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Department of

Political Science and International Relations

Course Descriptions

POLS 100 Introduction to Political Science
POLS 125 American Politics
POLS 175 International Relations
POLS 250 Research Methods in Political Science
POLS 301 Political Thought: Ancient to Modern
POLS 302 Political Thought: Modern and Contemporary
POLS 304 American Political Development
POLS 306 Political Ideology
POLS 307 Politics and Religion
POLS 308 Politics and Literature
POLS 310 Presidency
POLS 312 Congress
POLS 313 Politics and Parties
POLS 316 Sex, Power and Politics
POLS 321 Constitutional Law I
POLS 322 Constitutional Law II
POLS 323 Judicial Behavior
POLS 326 Comparative Law
POLS 327 International Law
POLS 329 Law of the Sea
POLS 330 Political Behavior
POLS 340 State and Local Government
POLS 342 Urban Politics
POLS 345 Public Administration
POLS 347 Public Policy
POLS 349 Politics and the Environment
POLS 350 Core Course: Comparative Politics
POLS 352 Comparative Politics of Developing Countries
POLS 354 Revolutionary Change
POLS 355 Politics in Europe
POLS 356 Politics in East-Central Europe
POLS 357 Politics in Latin America
POLS 358 Politics in South Asia
POLS 359 Politics in the Middle East
POLS 360 Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa
POLS 362 Politics in the United Kingdom
POLS 363 Politics in France
POLS 364 Politics in Germany
POLS 365 Politics in Russia
POLS 366 Politics in Mexico
POLS 367 Politics in Japan
POLS 368 Politics in China
POLS 370 Core Course: International Relations
POLS 371 American Foreign Policy
POLS 374 U.S.-Latin American Relations
POLS 375 Comparative Foreign Policy
POLS 376 American National Security
POLS 377 Regional Security
POLS 378 Transnational Crime and Terrorism
POLS 380 Core Course: International Political Economy
POLS 382 International Human Rights
POLS 383 International Organizations
POLS 430 Field Seminar in California Government
POLS 434 Wash DC: The Press and the Presidency
POLS 435 Wash DC: Directed Study in Political Science
POLS 436 Wash DC: Internship in Political Science
POLS 437 Wash DC: Class in Political Science
POLS 444 Special Topics in Political Science
POLS 448 Internship in Political Science
POLS 449 Independent Study in Political Science
POLS 480 Model United Nations
POLS 485 Wash DC: Directed Study in International Relations
POLS 486 Wash DC: Internship in International Relations
POLS 487 Wash DC: Class in International Relations
POLS 494 Special Topics in International Relations
POLS 498 Internship in International Relations
POLS 499 Independent Study in International Relations

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100 Introduction to Political Science (3)
This course presents an overview of the discipline, including the basic theories, concepts, approaches, and enduring questions of political science. It provides students with a foundation of knowledge and the analytical skills necessary to understand modern politics in historical context.
Syllabus [PDF]

125 American Politics (3)
This course offers students a fundamental overview of American politics by analyzing the origin, development, structure, and operation of all levels of the American political system. This course also examines how politics are practiced in the United States in order to analyze the uniqueness of the American political system.

175 International Politics (3)
This course examines major traditions in the discipline of international relations. Students are introduced to the study of the causes of war and the conditions of peace, international law and organizations, international political economy, great power politics, and foreign-policy decision making. The course also explores issues such as global poverty, immigration, refugees, human rights, and the environment as they affect international politics.

250 Research Methods in Political Science (3)
This course introduces students to the various stages of the research process from conceptualization of the research question to interpretation of findings. Students not only learn to develop efficient research strategies to evaluate empirical relationships from a theoretically informed perspective, but they also design and conduct empirical research of their own.

301 Political Thought: Ancient to Modern (3)
This course examines the formation and development of political ideas, from Greek political philosophy to modern political thought. Emphasis is placed on the relationship between theory and practice in political life. 

302 Political Thought: Modern and Contemporary (3)
This course examines political ideas in the modern and contemporary Western tradition. Emphasis is placed on the relationship between theory and practice in political life.

304 American Political Development (3)
This course explores the origin and development of significant political ideas in the United States as expressed in the contributions of selected thinkers.

306 Political Ideology (3)
This course examines the nature and content of modern ideologies and the role they play in the political life of states. Students are introduced to the ideologies of liberalism, conservatism, fascism, socialism, and nationalism, and consider how assumptions about human nature in general, and political ideals of order, liberty, equality, and justice, inparticular, affect choice of ideology.

307 Politics and Religion (3)
This course offers a n introduction to the study of the role of religion in sociopolitical change. The course deals with the theoretical literature on the subject and focuses on the salient cases in the various religious traditions and regions of the world.

