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Political Science (POL) Course Descriptions

POL 5003  Political Inquiry
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An introduction to investigation and analysis in Political Science. A major objective is for students to learn how to frame a question, formulate a hypothesis, and review and apply the relevant literature. The course provides an introduction to research design and qualitative research methods, and may include questions in the philosophy of science and other methodological and theoretical questions central to political science.

POL 5013  Research Methods
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course provides students with the opportunity to develop a basic working knowledge of the empirical, quantitative approaches/techniques social scientists use in understanding social/political phenomena. The conceptual focus will be on classic hypothesis testing. The class will culminate with multiple regression analysis and its extensions. Students will be given an opportunity to learn how to read the empirical, quantitative primary political science literature, and conduct a statistical analysis of a question in political science.

POL 5023  Political Economy
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
Analysis of the interplay of politics and economics in the domestic and international arenas. Divergent theoretical perspectives and their basis in the work of classical and contemporary political economists and social theorists. Topics may include the politics and economics of international trade, technology policy, educational reform, industrial restructuring, privatization, environmental policy, and labor-market policy.

POL 5033  Political Communications and Behavior
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of major theories and research dealing with human behavior and interaction in politics, drawing on the literature of political sociology, political communications, political anthropology, and political psychology. Professional applications such as public opinion polling, political journalism, public relations, campaign management, political advertising, and political consulting are considered.

POL 5043  International Politics
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course analyzes theories of international relations and/or comparative politics, with an emphasis on major theoretical paradigms and methodological approaches. Topics may include security, economics, the environment, and human rights.

POL 5063  Political Philosophy
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
A broad survey of central political issues and thinkers. Students will be introduced to the philosophies of thinkers such as Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Marx.

POL 5083  Geo-Political Context of Homeland Security and Defense
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
A broad overview of the geo-political dynamics of domestic and international crises and their relationship to homeland security and defense (HSD) policies. Course topics may include discussions of how U.S. political systems develop policies to reduce negative impacts of domestic and international crises, principles of federalism related to political responses to crises, political communications in times of crisis, domestic and foreign policy implications, geospatial factors, and foreign policy considerations. May include guest lectures by prominent practitioners and scholars.

POL 5093  Politics of U.S. National Security Policy Making
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of the political dynamics of national security decision making, placing particular emphasis on executive branch leadership and coordination with other institutions of government. Discussion of the history and politics, evolution, and institutional roles of the U.S. national security system. Includes discussion of policy initiatives, institutional decision making settings, constitutional and statutory controls on institutional powers, and policy outcomes. Course may explore a sample of major national security decisions in terms of political characteristics and principles.

POL 5103  Topics in American Politics
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of an individual topic or set of issues in American politics. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

POL 5113  Latino/a Politics
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course examines the role of the Latino electorate in shaping state and national politics. Topics may include the political histories of various Latino national origin groups, public policy issues that concern Latinos, the successes and failures of Latino empowerment strategies, and the electoral impact of Latino votes.

POL 5133  Ethnic and Gender Politics
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
How ethnic and gender differences influence political behavior, policymaking, and policy outcomes in the United States. Theories of ethnic relations and feminist and other theories of gender relations. Strategies for dealing with ethnic conflict and gender discrimination and harassment. (Formerly POL 5123. Credit cannot be earned for both POL 5133 and POL 5123.)

POL 5143  Theory and the City
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course examines the city from a theoretical and historical perspective. The course allows for various strategies focusing on communities and/or policies. Authors may include, but are not limited to, Mumford, Jacobs, Engels, Katznelson, Harvey, and Castells.

POL 5153  American Government and Politics
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of the major issues, problems, and processes of American government and administration.

POL 5163  American Political Development
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course presents a macropolitical perspective on American politics. It introduces students to debates in political science about change and development in political authority relations since the founding of the Republic. Topics may include the nature of regimes and regime change; the relationship between ideology and political culture; developments in institutional authority and in the balance of power among institutions such as the three branches of government, federal and state authority, and the military; continental development; the emergence of the regulatory state; the United States as a world power; and the representative process and forms of popular organization.

POL 5173  Policy Process
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course examines theories of the policy-making and -executing process, and the actors, institutions, and politics that are involved in the process. (Credit cannot be earned for both POL 5173 and PAD 5323.)

POL 5183  Congress
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
The study of the U.S. Congress. Topics may include Congressional procedure and policymaking, representation, and elections. The course also considers the various approaches used in the scholarly study of Congress, including behavioral, rational choice, and historical methods.

