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Political Science

8000. Special Topics: Research Design   (3 s.h.)

Students learn how to formulate and justify research questions, situate their research within the scholarly literature, select cases, and address problems related to making causal inferences.  An important focus of the course is on the similarities and differences between quantitative and qualitative research designs and their respective strengths and weaknesses.  

8001. Political Statistics I.   (3 s.h.)   (Required of all M.A. and Ph.D. students)

Introductory applied social statistics. Topics covered include descriptive measures, elementary probability theory, hypothesis testing, and correlation and regression analysis.  This course explores inductive statistics including: probability and sampling, multivariate contingency tables, analysis of variance, correlation and regression analysis.

8002. Qualitative Research Methods   (3 s.h.)   (Required of all Ph.D. students)

An examination of some of the major qualitative research approaches in political science -- case studies, comparative historical, institutional, community power studies, etc. Thc course aims to teach students the basic methods and reasoning procedures for doing advanced research in political science.


8003. Political Statistics II   (3 s.h.)   (strongly recommended of all Ph.D. students)

Prerequisite:  Completion of Political Statistics I (Pol Sci 8001) or permission of instructor.

The course offers a thorough coverage of the basic linear regression model.  Two-thirds of the class is devoted to the Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) method with a focus on estimation, hypothesis testing, and diagnosing threats to statistical inference.  Cross-sectional, time-series, and panel data applications are covered.  The remainder of the class introduces students to Maximum Likelihood estimators that address limitations to the OLS model. 


8101. The Role of Government in American Society   (3 s.h.)

An introduction to key theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of the major areas in American politics.

8102. American Presidency   (3 s.h.)

This course examines the state of Presidency research in political science.  The American presidency is evaluated as an institution and as a position of political leadership.

8103. Legislative Behavior   (3 s.h.)

Analysis and research on legislatures, legislators and the legislative process at national, state, and local levels. Focus on legislative decision-making.

8104. The Politics of Organized Interest   (3 s.h.)

Critical examination of the role of interest groups in the American political system.  Do interest groups hold government captive and interfere with the democratic process or do they strengthen democratic practice?  Why do interest groups form?  Do Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions buy votes?  Is business the most powerful interest in American society?

8105. Public Law   (3 s.h.)

A survey of the main political and legal factors affecting the development of the basic constitutional doctrines regarding judicial review, separation of powers, the presidency, foreign affairs, the basic delegated powers of Congress in the areas of regulation of commerce and taxation, and federalism.

8106. Civil Rights and Liberties   (3 s.h.)

A critical overview and exploration of the evolution, and various aspects of U.S. anti-discrimination laws and policies using court decisions as well as political and legal theories.

8107. Business, Politics, Power   (3 s.h.)

Course examines the role of business in politics. Includes a review some of the most important theoretical approaches that dominate the study of business political activity and its impact on policy outcomes.

8108. The American Party System   (3 s.h.)

Examines political parties and party systems at the federal and state level, in both historical and contemporary contexts.  What are political parties?  Who forms them? This course focuses mostly on officeholders and activists to understand political parties in government and political parties as organizations.

8109. Campaigns, Election, & the Media   (3 s.h.)

The role of elections in contemporary American society.  Special attention to parties and mass media as managers of campaigns.  Factors affecting the voting behavior of the mass public and the link voting provides between the public and policy formation.  The role of elections in contemporary American society.  Factors affecting the voting behavior of the mass public and the link voting provides between the public and policy formation.  Special attention also will be paid to the roles of political parties and mass media.

8111. American Federalism   (3 s.h.)

This graduate seminar investigates how national, state, and local governments interact to create America’s unique federal system.  We will approach the topic of federalism from historical, legal, fiscal, and comparative perspectives.  The dual goals of the course are to improve students’ understanding of the key features and changing nature of American federalism and to introduce students to the diverse methodologies and theoretical approaches for studying this complex topic.

