Political Science Courses


PSC 101 Introduction to American Politics (U.Studies Cluster 4.B, Gen Ed: E)
Theory and practice of national government in Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court, and the interaction of these institutions with interest groups, political parties, public opinion and the mass media.

PSC 151 Introduction to Comparative Politics (U.Studies Cluster 4.C, Gen Ed: G)
Study of political processes, ideologies, constitutional systems and governmental structure of foreign countries including Great Britain, France, Germany, the C.I.S. and selected Third World nations. Comparison with American system of government. Stress laid on the use of the analytical methods.

PSC 161 Introduction to International Relations (U.Studies Cluster 4.C, Gen Ed: G)
Helps students relate, organize, and analyze political events that occur on the international level. Students will learn how to think critically about international relations and its impact on lives and well-being in the present and future. The concept of power, the factors that shape the foreign policies of states, the politics of economic relations, the use of force, and a broad range of global issues are examined.

PSC 171 Introduction to Political Theory
Provides an introduction to political theory. History and development of political thought; key concepts, values, theories and ideologies that inform political practice; analysis of political discourse and argumentation.

PSC 201-249 American Political Issues and Ideas
Issues and ideas courses on selected topics to be developed by instructors as student interest and faculty preference indicate. Students who are not political science majors are particularly invited to enroll in such courses.

The following are some of the offered courses:

PSC 212 American Politics in Film (U.Studies Cluster 4.B, Gen Ed: C)
Review and discussion of influential films that address or touch upon important political issues. By exposing students to classic and/or out-of-the-way movies that they might not otherwise experience, the course promotes the development of critical thinking skills. Students are encouraged to view film as more than simple entertainment, but also as an influential means of conveying political ideas.

PSC 213 Law and Courts in Film
An examination of law, courts, lawyers and judges as depicted in film. Political and legal attitudes amongst the public are often shaped and influenced by movies. This course will review and discuss films which convey important messages and ideas about law, justice, and the U.S. legal system.

PSC 216 Politics of the Social Safety Net
Students analyze and debate the politics surrounding the public policies that comprise the U.S. social safety net, including social security, welfare, education benefits and more Cross-listed with WGS 216.

PSC 234 Sustainability on Campus

PSC 235 Environmental Policy
An overview of environmental policy at the local, regional, and national level. Focus will be placed on the “incentive-based” approach to environmental regulation. There will be he opportunity to analyze a “real-life” environmental issue affecting the local region. Cross-listed as SUS 235

PSC 239 African American Politics
(Gen Ed: C, D)
A study of the role of African Americans in the American political system, both historically and contemporarily, with special attention given to the alternative political strategies used in the struggle for political inclusion. Various philosophies that have been adopted to open up the political process and increase the democratic participation of African Americans are studied. Cross-listed as AAS 239

PSC 242 Ethnic Politics
(Prerequisite: PSC 101)
The complex ethnic structure of the American political landscape. The course examines the role that ethnicity play in American politics in a comparative examination of the politics of major racial and ethnic minority groups.

PSC 249 Intermediate Writing in Political Science (U.Studies Cluster 1.C)
Writing in Political Science. Variable topics course used for instruction in political science writing methods.

PSC 251-299 World Political Issues and Ideas

Issues and ideas courses on selected topics to be developed by instructors as student interest and faculty preference indicate. Students who are not political science majors are particularly invited to enroll in such courses. Anticipated offerings in this category include Contemporary Issues in the Middle East, Contemporary Issues in World Politics, and Contemporary Issues in Human Rights.

The following are some of the offered courses:

PSC 251 The Politics of Everyday Things
World politics often seems to be a distant, abstract phenomenon, far removed from our daily lives. Yet, to a historically unprecedented degree, global politics in the 21st century is driven by the everyday decisions that everyday people make about everyday things - above all, by our decisions about what and how much to consume. Taken individually, our daily decisions are of little global import. But when our decisions are added together with those of millions or billions of other people, the consequences are truly momentous.

PSC 253 Contemporary Issues: The U.S. and the Middle East

PSC 258 Political Psychology

PSC 263 Problems of World Politics
Survey of current and contentious global issues affecting the lives of Americans. Students gain a basic understanding of American foreign policy decision-making and a familiarity with all sides of these timely issues in international relations. Typical topics include fighting international terrorism, dealing with rogue states, providing foreign aid, globalization, the environment, and the ethics of foreign policy.

