Political Science

Department of Political Science

POSC 101. Advisory in Public Affairs. 1credit.

An introduction to graduate study and career opportunities in political science, public administration, international affairs and criminal justice.

GPOSC 200. Global Politics. 3 credits.

An exploration of political, social and economic issues and structures existing within and between states in the contemporary global community. Students are introduced to alternative approaches to analyzing these issues in diverse cultures and political settings.

POSC 201. Introduction to Western Political Theory. 3 credits.

A general survey of Western political theory from Plato to Marx,  including the foundations of political inquiry and the search for  order and freedom.

POSC 210. Introduction to Law and Jurisprudence. 3 credits.

Examination of the origin and sources of the law as the product of the values of a society and the interaction of complex interests. Comparison of the common law, civil law and socialist legal systems and development of the American legal system.

GPOSC 225. U.S. Government. 4 credits.

An examination of institutions, processes, and intellectual concepts  which structure American political activity. The interaction of the political system with the changing American society and America’s changing role in world affairs are also treated. The course provides an introduction to quantitative methodology.

POSC 230. International Relations. 3 credits.

A survey of the field of international relations including consideration of the elements of national power, foreign policy, diplomacy, propaganda, foreign aid, war, international law and international organization.

POSC 240. Comparative Politics. 3 credits.

A comparative study of selected political systems. Emphasis is on the structure of government, the political process and the conditions which either promote or constrain political change and stability.

POSC 295. Research Methods. 4 credits.

Students learn how to conduct original research from theory formulation through data collection and hypothesis testing. Special emphasis on research and computer literacy. Prerequisite: MATH 220.

POSC 301W. The Washington Semester Experience. 2 credits.

A study of the manner in which the policy making process is conducted on the federal level. The function of political and governmental institutions in establishing public policy is examined through readings and observation. Prerequisite: Enrollment in the Washington Semester Program.

POSC 302. State and Local Government. 3 credits.

A study of state and local government in the United States with particular focus on Virginia. Emphasis is placed on an understanding of the framework, functions and problems of state and local governments.

POSC 307. Legal Research Methods. 3 credits.

Introduction to basic legal concepts and research tools. Includes the use of public records and legal materials, as well as writing legal memoranda and briefs. Does not count as part of the political science major. Prerequisite: POSC 210.

POSC 310. Political Theory: Ancient to Early Modern. 3 credits.

A study of political theory from Plato and Aristotle through Machiavelli with analysis of such political concepts as the nature of the state, political obligation, natural law and Utopian societies.

POSC 315. Political Theory: Early Modern to the 19th Century.  3 credits.

A study of political theory from Hobbes and Locke to Hegel, Green and other 19th century thinkers. The course will examine such ideas as freedom, political obligation, justice, progress, ethics and politics and the relationship between the individual and the human polity.

POSC 316. Contemporary Political Theory. 3 credits.

An examination of political thinkers and their ideas from the end of the 19th century to the present. Special emphasis will be placed on the writings of Hannah Arendt, Jurgen Habermas, John Rawls and other contemporary thinkers who continue to engage in the pursuit of political inquiry.

POSC 321. Political Theory and Ideology. 3 credits.

A study of the relationship between normative political theory and ideology, emphasizing the philosophic foundations of modern political thought and its relationship to the emergence of various ideological positions in the 19th and 20th centuries. Includes a study of liberalism, conservatism, socialism, anarchism, nationalism, fascism, feminism, environmentalism and others.

POSC 325. Constitutional Law. 3 credits.

A study of the legal aspects of the American democratic system. The development of the Constitution will be explored and case studies used to portray important events and changes. Prerequisites: GPOSC 225 and one additional political science course.

POSC 326. Civil Rights. 3 credits.

An examination of the judicial interpretation of civil rights in America with emphasis on freedom of speech, due process of law and equal protection under the 14th Amendment. Prerequisite: GPOSC 225.

POSC 330. American Political Thought. 3 credits.

A study of the development and significance of political ideas that have influenced American society and government.

POSC 337. Russian Political System. 3 credits.

A study of the former Soviet Union emphasizing the transition to a post-Communist order and the nature of post-Communist politics in the central Eurasian region. Also included are aspects of historical background that have an impact on contemporary political developments.

POSC 338. Russian Foreign Policy. 3 credits.

An analysis of the historical, ideological, internal and strategic factors, which influence the formation of the foreign policies of Russia and the other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Emphasis is placed both on relations between the independent states, which make up the CIS and relations between the CIS and foreign states.

POSC 339. Politics of Communist and Post-Communist Systems. 3 credits.

A comparative study, which examines the former Communist Party states of eastern Europe and the remaining communist states of the Third World. The course stresses the dynamics of political transition in this region and the factors which have enabled some communist parties to retain power.

POSC 340. Political Development in the Third World. 3 credits.

A comparative study of the processes of political development in the developing nations of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Attention is given to the special problems confronting these nations and their implications for the global systems.

POSC 345. European Governments. 3 credits.

Comparative analysis of European constitutions, political systems and governmental processes with major emphasis on the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

POSC 347. Comparative Public Policy. 3 credits.

A study of public policy formation and implementation in selected advanced industrial and Third World nations.

POSC 350. Latin American Politics. 3 credits.

A comparative study of the political institutions, processes and current issues in the Latin American states and an analysis of their importance in regional and global relations.

POSC 351. Contemporary Problems in American Government.  3 credits.

In-depth exploration of contemporary problems in the presidency, Congress, the federal bureaucracy and the political process. The topic for each semester will be announced on e-campus.

POSC 355. East Asian Politics. 3 credits.

A study of the political systems of the major countries of East Asia, including Japan, China and Korea. Issues discussed include political development and democratization movements in the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China and the Republic of Korea.