8112. Research in State Politics   (3 s.h.)

This course introduces graduate students to the research investigating politics and governance in the American states.  Seminar discussions will focus on identifying the questions motivating state politics research, comparing different methodological approaches, and discovering what questions remain unanswered.  We also will consider how findings from state politics research might extend to other institutional settings.  The goal of the seminar is to stimulate students to conduct their own state politics research.

8113. Politics of Race and Class in American Cities   (3 s.h.)

Examines the intersection of race and class in American cities from theoretical and practical perspectives. Readings cover some of the major theories of race and urban poverty going from the "declining significance of race" proponents on the one hand to the "increasing significance of race" theorists on the other end of the spectrum. The course also examines how considerations of race and class have shaped key policy areas such as housing, education, and community development. Finally, the course examines the new immigration" and its impact on class and race relations within urban areas.

8114. Community Based Research   (3 s.h.)

Engages students in community based research projects that are identified and developed by community-based organizations to address a particular program or policy need that they have encountered.  Students work closely with these organizations as they carry out the research.  Field-based research is supported by weekly seminar meetings that combine instruction in research methods with substantive examination of community development issues.  Students share their experiences from the field during the seminar meetings.

8115. Critique of American Government   (3 s.h.)

Special topics course.  Subject varies with instructor.

8118. Public Policy   (3 s.h.)

Surveys of the major theoretical approaches to the study of public policy including: welfare economics, public choice, social structural, information processing, and political philosophy.

8119. Policy Analysis & Process   (3 s.h.)

This course introduces graduate students to the techniques and assumptions used to evaluate public policy proposals. In addition to training students to use these tools, the course also takes a critical look at the strengths and weaknesses of the tools and examines the political environment in which policies are analyzed and adopted.

8121. National Public Policy   (3 s.h.)

Focuses on the content or substance of contemporary U.S. public policy and developing agendas in several salient areas such as environmental protection, economic development, education, public assistance, drug abuse, and civil rights.

8122. Urban Public Policy   (3 s.h.)

Explores key areas of urban public policy, such as housing, economic and community development, and education. Examines the political, social, institutional and cultural factors that shape the policy making context and ultimately the policies themselves. Interdisciplinary approach using readings from political science, sociology, economics, planning and social history. Covers major research conducted on policy areas and central debates surrounding them.

8123. Politics, Organization, and Bureaucracy   (3 s.h.)

Analyzes the internal dynamics and external relations of organizations and bureaucracies. Emphasis on power and authority, decision making, institutionalization, inter-organizational relations, and the influence of organizations on politics, policy, and society.

8124. Public Opinion and Propaganda  (3 s.h.)

Survey of the broad field of public opinion research.  Topics include: political sophistication, citizen competence, democratic responsiveness, political socialization, attitude formation, and the effects of mass media and political rhetoric. 

8125.   Theories of Policy Making  (3 s.h.)

Considers various models of the policy process and policymaking, including those within group, systemic, rational, and institutional approaches. Empirical and normative perspectives are both addressed.

8130. Topics in American Politics   (3 s.h.)

Special topics course. Subject varies with instructor.

8140. Issues in American Politics   (3 s.h.)

Special topics course. Subject varies with instructor.


8201. Comparative Politics (core seminar)   (3 s.h.)

A survey of core theories, methodological approaches and central issues in the comparative study of political systems throughout the world. Issues include state, class, party systems and interest groups, dependency, democracy and autocracy, reform and revolution, ethnic/nationalist conflict, and policymaking in industrial welfare states.

8202. Comparative Politics: Western European States   (3 s.h.)

Comparative analysis of political systems in Western Europe. Topics covered include the development of political parties and interest group politics, political economy, the welfare state, democratization/market liberalization in Eastern Europe, and European integration (EU).

8203. Comparative Politics: Developing Nations   (3 s.h.)

What are the ideological, economic, and political processes that have created "First" and "Third" worlds?  Is "underdevelopment" a consequence of the international system or are its sources home-grown? What are the connections between economic processes and political change? This course compares rational, structural, and cultural approaches to the study of development. 

