Political Science Core (PO)

101. UNITED STATES POLITICS 3 cr. The U.S. political system in theory and practice; political processes, institutions, individual and group behavior; the relationship of the political system to the organizational and economic environments.

102. COMPARATIVE POLITICS 3 cr. Introduction to the study of political behavior and institutions through a comparative perspective.

103. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 3 cr. Origin, nature, and development of the modern state system. International conflict and its management by political and legal means. Concepts include sovereignty, nationalism, national power and security, balance of power. Contemporary international issues.

104. POLITICAL THOUGHT 3 cr. Examination of the assumptions, methods, and substantive positions of selected political theorists as a basis of analyzing political life. Themes include sovereignty, power, equality, slavery, peace, representation, identity, force, and violence.

105. POLITICAL ANALYSIS 3 cr. Introduces students to foundational quantitative analysis in a political context, specifically describing and representing data, posing precise and testable questions, drawing inferences from data, analyzing data, and understanding appropriate statistical software.

200. INTRODUCTION TO METHODS 3 cr. Introduces various approaches used in the social sciences to understand the socio-political world and provide causal explanation for its discernable patterns and features. Includes the basics of forming a research hypothesis and a review of the literature relevant to a research project. Required of all political science majors and a prerequisite for PO 300 and PO 300L.

203. GIS I 3 cr. Introduction to the theory and practice of geographic information science through computer-based processing tools, specifically geographic information systems (GIS). Students will study fundamentals of GIS components, spatial data models, integration of coordinate systems, digital data sources, spatial database functions, spatial analysis, thematic mapping, and data quality. Applications include political analysis, land use planning, public health mapping, environmental management, and demographic mapping.

207. POLITICS OF EQUALITY 3 cr. Defining the concept of equality within its legal, political, social, and economic frameworks.  Includes examination of the categories of race, sex, and sexual orientation.

210. MODEL ARAB LEAGUE SIMULATION 3 cr. Explores the functioning of international organizations through participation in Model Arab League Conferences and develops oral and written capabilities as well as critical thinking.  Includes travel to participate in both regional and national conferences.

220. EUROPEAN UNION SIMULATION 3 cr. Simulation course that models the policy-making process within the European Union. Includes a three-day conference in November in Washington, D.C. Each student will take on the role of a political decision-maker from an EU member. Offered fall term of even-numbered years.

241. HISTORY, CULTURE, AND POLITICS 3 cr. Explores ways that relationships among religion, culture, and politics are expressed within nations and across national borders. Incorporates comparative perspectives and field opportunities.

254. LATIN AMERICAN POLITICS 3 cr. Broad historical and regional overview of the political, economic, and social issues that have shaped today’s Latin American politics. Focus on various countries suited to student interest and current events.

256. GLOBALIZATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 3 cr. Introduction to the major political and economic forces of historical development from the explosive encounter of Europe with the Americas at the initiation of the “Colombian exchange” to the collapse of time and distance with the introduction of digital technology and the Internet.

295. SPECIAL TOPICS IN UNITED STATES POLITICS 3 cr. Course title will be listed in the semester course schedule. Special-topics courses at the 200 level are designed for first- and second-year students or for prospective majors.

296. SPECIAL TOPICS IN COMPARATIVE POLITICS 3 cr. Course title will be listed in the semester course schedule. Special-topics courses at the 200 level are designed for first- and second-year students or for prospective majors.

297. SPECIAL TOPICS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 3 cr. Course title will be listed in the semester course schedule. Special-topics courses at the 200 level are designed for first- and second-year students or for prospective majors.

298. SPECIAL TOPICS IN POLITICAL THOUGHT 3 cr. Course title will be listed in the semester course schedule. Special-topics courses at the 200 level are designed for first- and second-year students or for prospective majors.


Advanced Courses


300. POLITICAL SCIENCE RESEARCH METHODS 3 cr. Prerequisite: PO 200; corequisite: PO 300L. Examines principles of political (and social) science research.  The key tools of quantitative social science research: variables, hypotheses, measurement, research designs, sampling, data collection, and data analysis.  Should be taken by the end of the junior year.


301. U.S. CONGRESS 3 cr. Committees, leaders, party organizations, and floor proceedings in Congress; elections, legislative reform, lobbyists, and legislative behavior.

302. PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION 3 cr. Principles and practices of public administration; theories of bureaucracy with an emphasis on the U.S. experience; proposals for reconciling effective administration of public policy with democratic norms.

303. GIS II 3 cr. Prerequisite: GIS I.  Addresses spatial applications and modeling in GIS.  Students will gain experience in the use of buffering, overlay, spatial operators, Boolean search operators, programming, service modeling, geocoding, spatial modeling, and network and routing applications.

