2015-2016 Political Science Courses

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PLSC 101 Introduction to Political Science, LE (4)
This course introduces basic concepts and frameworks for the study and practice of politics in a global field. It enables participants to develop (1) an understanding of the elementary dimensions of politics, (2) a nuanced comprehension of crucial historical and contemporary political phenomena and institutions, and (3) a critical awareness of the diversity of local, cross-national, and global practices of power and governance.
PLSC 121 American National Government, LE (4)
An introduction to the basic framework of American government at the national level, including a brief look at historical developments. Emphasizes an examination of various theoretical approaches. Students are introduced to policy making and elementary political analysis.
PLSC 200/300 Special Topics in Political Science (1–4)
Courses may be taught as either workshops or seminars. Significant themes are explored in certain sub-disciplinary areas of political science. Recent offerings and/or suggested topics have included Conflict Management, Language and Politics, Politics of Federalism (State and Local Government), Topics in Political Thought, Political Issues Analysis, Politics of Argentina, Central Asian/Eurasian Politics, Public Policy Analysis, Political Anthropology, Regime Opposition Movements, International Political Economy, and Methods of Political Analysis. Prerequisites vary with course content.
PLSC 306 Comparative Political Systems (4)
This course focuses on the comparative study of different forms of government and governance across space, culture, time, and levels of analysis. Course participants will learn how to employ the different theories and methods of the comparative approach to conduct comparative political analyses across historical cases, cultural spheres, geographical areas, and levels of political aggregation (from local, to national, regional, and global). This course enables participants to critically assess the merits and demerits of the different political forms which power can take in its structural, institutional, ideological, and practical or policy dimensions.
PLSC 315 Global Politics I (4)
This course explores the different theories and approaches to the study and practice of International Relations and Global Politics. It employs a critical, intercultural, and global framework that enables participants to learn and understand the growing diversity of Western, Non-Western, feminist, and ecological perspectives on planetary affairs. The overall purpose of this course is to equip participants with the various theoretical compasses needed to creatively navigate and proactively participate in the emergent global polity.
PLSC 327 Environmental Politics and Policy (4)
Focuses on continuity and change in the politics of environmentalism within the United States. Includes an in-depth look at the Environmental Protection Agency as a means of examining institutional and public policy activities in the environmental arena, an overview of environmental legislation, and a consideration of pollution prevention strategies.
PLSC 348 Congress and the Presidency (4)
An examination of the role of Congress and the presidency in government, and their effects on the entire political process. Includes a look at various approaches to the study of Congress and the presidency.
PLSC 355 Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties (4)
Analysis of key civil liberties cases and the decision-making process followed by the Supreme Court. Overview of the impact of Supreme Court decisions on the political process and of the Court as a political institution.
PLSC 359 Law, Politics, and Bureaucracy (4)
This course provides an in-depth examination of the historical, legal, and political environment within which US regulatory agencies operate. Case law and other primary source materials are used extensively.
PLSC 367 Contemporary Political Philosophy (4)
This course introduces a selection of crucial approaches and issues in contemporary political philosophy. Themes are addressed from a global, intercultural, and ethical diversity of perspectives. The course critically addresses topics as varied as global justice, power and democracy, violence and human rights, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, disability, poverty and inequality, animal rights and ecology.
PLSC 390 Research Methods (4)
This course endows students with the skills needed to engage in fruitful political and justice research. In order to foster research competency the course addresses Philosophy of Social Science Inquiry, Research Design, Critical Research Strategies, Qualitative Methods, and basic skills in interpreting quantitative data. There are no prerequisites.
PLSC 401 Directed Studies (1–4)
A tutorial-based course used only for student-initiated proposals for intensive individual study of topics not otherwise offered in political science. Prerequisite: consent of instructor and school dean.
PLSC 415 Global Politics II (4)
 This course explores key intersecting topics, issues, and controversies in global politics. It enables students to learn and employ different disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to global affairs by addressing various critical matters in fields such as: global education, global political economy, global governance, global diversity, global political ecology, or global security. The overall purpose of this course is to empower students to critically, proactively, and creatively engage in the crucial debates and complex processes shaping the emergent global polity. Recommended that students previously take PLSC 315 Global Politics I.
PLSC 440 Internship (1–8)
Offers students the opportunity to integrate classroom knowledge with practical experience. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing (for transfer students, at least 15 hours completed at Westminster or permission of instructor), minimum 2.5 GPA, and consent of program director and Career Center internship coordinator.
PLSC 490 Senior Capstone (4)
Students select, research, analyze, and discuss a topic or problem. The results of each student’s project will be written as a senior thesis and presented for a discussion in a seminar setting. Required for all majors in their senior year (cross-listed as JUST 490).