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2020 - 2021 Academic Catalog

Political Science Minor

The minor in Political Science would require a student to take six courses. Only three courses required for a student's major or other minor (from any discipline) may be counted toward the Political Science minor.

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
LS305 Comparative Law & Legal Systems 3
POLS208 Contemporary International Relations 3
Choose 3 from the following:
CJ316 Criminal Procedure 3
COM306 Broadcast Journalism 3
COM310 Political Communication 3
LS101 Foundations of American Legal System(KP) 3
LS203 Justice, Law & the Constitution 3
LS213 Mock Trial Practicum I 3
LS214 Communication Law 3
LS216 Mock Trial Practicum II 1
LS311 The American Court System 3
POLS201 State & Local Government 3
POLS202 Issues in Contemporary Political Thought 3
POLS302 The Conspiracy in American Politics 3
POLS303 The American Presidency 3
POLS320 Policy Making & the Political Process 3
SOC221 Contemporary Social Problems 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.

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.

COM306 - Broadcast Journalism

This class introduces students to the basic skills in writing for radio and TV news, including beat reporting, writing, interviewing, and editing. Students critically evaluate newscasts and are introduced to the components of producing them. They also examine ethical challenges that arise when manipulation of images and sound can distort reality and compromise journalistic integrity. Prerequisite: COM 209

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.

LS101 - Foundations of American Legal System(KP)

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.

LS213 - Mock Trial Practicum I

This course engages students in preparing for trial advocacy through analyzing American Mock Trial Competition (“AMTA”) case materials and engaging in the practical skills of questioning witnesses through direct and cross-examination, applying rules of evidence, formulating and making objections, preparing opening and closing statements, and arguing the law applicable to the particular case. Through this course, students learn rules of evidence, court procedures, trial strategies, legal advocacy and taking on various roles in courtroom proceedings. Essential skills acquired include debate, public speaking, professional collaboration and teamwork and critical thinking. This “connected learning” course introduces students to law in an applied setting and the students will participate in one or more intercollegiate scrimmages and/or invitational tournament in preparation for the AMTA in February. Participation in LS 216: Mock Trial Practicum II (1 credit) and the regional AMTA Mock Trial Regional competition in the spring is required. Students are permitted to repeat this course. Department Chair/Instructor permission required. (Fall Semester as needed).

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.

LS216 - Mock Trial Practicum II

This course is a continuation of Mock Trial Practicum I. Students refine the skills and knowledge they developed in Mock Trial Practicum I and they engage deeply in the facts of that year's AMTA case and the related courtroom procedures. The class will meet regularly, preparing for at least one invitational tournament, and culminating in the AMTA Regional tournament in February. There is also the potential to advance through additional rounds. Students will be required to also meet and practice outside standard meeting times. Participation in LS 213 Mock Trial Practicum I is expected. Students are permitted to repeat this course. Department Chair/Instructor permission required. (Spring semester as needed).

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

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.

POLS303 - The American Presidency

This course offers a comprehensive overview of the American presidency from both historical and political perspectives. The course will be divided into 4 distinct segments: (1) Legal -foundation of the executive branch of American government; (2) the evolution of presidential power and authority; (3) the presidential election process; and (4) the transfer of power and the transition of administrations. The major focus of the course will be the modern presidency, its power and limitations.

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 are drawn primarily from American society include: labeling and social control of deviants, oppression of minorities, poverty, violence, ageism, and ecological concerns. Prerequisite: SOC 101.