POL 5193  Presidency
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course examines the origins and development of the presidency, the relationship of the institution of the presidency with major actors in the governmental process, and the modern practice of presidential leadership in the United States.

POL 5203  Topics in Political Theory
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of an individual topic, theorist, or set of issues in political theory. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

POL 5223  Issues in Contemporary Political Theory
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An introduction to some of the major issues and trends within political theory over the last century. Authors may include Gramsci, Adorno, Heidegger, Fanon, de Beauvoir, Habermas, and Derrida.

POL 5243  Theories of Justice and Rights
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course examines the question of whether it is possible to formulate a universally acceptable theory of justice or human rights in a world of diverse religious, cultural, moral and ideological beliefs. Authors may include Habermas, Rawls, Gewirth, Rorty, Finnis, and Nussbaum. (Formerly titled “International Justice and Values Relativism.”)

POL 5253  Issues of Immigration
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An investigation into immigration policies of three democracies—Germany, Great Britain and the United States– pre- and post-September 11. The course will explore issues raised by immigration in a democracy, problems of justice, who deserves citizenship, concerns about work, and the role of human rights.

POL 5273  Contemporary Political Theory and Social Policy
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course explores contemporary political theories such as welfare liberalism, libertarianism, socialism, communitarianism, multiculturalism and feminism. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the theoretical principles underlying these different theories and the practical social policies and institutions that logically follow from them.

POL 5303  Topics in Comparative and International Politics
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of an individual topic or set of issues in comparative and/or international politics. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

POL 5313  Comparative Political Parties
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of the major theories and research regarding the role of political parties in contemporary democracies. The course will focus on how the role of political parties has changed in the post-WWII era at three levels: in the electorate, as organizations, and in government.

POL 5323  Urban Social, Economic, and Political Geography
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An advanced social and economic geography of urban areas, emphasizing intra-urban inequality, the modeling of economic dynamics, and spatial mobility to and within the city. Topics may include social area analysis, residential segregation, migration, perception and personal space in the urban environment, urban transportation, the urban economic base and its dynamics, and consumer shopping behavior in cities. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

POL 5333  European Politics
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of the political systems and links between civil society and political institutions in several European nations in the post-WWII era. This course will focus on domestic politics, and will also introduce the European Union. Topics may include political institutions, policy processes, political representation, and public opinion in the European countries.

POL 5363  Mexican Politics
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course focuses on Mexico’s political and economic development, including the interaction between the state and civil society and the current challenges of the state. The course includes a historical overview of the development of Mexican national politics, institutions and the economy, and the emergence of civil society. Specific topics may include guerrilla movements, drug dealing, and U.S.-Mexico relations.

POL 5373  Human Rights
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course explores the meaning of human rights, analyzes cases of human rights violations in various parts of the world, and examines the roles that individuals, states, and international organizations play in committing and ending human rights abuses. Topics may include genocide, torture, the death penalty, honor killings, and the violation of children’s and workers’ rights.

POL 5403  Topics in Political Communications and Behavior
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of an individual topic or set of issues in political communications and behavior. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

POL 5413  Political Psychology
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
The study of psychological theories of political phenomena at individual, small group, organizational, and nation-state levels. Topics may include political socialization, personality and political leadership, the social psychology of mass participation, rational choice and symbolic politics paradigms of political behavior, psychological models of international conflict, and models of political cognition.

POL 5423  Campaign Management and Consulting
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of strategies and techniques employed in managing electoral and lobbying campaigns. Topics may include development of comprehensive campaign plans, techniques of fund-raising and budgeting, advertising and public relations, canvassing phone banks, sociodemographic targeting, use of polls, image management, and the use of mass media.

POL 5433  Electoral Behavior
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of political science theory and research on elections and voting behavior in the United States and other countries. Topics may include electoral cycles and realignment patterns; the impact of media coverage and campaign tactics on opinions, turnout, and electoral outcomes; and the sociodemographic and psychological variables influencing voting and nonvoting.

POL 5443  Polling and Survey Research Techniques
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
The sources, dynamics, and political effects of public opinion. Emphasis is on applied quantitative and qualitative techniques of data collection and analysis commonly used by political scientists, polling organizations, and political consultants in measuring citizen orientations. Topics may include survey methods, interviewing, focus groups, debate meters, sociodemographic targeting, content analysis, frame analysis, simulation, multidimensional scaling, and cluster analysis.

