Political Science (BS)

Announcement  purple Icon.pngThe Political Science program has moved from 3-credit courses to 4-credit courses beginning Fall 2020. If you were enrolled in the Political Science program prior to these changes, please view older catalogs with applicable program requirements and course information.

Admission Requirements

Admission to Major is granted by the department. Minimum university admission requirements are:

  • a minimum of 32 earned semester credit hours.
  • a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 (C).

Program Requirements

Major Common Core

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.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-05, GE-09

Elementary analytical concepts and basic techniques for understanding and doing research in political science.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

Major Restricted Electives

Concentration and Distribution Areas - Choose Area 1, Area 2, or Area 3 as your concentration area. Within your chosen concentration area, complete at least (16) credits (concentration requirement: minimum 16 credit hours). Within the other two (non-concentration) areas complete at least (4) credit hours in each (distribution requirement: minimum 8 credit hours total). A total of (24) credits must be completed.

Area 1: American Politics and Policy -

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.

Prerequisites: none

Institutions, processes, intergovernmental relations, and politics of U.S. state and local governments.

Prerequisites: none

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 to better understand and appreciate democracy.

Prerequisites: none

An overview of the budgetary and fiscal processes of public budgeting, including the politics surrounding public budgeting and fiscal policy decisions.

Prerequisites: none

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 the field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

Politics impact on women: women's impact on politics and governance; primary focus on United States but some comparative considerations.

Prerequisites: none

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

Prerequisites: none

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).

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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

Prerequisites: none

A broadly based introduction to the issues, processes, and techniques of public sector labor relations.

Prerequisites: none

The development of public personnel management in federal, state and local governments; strategic planning and policy making, position management, staffing, performance management, workplace relations.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

Area 2: International Relations and Comparative Politics -

An introduction to the dynamics of interactions among sovereign states and other global actors.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: POL 231

An advanced theoretical survey of the dynamics of politics and political change at the global level.

Prerequisites: POL 231

Study of the function and process of the United Nations and other international organizations.

Prerequisites: POL 231

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.

Prerequisites: POL 231

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.

Prerequisites: POL 241

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.

Prerequisites: POL 231

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.

Prerequisites: POL 231

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

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: POL 241

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.

Prerequisites: POL 241

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.

Prerequisites: POL 241

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.

Prerequisites: POL 241

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.

Prerequisites: POL 241

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.

Prerequisites: POL 241

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.

Prerequisites: POL 241

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.

Prerequisites: POL 241

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.

Prerequisites: POL 241

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.

Prerequisites: POL 241

A comparison of criminal justice philosophies, structures, and procedures found in various countries around the world. Same as LAWE 434

Prerequisites: none

Area 3: Theory and Public Law -

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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, womens' rights, states' rights, abolitionism, proslavery.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

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

Prerequisites: none

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.

Prerequisites: none

Major Unrestricted Electives

Choose 4 Credit(s). Complete at least (4) credit hours of any political science course.

Prerequisites: none

Minor

Any minor can be completed.