Academic Programs

Academic Units: Department of Political Science

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Mission Statement
The Department of Political Science offers strong major and minor programs sharing a focus on public concerns. We are committed to providing our students with the tools and competence to succeed in their lives, their graduate education and their careers by instilling academic rigor, information access and research skills, dedication to life-long learning and respect for diversity in cultures, nations and institutions of democracy.
  Goals
To carry out the above mission, the Department of Political Science seeks to:
  • offer strong major programs: the B.A. in political science; the B.S. in public policy and administration and the B.A. in international affairs (interdisciplinary). (See “Interdisciplinary Programs.”)
  • offer strong minor programs: political science, public policy and administration and political communication (interdisciplinary).
  • enhance critical thinking, communication and information gathering skills.
  • foster active learning through research, simulations and internships.
Back to top of page Career Opportunities
The political science department offers programs that lead students to careers in the following fields:
  • Administration and management
  • Federal, state and local government
  • International organizations
  • Law
  • Not-for-profit organizations
  • Politics
  • Private sector
To enhance the marketability of its students, the political science department supports career-related internships. For information contact the political science office, Maury Hall 118, (540) 568-6149 or contact the internship coordinator, Dr. Skelley at skellebd@jmu.edu
Back to top of page Co-curricular Activities and Organizations
  • Pi Alpha Alpha: public administration honor society
  • Pi Sigma Alpha: political science honor society
  • Pre-Law Society
  • Sigma Iota Rho: international affairs honor society
  • Political Science Club
Back to top of page Special Admission Requirements
Admission to JMU does not guarantee admission to the Department of Political Science. Students may enter JMU as “preparatory majors” in political science, international affairs or public administration, and then apply to become majors later. A limited number of spaces will be available in each major. The exact number will be determined each year and is based on the ability of the department to provide a quality educational experience for its majors. It will reflect factors such as the number of students who are graduating and the size of the faculty. As part of this enrollment management program, the minors in political science and public administration are suspended.

Required pre major courses and the procedures for becoming a major are available on the department Web site at http://www.jmu.edu/polisci/newstudent.html.

Back to top of page Majors in the Department of Political Science
The Department of Political Science offers the B. A. degree with a major in political science, the B.S. degree with a major in public policy and administration and the B.A. degree with a major in international affairs.
  Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
For a major in political science, the student must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 33 credit hours, including
  • A 14 hour core introducing students to the conduct of political inquiry in the major areas of the discipline, an awareness of global issues and cultural diversity and the techniques of original research.
  • A 15 hour depth requirement in which students take at least one course from three of the major areas of political inquiry and acquire additional experience in the application of research techniques.
  • A four hour capstone experience designed to bring together knowledge gained in different courses into a coherent whole, to foster a capacity for lifelong learning, to connect the major to experiences outside the university, and to provide the opportunity to work individually with a faculty member.
Please direct questions about the political science major to Dr. Scott Hammond, Maury Hall 219, (540) 568-6313, hammonsj@jmu.edu.
Degree Requirements
Required Courses
Credit Hours
General Education1
41
Foreign Language classes (intermediate level
required)2
0-14
Philosophy course (in addition to General Education courses)
3
University electives
28-39
Major requirements (listed below)
33

