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Department of Political Science

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 (cross disciplinary).
  • Offer strong minor programs: political science, public policy & administration and political communication (cross disciplinary).
  • Enhance critical thinking, communication and information gathering skills.
  • Foster active learning through research, simulations and internships.

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, Miller Hall, Room 2120, (540)568-6149 or contact the internship coordinator, Dr. Jennifer Taylor (taylo2ja@jmu.edu).

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
  • PASO: JMU Public Affairs Student Organization

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

Coordinator: Dr. Scott Hammond
Location: Miller Hall, Room 2127
Emailhammonsj@jmu.edu
Phone: (540) 568-6313

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.

Degree and Major Requirements

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

POSC 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

POSC 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.

Elective Courses

Credit Hours

Choose one course from three of the following areas:

            9

Comparative Politics

           

POSC 337. Politics of Russia and the Former Soviet Union

           

POSC 340. Political Development in the Third World

           

POSC 344. Politics of European Union

           

POSC 345. Politics of Western Europe

           

POSC 346. Politics of Central and Eastern Europe

           

POSC 347. Comparative Public Policy

           

POSC 348. The Politics of Cultural Pluralism

           

POSC 349. Comparative Political Behavior

           

POSC 350. Latin American Politics

           

POSC 353. African Politics

           

POSC 354. Politics of the Middle East

           

POSC 355. East Asian Politics

           

POSC 371. Topics in Comparative Politics

           

POSC/WGS 383. Women in Politics in Comparative Perspective

           

POSC/HIST 457. Comparative Empires

           

International Relations

           

POSC 361. Topics in International Relations

           

POSC 370. U.S. Foreign Policy

           

POSC/JUST 372. Ethics and International Politics

           

POSC/JUST 392. Peace Studies

           

POSC 395. International Law

           

POSC 396. International Organizations

           

POSC 397. Politics of International Economic Relations

           

POSC 430. International Security and Conflict Management

           

POSC 435. International Terrorism

           

POSC 458. International Political Analysis

           

Political Theory

           

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 Policymaking

           

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 382. Religion and Politics

           

POSC 384. Minority Group Politics

           

POSC 385. The U.S. Congress

           

POSC 386. The U.S. Judiciary

           

POSC 391. Topics in Public Policy (when topic is appropriate)

           

POSC 472. Media and Politics

           

Two additional electives chosen from the 300 or 400 level

            6

For three of these credit hours, students may also take one of the following courses:

           

PPA 265. Public Administration

           

POSC 300. Politics and Film

           

POSC 301W. The Washington Semester Experience

           

POSC 493. Political Communication Internship

           

POSC 493W. Political Communication Internship in Washington

           

POSC 495. Internship in Political Science

           

POSC 495W. Washington Semester Internship in Political Science

           

Senior Capstone1

           

POSC 492. Senior Seminar in Political Science2

            4


            33

1 Students 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 academic unit head or appropriate academic unit coordinator for clarification.

2 This course fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major.

Bachelor of Science in Public Policy and Administration

Coordinator: Dr. Liliokanaio Peaslee
Location: Miller Hall, Room 2167
Emailpeaslelx@jmu.edu
Phone: (540) 568-5829

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, legal and managerial environments. This major prepares students for professional employment and leadership in government and nonprofit organizations. The program consists of a core of courses offering general knowledge essential for understanding and working in the public arena. This core provides students with an appreciation of the political culture and economic environment of public work, measurement techniques and a basic understanding of the policy process.

Students are offered a choice between two concentration options: public policy or public management.

In the public policy concentration students acquire knowledge of the nature, dynamics, implementation and substance of public policy and its analysis. Courses address:

  • Policy processes.
  • Techniques for analyzing policy options.
  • The dynamics and substance of particular policy issues.

The public management concentration emphasizes management and management-related skills. Courses address:

  • The legal environment of public work.
  • Organization theories.
  • Management theories and applications.
  • Management best practices.

In addition, courses in both concentrations heighten students' critical, analytical and communication skills through case studies, exercises and the intensive writing requirement. The public policy concentration requires a senior seminar experience that seeks to bring policy theory and analytical skills to bear on a practical issue of public policy. Public management students must complete the dual capstone requirements of a public management seminar and an internship, requiring an integration of knowledge from both general studies and major studies by focusing students on specific cases and workplace applications.

Because the public policy and administration major develops techniques and skills applicable to varied career paths in public service, students are encouraged to choose a complementary minor with a narrower, substantive 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 Graduate Catalog for more information.

Degree and Major Requirements

Degree Requirements

Required Courses              

Credit Hours

General Education1

            41

Quantitative requirement2,3

            3

Scientific Literacy requirement2

            3

University electives

            34

Major requirements (listed below)

            39


            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

POSC 225. U.S. Government

            4

ECON 200. Introduction to Macroeconomics

            3

PPA 200. Introduction to Public Policy

            3

PPA 265. Public Administration

            3

POSC 295. Political Research Methods1

            4


            17

 

Public Policy Concentration Requirements 

Credit Hours

Core Requirements

            17

PPA 359. Policy Analysis

            3

Choose two of the following:

            6

POSC 302. State and Local Government

           

POSC 358. Public Policymaking

           

POSC 368. Interest Groups and Public Policy

           

POSC 380. U.S. Presidency

           

POSC 385. U.S. Congress

           

POSC 386. The American Judiciary

           

Choose three substantive policy electives from the following:

            9

POSC 347. Comparative Public Policy

           

POSC 367. Immigration Politics and Policy

           

POSC 391. Topics in Public Policy

           

POSC 397. The Politics of International Economic Relations

           

PPA 460. Regionalism and Urban Policy

           

PPA 461. Education and Social Policy

           

PPA 462. Social Welfare and Local Government Policy

           

