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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Political Science Course Descriptions

Page address: http://sbs.mnsu.edu/government/pscoursedescription.html

POL 100 (3) Introduction to Politics
Study of the nature of politics and government and their influence on society and human behavior.
Fall, Spring

GE-5 POL 101 (3) Introduction to Public Life
Combine study with action to remake yourself into a democratic citizen. Consider your beliefs, debate issues and learn political skills. Integrate these in practical public work on a real issue or project in a student group or community organization.
GE-9, GE-11

POL 103W (3) Thinking About Politics
This course is designed to help you to read, think and write critically about important concepts and issues in the study and practice of politics. It is intended to acquaint you with some of the great debates in political thought, increase your understanding of how political systems work and help you develop your research and writing skills.
WI, GE-2

POL 104 (3) Understanding the U.S. Constitution
Rejoin the political debates of 1787 to understand the US Constitution. Compare the founding document with amendments, later usage and Supreme Court interpretations. Examine controversies over the meaning of the Constitution using the methods of political philosophers, historians, and legal scholars.
GE-5

POL 106 (3) Politics in the World Community
This introductory course examines key concepts and issues in contemporary world politics. It is a survey course covering topics including political culture, the political impact of economic globalization, the changing role of the state, nationality and ethnic identity, and issues of oppression and empowerment.
GE-8

POL 111 (3) United States Government
Become informed enough to play your part in governing the United States. Start by learning about the Constitution, our rights and freedoms, how the national government works and the opportunities and challenges of citizen influence. Political Science methods, and the challenges of citizenship are emphasized.
GE-5, GE-9

POL 201 (1-3) Issues in Politics
Various topics of current interest. Topics covered in the past include political corruption, contemporary ideologies, revolution, understanding the United States Constitution, political films. Course may be taken more than once for credit.
Fall, Spring

POL 221 (3) Introduction to Political Analysis
Elementary analytical concepts and basic techniques for understanding and doing research in political science. Fall, Spring POL 231 (3) World Politics An introduction to the dynamics of interactions among sovereign states and other global actors.
Fall, Spring

POL 234 (3) Model United Nations
The course is intended to prepare students to participate in the model UN. Students learn about issues before the UN and acquire a variety of communication and negotiating skills as they model the role of ambassadors.
Variable GE-1B,
GE-8

POL 241 (3) Introduction to Comparative Politics
This course is designed to acquaint undergraduates with the data and methods of comparative politics. Approaches to the study of comparative politics may include country studies, regional studies, global surveys focusing on specific policy areas or other issues, and general comparative theory.
Fall, Spring

POL 260 (3) Introduction to Public Administration
A survey of the topics relative to administration in the public sector, including the history of public administration, organization theory, leadership and management, human resources management, budgeting and finance, policy analysis, program evaluation, and government regulation.
Fall, Spring

POL 311 (3) Ancient & Medieval Political Philosophy
A survey of Western political philosophy from Plato through the Conciliar Movement. An examination of the origin and development of basic concepts defining the relationship between the person and the state: human nature, community, authority, power, legitimacy, obligation, accountability, government, liberty and personal responsibility.
Fall

POL 312 (3) Early Modern Political Philosophy
A survey of Western political philosophy from Machiavelli through Edmund Burke. An examination of the development of ideas about government from the 15th Century through the 18th Century. Emphasis is placed on origins of political authority, purposes for which government exists, relationships between government authority and individual rights, civic virtue, republicanism and democracy.
Spring

POL 313 (3) Modern Political Philosophy
A survey of Western political philosophy from Hegel through the post-modernist writers. An examination of 19th and 20th Century political philosophers emphasizing German transcendentalism, utilitarianism, economic determinism, state socialism, neoliberism, communitarianism and post-modernism.
Variable

POL 321 (3) Democracy and Citizenship
Students learn about active citizenship from readings and discussions on the theory and practice of democracy. Students should become more motivated to participate, feel a greater sense of empowerment, improve political skills, and better understand and appreciate democracy.
Coreq: POL 322
Fall, Spring

POL 361 (3) Public Budgeting
An overview of the budgetary and fiscal processes of public budgeting, including the politics surrounding public budgeting and fiscal policy decisions. Variable

POL 371 (3) State & Local Government
Institutions, processes, intergovernmental relations, and politics of U.S. state and local governments.
Fall, Spring