308 Politics and Literature (3)
This course explores the political content of selected classical, modern, and contemporary literature. Emphasis is placed on concepts such as authority, power, freedom, equality, organization, obligation, and the ways these concepts have been treated by different authors.

310 Presidency (3)
This course analyzes the institution of the presidency, its functions, formal and informal relationships, and its limitations within the American political system. The principal focus is placed on understanding how the presidency fits into the broader institutional structure of the U.S. government and how individual presidents make decisions in this situation.

312 Congress (3)
This course examines the history, organization, operation, and politics of Congress. Nomination and election, constituent relations, the formal and informal structures of both houses, relations with the executive branch, and policy formulation are discussed. Students participate in a simulation of the House of Representatives.

313 Politics and Parties (3)
This course examines the origin, nature, structure and operation of American political parties, interest groups and social movements, and their role in the political process.

316 Sex, Power, and Politics (3)
This course offers an analysis of gender in politics from historical as well as theoretical perspectives. Topics examined include gender power, leadership, and governance; social, economic, and political factors explaining women's political status and participation in relation to men's; and the women's movement as a political movement.

321 Constitutional Law I (3)
This course begins with an examination of the early development of American constitutional law including the Articles of Confederation, the Constitutional Convention, and the Federalist Papers. We also explore the development of Supreme Court doctrine regarding judicial review, conflicts among the three departments of government in domestic and foreign affairs, and the ongoing struggle to define the responsibilities of state and federal governments.

322 Constitutional Law II (3)
This course is a continuation of the of the study of constitutinal politics, with a focus on civil rights and individual liberties. Topics include free speech, racial and sexual discrimination, church and state, privacy, voting rights, and the rights of the accused. Political Science 321 is not a prerequisite for this class.

323 Judicial Behavior (3)
This course explores judicial policies and decision making, with particular emphasis on judges, lawyers, and juries. Topics include judicial selection and appointment, the limits of judicial power, the roles that lawyers play in our legal and political systems, and the development of trial by jury.

326 Comparative Law (3)
This course presents a cross-national, historical, and comparative analysis of constitutional, administrative and criminal law. Subject countries vary, but will include representative judicial systems within the Civil Law, Common Law, and Socialist Law traditions.

327 International Law (3)
This course examines the theory and practice of international law, including efforts to creative effective legal means to define, proscribe, and punish war crimes, crimes against humanity, and terrorism. We discuss the negotiation, ratification, and enforcement of treaties and study multinational legal institutions such as the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, and the International Criminal Tribunals for the foirmer Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

329 Law of the Sea (3)
This course introduces students to the study of regimes of the sea including fisheries, pollution control, and coastal management zones. The politics of ocean regulation are examined with particular attention to law of the sea negotiations. (Cross-listed as Marine Science 329.)

330 Political Behavior (3)
In this course political socialization, orientation and participation are discussed. Both quantitative and traditional research methods will be utilized to explain the political behavior of the American electorate.

340 State and Local Government (3)
This course examines the political functions of state and local governments, with special attention to California.

342 Urban Politics (3)
This course is designed to introduce students to the major debates that have structured the field of urban politics; interaction among governmental institutions, political actors, private interests, and the marketplace. Other issues such as urban regimes, urban political history, suburbanization, urban growth and renewal, race, class, and gender are examined throughout the course.

345 Public Administration (3)
This course explores the theory and practice of governmental administration at the national, state, and local levels and the development implementation of legislation.

347 Public Policy (3)
This courss examines the political and administrative processes through which public policy is formulated, adopted, implemented, and evaluated.

349 Politics and the Environment (3)
This course examines the decision-making processes through which modern societies attempt to cope with environmental and natural resource problems. Students investigate both American and international environmental issues, and consider the historical and theoretical bases of current environmental policies and initiatives.

350 Core Course: Comparative Politics (3)
This course examines the major theoretical approaches to comparative politics as well as the political histories of individual countries. It is designed to introduce students to a variety of themes central to this field, including state-society relations, state capacity, the role of institutions, nationalism, cultural/ethnic pluralism, political culture, and democracy.

352 Comparative Politics of Developing Countries (3)
This course examines concepts and theories of development and assesses their utility in understanding political, economic and social change in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia. Particular emphasis is placed on issues such as: state building, the bureaucracy, civil-military relations, national identity, economic development, and democratization.

354 Revolutionary Change (3)
This course is a comparative study of the revolutionary process focusing on the meaning of revolutionary change, the causes and stages of revolutions, and the conditions that influence their outcomes. Special attention is devoted to the French, Russian, Chinese, Cuban, and other revolutions.