120
1 The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.
2 The foreign language requirement may be satisfied by successful completion of the second semester of the intermediate level of the student’s chosen language (typically 232) or by placing out of that language through the Department of Foreign Language’s placement test.
Major Requirements
Core Requirements
Credit Hours
GPOSC 225. U.S. Government
4
POSC 201. Introduction to Western Political Theory
3
POSC 295. Political Research Methods1
4
Choose one of the following:
3
GPOSC 200. Global Politics
POSC 230. International Relations
POSC 240. Comparative Politics
1 MATH 220 is a prerequisite for POSC 295.
Electives
In addition to the core requirements, political science majors must elect 15 hours of approved courses from the 300 level or above and at least one from three major areas of political inquiry. Students are encouraged to complete the core requirements before taking any course above the level of POSC 301.
Choose one course from three of the following areas:
9
Comparative Politics
POSC 337. Russian Political System
POSC 339. Politics of Communist and Post-Communist Societies
POSC 340. Political Development in the Third World
POSC 345. European Governments
POSC 347. Comparative Public Policy
POSC 350. Latin American Politics
POSC 353. African Politics
POSC 355. East Asian Politics
POSC 371. Topics in Comparative Politics
International Relations
POSC 338. Russian Foreign Policy
POSC 361. Topics in International Relations
POSC 370. U.S. Foreign Policy
POSC/JUST 392. Peace Studies
POSC 395. International Law
POSC 396. International Organizations
POSC 397. Politics of International Economic Relations
POSC 435. Seminar in International Terrorism Theory
Political Theory
POSC 300. Political Analysis
POSC 310. Political Theory: Ancient to Early Modern
POSC 315. Political Theory: Early Modern to the 19th Century
POSC 316. Contemporary Political Theory
POSC 321. Political Theory and Ideology
POSC 330. American Political Thought
POSC 381. Topics in Political Theory
American Government
POSC 302. State and Local Government
POSC 325. Constitutional Law
POSC 326. Civil Rights
POSC 351. Topics in American Politics
POSC 358. Public Policy
POSC 360. Urban Politics
POSC 362. Political Behavior
POSC 365. American Political Campaigning
POSC 368. Interest Groups and Public Policy
POSC 369. Political Parties and Elections
POSC 380. The U.S. Presidency
POSC 383. Women and Politics
POSC 385. The U.S. Congress
POSC 472. Media and Politics
Two additional electives chosen from the 300 or 400 level
6
For three of these credit hours, students may substitute one of the following 200 level courses:
POSC 210. Introduction to Law and Jurisprudence
PUAD 215. Introduction to Criminal Justice
PUAD 265. Public Administration
Senior Capstone1
POSC 492. Senior Seminar in Political Science2
4

33
1 Student should fulfill the senior capstone requirement for each major and minor separately. This means that senior experiences completed for one major or minor cannot normally be counted for another. Students who have questions about a particular situation should see the department head or appropriate department coordinator for clarification.
2 This course fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major.
Back to top of page Bachelor of Science in Public Policy and Administration
  • Dr. Ben D. Skelley, Coordinator
  • Phone: (540) 568-6832
  • E-mail: skellebd@jmu.edu
The major in public policy and administration provides students with a general foundation in the nature of public policy, the public workplace and its political and legal environments. This major prepares students for professional employment and leadership in government and nonprofit organizations. The program provides specialized training in management and management-related skills. The program’s courses provide students with knowledge of:
  • The political culture of public work
  • The economic environment of public work
  • The legal environment of public work
  • Organization theories
  • Management theories
  • Management best practices
  • Policy processes
In addition, the public policy and administration major heightens students’ critical, analytical and communication skills through case studies and exercises. The dual capstone requirement of a public management seminar and an internship demands integration of knowledge from both general studies and major studies by focusing students on specific cases and work place applications.

Because the public administration major is a broad application, students are encouraged to choose a complementary minor with a narrower, applied focus. The minors recommended for students’ consideration include criminal justice, environmental information systems, environmental management, environmental studies, family studies, gerontology, health information systems, nonprofit studies, political communication, substance abuse intervention, telecommunications, urban and regional studies, communication studies, conflict analysis and intervention, sociology, technical and scientific communication, economics, human resource development, computer science, public health, and integrated science and technology.

Interested students may apply to participate in the Fifth Year Master of Public Administration degree program, which allows qualified students to earn an M.P.A. degree with one additional year of study. Students should apply for this program in their sophomore year. See the JMU Graduate Catalog for more information.

Degree Requirements
Required Courses
Credit Hours
General Education1
41
Quantitative requirement2,3
3
Scientific Literacy requirement2
3
University electives
38
Major requirements (listed below)
36-37

120
1 The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.
2 In addition to course work taken to fulfill General Education requirements.
3 For this requirement, public policy and administration majors should take MATH 220, the prerequisite for POSC 295, a required core course in the major.
Major Requirements
Core Requirements
Credit Hours
GPOSC 225. U.S. Government
4
GECON 200. Introduction to Macroeconomics
3
PUAD 265. Public Administration
3
POSC 295. Political Research Methods1
4
PUAD 381. Budgetary Process
3
MGT 365. Human Resource Management
3
PUAD 415. Legal Environment of Public Administration
3
Electives
Choose two courses from the categories below: (The two courses must each come from different categories.)
6-7
Institutional Courses
PUAD 325. Regional Planning and Organization
PUAD 412. Seminar in Intergovernmental Relations
PUAD 483. Emerging Issues in Public Administration
POSC 302. State and Local Government
POSC 380. U.S. Presidency
POSC 385. U.S. Congress
POSC 396. International Organizations
Policy Courses
POSC 347. Comparative Public Policy
POSC 351. Topics in American Politics2
POSC 358. Public Policy
POSC 360. Urban Politics
POSC 368. Interest Groups and Public Policy
POSC 397. The Politics of International Economic Relations
Approved ISAT Course3
Processes and Applications
COB 241. Financial Accounting
GEOG 366. Geographic Information Science
SCOM 350. Organizational Communication
Approved TSC Course3
Required Capstone Courses
PUAD 420. Public Management4
3
PUAD 496. Internship in Public Management
4

