Registration News for Intersession 2014 and Spring 2014

Thursday, October 31, 2013

On November 1, the registration process for the spring 2014 semester will begin and I want to remind you of some of the major requirements and provide you with brief descriptions of a few new courses.

1) If you are a PS major, you are required to take either POLS 301 or POLS 302 but you do not have to take both. If you decide to take only one of these courses, then you will have to take another upper division political science course as a substitute. In order to make the necessary changes to DARS, you need to either make an appointment with Dr. Williams or send him an email that includes the course you want to use to substitute for either POLS 301 or POLS 302. You cannot make this request until this substitute class appears on your DARS. 2

) Capstone courses are not required for either the PS or IR majors. Beginning in fall 2014, capstone courses will be required for all incoming freshmen but this change will not affect any student who is currently a major in our department.

3) We do have two capstone courses in the spring 2014 schedule. The purpose of the capstone course is for students to integrate what they have learned in their major and to apply this knowledge in a paper or project. This course is recommended for juniors or seniors but there are no prerequisites and if you are interested, you are welcome to enroll. Dr. Edmonds and Dr. Williams are offering capstone courses in the spring 2014 semester, but again, they are not required (described below).

  • POLS 494: Capstone: Africa Foreign Policy (Dr. Williams): This course will examine African politics and the relations between African states. Specifically, the course will focus on those countries in Africa that have experienced conflict over the last twenty years and it will explore the human rights implications of these conflicts. It is also a community service-learning course and students will be required to work with an organization in San Diego that addresses the needs of African refugees. In this way, students will have a unique opportunity to interact with individuals (or their relatives) who have fled conflict zones and who now live in San Diego. As a capstone course, students will have the opportunity to integrate what they have learned in the major and there will be specific assignments that enable students to do so. In
  • POLS 494: Capstone: US-Latin America Relations (Dr. Edmonds): The Capstone on US-Latin American relations will examine contemporary ties between the United States and Latin America. The first part of the class will provide an historical overview of the relationship, but we will quickly move to an in-depth examination of some of the most pressing issues in the region (e.g., trade, immigration, drugs/security). A substantial portion of the course will be centered around a project-based group assignment that provides students the opportunity to integrate the skills and concepts learned in the major and apply them to a real world policy problem. Students will be expected to utilize active research skills (e.g., data gathering and analysis, interviewing policy makers and relevant local actors, and/or preparation for in-class simulations, etc.) in order to make this a "hands-on" experience. There are no prerequisites, but this course is probably best suited for juniors and seniors who have taken some upper division coursework on international relations and/or Latin America.

4) New Courses in Spring 2014: There are a few courses in the schedule that we have not offered in the past. Here is a brief description of each. POLS 494: Politics of Disaster/Crisis Management (Dr. Shirk): This course examines the institutional, policy, and societal responses to large scale, international and domestic disasters. More specifically, the course will examine the growing vulnerability of human settlements to catastrophic disasters, and the role of international organizations, governmental agencies, and civic organizations in responding to a variety of man-made and natural events, such as: wildfires, storms, floods, earthquakes, pandemic diseases, nuclear accidents, chemical spills, and terrorist attacks. Students will learn about some of the prevailing scholarly explanations for why these phenomenon have been occurring at an increasing rate with a growing number of victims, including explanations rooted in demographic, economic, technological, and climate factors. Student will learn about the state capacity, key agencies, decision-making process, and policy effectiveness of different countries around the world through specific case studies and group exercises.

  • POLS 494: Food Politics (Dr. Wadley): How does politics determine what’s on your plate? From the seeds in the ground to the boxes on the supermarket shelves, government policies influence what we eat. And we, as food shoppers, make meaningful decisions everyday on issues of health and safety, environmental impact, and the welfare of animals. Food Politics is a course that examines this surprising connection between food and politics. Why is corn in everything? What is a food desert? Why is it so hard to reform the national school lunch program even though nobody is happy with it? The answers reveal much about the relationship between government and industry, the evolving role of regulatory agencies, the effects of grassroots social movements, and the politics embedded in the everyday decisions we make. This course coincides with USD’s “Food for Life” Changemaker Challenge. Special events and activities will be included.
  • POLS 444: Politics of Race and Ethnicity (Dr. Segui): This course will explores different perspectives on race and ethnic issues in the United States. It will focus on the ways in which different groups have asserted their identities and the ways in which they have sought to gain and maintain political power.
  • POLS 494: Politics of the European Union (Professor Ludwig): The role of regionalism within and across the international system has been crucial to understand International Relations nowadays, especially since the end of the Cold War and the “international” re-configuration. Thus, in the 1990’s regional integrations was either created, expanded or enlarged as a response to that re-configuration around the globe (Europe, South America, Africa, Asia, for instance). It was in that context that the European Union, as we know deepened its integration and became an influent international actor. In spite of this, this course has three distinctive goals: firstly, we will assess the main theories regarding the distinctive processes of regional integration, along with is intrinsic corollaries in both, regional and international terms. In a world where globalization became inevitable and interdependency rules inter-national relations, regionalisms appears as a counter-point to repress such global tendency or, at least, localize them in regional blocs. The second goal is to guide the students to explore in-depth the manifold aspects of the European Union from different regional perspectives in context. From the constant evolution of treaties and institutions functions since the Treaty of Rome, in 1957, and the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC), to the Lisbon Treaty, in 2007, the European Union presents a particular way of functioning. Furthermore, it will be presented how the EU works, that is, its member states and main institutions, bodies and mechanisms. In third place, students will have the opportunity to examine the European Union as an international actor, assessing its major external relations with Turkey, United States and South America. This course intent to provide you the necessary tools to form your own opinion regarding those topics; also will improve your writing and oral presentation skills and, more importantly, to expand your knowledge and your perspective about world politics and International Relations.

5) We encourage our majors to enroll in courses that provide experiential learning opportunities. For these types of courses, we recommend the internship course (Professor Gray), the Model United Nations course (Dr. McKenzie), and the Field Seminar in California Politics (Professor Gray) course in the spring.

6) 2014 Intersession Courses: There is still space in two of our intersession courses. We are offering POLS 365 (Politics in Russia; Dr. Nadkarni) and POLS 434 (The Press and the Presidency; Dr. Williams (this course takes place in Washington, D.C.). Please contact Dr. Nadkarni ( or Dr. Williams ( if you have any questions about these courses.


Susan Szakonyi
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