355 Politics in Europe (3)
This course offers a survey of the political cultures, institutions, and processes of the United Kingdom, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, and other West European countries. The development of a more integrated European community is also discussed.

356 Politics in East-Central Europe (3)
This course examines the politics of East-Central Europe from its Cold War origins to the dynamic developments after the revolutions of 1989. It focuses on the diverse challenges of democratization and market reform in some of the following countries: Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, and the states of the former Yugoslavia.

357 Politics in Latin America (3)
This course examines the dynamics of political and economic change in 20th-century Latin America. There is particular emphasis on the causes and consequences of cyclical economic development and recurrent waves of democratization and authoritarianism.

358 Politics in South Asia (3)
This course is designed to introduce students to the study of contemporary South Asian politics by examining historical as well as contemporary issues relating to socioeconomic change, political development, regional relations, and international linkages. The course focus is primarily on India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, but the politics of Nepal and Sri Lanka are also considered.

359 Politics in the Middle East (3)
This course offers an introduction to the study of the politics of the Middle East and North Africa. The complex issues of regional con?icts with international signi?cance and the forces shaping the internal development of the modern Middle East are explored.

360 Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa (3)
This course provides an introduction to Sub-Saharan African political systems and the relationships that exist between governments and their citizens in this region. We examine some of the main factors that shape contemporary African politics, including the legacy of colonialism, the rise of authoritarian states, ethnic, national, and racial conflict, and political and economic reform.

362 Politics in the United Kingdom(3)
This course examines the development of democracy in England, the institutions of government and parliament; political parties; and selected domestic and foreign policies.

363 Politics in France (3)
This course examines contemporary French politics. We begin by constructing an historical and ideological foundation for the course, we then move to recent institutional and electoral practices, and we finally analyze a variety of foreign and security policies, including relations with the United States, members of the European Union, and countries throughout the world.

364 Politics in Germany (3)
This course introduces students to German politics by examining contemporary as well as historical issues that challenge the unified Germany. The course's main focus is on the post-Cold War and post-unification era with particular emphasis on the current political, social, and economic agendas, and on explaining and predicting German national and international politics.

366 Politics in Mexico (3)
This course provides an overview of the contemporary Mexican political system. The primary focus is on the breakdown of the dominant party system in the late twentieth century and the subsequent recalibration of executive-legislative relations, decentralization of power and emergence of democratic political culture and competition.

367 Politics in Japan (3)
This course examines the development of contemporary Japanese politics by analyzing Japan's pre-WWII political and social systems, its domestic capabilities, and Japanese policy-making processes. The course also evaluates current and speculates regarding future Japanese politics by assessing historical and current political, economic, and social conditions in Japan.

368 Politics in China (3)
This course examines politics and political issues in the People's Republic of China from the mid-1800s to the present. Throughout the course students assess factors such as China's traditional political, social, and economic systems, ideology, and current policy-making structures that shape China's policies in order to understand contemporary Chinese political issues.

370 Core Course: International Relations (3)
This course analyzes the major theoretical perspectives in the field of international relations by reflecting upon the writings of the most important scholars in the discipline. Students study the mainstream realist and liberal approaches and explore theoretical alternatives to these paradigms. The relationship between theory and practice is also examined.

371 American Foreign Policy (3)
This course provides an in-depth exploration of the challenges and opportunities facing American foreign policy in the twenty-frst century. Students examine the historical legacy and internal and external constraints on foreign policy decision-making. Students also study theoretical approaches in the discipline of international relations and discuss their relevance to an empirical analysis of American foreign policy.

372 Russian Foreign Policy (3)
This course is designed to introduce students to the nature and substance of Russian foreign policy after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Students explore the implications of loss of superpower status on Russian national identity, of the interrelationship between domestic reform and foreign policy, and of the challenges of developing relationships on a new footing with newly independent states of Eurasia and with the rest of the world.

374 U.S.-Latin American Relations (3)
The course explores the history of economic and political relations between the U.S. and Latin America to understand the basis of contemporary U.S. policy. Topics examined include military intervention, drug trafficking, immigration and trade policies, and relations with Cuba.

375 Comparative Foreign Policy (3)
The course offers a comparative approach to the study of foreign policy. Public policy formation and political structures in various countries are analyzed with particular attention to the linkage between domestic and foreign policy decision-making.

376 U.S. National Security (3)
This course examines contemporary U.S. security policy, including military technology, nuclear strategy and arms control, recent U.S. military interventions, biological and chemical weapons, domestic security politics, the defense industry and budget, and terrorism.

