Agree to Disagree,” organized by RIT’s Center for Statesmanship, Law and Liberty.

  • April 1, 2019

    Large group of students stands with dean.

    RIT’s College of Liberal Arts honors students for writing excellence

    RIT’s College of Liberal Arts honored student achievement in writing on Friday with the presentation of more than a dozen writing awards for essays varying from sanctuary cities, how democracies can withstand outside meddling, and the excavation, preservation and reconstruction of a London theater where Shakespearian plays debuted.

Curriculum

Political Science, BS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
POLS-110
American Politics
This course examines the basic principles, themes and institutions of American politics. The course will approach the study of American politics from four interrelated topics: 1) American political values and constitutional foundations; 2) mass politics and political socialization; 3) political institutions; and 4) public policy. Current events will be discussed throughout the course in an effort to promote responsible citizenship. In addition to providing a basic overview of American politics, this course seeks to develop critical thinking, group dynamic and communication skills that are transferrable outside the classroom.
3
POLS-120
Introduction to International Relations
The purpose of this course is to provide a basic knowledge of the field of international relations. Among the topics to be addressed are key theoretical concepts, themes and controversies in the field such as: important state and non-state actors in international politics, security, economic relations between states, levels of analysis, and schools of thought.
3
YOPS-010
RIT 365: RIT Connections
RIT 365 students participate in experiential learning opportunities designed to launch them into their career at RIT, support them in making multiple and varied connections across the university, and immerse them in processes of competency development. Students will plan for and reflect on their first-year experiences, receive feedback, and develop a personal plan for future action in order to develop foundational self-awareness and recognize broad-based professional competencies.
0
 
First Year Writing (WI)
3
 
LAS Perspective 3 (global)
3
 
LAS Perspective 4 (social)
3
 
LAS Perspective 6 (scientific principles)
3
 
LAS Perspective 7A (mathematical)
3
 
LAS Perspective 7B (mathematical)
3
 
LAS Elective
3
 
Political Science Elective
3
 
Wellness Education*
0
Second Year
POLS-290
Politics and the Life Sciences
This course examines the intersection between politics and the life sciences. The course will examine the biological approach to human behavior, paying special attention to the implications of biological explanations of behavior for political systems. Topics to be covered may include the biological approach to morality, law, and international conflict, as well as the political and policy implications of new research in the biological sciences including biotechnology.
3
POLS-295
Cyberpolitics
Innovations in digital communication technologies have the potential to affect many aspects of politics and government. Beyond specific elements such as elections and delivery of government services, these developments have the potential to expand and redefine the nature of political participation and civic engagement, and to alter the structure of political power. This course examines the potential and promise of digital democracy, and attempts to separate hype from reality.
3
 
Political Science Electives
6
 
LAS Perspective 1 (ethicall)
3
 
LAS Perspective 2 (artistic)
3
 
LAS Perspective 5‡ (natural science inquiry)
3
 
LAS Immersion 1, 2
6
 
Free Elective
3
 
Wellness Education*
0
Third Year
 
Political Science Track Courses
6
 
Political Science Electives
6
 
Free Electives
6
 
LAS Immersion 3
3
 
LAS Electives
9
Fourth Year
POLS-530
Political Science Capstone (WI)
This seminar provides an opprtunity to study in-depth any theme, problem or work within the discipline of political science, for example the foundations of self-government, foreign policy, international law and organizations, and the fundamental problems of international relations. Course content will be determined in consultation with the instructor. Teams of students will write a substantial paper on a topic related to the general themes of the seminar.
3
 
Political Science Track Course
3
 
Political Science Electives
6
 
LAS Electives
12
 
Free Electives
6
Total Semester Credit Hours
120

Please see General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.

‡ Students will satisfy this requirement by taking either a 3- or 4-credit hour lab science course. If a science course consists of separate lecture and laboratory sections, student must take both the lecture and lab portions to satisfy the requirement.

