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2014 - 2015 Academic Catalog

Political Science Minor

The Political Science minor consists of six courses.
Course Code Course Title Credits
Core Courses
POLS101 American Government 3
POLS210 Political Theory 3
Choose 1 from the following:
CJ317 Comparative Justice Systems 3
ECON301 International Trade & Finance 3
LS305 Comparative Law & Legal Systems 3
POLS208 Contemporary International Relations 3
Choose 3 from the following:
CJ316 Criminal Procedure 3
COM308 Conflict Resolution & Negotiations 3
COM310 Political Communication 3
ECON103 Economics of Social Issues 3
HIST325 The Intellectual Origins of Western Civ 3
LS101 Foundations of American Legal System 3
LS203 Justice, Law & the Constitution 3
LS214 Communication Law 3
LS311 The American Court System 3
PHIL205 Political & Social Philosophy 3
POLS201 State & Local Government 3
POLS202 Issues in Contemporary Political Thought 3
POLS302 The Conspiracy in American Politics 3
POLS320 Policy Making & the Political Process 3
SOC221 Contemporary Social Problems 3
SOC331 Research Methods in the Social Sciences 4
SOC335 Social Policy 3

Credit Requirements for minor: 18 credits.

POLS101 - American Government

This is an examination of the basic principles that form the foundation for the structure and practice of American government. The impact of the political system on the citizen is explored along with the central assumptions and concepts that serve as the basis for the field of political science.

POLS210 - Political Theory

In this course, central questions in political theory are addressed. What is justice? What is freedom? What is the state? What makes a government legitimate? Is there any general obligation to obey the state? The course also focuses on theories of modernity and communities, the evolution of liberalism and individualism, and the relationship between politics and economics. Readings range from the Greeks to modern thinkers. Prerequisite: ENG 102.

CJ317 - Comparative Justice Systems

This course analyzes differences in global approaches to law enforcement, criminal procedure, criminal law, corrections, juvenile justice, and prevention. The material provides a worldwide overview of cultural and legal traditions that are related to crime. Through cross-cultural comparisons, the course examines whether due process rights must be sacrificed in order to achieve crime control effectiveness and efficiency. Prerequisite: CJ 101 or LS 101.

ECON301 - International Trade & Finance

This course examines theory, tariffs, and import quotas; adjustment mechanisms, foreign exchange, and exchange controls are also covered. Additional topics include the theory of comparative advantage, the causes and consequences of imbalances in the balance of payments or exchange rates, and the evolution of the international monetary system. Prerequisites: ECON 101, ECON 102.

LS305 - Comparative Law & Legal Systems

This course introduces students to the complex issues involved in comparing various laws and legal systems around the contemporary world. The course focuses on the main legal systems in terms of the structure and sources of their laws and against the historical and political background in which these laws were formed. Prerequisite: LS 101.

POLS208 - Contemporary International Relations

Basic concepts and major contemporary problems of international relations are examined in this course. Topics include the Middle East, East-West relations, deterrence versus disarmament, human rights, and developing countries. Throughout the semester, the local impact of national issues are discussed.

CJ316 - Criminal Procedure

Criminal procedure refers to the process whereby the criminal law is enforced. Major topics to be covered in this course include: the exclusionary rule, search and seizure, identification, interrogation, trial rights, sentencing, and due process. Special emphasis is placed upon how the rules of procedure affect the components of the criminal justice system. Prerequisite: CJ 101 or LS 101.

COM308 - Conflict Resolution & Negotiations

This course helps students to understand the theoretical assumptions, elements, and processes of interpersonal conflict and negotiation, to increase their ability to objectively analyze conflict situations, and to creatively and productively manage conflict. Alternative Dispute Resolution approaches to litigation for resolving conflicts such as mediation, arbitration, and negotiation are examined. Prerequisites: COM 101, LS 101 or BUSS 101; Junior or Senior standing.

COM310 - Political Communication

This course focuses on the complex ideas associated with the role of the press in a democracy. The nature and climate of our political processes, particularly elections, have changed dramatically in the past two generations, due in part to the extensive use and influence of the media. Also, media techniques and strategies used by government and political figures continue to change with the emergence of new technologies and the dominance of global media companies. Students learn how to think critically and analytically about the political press and how journalists and politicians frame public policy issues. This course looks critically at whether or not the American press is truly representative of the civic values of democracy, truth, and responsible citizenship. Prerequisites: COM 101 or POLS 101 or SOC 101.

ECON103 - Economics of Social Issues

This course examines a broad range of social issues from an economics perspective. Designed for non-business majors, the course provides an introduction to economic reasoning and to some basic economic concepts which are then used to analyze a variety of social problems. Possible topics include poverty, unemployment, agriculture, discrimination, crime, pollution, education, health care, social security, and third world development. .