POL 391 (1-4) Colloquium
Topics will vary. Typically each session of this colloquium is lead by a different speaker. The emphasis is upon the exchange of views. A single instructor typically will coordinate the colloquium and be responsible for the administrative aspects of the course.
Pre: Consent of advisor
Variable

POL 410 (1-4) Topics in Political Philosophy
This course explores topics in political philosophy beyond what is covered in the existing curriculum. Students study specialized topics of current importance in the field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with change of topic.
Variable

POL 414 (3) Early United States Political Thought
Political thought in the United States from the colonial period to the Civil War. Puritans, American revolution, republicanism, debate over United States Constitution, Jacksonian Democracy, Thoreau, reformers and religious and secular utopias, women’s rights, state’s rights, abolitionism, proslavery.
Variable

POL 415 (3) Recent United States Political Thought
Political thought in United States from reconstruction to present. Controversies over industrial capitalism: Social Darwinism, Utopian Socialism, Populism, Socialism, Progressivism. Women’s Rights, suffrage movement and contemporary feminism; African American political thought: liberalism; conservatism.
Variable

POL 416 (3) Nonwestern Political Philosophy
This course introduces students to the political philosophies of major thinkers from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The course is designed to enhance students’ analytical and writing skills.
Variable

POL 420 (3) Topics: Participation and Behavior
This course explores topics in political participation and behavior beyond what is covered in the existing curriculum. Students study specialized topics of current importance in field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

POL 422 (3) Campaigns & Elections
Elections in the United States at the federal, state and local levels. Election law, history, factors affecting elections, voting behavior, campaign finance, role of parties and groups, campaign strategy and tactics. Analysis of contemporary elections.
Fall

POL 423 (3) Political Parties
Political parties at United States, state, local levels. Cross-national comparisons. Decline and revival of parties. What parties do. Is the two party system the best? Are third parties the answer? Party organization. Voting behavior. Legislative, executive parties. Minnesota focus.

POL 424 (3) Women & Politics
Politics impact on women: women’s impact on politics and governance; primary focus on United States but some comparative considerations.
Variable

POL 425 (3) Terrorism & Political Violence
History, philosophy, techniques and countermeasures to terroristic and low intensity threats to public order. Both domestic and international terror. The blurring of the lines between low intensity conflict/terrorism and multinational high intensity crime. Same as LAWE 438
Variable

POL 426 (3) Racial and Ethnic Politics
Racial and ethnic minorities in U.S. politics. Public opinion on racial issues, minority representation, race (partisanship and voting behavior), and racial issues (affirmative action, school busing, immigration).

POL 427 (3) Political Psychology
Applications of psychological concepts to politics. Intergroup relations, stereotyping, political authoritarianism, presidential character and psychology, foreign policy decision-making, political tolerance, and mass violence and genocide.

POL 430 (1-4) Topics in International Relations
This course explores topics in international relations beyond what is covered in the existing curriculum. Students study specialized topics of current importance in the field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.
Pre: POL 231 Variable

POL 431 (3) International Relations
An advanced theoretical survey of the dynamics of politics and political change at the global level.
Pre: POL 231
Spring

POL 432 (3) International Law
A study of the legal norms and institutions which influence international and transnational relations.
Pre: POL 231
Variable

POL 433 (3) International Organization
Study of the function and process of the United Nations and other international organizations.
Pre: POL 231
Spring

POL 434 (3) United States Foreign Policy
This course is a general overview of US foreign policy institutions, processes, and politics. U.S. foreign policy is examined in historical, global and domestic contexts.
Pre: POL 231
Variable

POL 435 (3) Capitalism, Nationalism, and Democracy
This course explores the interaction of the three complex contemporary political and socioeconomic phenomena: the continuing expansion of global capitalism, the rise of nationalism(s), and the new wave of democratization around the world. The following topics are covered and discussed in class, with references to specific country and regional examples, (1) the impact of international economic institutions and democratization, (2) new forms of political participation in emerging democracies, (3) cultural and ethnic determinants of democratization, (4) problems of economic inequality in new democracies, (5) social and gender issues of democratic transitions, and (6) the relationship between democratic expansion and world peace. Course format will be lecture, discussion, student presentations and occasional films.
Pre: POL 241

