Political Science Course Descriptions
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Required Introductory Course
POL 261 Principles of American Government — National and State. [GOVT 2301]
This course deals with the origin, development, and Constitution of the American
governmental system, citizenship and civil rights, suffrage, the national party system,
the national executive, organization of congress, national judiciary, federal-state relations,
and the Constitution of the State of Texas. This course meets the legislative requirement
for a course on the Constitutions of the United States and Texas. Credit 3.
Other Introductory Courses
POL 231 Local Political Systems. An introduction to the structure, process, and politics of local governments in Texas
and the nation. Topics covered range from Metropolitan governments to special districts
to county government. Rural and small town politics are also a focus of attention,
along with urban and suburban political structures. Home rule, leadership
recruitment and behavior, local elections, budgeting, services, and intergovernmental
relations are addressed. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 232 State Political Systems.
A comparative analysis of politics in the fifty states, including Texas. Variations and
similarities in state politics are examined, described, and related to other features of
the states. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 235 Politics of Ethnic Minorities and Gender. A study of political theory, behavior, beliefs, and public policy as they relate to race,
ethnicity, and gender in the United States. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 265 Comparative Survey of World Political Systems. A survey of important issues and trends in world political systems that places American
government and politics in a comparative context. Included will be terminology, concepts,
and methods of comparative politics. Topics may include institutions, behavior,
constitutional processes, political parties and interest groups, public policy, political
development, transitions from authoritarianism to democracy and from statist to market
economies, sources of domestic violence, and other major concerns of the field.
Prerequisite POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 266 Introduction to Public Administration.
A survey of national public administration with emphasis on the political processes
within the surrounding administrative agencies. Topics include development of the
administrative function, policy formulation and budgeting, the relations of administrators
to Congress, interest groups, courts and the public. State and local topics may
be included. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 281 American Foreign Policy.
This course examines the domestic and international forces which influence the development
of American foreign policy. The course emphasizes the post-World War II
era and includes discussion of such major issues of U.S. foreign policy as the settlement
of World War II, the politics and crises of the Cold War, and America’s role in
the post-Cold War world order. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 285 American Public Policy. [GOVT 2302]
This is a study of national and state policy. Both the policy process and the substance
of selected policies will be examined. Topics may include foreign policy, civil liberties,
health care, social issues, economic problems, environmental policy, and/or others.
Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 334 Judicial Systems.
An orientation course for pre-law students and others interested in the legal aspects
of government. Emphasis is placed on the development of judicial systems and the
policy making role of courts. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 336 The Presidency and Executives.
A study of the office of President including the institutionalization of the presidency
along with a consideration of state governors and the heads of local governing bodies
in the United States. Emphasis is placed on comparative development, roles,
structures, processes, and functions. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 337 The Congress and Legislatures.
An examination of the powers, organization, procedures, and operations of legislative
bodies in the United States. Consideration is given to such matters as selection
of legislators, legislative leadership, influence of lobbyists, political parties, legislative
committees, executives, and legislative roles and norms. Prerequisite: POL 261.
POL 360 Political Parties and Interest Groups.
This course is a survey of the development of the party system from the founding of
the republic to the present, together with an examination of party processes, party
machines, pressure groups, party finances, the electorate, nominating techniques,
political campaigns, and elections. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 364 Politics and the Media.
The primary focus of this course is on the role and impact of the media on US politics.
The relationship between the media and politics in other nations may also be considered.
(Media is defined broadly to include the Internet, radio, television, and the
various forms of print media.) Some of the topics that may be explored in the course
include: the impact of the media on campaigns and election outcomes, the media as
a source of political information, the agenda setting power of the media, the role of
the “free press” in a democracy, and citizens’ relationship to the media. The course
makes use of textbooks but also relies heavily on media product being offered each
day through the various contemporary media. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 433 Constitutional Law.
An analysis of the development of constitutional principles and doctrines with emphasis
on the influence of courts in the exercise of judicial review. Particular attention is
given to the issues of civil liberties, the attempts to adjust the constitutional system
to the requirements of large scale industrialization and the urbanization of life in the
United States. Prerequisites: 6 hours of Political Science. Credit 3.
POL 472 Political Attitudes and Behavior.
An examination of political socialization, political recruitment, voting behavior, and
public policy outputs. The approaches examined include role, group, political culture,
systems analysis, and functional analysis. Prerequisites: 6 hours of Political Science.
Political Theory and Methodology
POL 377 Introduction to Political Theory. An introduction to the political ideas, philosophers, and relevant historical events in
Western Europe over the past two thousand years. Representative political writings
from the time of Plato to Nietzsche are surveyed. Political ideas and values are addressed
in their original historical context as well as independently of any particular
historical or cultural limitations. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 378 American Political Thought. This course surveys American political ideas and movements from colonial times to
the present. Prerequisites: 6 hours of Political Science. Credit 3.
POL 379 Research and Writing in Political Science.
This course has two primary objectives. First, students will gain knowledge of basic
research methods and design in the social sciences. Particular attention will be given
to survey research. Second, students will learn research and writing skills including:
how to locate, evaluate, and cite electronic and printed sources; how to conduct a
literature review; how to write proposals, reports, and research papers; and how to
edit proposals, reports, and papers. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 376 International Politics in the Post-Soviet Era.
A study of the relations among nations and states in the wake of the dissolution of
the Soviet Union and the disintegration of communism. Problems such as internal
stability, national conflicts, and internal security will be given particular emphasis.
Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 380 Introduction to International Relations.