36-37
1 MATH 220 is a prerequisite for POSC 295.
2 POSC 351 may be taken when the course topic addresses a public policy issue.
3 Consult the public policy and administration coordinator.
4 This course fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major.
Back to top of page Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs
The major in international affairs provides an interdisciplinary understanding of foreign cultures and societies, the dynamics of world politics and how other nations perceive the world and why they act the way they do. For a full description of this interdisciplinary major, see “Interdisciplinary Programs.”
Back to top of page Political Communication Minor
The interdisciplinary minor in political communication is designed for students interested in pursuing careers in political management. For a full description of this minor, refer to “Interdisciplinary Programs.”
Back to top of page Political Science Minor
A student may minor in political science by completing 19 credit hours of approved courses from the following list. This minor is currently suspended. Check with the department office for department availability of the minor.
Courses
Credit Hours
POSC 201. Introduction to Western Political Theory
3
Choose one upper-level American government course from the following:
3
POSC 302. State and Local Government
POSC 325. Constitutional Law
POSC 326. Civil Rights
POSC 351. Topics in American Politics
POSC 358. Public Policy
POSC 360. Urban Politics
POSC 362. Political Behavior
POSC 365. American Political Campaigning
POSC 368. Interest Groups and Public Policy
POSC 369. Political Parties and Elections
POSC 380. The U.S. Presidency
POSC 383. Women and Politics
POSC 385. U.S. Congress
PUAD 358. Public Policy
Elective chosen from 300-level courses listed above or from the following:
7
PUAD 265. Public Administration
POSC 310. Political Theory: Ancient to Early Modern
POSC 415. Political Theory: Early Modern to the 19th Century
POSC 316. Contemporary Political Theory
POSC 321. Political Theory and Ideology
POSC 330. American Political Thought
Approved ISAT Course3
POSC 381. Topics in Political Theory
Choose Option One or Option Two
6
Option One:
POSC 230. International Relations
Choose one of the following:
POSC 361. Topics in International Relations
POSC 370. U.S. Foreign Policy
POSC/JUST 392. Peace Studies
POSC 395. International Law
POSC 396. International Organizations
POSC 397. Politics of International Economic Relations
POSC 435. Seminar in International Terrorism
Option Two:
GPOSC 200. Global Politics or POSC 240. Comparative Politics
Choose one of the following:
POSC 337. Russian Political System
POSC 339. Politics of Communist and Post-Communist Systems
POSC 340. Political Development in the Third World
POSC 345. European Governments
POSC 347. Comparative Public Policy
POSC 350. Latin American Politics
POSC 353. African Politics
POSC 355. East Asian Politics
POSC 371. Topics in Comparative Politics

19
Back to top of page Public Policy and Administration Minor
The requirement for a minor in public administration is 19 credit hours of courses from the following list. This minor is currently suspended. Check with the department office for availability of the minor.
Courses
Credit Hours
GPOSC 225. U.S. Government
4
MGT 365. Human Resource Management
3
PUAD 265. Public Administration
3
PUAD 415. Legal Environment of Public Administration
3
PUAD 381. Budgetary Process
3
PUAD 420. Public Management
3

19
In addition to the core courses, the department encourages students to take PUAD 496, Internship in Public Administration.
Back to top of page The Washington Semester Program
The political science department offers a Washington Semester Program. In the fall semester the focus is on American politics. In the spring the focus is on global and international politics. In both semesters students have the opportunity to do a Washington-based internship and take a course from specialists in the field. Housing is arranged by JMU and JMU tuition is paid. The American politics program is especially designed for students who are majoring or minoring in programs associated with the political science department. The global semester encourages students from all majors that have an international or global focus to enroll.