Program tracks

Politics & the Life Sciences
BIOL-201
Cellular and Molecular Biology
This course will address the fundamental concepts of Cellular and Molecular Biology. Lectures, assignments, and laboratory projects will explore the structure and function of molecules, organelles, and cells and the biological processes they are involved in. Students in this course will gain an understanding of various molecular mechanisms, structure/function relationships, and cellular processes as they relate to cellular and molecular biology. Students in this course will practice and carry out common laboratory techniques used by Cellular and Molecular Biologists including, recombinant DNA technology, cell trafficking, and cloning techniques.
BIOL-265
Evolutionary Biology
This course investigates the historical framework of evolutionary biology and the meaning/nature of evidence pertinent to biological evolution. Topics will include: earth history, the evolution of proteins and the genetic code, molecular evolution, neutral theory vs. selection, genetic variation, natural selection, migration, mutation, genetic drift, fitness, population dynamics and genetics, speciation, systematics and classification systems, molecular phylogenetics, the evolution of eukaryotic organisms, behavioral evolution, historical biogeography, and human evolution and variation.
BIOL-293
Evolution and Creationism
This course explores the current controversy over the teaching of evolution in the public schools. Topics covered include pre-Darwinian views of natural history, Natural Theology and the argument from design, pre-Darwinian views of evolution, On The Origin of Species, and the public and scientific reception of natural selection. The major 20th and 21st century court cases, beginning with Scopes, and the Creationist responses, will be presented. The social and philosophical implications of evolution will be a major underlying theme.
BIOL-321
Genetics
Introduction to the principles of inheritance; the study of genes and chromosomes at molecular, cellular, organismal, and population levels.
POLS-215
Tech, Ethics, & Global Politics
This course examines the mutual influence of science, technology and global politics within the framework of international ethics. Contemporary debates around drones, climate change, cyber security, the Ebola pandemic, hydraulic fracturing, renewable energy, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and nuclear power reveal the field of International Relations must take scientific and technological developments more seriously. In order to comprehend the mutual influence of science, technology, and global politics, the course will examine the political project of the early moderns, who sought the removal of traditional, moral restraints on scientific and technological innovations, as well as the international efforts to regulate scientific and technological innovation beginning in the twentieth century and continuing to the present day.
POLS-285
Environmental Ethics and Political Ecology
This course examines environmental issues through a variety of political and ethical perspectives. The goal of the course is to understand how the meaning of political and ethical concepts (e.g., citizenship, justice, responsibility, security, sovereignty) have been broadened or reinterpreted in light of the ascendancy of environmentalism. For instance, the course will cover questions concerning whether environmentalism has encouraged a more precautionary sort of politics, especially in regard to agricultural biotechnology, along with how it has transformed the traditional military definition of security to include new notions such as climate or food security. To address these questions and issues, the course fosters an appreciation of the ethical reasoning of the interdisciplinary field known as political ecology. An emphasis on the ethical reasoning of political ecology will facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of environmental issues through unraveling the political forces at work in environmental change at both the global and local levels.
POLS-410
Evolutionary International Relations
This course examines the biological explanations of international conflict. Topics will include the evolutionary approach to human behavior, international conflict, and the relevance for evolutionary explanations as an alternative or supplement to current paradigms of international relations like realism and rational choice. Finally, the course will look at what an evolutionary understanding of politics means for peace-keeping missions, global governance, and the stability of international cooperation.
POLS-415
Evolution and the Law
This course examines the evolutionary approach to law. The course will consider the relevance of evolutionary theory to the analysis of law, the roots of rule of law, the relationship between natural law and common law, as well as the strengths and limitations of the evolutionary approach to specific themes within law, such as property law and family law.
