Undergraduate Catalog

Academic Programs

The department offers courses in five areas: American government and politics, international relations and foreign policy, comparative politics (the study of politics in other nations), public administration, and political theory. Students should consult with their advisor as to what mix of these areas best meets their needs. Political science courses can be combined with courses in other areas such as criminal justice, environmental studies, or business to prepare for careers in both the public and private sector.

Highlights

Political Science faculty members bring unique backgrounds to the classroom. They have strong academic credentials, with doctorates from top schools such as Columbia, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Texas, and they write scholarly books and articles. But they also have practical experience in government and politics to bring to the classroom. They have served on local school boards and city councils, as party county chairs, members of state boards of citizens groups, U.S. Senate staff, Foreign Commercial Officer, local, state, and federal administrators, and political consultants. Visiting professors have included a Nobel Peace Prize winner and a former member of Congress and the Texas Supreme Court.

Suggested Minors

There is no preferred minor for Political Science. Students should select a minor that suits their interests and career needs. Common minors include Agriculture, Criminal Justice, English, Environmental Science, General Business, Geography, History, Journalism, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Spanish (or other foreign language), and Speech Communication.

Career Opportunities

Studying political science meets the career needs of two different sets of students. Some want a liberal arts education that provides a foundation to deal with a broad range of ideas and challenges. With today’s economy, in which most people experience several major career changes, this is a valuable foundation. Other students want to prepare for specific career goals. Most graduates work successfully in private business. Others attend the major Texas law schools, teach (from junior high to university level), work in public service (at the federal, state, county, or city level), or go into political life (such as state legislator, judge, or lobbyist). Recent graduates have held a range of positions — congressional aide, state director of a cattleman’s association, city planner, director of a local development organization, and radio talk-show host. There is an increasing need for trained people to work in nonprofit organizations, and the department has a program in administration, research, and writing that prepares graduates to enter this exciting area.

Student Organizations and Activities

Outstanding students are recognized with membership in Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society. Political Science students are active in (and often lead) the student government, the campus organizations of both political parties, the NAACP, and service organizations. A student group affiliated with the department organizes field trips to events such as the presidential inauguration and presentations by national leaders at the Bush Library. Recently, students organized a model political convention featuring speakers from the local, state, and national level. In department-sponsored events, students have listened to and questioned members of Congress, leading political scientists, and foreign scholars.

Internships and Study Abroad

Advanced students are encouraged to gain professional experience, make contacts, and explore career options through the department’s successful internship program. Recently, students have interned in city and county governments, the state legislature, the U.S. Congress, nonprofit groups, both major political parties, and the Washington office of the NAACP. The department’s Junior Fellows program allows undergraduates to work with faculty members on research and special projects. All students are eligible for the department’s summer field school in Italy and the University’s field school in Mexico.

Scholarships

In addition to the University’s student financial aid programs, the Department of Political Science also offers scholarships to majors and minors. For information, contact the department secretary. Information on University scholarships may be obtained from the Office of Academic Scholarships website at www.shsu.edu/~fao_www/scholarship.html or telephone (936) 294-1672.

Program Specific Requirements

Political Science Majors:

Curriculum

Typical curriculum outlines are provided below for guidance. Adjustments, particularly in timing, may be made to suit individual needs.

Major in Political Science

Bachelor of Arts


First Year

Credit

Second Year

Credit

POL 261

3

POL 379

3

ENG 164, 165

6

Component Area 4 (Lit. or PHL)*

3

MTH 164, 170, or approved substitute

3

Component Area 4 (Visual & Performing Arts)

3

POL (200 level)

3

Foreign Language 263, 264

6

HIS 163, 164

6

STA 379

3

Foreign Language 141, 142

8

Component Area 3 (Natural Science)

8

KIN 215

1

POL elective**

3

 

30

CS 143 or accepted substitute

3

 

 

 

32

 

 

 

 

Third Year

Credit

Fourth year

Credit

POL 377 and International Relations or Comparative Politics

6

POL 410, 472

4

Advanced POL electives **

3

POL (Adv)**

6

PHL elective*

0-3

Minor**

9-12

Component Area 5*

3

General Elective

5-20

SCM 161, 282, 284, THR 164, or 231

3

 

33

Minor

9-12

 

Fine Arts or PHL 366*

3

 

 

General Electives**

0-6

 

 

 

33

 

 

* Students may wish to take some courses that meet more than one requirement. For example, three hours of philosophy (PHL) is required for the B.A. and may be taken in any one of three places that are marked.

** Students must have 42 advanced hours. Depending on the number of advanced hours in the minor, students will generally need at least 12 advanced hours of the POL electives and 11 hours of General Electives or PHL. At least 15 hours of POL must be advanced.

Major in Political Science

Bachelor of Science


First Year

Credit

Second Year

Credit

POL 261

3

POL (200 level) and 379

6

ENG 164, 165

6

STA 379

3

Component Area 3 (Natural Science)

8

Laboratory Science (to make 8 hrs. from each of two departments, including first year courses)

8

MTH 164, 170, or approved substitute

3

CS 143 or accepted substitute

3

Mathematics or laboratory science (from a third department)

3-4

Component Area 4 (Visual and Performing Arts)

3

HIS 163, 164

6

Component Area 4 (Lit.-or PHL)

3

KIN 215

1

Component Area 4 (Cultural Studies)

3

 

30-31

Component Area 5

3

 

 

 

32

 

 

 

 

Third Year

Credit

Fourth year

Credit

POL 377and International Relations or Comparative Politics

6

POL 410, 472

4

POL Electives*

9

POL*

9

SCM 161, 282, 284, THR 164, or 231

3

Minor*

9-12

Minor*

9-12

Electives*

7-11

General Electives*

3-6

 

32-33

 

33

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Students must have 42 hours of advanced classes. Depending on the number of advanced hours in the minor, students will generally need at least 12 advanced hours of the POL Electives and 11 hours of General Electives. At least 18 hours of POL must be advanced.

