Course Offerings

This is the most current listing of Political Science courses and supersedes the listing in the 2014-2016 Lander Colleges catalog. Please note that prerequisites have changed for some courses.

Required Courses

  1. POL 101 Introduction to American Politics. 

    This course studies (i) the current state of American politics, including the leading issues of the day, (ii) the historical and constitutional foundations of the national government, and (iii) the major institutions of the federal government, including Congress, the presidency, and the judiciary. In depth-analysis of the Congress probes policy making and organization of the Congress and it evaluates the performance and functioning of Congress as a representative institution. Additional segments of the course deal with public opinion, the media, and American political economy.    3 credits.
  2. POL 102 Comparative Politics. 

    This course serves as an introduction to the world’s political and economic systems. It details the concepts and methods of comparative political analysis by which political scientists seek a better understanding of these systems. Various models of government and economic organization are examined and compared. Policy-making structures, political parties and party systems, elite and interest groups are compared and the impact of ideology, political culture, and personality and social cleavages is assessed. 3 credits.
  3. POL 103 International Relations. 

    How nations and transnational actors interact in the international arena and why they behave the way they do with reference to power, balance of power, deterrence, imperialism, diplomacy and negotiations, international law, international organization, collective security, war, and the interrelationship between international economic issues and international politics. 3 credits.
  4. POL 201 Introduction to Political Theory. 

    A survey of political theory from Aristotle to the present. The development of political ideas and the writings of major political theorists in their historical and institutional contexts. 3 credits.
  5. POL 493 Advanced Topics in Social Science. 

    This course is required for all political science majors, usually in their senior year. Prerequisite: senior status or departmental permission. 3 credits.


MAT 261 Statistics for Social Science Majors

Basic concepts in descriptive and inferential statistics including measurement scales, frequency distributions, measures of central tendency and distribution, correlation coefficients, linear regression, probability theory, binomial distribution, and parametric and non-parametric tests of significant differences. Prerequisite: MAT 111 or examination. 3 credits.

POL 207 Introduction to American Law 

Knowledge of American law is important to everyone living in the United States, and this course provides an introduction to areas of law that most people will encounter in their daily lives. This course begins with an examination of the U.S. court system and the role of lawyers in the United States. Next it covers criminal law and criminal procedure. Several classes cover various aspects of civil law such as consumer law, contracts, torts, and family law. The course concludes by studying constitutional law and employees' rights in the workplace. 3 credits.

POL 212 International Organizations

The nature and functions of international organizations with special reference to the achievements, problems, and prospects of the United Nations and its specialized agencies. Attention is also given to the impact of regional organizations such as the Common Market. Prerequisite: POL 103. 3 credits. 

POL 222 International Law

A case study approach to the nature, role, and function of international law. Special attention is given to the origins and sources of international law and to its role in the contemporary international relations. 3 credits. 

POL 226 Public Administration

This course examines how federal, state, and local governments provide services in the United States.  Students learn how the tasks a government agency performs influence its organizational structure and culture, and why work incentives differ among government employees.  The course also examines the constraints that the judicial and legislative branches place upon government administration, as well as restrictions imposed by ethics laws.  The course concludes with examination of privatization of government services, leasing of infrastructure, and innovative public-private partnerships. 3 credits.

POL 231 Democracy

This course surveys major features of the modern study of democracy, using both empirical and theoretical modes of analysis, which describe the nature of democratic systems and set out its defining characteristics, respectively. It examines the gap between the actual distribution of power and democratic ideals, as well as other problematic features of pluralist democracy. Also considered are normative approaches that identify democratic ideals and that explore the relationship between democracy and social justice. Finally, the course examines the historical development of existing democracies and their possible evolution into more advanced forms in the future. Prerequisite: POL 101, POL 201, or permission of the instructor. 3 credits.

POL 241 The Presidency

A study of the role of the Presidency and executive power in the American federal system. Students will focus on the concept of executive power, the elements of presidential power, the personal presidency, the plebiscitary presidency, the constitutional executive, the presidency within a system of separated powers, the Machiavellian executive, presidential policy making, the historical development of the institution of the presidency, the changed balance of executive and congressional power, recurrent authority roles, the question of the popular mandate, the presidency as a democratic institution. Prerequisites: POL 101 or permission of the instructor. 3 credits. 

POL 242 Congress and the Legislative Process

An examination of the United States Congress and its role in the political process. Topics studied will include the relations between congressmen and their constituencies, congressional elections, the internal formal and informal structure of Congress, and the nature of congressional decision-making in various policy areas. Prerequisite: POL 101 or permission of instructor. 3 credits.

POL 244 American Political Parties and the Electoral Process

The structure and operation of American political parties, with emphasis on their organization, leadership and political role. The course will also examine electoral strategies, the use of polls and the media, the effects of issues and personalities, and recent campaign financing laws. Prerequisite: POL 101 or permission of the instructor. 3 credits.

POL 246 Judicial Politics

The judicial branch of American government as a policy-making institution.  The course studies how judges use their power to influence the outcomes of trials and other legal proceedings and how they reinterpret laws and regulations through judicial review.  The course also examines how judges influence the processes that guide government agencies, and on occasion directly determine both the policies and the procedures of certain agencies.  The course concludes by considering recent developments that affect the power that American judges have over policy decisions. 3 credits.