POLS-420
Primate Politics
This course examines the biological approach to the study of political order. Students will learn about the basic political structures of the great apes, how they differ, and how an understanding of these primate social structures can help us understand human political behavior. Specific topics might include the biological explanations of patriarchy and matriarchy, the biology of dominance structures, and the biology of leadership choice.
STSO-421
Environmental Policy
This course introduces students to federal, state, and local environmental policies and the various policy paths leading to their establishment. Students will understand how societal values inform the content of environmental policies and the impacts, in turn, of these policies on society. In addition, the class will explore how environmental economics informs the new tools of environmental policy. The course covers a range of environmental policies at the U.S. and international levels addressing problems such as air and water pollution, climate change, energy use, and community sustainability.
Digital Politics & Organization
COMM-343
Technology Mediated Communication
Technology-mediated communication (TMC) was originally defined as a form of electronic written communication. As networking tools advanced, TMC expanded to include new software developments, such as instant messenger and the web. Today, the term technology-mediated communication is used to refer to a wide range of technologies that facilitate both human communication and the interactive sharing of information through computer networks. Through readings, discussions, and observations of online behavior, students will be introduced to TMC terms and theories to further develop their TMC communication and critical thinking skills.
ISTE-140
Web & Mobile I
This course provides students with an introduction to internet and web technologies, and to development on Macintosh/UNIX computer platforms. Topics include HTML and CSS, CSS3 features, digital images, web page design and website publishing. Emphasis is placed on fundamentals, concepts and standards. Additional topics include the user experience, mobile design issues, and copyright/intellectual property considerations. Exercises and projects are required.
ISTE-230
Introduction to Database and Data Modeling
A presentation of the fundamental concepts and theories used in organizing and structuring data. Coverage includes the data modeling process, basic relational model, normalization theory, relational algebra, and mapping a data model into a database schema. Structured Query Language is used to illustrate the translation of a data model to physical data organization. Modeling and programming assignments will be required. Note: students should have one course in object-oriented programming.
ISTE-240
Web & Mobile II
This course builds on the basics of web page development that are presented in Web and Mobile I and extends that knowledge to focus on theories, issues, and technologies related to the design and development of web sites. An overview of web design concepts, including usability, accessibility, information architecture, and graphic design in the context of the web will be covered. Introduction to web site technologies, including HTTP, web client and server programming, and dynamic page generation from a database also will be explored. Development exercises are required.
ISTE-305
Rapid Online Presence
Although large-scale web sites still require considerable development effort, there are today several options for establishing a web presence using tools designed for non-programmers. This course gives students understanding of and experience with installing and customizing websites using tools such as Blogs, Wikis, content management systems, and website toolkits.
ISTE-330
Database Connectivity and Access
In this course, students will build applications that interact with databases. Through programming exercises, students will work with multiple databases and programmatically invoke the advanced database processing operations that are integral to contemporary computing applications. Topics include the database drivers, the data layer, connectivity operations, security and integrity, and controlling database access.
MGIS-320
Database Management Systems
Transforming data into information is critical for making business decisions. This course introduces students to the concepts of data, information and the business database management systems (DBMS) used by modern organizations. Exercises and hands-on projects are used to model the information needs of an organization and implement and query databases using applications such as Microsoft Access and SQL.
MGIS-425
Database Systems Development
