College of Arts & Sciences
- Social Sciences Division
- Kapelski Learning Center, Room 226
- tel: 610-499-4365
- fax: 610-499-4603
Dr. J. Wesley Leckrone
- Chair, Political Science
- Kapelski 337
- tel: 610-499-4633
Curriculum, Political Science & International Relations
Strong preparation in political science or international relations can lead to graduate study in political science, law, international affairs, public administration, urban government, city planning, community affairs, and policy analysis.
The fields can also lead to careers in the administration of business, government, hospitals, and other nonprofit organizations.
These majors are also good preparation for journalism and other public service-oriented professions.
View a selection of courses students may take as a political science or international relations major.
POLS 204 Current Issues in World Affairs
This course introduces students to current issues in international relations. The course focuses primarily on such issues as relations between rich and poor nations, the race between food and population, energy, technology, and the threat to the environment. In addition, students may examine other issues in the headlines, such as terrorism, immigration, human rights, international trade, and the proliferation of chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons. The course hews rather closely to recent events.
POLS 205 American Public Policy and Politics
This course surveys the formal and informal processes by which public policy is made and implemented at all levels of government in the United States. Topics include how issues get onto the public and governmental agendas, basic policy formulation processes in the executive and legislative branches, budgetary policies and practices, the role of courts in the policy process, implementation and administrative law, and informal factors affecting policy such as the economy, interest groups, the media, and technology.
POLS 206 Ethics, Politics, and Policy
This course examines the intersection between ethics, elections, policymaking, and policy implementation in the American political system. Consideration is given to how ethical standards apply to election campaigns; executive, legislative, and judicial policymaking; and corruption of policy and administrative processes.
POLS 247 Vodka and Capitalism: Russian Politics in the 21st Century
This course examines the various political, economic, and social problems facing Russia and the 14 so-called Newly Independent States (NIS), which together formerly composed the Soviet Union. Topics addressed include the transition and evolution of the Russian political system, the transformation of the Soviet command economy into a capitalist economy, the attendant rise of organized crime, the war in Chechnya, and Russian foreign policy. In addition, students examine the post-Soviet developments in the Central Asian republics (the "Stans"), and their role in the war on terror.
POLS 265 Political and Civic Engagement
This course examines the nature and influence of political and civic engagement in American politics. Areas of focus include rights and responsibilities of citizenship, historical trends and generational differences in engagement, and linkages between citizen participation and electoral and public policy outcomes. Students are also exposed to strategic and tactical elements of effective civic and political activism in the context of national, state, or local election cycles and public policy debates.
POLS 320 Constitutional Rights and Liberties
This course is a study of the development of constitutional law relating to the rights of individuals and limitations on the power of government. The course examines the way in which precedents develop, focusing on the Bill of Rights and other relevant portions of the Constitution.
POLS 385 Strategic Intelligence
This course is designed to explain the nature of strategic intelligence, review the evolution of American intelligence, study the organizations that engage in American intelligence today, and consider the dangers of secret intelligence in a free society. In addition, the course examines the basic elements of intelligence: collection, analysis and estimates, counterintelligence, and covert action.
For more information about courses and requirements for political science and international relations, please refer to our course catalog.