POL 261 Government and Politics of Israel

An examination of Israeli political culture in light of Israel’s history and economic and socio-cultural structure, with special attention to the evolution and role of the major institutions in contemporary Israeli political life. 3 credits.

POL 302 Modern Political Theory

Modern political theory encompasses the period of political thought from the middle of the seventeenth century. It examines the work of political philosophers such as Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, and Marx. Topics include the development of the theory of rights, the theory of property, the theory of the state, the nature of civil society, principles of equality and freedom, and the relationship between the individual and society. Prerequisite: POL 201 or permission from the instructor. 3 credits.

POL 303 Contemporary Political Theory

Studies the renaissance in political, legal, and political-economic theory since the end of World War II, such as the work of Rawls, Nozick, Sen, Sandel, Benhabib, Habermas, Walzer, and van Parijs. Topics include contemporary theories of justice, distributive justice, rights and community. Examines theories of the basic structure of the state and civil society and considers how they might be shaped. Prerequisite: POL 201 or permission of the instructor.  3 credits.

POL 304 The Politics of the Middle East 

A broad survey of contemporary Middle Eastern politics that looks at how historical trends impact Middle Eastern states. Includes the study of the influence of religion, state   durability, and regional rivalries, as well as the Middle East within the context of the international system. 3 credits.

POL 305 The Third World in International Politics

The emergence of the developing nations as significant members of the international system will be examined. Emphasis will be placed on the conflicting goals and interests of the developed and developing nations. Prerequisites: POL 103 or permission of the instructor. 3 credits.

POL 307. Terrorism and Insurgency.

Examines the nature of terrorism and insurgency, with an emphasis in their causes. This focus is designed to increase understanding of how to counter terrorism and insurgency or to resolve the issues that give rise to them. Consideration is also given to methods and politics of threat assessment. Prerequisite: POL 101, POL 102, POL 103, or permission of instructor. 3 credits.

POL 309. Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

This course examines how the Supreme Court has determined the extent to which individual rights and liberties are protected by the Constitution. Most readings are taken from Supreme Court opinions that explain how provisions in the Bill of Rights affect government regulation of individual behavior. Prerequisite: POL 101 or permission from the instructor. 3 credits.

POL 310 The Supreme Court and the Constitution

The role of the Supreme Court in the American system of government. A study of major constitutional problems that have arisen in the light of representative Supreme Court decisions. Prerequisite: POL 101 or permission from the instructor. 3 credits.

POL 311 Introduction to Legal Principles 

This course examines whether the law is or should be guided by moral principles and, if so, what these principles ought to be. It considers the ideals of punishment and whether punishment should be devised so as to provide retributive justice or to advance social utility and deterrence. Students are introduced to some of the major schools of legal thought and to principles underlying some of the major bodies of law or constitutional law, in particular the relationship between democracy and constitutional law. Prerequisites: POL 101 or permission of the instructor. 3 credits. 

POL 315 American Foreign Policy

The formulation and conduct of American foreign policy since World War II. The history of the Cold War and United States relations with Third World, Western allies, and the nations of the Middle East are traced and the problems of arms control, national security, and international political economy are analyzed. Prerequisite: POL 101 or permission of the instructor. 3 credits.

POL 320 Public Policy

The course examines how public policy is made in the United States, and the political actors and processes involved in its formulation, implementation, and evaluation. The course will also investigate debates around a wide range of specific public policy areas such as the environment, economy, health, education, welfare, crime, immigration and other. The course will address questions such as: How do we decide which programs are worthy of governmental attention and which are best resolved in the private sphere? Who frames public policy issues? How do policy-makers solve those problems they choose to focus on? Prerequisite: POL 101 or permission of the instructor. 3 credits.

POL 341 State and Local Government

The study of the relationships among various components of government on the national, state, and local level, including the examination of the state legislature, the governor, state administrative organization, the state judiciary, rural local government, municipal government, state and local relations, metropolitan areas, and state and local finances. Prerequisite: POL 101 or permission of the instructor. 3 credits.

POL 361 Politics of Asia 

A general introduction to the politics and socio-economics of this very significant region, which includes the nations of East Asia, Southeast Asia, And India, among others. Beginning with a historical overview of the area, it explores the impact of the region’s exposure to the West, modernization, and the great ideological movements. Additionally, the course compares the political development and political systems of key states in the region and analyzes their interaction with each other, with the United States, and with nations outside the region and bordering it. Prerequisites: POL 102 and permission of the instructor. 3 credits.

POL 481-482 Independent Study

3 credits each.

POL 485 Legislative Internship

Select students work as supervised interns in local Congressional and state legislative offices. Prerequisites: Junior Status; departmental permission and independent interview by Congressional or legislative staff director. 3 credits.

POL 486 Communal Internship

Students work as supervised interns in selected community agencies. Prerequisite: Junior Status; departmental permission. 3 credits.

POL 487 Governmental Internship

Students work as supervised interns in the executive or judicial branches of federal, state, or local government. Prerequisite: Junior Status; departmental permission. 3 credits.

POL 494 Senior Honors Project in Political Science

Prerequisites: POL 493 and departmental permission. 3 credits.