8204. Latin American Politics   (3 s.h.)

This course will familiarize students with the rich histories of several Latin American countries and introduce region-specific actors and events, in the context of social scientific theorizing of such processes as colonialism, imperialism, regime change, revolution, democratization, identity politics, and issues in political economy. 

8205. Russian & Eastern European Governments   (3 s.h.)

This course will familiarize students with the political development and transition to democracy in Russia and former republics of the Soviet Union.

8230. Topics in Comparative Politics  

Special topics course. Subject varies with instructor.

8240. Issues in Comparative Politics  

Special topics course. Focus varies with instructor.

8301. International Politics (core seminar)   (3 s.h.)

A graduate-level introduction to theories of international politics, ranging from classical realism and liberalism through contemporary neorealist, institutionalist, constructivist and other approaches. Core course in the area.

8302. International Security   (3 s.h.)

Graduate-level introduction to the study of international security, addressing a range of approaches to topics such as the causes of war, the balance of power, alliances, economic statecraft and sanctions, humanitarian intervention and peacekeeping, and terrorism.

8303. International Political Economy   (3 s.h.)

A graduate-level introduction to the history and theory of international political economy.  Topics include:  states and markets; power and wealth; economic statecraft; international economic organizations; economic development; and the nature of interstate conflict and cooperation in the global economic system.

8304. International Organization   (3 s.h.)

Advanced graduate seminar, which surveys the scholarly literature dealing with the role of international institutions and international organizations in world politics, and the prospects for global governance in various issue-areas.

8305. United States Foreign Policy   (3 s.h.)

Graduate level introduction to the history and theory of American foreign policy.  The seminar is arranged in three sections:  the first offers a series of approaches to explaining American foreign policy, the second a survey of the past two-plus centuries of American foreign policy-making, and the last, a number of topics in contemporary foreign policy.

8306. Foreign Policy Analysis   (3 s.h.)

Graduate-level survey of foreign policy-making in comparative perspective. The course examines various theoretical accounts of the determinants of a state’s foreign policy, including factors such as leadership, bureaucratic politics, perception and misperception, interest-group politics and public opinion, and survey the empirical literature on comparative public policy.

8330.  Topics in International Politics

Special topics course. Subject varies with instructor.

8340.  Issues in International Relations

Special topics course. Subject varies with instructor.

8401. Introduction to Political Theory (core seminar)   (3 s.h.)

Introduction to the major conceptual issues in politics-- power, authority, equality, liberty, democracy, justice-­ through the reading of both classics in political thought and contemporary political theory. The course will also consider methodological issues in the social sciences and key topics in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of social science.

8402. History of Political Theory I: Ancient and Medieval Political Theory   (3 s.h.)

Ancient and Medieval Political Theory -- This course will attempt to initiate students into the premodern origins of some of the key terms of the political vocabulary -- human nature, the good, justice, law, the rule of law, natural law, and the state.  The course will try to highlight both the particularities and discontinuities that make ancient and medieval conceptions of these notions unique -- and also the ways in which ancient and medieval theorizing on these topics both sets the stage for later, more modern approaches to these questions and in certain cases actually merges into them.

8403. History of Political Theory II: Modern Political Philosophy   (3 s.h.)

This course will be devoted to in-depth analyses of some of the formative works of modern political theory and practice that have helped to shape not only modern politics but modern cultural and psychological sensibility as well.  The primary theorists that we will be analyzing are Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, as well as some contemporary political philosophers. Texts and authors covered in this seminar will go beyond the materials covered in the Core Seminar in Political Theory.

8404. 19th and 20th Century Political and Social Thought   (3 s.h.)