POL 5453  Political Advertising
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
A comprehensive and in-depth examination of the many aspects of political advertising. This course merges academic research with expertise from professional practitioners to give students an understanding of a variety of current topics. Topics may include image development, message creation, advertising production, advertising placement and buying, “under the radar” techniques, direct mail, and related issues such as negative advertising, and the attitudinal and behavioral consequences of particular advertising strategies.

POL 5503  Constitutional Law and Judicial Decision-Making
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An advanced course in constitutional law and interpretation. Emphasis is on written judicial decisions, the political environment of judicial decision-making, and the impact of constitutional interpretations on society.

POL 5523  Litigation Politics
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of litigation as a means of social change, effectuation of justice, and political pressure and reform. Explores the litigation process from a historical and political context, through its origins, court proceedings, and impact.

POL 5623  Intergovernmental Relations in the United States
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
The administrative and political effects of the division of authority among coordinate units of government. Federal-state, state-local, local-federal, state-state, local-local, and governmental-nongovernmental relations are examined.

POL 5703  American Foreign Policy
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course analyzes the domestic and international factors that affect American foreign policy, including explanations that focus on psychology, bureaucratic politics, lobbying organizations, public opinion, and national culture.

POL 5713  Comparative Political Systems
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
Comparative analysis of theories and issues pertaining to political institutions and processes in post-industrial, developing, and transitional systems. Topics may include state theory, nationalism, new institutionalism, political economy, party systems, politics of contention, regional integration, and the internationalization of public policy.

POL 5723  International Organizations
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of international political and economic organizations, as well as major issues involving them. Topics may include alliance systems, regional development, common markets, peacekeeping, international conferences, United Nations, IMF, World Bank, and regional organizations.

POL 5733  Political Actors and Systems in Latin America
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of politics in Latin America. The course centers the analysis around two axes: the interplay between civil society and the state and patterns of inter-American relations.

POL 5743  Electoral Systems in the Americas
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
A comparative study of campaigns and elections in the Americas. The course assesses similarities and differences of electoral systems in the region with particular emphasis on North American politics (Canada, the United States, and Mexico).

POL 5753  The Geography of Third World Development
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
Advanced analysis of economic growth and social change in developing nations and regions. Investigates issues such as defining of development; major theories of development and underdevelopment; global inequalities; population growth and migration; and the role of agriculture, industry, transportation, and government and trans-governmental planning in development. (Same as GRG 5753. Credit cannot be earned for both POL 5753 and GRG 5753.)

POL 5773  Comparative Foreign Policy
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course will compare worldviews, institutional processes, policies, and outcomes in foreign policymaking. Cross-national and thematic comparisons will be used to examine the foreign policies of major actors in international security, international organization, economic competition, and humanitarian issues. Regional comparisons may focus on political and economic issues in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and/or Latin America.

POL 5783  International Security
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course examines circumstances and issues leading to war and the conditions necessary to return nations and regions to stability and security in the world community. Topics may include causes of civil and international war, deterrence, nuclear and conventional weapons, terrorism, and conflict prevention and resolution.

POL 5793  International Political Economy
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course analyzes the interaction of politics and economics in the international arena, with a focus on international trade, investment, monetary, and financial relations. Topics may include the role of international economic institutions (such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization), regional integration, foreign debt, dependency and development, structural change in international economics, and critiques of economic globalization.

POL 5803  Topics in Political Economy
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of an individual topic or set of issues in political economy. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

POL 5823  Political Economy of the Americas
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of the changing relationship among the state, society, and the private sector in Latin America and its influence on hemispheric relations. Topics may include state ownership and privatization, industrial policy, trade union influence, foreign investment and foreign trade policy, and the impact of NAFTA, GATT, and other international agreements.

POL 5833  Business and Labor in U.S. Politics
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An examination of the influence of business and labor organizations on public policy formation, implementation, and elections. Policy areas may include industrial relations and labor law, regulatory practices, foreign trade, the environment, government subsidization, taxation, and finance.

POL 5853  Economic Geography
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An advanced examination of the location of economic activities, their causes, and consequences. Includes the principles and practices of manufacturing and agricultural location and their impact on political subdivisions and economies; trade areas for retail and service activities; the role of transportation; the economic impact of globalization on local areas; and community economic base and shift-share analysis applied to local economies, with implications for planning and public administration. (Same as GRG 5303. Credit cannot be earned for both POL 5853 and GRG 5303.)

POL 5863  International Health Issues
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course investigates salient health issues in countries other than the United States. Focus is on the health problems of developing countries.