PSC 266 Introduction to the Politics of Developing Countries (Gen Ed: G)
Broad survey of the politics and cultures of developing countries in Africa, the Americas, the Middle East, and Asia. Students gain a basic understanding of colonial and independence histories, political and economic processes, in particular the effects of globalization, governmental structures, and political goals in a selection of developing countries.

PSC 277 Africa in World Politics (Gen Ed: C, D, G, O)
Africa’s role in the political evolution of the modern world system. The course examines the foreign policies of major African states, how these policies shape Africa’s relations with major governmental and non-governmental institutions in the world.

PSC 286 Contemporary Issues in World Politics

PSC 291 Contemporary Issues in Human Rights


PSC 301 The Presidency
Prerequisites: PSC 101 and upper-division standing

The development of the contemporary presidency and its position within the American constitutional framework. Special attention will be paid to the presidential selection system, to alternate models of the presidency and to presidential power.

PSC 302 The Legislative Process

Prerequisites: PSC 101 or permission of the instructor; and upper-division standing

A thorough study of the United States Congress and its power to make law. Elections, legislative leadership, congressional committees, inter-branch relations, and the dynamics of the legislative process are some of the sub-themes.

PSC 304 Bureaucratic Politics
Gen Ed: W, Prerequisite: PSC 101 or prior coursework in social science

A broad overview of the development and performance of bureaucratic institutions in the U.S. political system, exploring the extraordinary expansion of bureaucratic authority in recent decades and various explanations of government growth. A review of the historical development of bureaucratic institutions will set the stage for subsequent discussions of the performance of public sector organizations and prospects for significant reform in the next decade.

PSC 305 Internship
(3 to 15 credits) (U.Studies Cluster 5.B)
Students take part in internship opportunities in the public and private sector, in conjunction with a series of five on-campus seminars with core readings designed to integrate the student's real-world experience with the academic discipline. Students are placed on congressional and state legislative staffs, in state and local government, in the judicial system, in prosecutors' offices, in law firms, and a variety of other public and non profit organizations.

PSC 306 Civil Rights Movements in the United States

Gen Ed: C, D

A study of the politics of civil rights and the various philosophical approaches that have been used to extend such rights to groups that have traditionally had no access to the agenda setting processes within the legislative system. Emphasis is placed on the philosophy of nonviolence and on the political effectiveness of such organizing strategies as marches, sit-ins, and public demonstrations; and how the American experience with civil rights has influenced civil rights movements in other parts of the world. Cross-listed as AAS 306.

PSC 311 State Politics
Prerequisites: PSC 101 and upper-division standing
An exploration of politics and government in the American states. The course is a comparative analysis of the 50 states, although special attention will be given to Massachusetts.

PSC 312 Massachusetts Politics

Prerequisites: PSC 101 or consent of instructor and upper-division standing
An analysis of selected aspects of Massachusetts politics and government: the state legislature, electoral trends, parties, courts, and executive policy are potential subjects. There will be a special emphasis on student research.

PSC 313 Urban Politics
Ged Ed: D; Prerequisites: PSC 101 and upper-division standing
A critical examination of the urban political community in the United States. Particular attention is given to the adequacy of the city as an arena of conflict resolution and decision-making as well as such current problems as urban reconstruction in the ghettos. Field research in the area by individuals or groups is encouraged but not required. Cross-listed as AAS 313.

PSC 315 Public Policy in America
Prerequisites: PSC 101 and upper-division standing
The policy-making roles, processes, and dynamics of U.S. political institutions, including the federal bureaucracy, media, think tanks, and universities.

PSC 320 American Political Thought
An examination of the most influential thinkers and ideas in American political thought. The principles of the American founding will be compared with the ideals and underlying premises of progressivism. The course will also explore how the intersection of these two currents in American political thought shape contemporary political issues in the United States. Readings may vary, but will likely include the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, The Federalist, speeches of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and writings from the Progressive Era.

PSC 322 Constitutional Law
Gen Ed: O; Prerequisites: PSC 101 and upper-division standing
Course centers on the development of the constitutional framework of American government. Supreme Court cases will cover judicial review, the powers of the three branches, and federalism.

PSC 323 Civil Liberties and Rights
Gen Ed: E; Prerequisites: PSC 101 and upper-division standing
In effect the second half of the course on Constitutional Law. The Civil Liberties course deals with the relations between the individual and the state as defined by U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Topics may include rights of racial minorities, freedom of speech, church-state relations, and the rights of criminal defendants.