This course builds upon the basic concepts from Database Management Systems. Students work in a real-world business database development environment and gain hands-on experience in advanced database querying language, such as Oracle PL/SQL. Students learn to analyze business processes and, using tools such as Oracle, develop fully functioning database prototype systems to support them.
POLS-305
Political Parties and Voting
Political parties are a crucial part of the democratic process, as are elections. Parties and elections serve as a critical link between citizens and their government, as parties and candidates promote policies favored by voters. This course studies parties, their history, their future and their role in the democratic process. Overall emphasis is on the degree to which parties perform or fail to perform as a link between citizens and government.
POLS-365
Anarchy, Technology & Utopia
This course examines the way in which new technologies challenge and provide alternatives to traditional political structures and functions. The course discusses the moral status of the state through the lens of anarchic political thought, with an emphasis on the concept of consent. Themes of anarchic thought are then discussed in light of how new technologies decentralize power and challenge traditional state goals, such as regulation or state secrecy. Technologies to be discussed include social media platforms and nongovernmental, digital currency, as well as decentralized energy sources like solar and wind. The ethical and moral implications of these new technologies, the harms and benefits they present, and their use as challenges to the moral status of the state are all central themes.
POLS-370
Cyberwar, Robots, & the Future of Conflict
This course examines how advances in computer science, robotics, biotechnology and other emerging technologies are being applied to organized violence. Emphasized are the ways that lethal uses of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), warbots with artificial intelligence, cyber-attacks, and other emerging technologies are changing or will change the character of war and the societies that enact it. Special attention is given to the ethical and legal dilemmas these technologies present to citizens, states, and the international community, assessing both the harm and the good that they make possible.
Political Institutions
POLS-210
Comparative Politics
The course provides a mode of analysis for the study of political systems. Basic concepts of political science are utilized to present a descriptive and analytical examination of various political systems that can be classified as liberal democracies, post-communist, newly industrializing countries, and Third World. Particular attention is paid to the governmental structure, current leadership and major issues of public policy of those selected political systems under review.
POLS-220
Global Political Economy
Examines the interplay between states and markets, as well as the interaction of the global economy and international politics. The course will cover political economy, political ideology, global trade, international capital investment, debt, the integration of national financial markets, and the impact of globalization on society and the environment.
POLS-310
The Congress
This course examines the role of the Congress in American government. Topics studied include elections, party organization, committees, interest-group activities and executive-legislative relations.
POLS-315
The Presidency
A study of the role of the presidency in the American political system. Among the topics considered are the nomination and election processes, the evolution, expansion and limitation of presidential power, factors in decision-making and the various leadership functions performed by the president.
POLS-325
International Law and Organizations
The study of international law and organizations is the study of international cooperation and governance. The course will cover a variety of theoretical and substantive topics including the theories of international law and organizations, the historical development of international organizations, how these organizations work in practice, and whether they are effective. Emphasis will be placed on the United Nations and the role and usefulness of nongovernmental organizations in international organization. Several of the substantive issues discussed are interstate violence and attempts to address humanitarian concerns, globalizations, and the environment.
POLS-425
Constitutional Law
A study of the Constitution of 1787 and the manner in which it was written. The focus of the course is on the way the people have, through the Constitution, delegated powers and responsibilities of government to the Congress, the President, the Courts and the States. Selected Supreme Court opinions will be considered to shed light on how the Constitution has been read and how thoughtful citizens might read it.