Minor in Political Science

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science: 19 hours in Political Science, including 261, 379, and 410. At least 6 hours must be advanced and taken in residence. No grade below C in Political Science will count toward this minor.

Requirements for Teacher Certification

Students who want to teach in a high school or junior high school can do so with the Social Science Composite program. A graduate with the social science certification will be able to teach government, economics, history, sociology, or geography at the eighth to twelfth grade level. The ability to teach several areas makes it much more likely to find and keep a job. To teach just government, the social science composite gets the student in the door, and with time graduates can move to other areas. Under present state rules, certification in political science (government) alone is no longer available. History is the only social science for which certification is available without the social science composite.

Students may qualify for teacher certification in the social sciences under either the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees. Students seeking certification in the social studies for grades 4-8 should pursue the Interdisciplinary Academic Studies Major for a Bachelor of Science Degree with certification for 4-8 Social Studies. This is found in Elementary Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Students interested in certification should consult with their political science advisor and a secondary education advisor in the College of Education early in their program. Because of the number of courses required, students should take as many courses as possible that meet more than one requirement. These are indicated in the model curricula. Note that for teacher certification, no grade below C in social science courses is accepted.

Social Science Composite
with Political Science Emphasis
For Teaching Grades 8-12

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science:

Political Science: BA 24 hours; BS 27 hours: 261*; 265*; 235, 378; 379; 433; 6 hours from among 285, 336, 337, and 377. For BS: STA 379

Geography: 131/111*, 161, 265, 266, 369, 471

History: 163*, 164*, 265*, 266, 369, 379, 398

Economics: 234* and 233**

Sociology: 261

* Courses that should be taken as part of the Core Curriculum.

** For the B.S., ECO 233 and 234 are required; for the B.A., ECO 234 is required, and ECO 233 is strongly recommended.

Requirements for Teacher Certification: SED 374, 383, 394, 464, 480, 496, 497; RDG 392; and SCM 384 (preferred) or 161.
Ordinarily, SCM 384, SED 374, and SED 383 are taken prior to the teaching methods block (RDG 392, SED 394, and SED 464). This is followed by student teaching (SED 480, 496 and 497).

Social Science Composite
with Political Science Emphasis
Bachelor of Arts


First Year

Credit

Second Year

Credit

POL 261 and 265

6

POL 379 and 235

6

ENG 164 and 165

6

Component Area 4 (Lit.-or PHL)*

3

MTH 164, 170, or approved substitute

3

HIS 265

3

HIS 163 and 164

6

CS 143 or accepted substitute

3

Foreign Language 141 & 142

8

Foreign Language 263 and 264

6

KIN 215

1

Component Area 4 (Visual and Performing Arts)

3

 

30

Component Area 3 (Natural Science, GEO 131/111 and 4 hrs. additional laboratory science)

8

 

 

 

32

 

 

 

 

Third and Fourth Years

Credit

 

 

POL 378, 433 and 6 hrs. from among 285, 336, 337, & 377

12

 

 

Fine Arts or PHL 366*

3

 

 

ECO 234**

3

 

 

GEO 161, 265, 266, 369, & 471

15

 

 

HIS 266, 369, 379, 398

12

 

 

SOC 261

3

 

 

SCM 384

3

 

 

SED 374 & 383

6

 

 

RDG 392; SED 394 & 464

9

 

 

SED 480, 496, & 497

9

 

 

 

75

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Take PHL in one of the two areas marked.
** In addition, ECO 233 strongly recommended.
Social Science Composite
with Political Science Emphasis
Bachelor of Science


First Year

Credit

Second Year

Credit

POL 261

3

POL 265 and 379

6

ENG 164, 165

6

Component Area 4 (Lit.-or PHL)*

3

MTH 164, 170, or approved substitute

3

STA 379

3

GEO 131/111 & GEL

8

Laboratory Science (from one department, not GEO/GEL)

8

CS 143 or accepted substitute

3

Mathematics or Laboratory Science (from a third department)

3

HIS 163 and 164

6

HIS 265

3

KIN 215

1

ECO 234

3

 

30

Component Area 4 (Visual and Performing Arts)

3

 

 

 

32

Third and Fourth Years

Credit

 

 

POL 235, 378, 433, and 6 hrs. from among 285, 336, 337, & 377

15

 

 

GEO 161, 265, 266, 369, 471

15

 

 

HIS 266, 369, 379, 398

12

 

 

SOC 261

3

 

 

ECO 233

3

 

 

SCM 384

3

 

 

SED 374 & 383

6

 

 

RDG 392; SED 394 & 464

9

 

 

SED 480, 496, & 497

9

 

 

 

75

 

 

 

 

 

 

Political Science Course Descriptions

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.

American Politics

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. Credit 3.

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. Credit 3.

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.

International Relations

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. Credit 3.

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. Credit 3.

Comparative Politics

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. Credit 3.

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. Credit 3.

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. Credit 3.

General Courses

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. Credit 1-3.

 

More Info

If you have questions about the SHSU Political Science Program, please contact us at:

Department of Political Science
SHSU Box 2149
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, Texas 77341-2149
Phone: (936) 294-1457
Email: polsci@shsu.edu
Fax: (936) 294-4172