An analysis of the relations between nation-states in the international system and the
factors influencing their behavior. The changing nature of the international system is
analyzed, as are the political and economic sources of tension, war and diplomacy,
international law and organization, and the bases of power. Prerequisite: POL 261.
POL 385* International Organization and International Law
This course is a comprehensive overview of the role of international organizations
and law. Specifically it examines the evolution of the United Nations and its precursors,
its structure and governance role in international peace and security, emerging
human rights law, laws governing war, and issues of development and the global
environment. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 482 International Conflict and Terrorism.
This course examines cases and theories of international and domestic conflict, as
well as methods of their resolution. Interstate violence, terrorism, guerilla warfare,
and revolution are given special emphasis. Prerequisite: 6 hours of Political Science.
POL 361 Central and Eastern European Politics.
A comparative study of the political systems of Central and Eastern European
states, including the European portions of the former Soviet Union, with emphasis
on the problems of transition from communism to democracy and market economy.
Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
*Subject to action by the Board of Regents, The Texas State University System, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
POL 368 Asian Politics.
A comparative survey of contemporary politics and government in Asia. The course
encompasses most of the countries of East Asia: China, Japan, the Koreas, and
Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam
and Cambodia. Time permitting, the course may also include India and South Asia.
Considerable attention is given to the history and culture of each country as well as
the dynamics of change in the region. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 369* Religion and Politics
This course examines the historical and contemporary relationship between religion
and politics. Topics include politics and religion in the United States, the proper role
of religion in American public life, the relation between religion and state in the Islamic
world, religion and conflict situations, and the role of religion in conflict resolution.
Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 370 Western European Politics. A comparative survey of contemporary politics and governments in Western Europe.
The course typically concentrates on Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, but usually
includes other important and interesting countries, such as Belgium, the Netherlands,
Spain, Portugal, and the Scandinavian countries. The European Union - its policies,
institutions, and expansion - is fully treated in the course. Prerequisite: POL 261.
POL 375* Politics of the Middle East
A comparative survey of contemporary patterns of government and politics in the
Middle East. The course encompasses most of the countries of the Middle East, including
Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Iraq, Iran, and
Turkey. North Africa may also be included. Considerable attention is given to the historical
legacies and continuing impact of colonialism and nationalism, political Islam
and secularism, challenges of authority, and legitimacy. The impact on the region and
U.S. foreign policy of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and regime change in the region
is covered at length. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 387 Latin American Politics. A survey of contemporary patterns of government and politics in Latin America
with emphasis on institutions, processes, behavior, and problems of democracy,
authoritarianism, and political development in selected nations. Historical, social,
and economic background factors are also considered, along with major issues of
U.S.-Latin American relations. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
Public Administration and Public Policy
POL 338 Victims’ Rights: Politics and Policies. This course introduces students to the politics and policies of victims’ rights. The
course examines the emergence of victims’ rights as a political issue and as a social
movement. The course surveys victims’ rights policies and programs at the local,
state, national, and international level and analyzes their development, their implementation,
and their impact. This is the introductory course for the Victim Studies
Program. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 339 The Roles of Nonprofit Organizations. This course introduces students to the history, roles, and types of nonprofit organizations
and offers students an overview of the development of nonprofit organizations.
Topics covered in the course include: nonprofit and government relations, nonprofit
and business relations, nonprofits and policymaking, nonprofits in an international
context, and organizational issues. Prerequisites: 6 hours of Political Science. Credit 3.
*Subject to action by the Board of Regents, The Texas State University System, and the Texas
Higher Education Coordinating Board.
POL 391 Government Organization and Management.
Comparison of governmental organizations within society and analysis of the differences
and their impact upon practices of administration in public agencies.
Consideration is also given to the management tools available to governmental agencies
and their capabilities and limitations. Prerequisites: 6 hours of Political Science.
POL 392 Economic Policy.
A general study of the role of modern government in the economy and society.
Particular attention is given to governmental activity in regulating and promoting business
activity. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 393 Social Policy. A general study of the roles, actions, and problems of modern governments in dealing
with social issues such as education, health, housing, transportation, and welfare
services. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 395 Environmental Policy.
A survey of the major environmental issues and policies existing in the United States
and the world today. An in-depth investigation of such environmental policy areas as
clean air and water, endangered species, invasive alien species, public land management,
ecosystem management, the conservation of biodiversity, nuclear power,
waste disposal and energy production and use. Prerequisite: POL 261. Credit 3.
POL 438 Grant Research and Writing.
This course teaches students grant research and writing skills as well as introduces
students to the many sources for grants. Topics covered in the course include: identifying
key grant sources, matching grant proposals to grant sources, planning grants,
and writing successful grant proposals. Prerequisites: 6 hours of Political Science.
POL 410 Seminar in Political Science. Discussions of current literature and developments in political science. Required of
Political Science majors and minors. Prerequisites: 12 hours in Political Science and
junior or senior standing. Credit 1.
POL 481 Problems in Political Science.
This course is designed to examine special topics which cut across the usual areas
of concentration in government. A single topic will be considered each semester this
course is offered. Topics may include political socialization, ethnic politics, crises in
political systems, research techniques, and other subjects. May be repeated when
topic varies. Prerequisites: 6 hours of Political Science. Credit 3.
POL 495 Directed Studies and Internships in Political Science. This course is designed especially for advanced students in Political Science who
are capable of independent study. Work may involve advanced readings, directed
research, or assignment as an intern in a political or government office. Registration
is upon the approval of the Chair of the Department of Political Science and the
instructor directing the course. This course may be taken for Academic Distinction
Credit. Prerequisites: 12 hours of Political Science and departmental permission.
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