Political Science Electives

Students are required to take seven courses from the following two areas, with a minimum of three courses in each area.

Statecraft, Emerging Democracies & Global Governance
POLS-205
Ethics in International Politics
This course examines the role of ethics in international politics. It will address topics such as humanitarian intervention, just war, the ethics of immigration, international economic justice, accountability in international development aid, and the ethical role of international organizations and non-state actors. Special attention will be given to thinkers who discuss the promise and limits of ethics in international politics and who give an account of the force of international law in establishing ethical norms throughout international political history.
POLS-210
Comparative Politics
The course provides a mode of analysis for the study of political systems. Basic concepts of political science are utilized to present a descriptive and analytical examination of various political systems that can be classified as liberal democracies, post-communist, newly industrializing countries, and Third World. Particular attention is paid to the governmental structure, current leadership and major issues of public policy of those selected political systems under review.
POLS-215
Tech, Ethics & Global Politics
This course examines the mutual influence of science, technology and global politics within the framework of international ethics. Contemporary debates around drones, climate change, cyber security, the Ebola pandemic, hydraulic fracturing, renewable energy, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and nuclear power reveal the field of International Relations must take scientific and technological developments more seriously. In order to comprehend the mutual influence of science, technology, and global politics, the course will examine the political project of the early moderns, who sought the removal of traditional, moral restraints on scientific and technological innovations, as well as the international efforts to regulate scientific and technological innovation beginning in the twentieth century and continuing to the present day.
POLS-220
Global Political Economy
Examines the interplay between states and markets, as well as the interaction of the global economy and international politics. The course will cover political economy, political ideology, global trade, international capital investment, debt, the integration of national financial markets, and the impact of globalization on society and the environment.
POLS-285
Environmental Ethics and Political Ecology
This course examines environmental issues through a variety of political and ethical perspectives. The goal of the course is to understand how the meaning of political and ethical concepts (e.g., citizenship, justice, responsibility, security, sovereignty) have been broadened or reinterpreted in light of the ascendancy of environmentalism. For instance, the course will cover questions concerning whether environmentalism has encouraged a more precautionary sort of politics, especially in regard to agricultural biotechnology, along with how it has transformed the traditional military definition of security to include new notions such as climate or food security. To address these questions and issues, the course fosters an appreciation of the ethical reasoning of the interdisciplinary field known as political ecology. An emphasis on the ethical reasoning of political ecology will facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of environmental issues through unraveling the political forces at work in environmental change at both the global and local levels.
POLS-320
American Foreign Policy
A study of the formulation and execution of American foreign policy, including the examination of the instruments, procedures, and philosophies shaping the development of foreign policy.
POLS-325
International Law and Organizations
The study of international law and organizations is the study of international cooperation and governance. The course will cover a variety of theoretical and substantive topics including the theories of international law and organizations, the historical development of international organizations, how these organizations work in practice, and whether they are effective. Emphasis will be placed on the United Nations and the role and usefulness of nongovernmental organizations in international organization. Several of the substantive issues discussed are interstate violence and attempts to address humanitarian concerns, globalizations, and the environment.
POLS-330
Human Rights in Global Perspective
This course explores the theoretical meaning, both domestically and internationally, and the institutional and political aspects of human rights. Issues covered include the definition of human rights; the relationship between civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights; the meaning and impact of humanitarian and international human rights law; the impact of cultural relativism in the definition and assessment of the promotion and protection of human rights; the significance of different religious perspectives; the question of the legitimacy of humanitarian interventions and the effects of globalization on human rights perceptions and practices.
POLS-333
The Rhetoric of Terrorism
This class examines the history of terrorism (both the concept and the term), definitions of terrorism and attempts to explain the root causes of terrorism through rhetorical and ethical analysis of narratives written by historians, journalists, and terrorists themselves. Students will read and discuss charters, manifestoes and messages (terrorism texts) of domestic and foreign, regional and global, non-state entities motivated by politics or religion to commit violence, as well as the efforts of analysts to explain and contextualize their activities.
POLS-335
Politics in Developing Countries
This course explores the ways in which the historical, cultural, economic and political contexts of societies of Africa, Asia and Latin America determines the patterns of their political processes. Focus is directed to such factors as history, religion, economic underdevelopment, and culture and their impact on the efforts to promote liberalization and democratization, economic and social modernization, and political and social stability.
POLS-350
Politics of East Asia