POSC 358. Public Policy. 3 credits.

Study of the political process of the conversion of public needs through policy into benefits. Also deals with the capacity of officials to make policy on the basis of a rational selection of the best options and the constraints under which policy-makers must operate.

POSC 360. Urban Politics. 3 credits.

A study of the functions and role of local government in urban America with emphasis on the social, economic and governmental problems of cities and metropolitan areas. Prerequisite: GPOSC 225 or permission of the instructor.

POSC 361. Contemporary Problems in International Affairs.  3 credits.

In-depth exploration of contemporary problems in the field of international affairs. The topic for each semester will be announced on e-campus.

POSC 362. Political Behavior. 3 credits.

A study of how citizens acquire politically relevant attitudes and how these attitudes influence their political behavior. The effects of the mass media on voting behavior are also considered. Emphasis is placed on U.S. voting behavior but behavior in other nations is also covered. Prerequisites: GPOSC 225 and one other POSC course.

POSC 365. American Political Campaigning. 3 credits.

Study of modern day political campaigning with emphasis on campaign structure, strategy and the relationship between candidates and political consultants. The course assesses the consequences of the changing nature of political campaigns for democracy in the United States. Prerequisite: GPOSC 225.

POSC 368. Interest Groups and Public Policy. 3 credits.

An analysis of the activities of interest groups in the American system of government with emphasis on their goals and effectiveness in shaping public policy. Prerequisite: GPOSC 225.

POSC 369. Political Parties and Elections. 3 credits.

A study of national political parties and elections. Attention is given to the origin and evolution of the major and important minor parties, nomination and election process, presidential campaign, role and practical working of political parties, influence of public opinion and pressure groups and responsibilities of the individual voter. Prerequisites: GPOSC 225 and one other political science course.

POSC 370. U.S. Foreign Policy. 3 credits.

An investigation of the processes for making foreign policy, underlying premises influencing specific policies and substance of American foreign policy. Prerequisite: POSC 230.

POSC 380. The National Executive. 3 credits.

A study of the institution of the American presidency focusing on the sources, bases and character of the power required by the president for effective executive action. Relationships of the presidency to foreign affairs, Congress, the public, party structure and the  administrative establishment will also be considered. Prerequisite: GPOSC 225 or honors standing.

POSC 385. The Legislative Process. 3 credits.

Study of the legislative process will concentrate on the operation of Congress with regard to such matters as its rules and procedure; relationships to the presidency, the bureaucracy, pressure groups and the courts; and a discussion of its current problems. Prerequisite: GPOSC 225.

POSC 395. International Law. 3 credits.

Examination of the role of international law in world politics. Particular attention will be given to the effects of international law on patterns of international exchange and interaction. Case study and other forms of political analysis will be used.

POSC 396. International Organizations. 3 credits.

Study of the evolution and role of contemporary international organizations in the larger context of world politics. Emphasis on the ways in which the changing patterns of political power influence the processes and effectiveness of such organizations. Prerequisite: POSC 230.

POSC 397. The Politics of International Economic Relations.  3 credits.

A study of the political dynamics and implications of international economic relations.

POSC 405. Seminar in American Government. 3 credits.

Study of the relationship of the federal bureaucracy to the presidency, Congress and the policies of the national government. Prerequisites: GPOSC 225 and senior standing.

POSC 435. Seminar in International Terrorism. 3 credits.

Systematic study of political terrorism with emphasis upon the destabilizing effect that it has upon the international community. Prerequisite: POSC 295.

POSC/SCOM/SMAD 472. Media and Politics. 3 credits.

A study of the media’s role in political campaigns, concentrating on past/present election, the media’s role in covering political parties and c overage of the governing process. Discussion of electronic and print will occur. Topics to be examined include campaign videos, CSPAN, political ads, editorial cartoons, TV debates, convention coverage and radio talk show commentary.

POSC 490. Senior Tutorial in Political Science. 4 credits each semester.

A research-oriented tutorial designed to integrate student’s prior knowledge and strengthen lifelong learning skills. Course may be offered in multiple sessions (490A, 490B, etc.). Prerequisites: Senior standing and permission of the instructor.

POSC 492. Senior Seminar in Political Science. 4 credits.

This research-oriented senior seminar provides an overview of the discipline of political science and the different approaches to research in the field. A major research project will strengthen the research, information access and lifelong learning capacities of the student. Fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major. Prerequisites: Senior standing and POSC 295.

POSC 493. Simulations. 4 credits.

Application of concepts and insights learned in the classroom to contemporary policy problems and practical activities. The topic of this course will vary from offering to offering. The exact courses required will vary with the subject matter of the simulation. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing and permission of the instructor.

POSC 495. Internship in Political Science. 4 credits.

Provides students with opportunities for experiential learning in a legislative, policy making, campaign, constituency, interest group or criminal justice organization. A research paper related to the internship and a presentation based on the experience are required. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing, 15 credits of political science, public administration or political communication and permission of the instructor.

POSC 495W. Washington Semester Internship in Political Science. 6 credits.

Provides Washington Semester participants with opportunities for experiential learning in a Washington, D.C. based legislative, policy making, campaign, constituency, interest group or criminal justice organization. Requirements include 360 work hours, a research paper related to the internship, a career report, a daily log and regular meetings with faculty-in residence. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing,  15 credits of political science, public administration or  political communication and successful application to Washington Semester program.

POSC 497. Internship in Law. 4 credits.

Provides students with opportunities for experiential learning in a law-related organization. A research paper related to the internship and a presentation based on the experience are required. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing, 12 credits of political science courses, POSC 307 and permission of the instructor.

POSC 499. Honors. 6 credits.

Year course.



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Last Modified: 6/6/2003