304. INTRODUCTION TO POLICY STUDIES 3 cr. Introduction to the public policy process; institutions that structure and implement policy responses, models of decision-making, analytical and evaluative methodologies, epistemological approaches, normative concerns.  Policy areas are investigated to illustrate both the actual and symbolic impact of the policy process within diverse political settings.

305. SEX, GENDER, AND POLITICS 3 cr. Examination of theories of gender and their implication for public policies affecting the political, economic, and social status of women and men in the U.S.

309. BUDGET AND PUBLIC POLICY 3 cr. Analysis of policy issues related to the federal budget and social programs, e.g., Social Security, welfare, and healthcare.

310. THE POLITICS OF RACE 3 cr. Analysis of race as a social, political, and legal construct; social and political implications of these constructions. Social movements organized around the politics of race; responses of political systems to issues of racial inequality.

311. U.S. FOREIGN POLICY 3 cr. Prerequisites: PO 101 and PO 103 or PO 102.  Sources, conduct, and effects of U.S. foreign policy from the standpoint of various analytical frameworks.

312. URBAN POLITICS 3 cr. Comparative study of the political systems of urban areas with emphasis on the forms of urban government, metropolitan government, political machines, elections, interest groups, local executives, city councils, and bureaucracies.

313. WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS 3 cr. Examines the laws related to the exoneration of innocent people wrongfully convicted of crimes.  Students will explore related cases, including false eyewitness testimony, false confessions, ineffective assistance of counsel, police and prosecutorial misconduct, and false forensic evidence.  Discussion of legal standards involved in habeas litigation, the parole processes, and post-release compensation.

314. CONSTITUTIONAL POLITICS 3 cr. Investigation of Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution. Case-study approach to the politics of judicial review, intergovernmental relations, and the commerce, taxing, treaty, and war powers.

315. CIVIL RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES 3 cr. Conflict in American society between majority rule and minority rights. Case-study approach to freedom of speech, press, religion, and association, the protections of due process, the rights of the accused, the equal protection of the laws, voting rights, and privacy.

316. SOCIAL MOVEMENTS 3 cr. Prerequisite: PO 101.  Focusing primarily on the U.S., how and why social movements form in a democratic society, the use of extra-institutional political tactics, the ways they maintain themselves against strenuous opposition, and the dynamics of movement decline.

317. JUDICIAL PROCESS 3 cr. Prerequisite: PO 101.  Analysis of the role of the courts in the political process and the impact of law on society: structure of federal and state judiciaries, judicial selection, models of judicial decision making, and the implementation of judicial decisions.

318. INTEREST GROUPS AND POLITICAL PARTIES 3 cr. Prerequisite: PO 101.  How interest groups affect the American political process. Analysis of interest-group behavior in electoral politics and in the policy process; theory and structure of groups; the rise of political action committees (PACs) and single-issue voters; the functions and activities of the political parties.

319. U.S. ELECTIONS 3 cr. Analysis of candidate recruitment, nomination processes, campaign strategies, campaign finance, voting behavior, and reform proposals in congressional and presidential elections.  (Offered every two years on the election cycle).

320. CHRISTIAN DEMOCRACY IN EUROPE 3 cr. Prerequisite: PO 102.  One of the most important contemporary political movements in Europe. Development of Catholic political and social thought from the French Revolution to the present; the role played by Christian Democratic parties in eight countries today.

321. THE POLITICS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION 3 cr. Prerequisite: PO 102. A more advanced course on the European Union than PO 220, going well beyond its history, institutions, and processes. Analyzes in detail some key issues and controversies within the EU concerning its structure of governance, its purpose, and its future. Includes participation in the EU Simulation in Washington, D.C., in November.

324. CRISIS MAPPING, NEW MEDIA, AND POLITICS 3 cr. How to collect, visualize, analyze, and understand crowd-sourced event data; also, the ethical, political, and privacy implications of this approach, as well as a variety of applications in this domain.

325. POLITICS OF THE LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES 3 cr. Focuses on achieving an understanding of international issues and the function of international organizations with specific emphasis on Arab States.  Develops diplomatic capabilities, persuasion skills, and proficiency in parliamentary procedure.  Includes travel for participation in the Model Arab League conferences.

326. COMPARATIVE POLITICS OF THE MIDDLE EAST 3 cr.  Studies the institutions, histories, and diverse arrays of culture, religious movements, social movements, and political systems of the Middle East.

328. THE MIDDLE EAST IN FILM AND MEDIA 3 cr. Explores the Middle East through film and media.  Focuses on discussions of the diversity of religious, political, and social trends in the area along with an emphasis on bias and stereotypes portrayed in both audio-visuals and readings.