This course examines the East-Asian countries using the following comparative criteria as the organizing guidelines: modern political history of the country, political economy and development, governance and policy making, representation and participation, as well as major domestic and foreign policy issues. The political prospects of the countries for the 21st century will be analyzed and discussed.
POLS-360
International Political Thought
The course provides a general overview of international themes, ethical principles, and issues that are taken into consideration in international political thought. Possible topics may include theoretical analyses of the ideas of sovereignty, nationalism, hegemony, imperialism, global civil society, political theology, balance of power, collective security, just war, perpetual peace, and human rights. Guiding themes of the course will be a reflection upon the nature of political legitimacy in the international context and the tension between political justifications based upon necessity and those based upon justice. In reading the major political thinkers students will be encouraged to reflect upon the challenge of reconciling ethical obligations to one’s own community with those of humanity in general.
POLS-370
Cyberwar, Robots, & the Future of Conflict
This course examines how advances in computer science, robotics, biotechnology and other emerging technologies are being applied to organized violence. Emphasized are the ways that lethal uses of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), warbots with artificial intelligence, cyber-attacks, and other emerging technologies are changing or will change the character of war and the societies that enact it. Special attention is given to the ethical and legal dilemmas these technologies present to citizens, states, and the international community, assessing both the harm and the good that they make possible.
POLS-440
War and the State
Explores the enduring reality of war through an analysis of regional and global conflicts since the establishment of the modern international system. Key concepts include deterrence, appeasement, offensive-defensive military strategies, and international balances of power. These will be applied to several historical cases to explain why wars occur and how they might be avoided.
POLS-445
Terrorism and Political Violence
This course examines the causes, methods, and responses of non-state groups attempting to establish new political orders. The combined use of violence with the tactic of terror distinguishes these groups from others seeking political change. Special attention will be given to national and international efforts attempting to resolve such conflicts.
POLS-455
Comparative Public Policy
Modernization theorists predict, industrial and post-industrial societies tend to face similar public policy issues in such areas as public education, health care, public transportation, public housing and the environment. However, the political responses to these challenges have varied in significant ways in different countries. Many states have developed extensive welfare state systems, while some have put more emphasis on market-based solutions. The course seeks to explore and analyze the factors that explain these differences and assess the extent to which the different approaches succeed in meeting these policy challenges.
POLS-525
Special Topics in Political Science
Special topics will examine a political theme, issue or problem at an advanced undergraduate level. The subject matter examined will vary from year to year according to the availability of faculty and the interests of students. The course is designed especially for those whose interest in politics goes beyond the requirements of the liberal arts curriculum. (Class 3, Credit 3 (varies)
Deliberative Democracy & National Government
POLS-115
Ethical Debates Amer Politics
This course examines past and contemporary political and ethical debates that have shaped, clarified and transformed the meaning of the foundations of the American democratic-republic. At every turn, political and ethical debates in American politics have focused on the meaning of the principles of equality and consent and the moral implications of individual rights. The course will address topics such as the moral foundations of the Founding, the moral character of the Union, the injustice of slavery in a regime dedicated to the principle of equality, justice and the Civil Rights movement, and the progressive critique of the Founding, the rise of the entitlement state and its critiques, as well as current political and ethical controversies. Special attention will be paid to the political speeches of those directly involved in the debates.
POLS-200
Law & Society
This course focuses on the relationships between law and other social institutions, and examines the values and interests that are expressed in law and shaped by legal structures and processes. This course takes an explicit interdisciplinary approach to understanding law and is designed for those interested in a critical inquiry of the nature of law within a framework of a broad liberal arts education. Class 3, Credit 3 (F)
POLS-250
State & Local Politics
This course is a study of politics and government on the state and local levels, as well as the relationships between these levels and the federal government. The first focus of the course is on the federal system of government, including the interdependence of the three levels of government. The course continues by examining the state level followed by a focus on local government. A final topic is policy-making, including revenues and expenditures, which again illustrate the interrelationship of the three levels.
POLS-300
Rhetoric & Political Deliberation
Often political deliberation requires reasoning about indeterminate subjects of public import, which do not permit us to arrive at incontestable conclusions. Even where there is compelling evidence the conclusions of political deliberation usually require rhetorical assistance. Rhetoric reflects an appreciation that the simple truth and scientific facts do not suffice in all circumstances, that citizens sometimes have to be persuaded and led through persuasive speeches to reach reasonable decisions in public life. This course examines the role of rhetoric in political deliberation through a consideration of some of the most politically important speeches in American and international politics. The course will also consider the political use of rhetorical devices as well as the differences between deliberative, epideictic and forensic rhetoric. As a writing intensive course, students will practice the writing conventions associated with the discipline and their skills in editing, revising, and reviewing their writing and the writing of their peers.