POL 436 (3) International Political Economy
Focusing on patterns, processes, and problems of international trade, monetary, technological, and investment relations, this course examines the roles played by key government organizations in managing conflict and cooperation among states.
Pre: POL 231

POL 437 (3) International Conflict Resolution
This interdisciplinary proseminar focuses on conflict resolution in the international arena. We will discuss causes of conflict, examine approaches to the study of conflict resolution, and analyze the varieties of nonviolent strategies of conflict resolution, emphasizing third party mediation.
Pre: POL 231

POL 438 (3) International Relations of East Asia
An overview of the international relations of East Asia, the course examines cooperation and conflict among major powers in the area: China, Japan and the United States. Topics include Japan’s pre-WWII expansionism, China’s political transformation and North Korea’s nuclear controversy.
Fall, Spring

POL 439 (3) Comparative Social Policy: The Welfare State in Europe and the Americas
This course offers a cross-national perspective on the politics of social policy and the welfare state in industrialized parts of the world, including North and South America and different regions of Europe. It also explores distinct national patterns of public policy solutions to the common contemporary problems of social security, poverty, and health care by paying close attention to both domestic factors and the forces of globalization that work to constrain government decisions. This multidimensional approach is designed to enable students to better understand how politics work in different ways to produce collective or social choices.
Pre: POL 241

POL 440 (1-4) Topics in Comparative Politics
This course explores topics in comparative politics beyond what is covered in the existing curriculum. Students study specialized topics of current importance in the field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.
Pre: POL 241
Variable

POL 441 (3) Russia & Neighboring States Politics
This course focuses on the Russian political system in relation to domestic social and economic environments and also on the role of Russia as a global actor. It examines the post communist transformation in Russia and other former Soviet republics.
Pre: POL 241
Variable

POL 442 (3) South Asia: Politics & Policy
This course introduces students to the governments and politics of the South Asian countries. The historical and cultural context of politics are explored, as well as contemporary issues.
Pre: POL 241
Variable

POL 443 (3) Middle East Politics
This class explores the dynamics that determine politics and effect change in the region. Using a comparative perspective for the major countries in the region, we examine such issues as Islam, nationalism, resources, regional conflicts, impact of the international system, and political development.
Pre: POL 241
Fall

POL 444 (3) Latin American Politics
This course includes a detailed analysis of select countries and theoretical concerns in Latin American studies. Its general goal is to provide students with the knowledge of Latin American politics and societies in both regional and comparative contexts.
Pre: POL 241
Variable

POL 445 (3) Asia Pacific Rim: Politics & Policy
Survey of the political processes, governmental institutions and policies of the countries of the Asian Pacific Rim, with special emphasis on China, Japan and the newly industrializing states of Southeast Asia
Pre: POL 241
Variable

POL 446 (3) African Politics
This course is designed to acquaint undergraduate and graduate students with key concepts and issues in the study of African politics. The historical and cultural context of politics is explored, as well as topics of current importance in the field. Pre: POL 241
Spring

POL 447 (3) European Democracies
This course discusses government institutions, political developments, and policymaking structures of contemporary Europe, including the former communist countries of East/Central Europe and the Balkans. It will also cover the ongoing process of European integration (European Union) and democratization of the former Soviet bloc countries. Some of the topics covered will include: elections, party systems, federalism and devolution, ethnic and minority policy, social policy, economic reforms, gender and politics, and cross-Atlantic relations with the US.
Pre: POL 241

POL 448 (3) Political Development & Change
This course introduces students to key issues and concepts in the study of political and economic development. Both theoretical approaches and empirical data are presented. The course is also designed to enhance students’ analytical and research skills. Pre: POL 241
Fall

POL 449 (3) Comparative Criminal Justice Systems
A comparison of criminal justice philosophies, structures, and procedures found in various countries around the world.
Same as LAWE 434
Variable

POL 450 (1-4) Topics in Public Law
This course explores topics in public law beyond what is covered in the existing curriculum. Students study specialized topics of current importance in the field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.
Variable

POL 451 (3) Administrative Law
Legal procedures by which state and federal administrative agencies exercise legislative, judicial and executive powers. Emphasis is placed on the constitutional position of administrative agencies, the rule making process, the power of agencies to decide rights and obligations concerning individual cases, and judicial control of administrative action.
Fall

