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Political Science


Department of Political Science

*POSC 110. Introduction to Political Science. 3 credits.

Introduction to concepts, organization and terminology of government. Basic introductory material for the study of political science including national, state and local government, international relations, comparative government, constitutional law and political theory.

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 205. Computers in Political Research. 1 credit.

An introduction to computing in political science and public administration. Understanding computer systems, applying software packages to social research, and using electronic databases and search facilities are covered.

*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.

POSC 215. Introduction to Criminal Justice. 3 credits.

An introduction to the development of the American criminal justice system in its three dimensions: police, courts and corrections, from early English beginnings to the present.

*POSC 225. U.S. Government. 3 credits.

A basic course in the American political system. Detailed coverage of the origin, structure, functions and current trends of national government. Some comparison is made of the structure and ideologies of American and foreign governments.

*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 300. Political Analysis. 3 credits.

A brief introduction to the scientific method as applied to the social sciences, and principal behavioral approaches currently used in political research such as systems, functional and decision-making analysis. Prerequisite: POSC 305.

POSC 302. Criminal Procedure. 3 credits.

Study of the criminal justice process from arrest through appeal with emphasis upon the rights of the accused including due process, the right to counsel, search and seizure, and the privilege against self-incrimination. Prerequisite: POSC 210 or 215.

POSC 305. Political Research Methods. 3 credits.

Introduction to quantitative research methods and statistical techniques useful for the political and social scientist such as the experimental method, significance tests, content analysis, correlation, scaling and regression analysis. Prerequisite: POSC 225 and MATH 220. Prerequisite or corequisite: POSC 205 or permission of instructor.

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. Prerequisite: POSC 210. Does not count as part of the political science major.

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. Prerequisite: Two 200-level political science courses.

POSC 315. Political Theory: Early Modern to the Nineteenth 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. Prerequisite: POSC 201.

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. Prerequisite: POSC 201.

POSC 320. Radical Political Theory Since 1844. 3 credits.

An inquiry into the development and influence of radical political theory from Marx's early philosophical manuscripts of 1844 to the present. Radical critiques of modern society will also be discussed. Prerequisite: Two 200-level political science courses.

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. Prerequisite: POSC 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: POSC 210 or 325.

POSC 327. Criminal Law. 3 credits.

Study of substantive criminal law including common law sources and elements of various criminal offenses, justifications and defenses. Prerequisite: POSC 210 or 215.

POSC 330. American Political Thought. 3 credits.

A study of the development and significance of political ideas that have influenced American society and government. Prerequisite: Two 200-level political science courses.

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. Prerequisite: POSC 230 and 240.

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. Prerequisite: POSC 230 and 240.

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 as well as the factors which have enabled some communist parties to retain power. Prerequisite: POSC 230 and 240.

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. Prerequisite: POSC 230 and 240.

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 West Germany. Prerequisite: POSC 230 and 240.

POSC/PUAD 347. Comparative Public Policy. 3 credits.

A study of public policy formation and implementation in selected advanced industrial and Third World nations. Prerequisite: POSC 240 or permission of the instructor.

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. Prerequisite: POSC 230 and 240.

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. Prerequisite: POSC 240.

POSC 359. 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. Prerequisite: POSC 225 and one other 200-level political science course.

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: POSC 225 and one other 200-level political science course.

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. Prerequisite: POSC 225 and one other 200-level political science course.

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: POSC 225 and one other 200-level political science course.

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. Prerequisite: POSC 225 and one other 200-level 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 225 and 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: POSC 225 and one other 200-level political science course.

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: POSC 225 and one other 200-level political science course.

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 will be used as well as other forms of political analysis. Prerequisite: POSC 230.

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 and one additional political science course.

POSC 405. American Political System. 3 credits.

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

POSC 410. Administration in Criminal Justice. 3 credits.

A study of the major concepts of management in criminal justice and public safety agencies emphasizing functional and structural approaches and the concepts of leadership, decision making, and the effects of the social environment in the administration of the criminal justice system. Prerequisite: POSC 215 or PUAD 265.

POSC 415. Criminal Investigation. 3 credits.

Characteristics, legal aspects, organizational objectives, theories, and systematic procedures of criminal investigation. Includes interviewing, interrogation, physical evidence, investigation of common serious offenses and presentation of evidence in court. Prerequisite: POSC 215 and 302.

POSC 417. Evidence. 3 credits.

Survey of the principles of evidence including rules of admissibility and exclusion. Includes the investigatory function and interviewing witnesses. Prerequisite: POSC 302. Does not count as part of the political science major or minor.

POSC 421. Computers in Legal Research. 1 credit.

Use of sophisticated computer systems in legal research including hands-on experience in a computer laboratory with the WESTLAW program. Prerequisite: 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 305.

POSC 450. Contemporary Problems in American Government. 3 credits.

Exploration in-depth of contemporary problems in the presidency, Congress, the federal bureaucracy and the political process. The topic for each semester will be announced in the Schedule of Classes. Prerequisite: POSC 225 and senior standing.

POSC 460. Contemporary Problems in International Relations. 3 credits.

Exploration in-depth of contemporary problems in the field of international relations. The topic for each semester will be announced in the Schedule of Classes. Prerequisite: POSC 230.

POSC 489. Seminar in International Affairs. 3 credits.

This is the capstone course in the international affairs major. It provides an interdisciplinary overview of the fields within international affairs and an opportunity for students to complete individual research projects on international problems. Prerequisite: Completion of all courses in the core requirement of the major and senior standing.

POSC 490. Special Studies in Political Science. 1-3 credits each semester.

Designed to give capable students in political science an opportunity to complete independent study under faculty supervision. Prerequisite: Recommendation of the instructor and permission of the department head.

POSC 492. Seminar in Political Science. 3 credits.

This course provides an overview of the discipline of political science and the different approaches to research in the field. Opportunity is provided for students to complete an individual research project on a selected political science topic. Prerequisite: POSC 305 and senior standing.

POSC 495.** Internship in Political Science. 3 or 6 credits.

Provides students with practical experience (approximately 135 or 270 total contact hours) in an appropriate political experience. Periodic seminars and student reports required. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing, plus 15 hours of political science and permission of the instructor.

POSC 497.** Internship in Law. 3 or 6 credits.

Provides students with practical experience (approximately 135 or 270 total contact hours) in a law-related agency. Periodic seminars and student reports required. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing, plus 15 hours of political science and permission of the instructor.

POSC 499. Honors. 6 credits. Year course.

** No more than six semester hours (in any combination of internships) can be counted toward a degree.


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Last reviewed: Sept. 10, 1994
Information Publisher: Academic Services