330. INTERNATIONAL POLITICS OF THE MIDDLE EAST 3 cr. International issues and conflicts of the Middle East and their influences across the world studied within the context of the history of the area and theories of international relations.  Provides a deeper understanding of the area and the system which produced the international relations in the Middle East today.

331. U.S. FOREIGN POLICY IN THE MIDDLE EAST 3 cr. Overview of U.S. policy in the Middle East from the end of World War II to the present.  Examines U.S. policy through the interplay of factors such as national interest, the Cold War, the new world order, ongoing wars, and U.S. relations with a number of Middle Eastern countries.

332. AFRICAN POLITICS 3 cr. Historical perspective on topics of colonialism, independence movements, neopatrimonialism, nationalism, democratization, conflict, genocide, women’s movements, civil society, and HIV/AIDS, with an emphasis on variation across space and time.

333. INTERNATIONAL CONFLICT AND SECURITY 3 cr. Prerequisite: PO 103. Sources of insecurity for states and individuals, including genocide, insurgency, civil wars, interstate conflicts, and other global threats. Discusses the psychological, social, and material impact of insecurity and war on combatants and their families.

334. INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, LAW, AND HUMAN RIGHTS 3 cr. Prerequisite: PO 103. Focus on international organizations such as the International Criminal Court that have emerged to help the international community cope with egregious abusers of human rights. Analysis of their structure, theory, procedure, operation, and problems, as well as their role in maintaining peace and security among member states.

335. POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 3 cr. Analysis of the spatial aspects of power, including an examination of fundamental concepts such as territory and scale, as well as the various geopolitical frames that have been imposed on the world.

336. INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY 3 cr. Prerequisite: PO 103. Trends in the global economy, including institutions designed to facilitate rules between world states; processes shaping globalization; and questions related to development and poverty, debt, and fair trade.

337. COMPARATIVE HEALTH POLICY 3 cr. Prerequisite: PO 102.  Introduction to the basic concepts, issues, and dilemmas of public health and healthcare policy.  Provides students with the vocabulary and tools of comparative public health/healthcare policy analysis by examining in detail the promises and problems of various healthcare systems worldwide.

340. LAW AND FILM 3 cr. Explores the interplay between law and popular culture as represented by film.  Also considers important themes in the study of law and judicial politics, including the relationship between law and justice, the practice of law, and the role of the courts and trials in a political system.

341. ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL POLITICAL THOUGHT 3 cr. The foundations of Western political thought. Particular emphases may vary in different semesters, but will include competing and changing conceptions of human nature and community, ideas about law, the emergence of the secular and the “people” in Europe, and basics of medieval Islamic thinking about politics.

342. MODERN POLITICAL THOUGHT 3 cr. Impact of science on the study of politics, rise of the “individual” and social contract theory; the relationship between Enlightenment and revolutionary thought; critiques of Enlightenment and liberalism; examination of European biases and their meanings for political thought.

343. CONTEMPORARY POLITICAL THOUGHT 3 cr. The relationship between morality and politics, centered on the “redistribution versus recognition” debate in contemporary political thought. Impact of Rawls and the social contract tradition; feminist responses to the definition of the political; the meaning of the Holocaust to Enlightenment-influenced political thought; application of post-structural analyses.

344. ISSUES AND PROBLEMS IN DEMOCRATIC THOUGHT 3 cr. Historical, comparative, and theoretical perspectives on topics related to democratic thought and practice, including human rights, civil rights, majoritarianism, representation, nationalism, and collective violence.

345. JAPANESE POLITICS AND POLITICAL CULTURE 3 cr. Explores foundational issues in political science through consideration of Japanese political culture, politics, and government, as well as Japan’s situation in a changing Asia.

346. CHINESE POLITICS AND POLITICAL CULTURE 3 cr. Considers Chinese politics and government – both regional and national – as they evolve in a rapidly changing society, as well as China’s “peaceful rise.”

351. BERLIN SEMINAR 3 cr. Intensive introduction to the city of Berlin, Germany, focusing on Berlin as capital of empire, republic, and the Nazi regime; as divided city during the Cold War; and as center of the reunified Federal Republic. Includes a ten-day study tour of Berlin during spring break preceded by a series of seminar meetings in preparation for the trip. Offered spring semester of odd-numbered years. Requires additional fee for travel.

355. CATHOLICISM, IDENTITY, AND DEVELOPMENT IN LATIN AMERICA 3 cr. Examines various identities including national, religious, indigenous, “ladino,” and others as groups have mobilized in response to political and economic change.  Includes a historical overview of Latin America and gives particular emphasis to the interactions of Catholicism with other traditions important in Latin American political development.

356. POLITICAL TRANSFORMATION: CASE STUDIES FROM LATIN AMERICA 3 cr. Prerequisite: PO 102. Intensive examination and comparison of recent political and economic developments in major countries or regions of Latin America, e.g., Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, the Andes, or Central America.

361. ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS AND POLICY 3 cr. Analysis of the impact of public policy on environmental quality and natural resources; ecology; relationship between U.S. environmental policy and global environmental issues; environmental ethics.

363. ENVIRONMENTAL LAW 3 cr. Investigation of the role of law in protecting the environment and managing natural resources. Analysis of the nature of law, courts, administrative procedure, regulatory agencies, environmentalism, ecology, law and policy.

390. INTERNSHIP 1-6 cr. Internship in government and political organizations. Internship prerequisites to be arranged with intern advisor. (Only 3 credits may count toward political science major or minor).

395. SPECIAL TOPICS IN UNITED STATES POLITICS 3 cr. Topic listed in the semester schedule. Students may register for more than one 395 course on advice of academic advisor.

396. SPECIAL TOPICS IN COMPARATIVE POLITICS 3 cr. Topic listed in the semester schedule. Students may register for more than one 395 course on advice of academic advisor.

397. SPECIAL TOPICS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 3 cr. Topic listed in the semester schedule. Students may register for more than one 395 course on advice of academic advisor.

398. SPECIAL TOPICS IN POLITICAL THOUGHT 3 cr. Topic listed in the semester schedule. Students may register for more than one 395 course on advice of academic advisor.

399. INDEPENDENT STUDY 1-3 cr. Prerequisite: permission of chair. Directed reading or individual research.

401. SENIOR THESIS 3 cr. Prerequisites: PO 300/300L and permission of instructor. Research of a topic in political science. Reviewing past research, developing a research plan, carrying out the research plan, and writing the thesis.

410. AMERICAN PRESIDENCY 3 cr. Prerequisite: PO 101 and PO 200.  Institutions, personalities, and political processes centered in the presidency; implications of the shifting balance of powers between the presidency and the other federal branches; analysis of media and public expectations in light of effective leadership and public accountability.

417. THE U.S. SUPREME COURT 3 cr. Prerequisite: PO 314 or 315 or 317 or permission of instructor. History and role of the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. politics. Special attention given to how and why the Court renders its decisions, how it determines its docket and case load, and the impact of its decisions. Includes significant independent research component.

440. JURISPRUDENCE 3 cr. Nature of law through the prism of two principal concerns in jurisprudence—the separation of law and morality, and judicial discretion. Jurisprudential concepts such as legal validity, rules of law, principles, rights, moral and legal obligation, legal norms, ontology in natural law, natural law reconsidered, positive law, and realism.

441. CONSTITUTIONAL THEORY 3 cr. Study of the relationship between constitutional law and political theory.  An analysis of the various modes of constitutional interpretation and landmark Supreme Court cases will lead to the identification of fundamental concepts and principles of political theory that underlie the evolution of constitutional doctrine.  This will help students understand the ongoing theoretical debate about the role of constitutional interpretation in American democracy.

445. NATIONALISM AND CITIZENSHIP 3 cr. The two dominant ways of interpreting political identity today, with both a theoretical and empirical component. Relationship between ascriptive identity and democracy, meaning of patriotism, impact of colonialism and race-thinking, and examination of possibilities for shared political life beyond the nation-state.

446. MARXIST THOUGHT 3 cr. The varieties of Marxism, including Marx, Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, and Antonio Gramsci. Significant emphasis on leadership and party politics, hegemony, imperialism, culture, ideology, and the role of gender and race analysis in Marxist thought. Involves significant reading and writing.

450. POLICY ANALYSIS AND PROGRAM EVALUATION 3 cr. Conceptual introduction to policy analysis as well as application tools.  Understanding of program evaluation techniques as well as their place in policy evaluation feedback.

457. SEMINAR IN COMPARATIVE POLITICAL THOUGHT 3 cr. Compares contemporary Confucian, Islamic, and varieties of Western political thinking on contemporary political issues. Thematic focus varies by semester.

458. TOPICS IN POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT 3 cr. Prerequisite: PO 102 or permission of instructor. Uses a different theme each semester it is offered. Examines topics from around the globe related to political transformation and economic development.

464. UTOPIAN THOUGHT 3 cr. Role of utopian thought in the development and evolution of Western political theory. Readings on political theory and literary utopias. Application of utopian thought to such contemporary issues, e.g., destruction of natural environment, political and social inequality, globalization and community, science and technology, and moral relativism.

498. ADVANCED INDEPENDENT STUDY 1-3 cr. Prerequisite: permission of chair. Senior- and/or graduate-level directed reading or independent research.

499. SEMINAR 3 cr. Courses on a variety of topics taught in a seminar format.

Political Science course descriptions can also be found in the John Carroll Undergraduate Bulletin.

For questions concerning courses, contact the Political Science Department at 216/397.4311.