HIST325 - The Intellectual Origins of Western Civ

This seminar traces the roots of modern Western thought from ancient Greece through the Enlightenment by discussing and analyzing selections from the writings of major European thinkers. The seminar focuses on dominant figures representative of an historical epoch and examines their ideas in light of existing and future political, social, economic, and intellectual developments. Prerequisite: a 200-level history course or permission of instructor.

LS101 - Foundations of American Legal System

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the law. Students are introduced to the basics of the legal system in the United States including its organization and operation. The course covers major areas of legal practice and the legal principles that apply. Legal concepts are explained and legal terminology defined.

LS203 - Justice, Law & the Constitution

This course serves as an introduction to American constitutional interpretation. Topics to be covered include legal precedent, legal issues surrounding the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, the role of the Supreme Court as a political institution, and the Court’s interpretations of issues dealing with the Bill of Rights.

LS214 - Communication Law

This course provides students with a basic understanding of the law and governmental regulations that apply to communication practitioners. Course topics include the First Amendment, defamation and libel, invasion of privacy law, copyright, advertising regulation, obscenity, pornography, internet law, protecting “news sources” for journalists, FCC regulation of broadcasting, and the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Prerequisite: COM 101 or LS 101.

LS311 - The American Court System

This course provides students with a working knowledge of the major structures and basic legal concepts that underlie the criminal courts. In addition, the course explores the rules of criminal procedure, including their underlying assumptions, how they evolved, and the goals they hope to achieve. Students learn how the dynamics of the courtroom and the criminal justice system itself affect the actual application of the law. Prerequisite: POLS 101 or LS101

PHIL205 - Political & Social Philosophy

This course introduces students to the primary understandings of social and political justice. Theory is related to practical and political problems. The notion of peace is also addressed. We shall wonder about the nature of the state and mutual obligations between governors and the governed. What makes a government legitimate? What freedoms and controls are needed to make modern society work? How do we choose to structure the ways in which we live together? In other words, what does it mean to be a participatory member of a particular society or a citizen of a particular country? Selected topics may include morality and human rights, status and treatment of women, hunger, poverty, and the environment. Prerequisite: ENG 102.

POLS201 - State & Local Government

This course begins with the constitutional and legal basis for state and local government. The functions of the executive and legislative branches are examined. Governmental bureaucracy and budgetary processes are studied as well as political parties, interest groups, public opinion, and political reporting in the press.

POLS202 - Issues in Contemporary Political Thought

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to selected contemporary American political issues. The course is designed to create a deeper understanding and interest in these issues and develop students' capacities as citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future. Its topics change frequently to keep up with the latest developments in the field. Throughout the semester, the local impact of national issues are discussed.

POLS302 - The Conspiracy in American Politics

This basis of this course will be an in- depth examination of various conspiracies in American Politics and Culture, beginning with the Salem Witch trials through the Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy, the Sacco & Vanzetti case and to the present day. More recent conspiracies include an examination of the JFK and RFK Assassinations, the Pentagon Papers case, the Watergate Conspiracy, the Iran/Contra scandal, Whitewater, the "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy," the World Trade Center bombing, the Oklahoma City Bombing, Bush/Gore 2000, Global Warming, and the 9/11 Investigation. The "Obama Birther" controversy will also be covered.

POLS320 - Policy Making & the Political Process

This course examines the dynamics of public policy-making in the United States at the national, state, and local levels. The course explores the factors influencing policy formation in a variety of areas: health, education, welfare, and urban planning. An analysis of how policy outcomes are evaluated is also covered.

SOC221 - Contemporary Social Problems

This course examines conditions and issues that result in tension and disorder. Examples drawn primarily from American society include: labeling and social control of deviants, oppression of minorities, poverty, violence, ageism, and ecological concerns. Prerequisite: SOC 101.

SOC331 - Research Methods in the Social Sciences

This laboratory course introduces students to the basic methods used in sociological research. Topics include scientific method, measurement, sampling, experiments, survey research, and qualitative approaches such as content analysis and field studies, and ethical issues in conducting research. As part of the lab, students learn to use SPSS to perform statistical analysis and to access and draw upon large data sets. Students learn to use professional online search procedures and write reports in accepted professional formats. Prerequisites: MATH 208 and either PSYC 101 or SOC 101 or permission of the Dept Chair. Co-requisite: SOC 331L

SOC335 - Social Policy

This course examines historical and contemporary factors influencing the making of social policy and introduces the student to processes used to identify and solve social problems. Special attention is given to the relationships of values to social policy and the impact of social policy decisions on the provision of social and human services. Approaches to the analysis of social policy are examined. Prerequisite: Any 200 Level Sociology course.