POL 452 (3) Jurisprudence
Philosophy and sources of law. Schools of legal philosophy and types of legal thinking. Emphasis is placed on Classical Natural Law, Analytical Legal Positivism, Legal Realism and Critical Legal Studies. Same as LAWE 435.
Fall

POL 453 (3) Constitutional Law
Review of selected U.S. Supreme Court decisions relating to the powers of the President, Congress and the Judiciary, as well as the division of power between the states and the federal government. Focus is on case briefing, underlying rationales, and the development of individual analytical abilities.
Variable

POL 454 (3) Civil Liberties
Review of selected U.S. Supreme Court decisions interpreting areas such as substantive due process, abortion, speech, press, religion, and equal protection. Focus is on the rationale which underlies decisions and the development of individual analytical abilities. Same as LAWE 436
Variable

POL 455 (3) American Legal Philosophy
This course examines major schools in American legal thought from the dawn of the 20th century to the present day. Our focus will lie with turn-of-the century formalism; legal realism; the legal process school; law and economics; and critical legal studies. We will apply legal reasoning from these schools to selected controversial 20th-century Supreme Court cases on church-state issues, gay and lesbian rights, privacy rights, criminal defendants’ rights and other issues as appropriate.

POL 460 (1-4) Topics in Public Policy/Administration
This course explores topics in public policy and public administration beyond what is covered in the existing curriculum. Students study specialized topics of current importance in the field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.
Variable

POL 461 (3) Environmental Politics
Politics of the natural environment (U.S. focus). Environmental and opposition values; roles of public opinion, Congress, presidency and courts in environmental policymaking. Policy areas include: air/water pollution, climate change, hazardous/nuclear waste, sustainable development, and common problems like overfishing.
Variable

POL 462 (3) Collective Bargaining: Public Sector
A broadly based introduction to the issues, processes, and techniques of public sector labor relations.
Variable

POL 463 (3) Public Personnel Administration
The development of public personnel management in federal, state and local governments; strategic planning and policy making, position management, staffing, performance management, workplace relations.
Fall

POL 464 (3) Aging: Policy Issues
The public policy process and issues as related to the generations, particularly to older Americans. Focuses on the policy context as well as the specific policies and programs.
Spring

POL 470 (1-4) Topics in Institutions & Process
This course explores topics in political institutions and process beyond what is covered in the existing curriculum. Students study specialized topics of current importance in the field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.
Variable

POL 471 (3) Public Opinion and Polling Methods
This course examines public opinion in American politics. Topics include the definition, nature and consequences of public opinion; political socialization; public opinion on selected issues; intergroup differences in public opinion, and public opinion polling methods.

POL 472 (3) Urban Government
Politics of cities and metropolitan areas. Impact of race, class, gender, immigrant status issues. Intergovernmental relations, how citizens can influence urban politics.
Variable

POL 473 (3) Legislative Process
United States Congress and state legislatures, with some cross-national comparisons. Legislative structure, powers; districting, elections, representation, constituency relations; committee system, parties, law-making process, rules and procedure, decision-making, relations with executives and courts. Reforms.
Spring

POL 474 (3) Executive Process
Examination of executive politics in United States at a federal and state level, with some cross-national comparisons. United States presidency and executive branch, governors and state executive branches, mayors, and other local executives.
Variable

POL 475 (3) Judicial Process
An examination of the structure, jurisdiction and processes of federal and state courts. Also studied are judicial decision-making, the selection of judges and justices. Same as LAWE 437.
Variable

POL 476 (3) Southern Politics
The course examines politics in the American South. It examines the historical and cultural roots of Southern distinctiveness, traditionalistic political culture, racial conflicts, hostility toward organized labor, religious fundamentalism, tolerance of state violence, and social and moral conservatism. Major attention is paid to the realignment of white Southerners toward the Republican Party.

POL 480 (3) Topics in Political Methods
This course explores topics in political science research methods beyond what is covered in the existing curriculum. Students study specialized topics of current importance in the field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.
Variable

POL 490 (1-6) Workshop
Selected topics. May be repeated with change of topic.
Variable

POL 491 (1-12) Internship
Field placement with a governmental agency or related organization. Provides a learning experience in which the student can integrate and apply knowledge and theory derived from curriculum. P/N only
Variable

POL 492 (1-5) Individual Study
Advanced study and research on topics not currently available in existing courses. May be repeated with a change of topic. Requires advisor and instructor approval of topic.
Variable