POL 5873  Global Governance
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
This course analyzes the ways in which various actors bring order to the international system. While traditional theories focus on the role of the state, this course gives greater attention to non-state actors, public and private institutions, and the many ways in which they interact in managing common affairs. Theoretical and empirical issues include, but are not limited to, contending perspectives and systems of rule-making in the areas of security, poverty, trade and finance, human rights and the environment.

POL 5903  Political Geography
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
Investigates the role of the political state in society and the evolution of state organization from classical times to the present. Topics may include centrifugal and centripetal forces, geopolitics, territorial morphology, boundaries, core areas, and emerging supranationalism. (Same as GRG 5903. Credit cannot be earned for both POL 5903 and GRG 5903.)

POL 5913  Design and Management of Geographic Information Systems
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
A graduate-level introduction to the use of industry-standard GIS software. Topics include GIS data structures, system design, and methods of data exploration and analysis. The course includes discussion of issues related to planning, implementing, and managing large-scale GIS projects for research projects or organizations. (Same as GRG 5913. Credit cannot be earned for both POL 5913 and GRG 5913.)

POL 5943  Threat Environments and Homeland Security and Defense
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
An in-depth analysis of political system responses to domestic and international threats in terms of homeland security and defense. Consideration is given to political systems direction of operations, planning, and policy making organizations as they conceptualize and develop homeland security and defense strategies. Course topics may include lectures on political systems responses to natural disasters and panic, transportation systems disasters, hostage takings, weapons of mass destruction, cyber attacks, human trafficking; and on threat modeling, law and legal institutions in crisis situations, communications systems and media roles in emergencies, dynamics of leadership and decision making under stressful conditions, and inter-organizational cooperation and response negotiations. May include guest lectures by prominent practitioners and scholars.

POL 6103  Seminar in Theories of Politics and Law
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisite: 6 semester credit hours from the list of courses specializing in political theory and public law (see section B in Degree Requirements).
This course provides students with the opportunity to analyze and critique significant theories of politics and law. Emphasizing student development of critical, analytic, and synthetic abilities, this course explores major works of political philosophy and jurisprudence and culminates in theory construction by students.

POL 6893  Master’s Thesis Proposal
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: Permission of the Thesis Advisor or Faculty Subfield Advisor, course instructor, and Graduate Advisor of Record.
An examination of the research questions and the theoretical and methodological assumptions that characterize different subfields in Political Science. As part of this course, the student will develop, prepare and defend a proposal for the Master’s thesis. Credit will be awarded upon approval of the proposal by the student’s course instructor and thesis advisor. A thesis committee must be formed by the end of the course. This course will be taken in the student’s third long semester in the program. Failure to meet this requirement within four long semesters from the time when the student enters the graduate program will preclude continuation of the student in the Master’s program.

POL 6951-3  Independent Study
1 to 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission in writing (form available) of the instructor and the student’s Graduate Advisor of Record.
Independent reading, research, discussion, and/or writing under the direction of a faculty member. For students needing specialized work not usually available as part of the regular course offerings. May be repeated for credit, but not more than 6 hours, regardless of discipline, will apply to the Master’s degree.

POL 6961  Comprehensive Examination
1 hour credit. Prerequisites: Approval of the Faculty Subfield Advisor, Graduate Advisor of Record, and the student’s Comprehensive Examination Committee.
Students will select fields of study and prepare for examination under faculty supervision. Students will designate an exam committee and exam chair in the semester prior to enrollment. Enrollment is required each term in which the Comprehensive Examination is taken if no other courses are being taken that term. May be repeated once during a different semester. Credit earned in POL 6961 may not be counted toward the Master’s degree. The grade report for the course is either “CR” (satisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination) or “NC” (unsatisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination).

POL 6963,6  Internship
3 or 6 hours credit.
Practical experience in a workplace setting in which classroom knowledge of political institutions, processes, and public policy can be deepened and applied. May be repeated for credit to a maximum of 6 hours.

POL 6973  Special Problems
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
An organized course offering the opportunity for specialized study not usually available as part of the regular course offerings. Special Problems courses may be repeated for credit when topics vary, but not more than 6 hours, regardless of discipline, will apply to the Master’s degree.

POL 6983  Master’s Thesis
3 hours credit. Prerequisites: POL 6893 and permission of Graduate Advisor of Record and Thesis Committee.
Thesis research and preparation. May be repeated for credit, but not more than 3 hours will apply to the Master’s degree. Credit will be awarded upon completion of the thesis. Enrollment is required each term in which the thesis is in progress.

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