HomeSampleCourses

Course Descriptions

POSC 1710: INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL SCIENCE (4 credits)

This course is an introduction to the serious discussion of the most important questions concerning political relations and human well-being. Many of these are controversial issues in the world around us that take the form of debates about diversity, gender equality, and the like, but as you will discover in this class, these are issues and debates that are rooted in perennial questions about justice. The question "What is justice?" guides the class on a journey.

POSC 2010: AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS (4 credits)

This course is an overview of governmental structures and political processes in the United States. It covers development of the federal system; nature of executive, legislative and judicial branches; mechanisms for popular participation; and contemporary policy issues.

POSC 2020: STATE, LOCAL AND URBAN GOVERNMENT (4 credits)

This course covers development, structure and functions of state and local governments in the U.S. federal system, with special attention to Minnesota. It also involves intergovernmental relations and policy issues in such areas as education, criminal justice, health, welfare and finance.

POSC 2200: INTRODUCTION TO COMPARATIVE GOVERNMENT (4 credits)

This course offers an examination of basic concepts of comparative politics such as political power, types of political systems and political development. It involves analysis of similarities and differences in the components of political systems: political culture, participation, leadership, interest groups, political parties, legislatures, executives, judiciaries and bureaucracy. Case studies of several major political systems, which may include Great Britain, France, Russia, Japan, China, India and Kenya, will be included.

POSC 2250: INTRODUCTION TO WORLD POLITICS (4 credits)

This course is an introduction to the fundamental concepts and salient issues of international politics: bases and instruments of national power; diplomacy, weapons and war; Cold War and post-Cold War rivalries; European integration; the balance of power, the U.N., the North-South conflict; and the politics of global economic relations and environmental security.

POSC 3010: AMERICAN POLITICAL PARTIES, CAMPAIGNS & ELECTIONS (4 credits)

Historical development, organization and role of political parties in the United States are discussed in this course, which also involves the nature of contemporary campaigns and elections, with attention to issues such as candidate selection, role of the media and campaign finances.

POSC 3030: POLITICS IN EUROPE (4 credits)

This is a comparative study of the structure and process of European political systems and current issues of public policy. The course concentrates on the industrial democracies of the European Union, but also offers a glimpse into the politics of East European countries.

POSC 3070: PUBLIC POLICY (4 credits)

This course studies a broad range of public policies and analyzes the process of making policy. The class examines the various views of the policy-making process in the United States and considers the different stages of policy making, including the issues that surround problem definitions, the emergence of new proposals, the reasons some solutions succeed when others fail, the difficulty of implementation and the subsequent evaluation and oversight of public policies. There is a simulation included in this course, where you, working with other students, have an opportunity to create and implement your own policy.

POSC 3200: AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY (4 credits)

This is an examination of the basic concepts used in analysis of foreign policy and of the main issues and problems of U.S. foreign policy as it has unfolded since World War II. Issues include origins of the Cold War, containment in Europe and Asia, nuclear weapons and the arms race, Cuban Missile Crisis, U.S. policy in the developing world, Vietnam, detente and its death, U.S. interests in the Middle East, the post-Cold War world order.

POSC 3300: HAVES AND HAVE-NOTS (4 credits)

In this course, you will study the causes of international inequality in the distribution of wealth to examine why some countries are rich and others are poor. Discussions critically examine contending theories of development and underdevelopment (modernization theory, dependency and world systems theories, cultural explanations and state-centric theories). Also offered as CRST.

POSC 3350: NATIONALISM AND ETHNIC CONFLICT (4 credits)

In this course you will study theories of nationalism and the aspirations of nationalist actors in both domestic and international contexts. Particular attention is given to problems of citizenship and state formation; ethnicity and nationalism; democratic institutional design and political representation; and ethnic conflict. Case studies are drawn from the industrial democracies and the developing world.

POSC 3400: INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY (4 credits)

In this course you will study the structure and uses of power and the interrelationship between economics and politics. You examine international economic relations in terms of their impacts on international political conflict, world order and the connection to domestic political concerns. The course focuses on trade and monetary and investment relations among industrialized states and between industrialized and developing countries. Liberal, Neo-Marxian and Mercantilist frameworks for analyzing these questions are employed throughout the course. Prerequisites: Recommended: ECON 2610 and 2620.

POSC 3700: HISTORY OF FEMINISM IN WESTERN SOCIETY (4 credits)

This course traces the development of feminist thought and activism in Western society from the ancient Greeks to the late 20th century United States. The course explores the social, political, legal and cultural status of women in Western society across time. Special emphasis is placed on the roots of modern feminism as it developed in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries in Western Europe and in the United States. National, cultural, racial, ethnic, philosophical, methodological and class differences among feminists are examined as central themes of the course.

POSC 3730: WESTERN POLITICAL THOUGHT: MODERN (4 credits)

This course examines and evaluates the revolutionary challenge to classical and medieval political philosophy posed by such writers as Niccolo Machiavelli in The Prince and Discourses, Thomas Hobbes in The Leviathan, John Locke in his Second Treatise on Government, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau in The Social Contract and Discourses. In order to understand and evaluate the philosophical views that have shaped our own governmental structure, and our ideas about modern democracies, this class stresses the careful reading of these texts. Prerequisites: Recommended: POSC 1710.

POSC 3740: WESTERN POLITICAL THOUGHT: ANCIENT & MEDIEVAL (4 credits)

This course provides an in-depth introduction to Western political philosophy. This class takes up the important works of Plato, specifically The Apology and The Republic, and significant portions of the important work of Aristotle in The Ethics and The Politics, as well as some of the work of St. Thomas Aquinas. You may want to follow this course with POSC 3730 Western Political Thought: Modern, so as to understand the entire evolution of political theory in the West and in many other parts of the contemporary world. Prerequisites: Recommended: POSC 1710.

POSC 3750: AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT (4 credits)

This course is an overview of American political thought from the 1600s to the present. Recurrent problems and themes and their relationship to contemporary issues in American politics are discussed. Readings include political documents, novels, plays, etc.

POSC 4602 or 4604: INTERNSHIP (2 or 4 credits)

This is a structured out-of-class learning experience that takes place on or off campus and includes a substantial work component. An internship involves you in a particular profession in an exploratory way to test career interests and potential. To initiate an internship experience, you must meet with the internship coordinator in the Career Development Office. Prerequisites: Faculty sponsorship and approval by department chair.

POSC 4954: INDEPENDENT STUDY (4 credits)

Advanced students research a topic of interest to them under supervision of a faculty member. Students also may take seminars offered in Washington, D.C., by the Washington Center. Prerequisites: Instructor and department chair approval.

POSC 4994: TOPICS (4 credits)

The subject matter of the course is announced in the annual schedule of classes. Content varies from year to year.