377 Regional Security (3)
This course examines security dynamics in three important regions of the world (Europe, East Asia, and Latin America.) We address issues ranging from military technologies to diplomatic relations, political economy, and transnational challenges like drug trafficking and terrorism.

378 Transnational Crime and Terrorism (3)
This course focuses on how the law enforcement community has responded to the unprecedented increase in crimes and terrorist acts that cross international borders. The course examines those factors that have led to this increase in transnational crime and terrorism, the types of crimes that pose the greatest threat to alwful societies, the responses that have been developed to combat transnational crime, and the extent to which transnational crime threatens the national security interests of the United States and the world community.

380 Core Course: International Political Economy (3)
This course offers a n introduction to the study of the history, issues, and dynamics of political/economic interactions in the international economy. The course covers both advanced industrial societies and less developed countries. Special topics such as international energy, the international debt crisis and international migration are considered. Economics 101 and 102 are recommended prerequisites.

382 International Human Rights (3)
This course explores contending approaches to human rights, the role of institutions and organizations in setting human rights agendas, and human rights problems and policies in international politics.

383 International Organizations (3)
This course provides a n introduction to the study of the international organization in world politics. The focus is on the United Nations and other selected organizations. 

430 Field Seminar in California Government (1)
Students attend a three-day seminar on California government and politics in the California State Capitol Building in Sacramento. The seminar is offered only during the Spring semester at the end of February. Students attend seminar presentations featuring elected state legislators, legislative and executive staffers, journalists, lobbyists, and academic experts on current issues confronting California.

434 Wash DC:  The Press and the Presidency (3)
This course provides an analysis of U.S. politics and decision-making as seen through an extensive evaluation of the U.S. press and the U.S. presidency. Students meet during the first two weeks in Washington, D.C. during Intersession.

435 Wash DC: Directed Study in Political Science
This course requires students to complete a research paper while interning in Washington, D.C. The paper addresses an issue in political science that relates to the internship experience.

436 Wash DC: Internship in Political Science (6)
Students work 35-40 hours a week in Washington, D.C. at an internship related to political science. The internship must be approved by the Department of Political Science and International Relations. Students receive six units of credit of which three may apply toward the major.

437 Wash DC: Class in Political Science (3)
This political science course is taken in Washington, D.C. during the internship.The course must be approved by the Department of Political Science and International Relations.

444 Special Topics in Political Science (3)
Special topics courses offer an examination of a topical issue affecting politics in the United States. The course number may be repeated for credit provided the topics of the courses are different.

448 Internship in Political Science (1-6)
This course involves participation in a governmental office at local, state, or national level. Students are required to complete a research paper under the supervision of the instructor. This course is open only to junior or senior Political Science or International Relations majors with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Students may not enroll in more than six internship units, and only three may be used toward the major.

449 Independent Study in Political Science (1-3)
This course involves advanced individual study in Public Policy, American Politics, Public Law, Political Behavior, or Political Theory. This course is open only to junior or senior Political Science or International Relations majors with a grade point average in Political Science courses of 3.3 or higher. Approval of instructor and department chair is required, and substantial prior course work in the area is expected.

480 Model United Nations (1)
This course involves a simulation of the decision-making processes of the United Nations. Students participate in at least one conference per semester where they have the opportunity to represent an assigned country and compete against other universities. This course may be reapeated once for credit.

485 Wash DC: Directed Study in International Relations (3)
This course requires students to complete a research paper while interning in Washington, D.C. The paper addresses an issue in international relations that relates to the internship experience.

486 Wash DC: Internship in International Relations (6)
Students work 35-40 hours a week in Washington, D.C. at an internship related to international relations. The internship must be approved by the Department of Political Science and International Relations. Students receive six units of credit of which three may apply toward the major.

487 Wash DC: Class in International Relations (3)
This international relations course is taken in Washington, D.C. during the internship. The course must be approved by the Department of Political Science and International Relations.

494 Special Topics in International Relations (3)
Special topics courses offer an examination of a topical issue affecting the domestic politics of foreign countries or the international political system. This course number may be repeated for credit provided the topics of the courses are different.

498 Internship in International Relations (1-6)
This course involves participation in an internship related to international relations. Students are be required to complete a research paper under the supervision of the instructor. This course is open only to junior or senior Political Science or International Relations majors with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Students may not enroll in more than six internship units, and only three may be used toward the major.

499 Independent Study in International Relations (1-3)
This course involves advanced individual study in International Relations or Comparative Politics. This course is open only to junior or senior Political Science or International Relations majors with a grade point average  in Political Science courses of 3.3 or higher. Approval of instructor and department chair is required, and substantial prior course work in the area is expected.