POLS-305
Political Parties and Voting
Political parties are a crucial part of the democratic process, as are elections. Parties and elections serve as a critical link between citizens and their government, as parties and candidates promote policies favored by voters. This course studies parties, their history, their future and their role in the democratic process. Overall emphasis is on the degree to which parties perform or fail to perform as a link between citizens and government.
POLS-310
The Congress
This course examines the role of the Congress in American government. Topics studied include elections, party organization, committees, interest-group activities and executive-legislative relations.
POLS-315
The Presidency
A study of the role of the presidency in the American political system. Among the topics considered are the nomination and election processes, the evolution, expansion and limitation of presidential power, factors in decision-making and the various leadership functions performed by the president.
POLS-345
Politics and Public Policy
A study of the politics of the policy process covering these basic questions: How do public problems get to the agenda of government? How does government formulate policy alternatives? How does government legitimate public policy? How does government implement public policy? How does government evaluate public policy?
POLS-355
Political Leadership
The fundamental proposition of this course is that political leadership makes a crucial difference in the life of a nation. The course will examine how leadership may serve as either a constructive or destructive force in the pursuit of some shared, national goal or purpose. The course will consider a diverse range of leaders and their respective styles and types of leadership. Each leader will be studied in terms of his or her historical context, the means and ends each employed in the pursuit of political goals, and the particular qualities both virtues and vices each embodied as a political leader.
POLS-425
Constitutional Law
A study of the Constitution of 1787 and the manner in which it was written. The focus of the course is on the way the people have, through the Constitution, delegated powers and responsibilities of government to the Congress, the President, the Courts and the States. Selected Supreme Court opinions will be considered to shed light on how the Constitution has been read and how thoughtful citizens might read it.
POLS-430
Constitutional Rights and Liberties
This course provides an introduction to the Supreme Court's legal and political reasoning on the civil rights and liberties contained in the Bill of Rights. Particular emphasis will be placed on the First Amendment as the cornerstone of a free society guaranteeing religious liberty and the right to free speech. The course will also examine how the Court has balanced constitutional rights and liberties in the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments against the need for enhanced national security.
POLS-435
American Political Thought
Provides a general overview of the political ideas, concepts, issues and principles which taken together compose the stream of American political thought. Examines major controversies, which have marked the developing body of the literature by examining the contributions of major political thinkers.
POLS-460
Classical Constitutionalism, Virtue & Law
This course will examine the classical quest for personal and political order. It will concentrate on the foundations of classical political science and its search for the best regime. The course will also examine the classical understanding of constitutionalism, or the regime as the form for encouraging virtue through the rule of law, in contrast to the modern view that attempts to combine liberty and property. Along the way, the enduring questions of cosmology, human nature, justice and the good will be examined.
POLS-465
Modern Constitutionalism, Liberty & Equality
This course examines the founding principles of modern constitutionalism and the modern state. Special attention will be paid to the theory and practice of the principles of equality, liberty, and consent. A major effort throughout the course will be made to consider the assessments and prescriptions for modern constitutionalism offered by American and continental political thinkers.
POLS-481
Women in Politics
A study of feminist thought as it applies to the political, economic and social status of women and how it has been expressed through the women's political movement. Students study a number of public policies as they apply to and affect women and examine the opportunities for women to participate in the political process.
POLS-485
Politics Through Fiction
This course explores contemporary issues facing the American and global political order through the lens of fiction. Particular attention will be paid to the grounds of sound political deliberation, the limitations of prudence and the theory and practice of American political principles both home and abroad.
POLS-490
Politics Through Film
This course explores the enduring issues facing the American and global political order through the lens of film. Particular attention will be paid to the principles of sound political deliberation, the limitations of political leadership and the theory and practice of American political principles both at home and abroad.
POLS-525
Special Topics in Political Science
Special topics will examine a political theme, issue or problem at an advanced undergraduate level. The subject matter examined will vary from year to year according to the availability of faculty and the interests of students. The course is designed especially for those whose interest in politics goes beyond the requirements of the liberal arts curriculum. (Class 3, Credit 3 (varies)

Admission Requirements

Freshman Admission

For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.

Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations

  • Strong performance in English and social studies is expected

Transfer Admission

Transfer course recommendations without associate degree

Courses in liberal arts, science, foreign language, and history

Appropriate associate degree programs for transfer

Liberal arts with social sciences, sciences, or languages

Learn about admissions and financial aid 

Additional Info

Advising

Each student is assigned a faculty advisor who assists with course registration, scheduling, course selection, academic concerns, and career counseling. For more information, please refer to the college's academic advising page.