PPA 483. Emerging Issues in Public Administration2

           

PPA 484. Environmental Regulatory Politics and Policy

           

Approved ISAT course3

           

Senior Capstone

            4

PPA 492. Public Policy Senior Seminar4,5

           


            39

 

Public Management Concentration Requirements   

Credit Hours

Core Requirements

            17

PPA 381. Budgetary Process

            3

MGT 365. Human Resource Management

            3

PPA 415. Legal Environment of Public Administration

            3

Choose two courses, one from each list:

            6-7

Institutional Courses

           

PPA 325. Regional Planning and Organization

           

PPA 412. Seminar in Intergovernmental Relations

           

PPA 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

           

Process, Issue and Application Courses

           

COB 241. Financial Accounting

           

GEOG 215. Geospatial Tools I Cartography and GIS

           

GEOG 311. Endangered Environments

           

GEOG 344. Economic Geography and Development Issues

           

GEOG 345. Geography of Poverty

           

NPS 300. Introduction to Nonprofit Studies

           

NPS 320. Nonprofit Management

           

PPA 460. Regionalism and Urban Policy

           

PPA 461. Education and Social Policy

           

PPA 462. Social Welfare and Local Government Policy

           

PPA 484. Environmental Regulatory Policy

           

SCOM 350. Organizational Communication

           

Approved WRTC course3

           

Required Capstone Courses

           

PPA 420. Seminar in Public Management4,5

            3

PPA 496. Internship in Public Management5

            4


            39

1 MATH 220 is a prerequisite for POSC 295.

2 PPA 483 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.

5 Students 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.

Cross Disciplinary Major

Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs

The major in international affairs provides a cross disciplinary 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 major, see International Affairs.

Minor Requirements

Political Communication Minor

The cross disciplinary minor in political communication is designed for students interested in pursuing careers in political management. For a full description of this minor, see Cross Disciplinary Studies.

Political Science Minor

A student may minor in political science by completing 19 credit hours of approved courses from the following list. Check with the department office for department availability of the minor.

Courses

Credit Hours

POSC 201. Introduction to Western Political Theory

            3

POSC 225. U.S. Government

4

Choose one upper-level American government course

            3

POSC 300. Politics and Film

           

POSC 301W. The Washington Semester Experience

           

POSC 302. State and Local Government

           

POSC 325. Constitutional Law

           

POSC 326. Civil Rights

           

POSC 351. Topics in American Politics

           

POSC 358. Public Policymaking

           

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 384. Minority Group Politics

           

POSC 385. The U.S. Congress

           

POSC 386. The U.S. Judiciary

           

POSC/SCOM/SMAD 472. Media and Politics

           

Elective chosen from 300 level courses listed above or from the following:

            3

PPA 265. Public Administration

           

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

           

Choose Option One or Option Two

            6

Option One:

           

POSC 230. International Relations

           

Choose one of the following:

           

POSC/JUST 331. Human Rights in Theory and Practice

           

POSC 361. Topics in International Relations

           

POSC 370. U.S. Foreign Policy

           

POSC/JUST 372. Ethics and International Politics

           

POSC/JUST 392. Peace Studies

           

POSC 395. International Law

           

POSC 396. International Organizations

           

POSC 397. Politics of International Economic Relations

           

POSC 430. International Security and Conflict Management

           

POSC 435. International Terrorism

           

POSC 458. International Political Analysis

           

Option Two:

           

POSC 200. Global Politics or

           

POSC 240. Comparative Politics

           

Choose one of the following:

           

POSC 337. Politics of Russia and the Former Soviet Union

           

POSC 340. Political Development in the Third World

           

POSC 344. Politics of the European Union

           

POSC 345. Politics of Western Europe

           

POSC 346. Politics of Central and Eastern Europe

           

POSC 347. Comparative Public Policy

           

POSC 348. The Politics of Cultural Pluralism

           

POSC 349. Comparative Political Behavior

           

POSC 350. Latin American Politics

           

POSC 353. African Politics

           

POSC 354. Politics of the Middle East

           

POSC 355. East Asian Politics

           

POSC 371. Topics in Comparative Politics

           

POSC/WGS 383. Women and Politics in Comparative Perspective

           

POSC 440.  Post-Conflict Societies

           


            19

Public Policy and Administration Minor 

The minor in public policy and administration seeks to give students a foundation in the nature and practice of public policy and public administration. Students get exposure to the application of policy and administration by doing an internship capstone course. The minor in public policy and administration requires 20 credit hours of course work.

Courses

Credit Hours

POSC 225. U.S. Government

            4

PPA 200. Introduction to Public Policy

            3

PPA 265. Public Administration

            3

Public Policy (Choose one):

            3

POSC 367. U.S. Immigration Politics and Policy

           

PPA 460. Regionalism and Urban Policy

           

PPA 461. Education and Social Policy

           

PPA 462. Social Welfare and Local Government Policy

           

PPA 483. Emerging Issues in Public Administration1

           

PPA 484. Environmental Regulatory Policy

           

Public Administration (choose one of the following):

            3

MGT 365. Human Resource Management

           

PPA 381. Public Budgeting

           

PPA 415. Legal Environment of Public Administration

           

PPA 420. Public Management

           

PPA 483. Emerging Issues in Public Administration2

           

Required Capstone

            4

PPA 496. Internship in Public Policy and Administration


            20

1 When PPA 483 is a policy-related course.

2 When PPA 483 is an administration-related course.

Washington Semester Program

Dr. David Jones, Director
Email: jones3da@jmu.edu

The political science department offers a Washington Semester Program. In the fall semester the focus is on U.S. policy and 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.

The U.S. policy and politics program is especially designed for students who are majoring or minoring in political science or public policy and administration. The global semester encourages students from all majors that have an international or global focus to enroll.