Examines the rise of modern social theory (Hegel, Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Freud) as a response to the emergence of increasingly rationalized, class-stratified and bureaucratized industrial societies. Issues addressed include the relationship of the individual to society; the relationship between socio-economic and political power; the difficulty of establishing moral meaning in increasingly bureaucratic and routinized societies. The course will also examine post-modern theorists (e.g. Foucault, Derrida, Lyotard) who contend that modern social theory's anachronistic hypothesis of rational, industrial societies cannot adequately explain post-modern, commodified societies increasingly "decentered" by differences of culture, race, and gender.

8405. Contemporary Theories of Democracy  (3 s.h.)

Considers the defenses, criticisms, and varieties of democracy in both the American and worldwide settings. Examines the relationship between liberalism and democracy, as well as communitarian, conservative and radical critiques of liberal pluralism. Questions explored include: Can minority rights be guaranteed in a majoritarian democratic system? What are the cultural and socioeconomic prerequisites for a democratic society? Does the distribution of power in America today conform to the norms of a democratic society?

8430. Problems in Political Philosophy   (3 s.h.)

An examination of some central themes and issues in political philosophy conducted through the study of one or more major works of political philosophy.

8440.   Special Topics: Political Philosophy   (3 s.h.)

Special topics course. Subject varies with instructor.

8501. Symposium in Political Science   (3 s.h.) (required of all M.A. and Ph.D. students)

Development of political science as a field; analyzes issues in philosophy of social science; examines key concepts and approaches to major fields in Political Science.

8601. Teaching Methods   (1 s.h.) (required of Ph.D. students and M.A. students wishing to be considered for financial aid)

This course is to be offered once each year. No student will be awarded financial assistance for a second year without having successfully completed this course. This course is conducted on a Pass-Fail basis.

9083. Directed Study and Research   (1-3 s.h.)

Fall credit for actual special study/research with a Professor outside of a regularly scheduled course. A letter grade of A, B, C, or F is awarded. A student may register for this course only with the advance approval of the pertinent faculty member and the Graduate Chair.

9183. Directed Study and Research   (1-3 s.h.)

Spring semester. Special study/research with a professor outside of a regularly scheduled course. A letter grade of A, B, C, or F is awarded. A student may register for this course only with the advance approval of the pertinent faculty member and the Graduate Chair.

9283. Directed Study and Research   (1-3 s.h.)

First summer session. Special study/research with a professor outside of a regularly scheduled course. A letter grade of A, B, C, or F is awarded. A student may register for this course only with the advance approval of the pertinent faculty member and the Graduate Chair.

9383. Directed Study and Research   (1-3 s.h.)

Second summer session. Special study/research with a professor outside of a regularly scheduled course. A letter grade of A, B, C, or F is awarded. A student may register for this course only with the advance approval of the pertinent faculty member and the Graduate Chair.

9994. Preliminary Exam Preparation   (1-6 s.h.)

The purpose of such credit is to assure continuous enrollment as required by the University  while one is preparing for M.A. or Ph.D. comprehensive examinations. A grade of "R" is awarded the student by the Graduate Chair or other faculty designated by the Chair of the Department.

9998. Pre-Dissertation Research   (1-6 s.h.)

3 credits are required to be taken in the semester that the Ph.D. student advances to candidacy by preparing their dissertation prospectus through a reading course with their primary dissertation supervisor.  Students may continue to enroll in the 1-credit option in order to assure continuous enrollment as required by the university and participate in the seminar until they execute a completed dissertation proposal.  A grade of “R” is awarded the student by the Graduate Chair or other pertinent faculty member until the student passes the prospectus defense.  At that point the grade of “Pass” will be awarded.

0999.   Dissertation Research (1-3 s.h.)

The purpose of such credit is to assure continuous enrollment as required by the University while one is past one's Ph.D. comprehensive exam and prospectus defense. This is the minimum credit required each semester after the proposal defense and while the student is researching and writing the dissertation. A minimum of 6 s.h. of PS 9999 must be taken before one can secure the Ph.D. degree.