PSC 331 Political Parties and Interest Groups
Prerequisites: PSC 101 or written permission of instructor; and upper-division standing
The development and function of political parties and political interest groups in American politics. Strategies for lobbying and for creating interest groups also examined.

PSC 332 Sex Roles and Politics
Prerequisites: PSC 101 or PSC 238 or WMS 100, and upper-division standing
An examination of the impact of gender as a variable in American politics. The course analyzes women in the electorate as candidates, as office holders, and as political participants including participation in political organizations and lobbying groups. Cross-listed as WMS 332.

PSC 333 Political Behavior
Prerequisites: PSC 101 or PSC 238 and PSC 349, or written permission of instructor; and upper-division standing
Examines political behavior within the American political system. Special emphasis on quantitative methods to examine participation. Original data sets which have provided the sources for assigned readings are supplied. Emphasis on socio- economic models of participation.

PSC 339 Women and Public Policy
Gen Ed: D; Prerequisites: PSC 101 and upper-division standing
Examines public policies and landmark Supreme Court opinions relating to gender equality and womens interests in the United States. Topics may include educational policies, employment policies, child care policies, health care policies, reproductive rights, and policies relating to women as criminals. Cross-listed as PST 354, WMS 339

PSC 342 Public Administration
Prerequisites: PSC 101 and upper-division standing
Examination of the general nature of the bureaucracy in public and private organization and in various cultural contexts. Attention is given to administrative responsibility. Cross-listed as LST 342

PSC 347 Environmental Law
Prerequisite: Upper-division standing
An introduction to basic concepts of environmental law. The emphasis is on broad introductory themes.

PSC 348 Ocean Policy and Law
Laws and policies associated with marine resource management. The declining status and productivity of many of our marine resources has led to growing concern about human activities such as pollution, overfishing, and environmental degradation. The course explores the fundamentals of policy analysis in order to gain insights into issues including jurisdiction, harvest regulation, ecosystem approaches, and environmental protection.

PSC 349 Political Science Research Methods
Prerequisites: PSC 101, 151, or 161, or permission of instructor; and upper-division standing
An introduction to the various subfields of political science from a practitioner's point of view. Students will learn how to study politics scientifically using theories, hypotheses, and concepts to explore the relationships among variables. Students will also learn how to define and critique concepts commonly used in professional journals. The course concludes with an overview of descriptive statistics and their application to data analysis within a Political Science framework.

PSC 351 Modern Political Thought
Prerequisite: Upper-division standing
European political theorists from the 16th through 19th centuries. Course will focus on the development of modern liberalism with some attention to its nineteenth century critics. Readings may vary, but most likely will include the major political writings of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Bentham.

PSC 352 Classical Political Thought
Prerequisite: Upper-division standing
European political theorists from ancient Greece through the 15th century. Readings may vary, but most likely will include the major political writings of Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, and others.

PSC 354 Contemporary Political Thought
Prerequisite: Upper-division standing
The recent ideological currents in advanced capitalist societies: neo-conservatism, neoliberalism, syndicalism, postmarxian socialism, eco-anarchism, and corporate fascism. The course will focus on political thinkers who have made significant contributions to the interpretation of contemporary political and economic developments.

PSC 360 European Politics
Gen Ed: G; Prerequisite: PSC 151 or upper-division standing
The political culture, historical political development, and governmental institutions of major Western European nations, including the European Union. The course will focus on Britain, France, Germany, and Italy.

PSC 361 Chinese Government and Politics
Prerequisites: PSC 151 and upper-division standing
An introduction to the People's Republic of China and its political process. The interrelationships between China's revolutionary heritage and the development of Maoist ideology and mass mobilization politics, economic policy, and foreign policy will be examined. Finally, post-Mao politics will be studied to determine the degree and direction of change and its implication for Chinese politics and for the Chinese people.

PSC 362 Topics in Comparative Politics

PSC 367 African Political Systems
Gen Ed: C, D, G
A study of the contemporary politics of African states and governments, and providing exposure to the African historical backgrounds, political cultures, political trends, and ideology. The colonial heritage of African states, the quest for modernization and nation-building, and the transition to democratic governance are explored. Cross-listed as AAS 367.

PSC 369 Transition to Democracy
Transitions from non-democratic to democratic regimes in three major areas of the world, Southern Europe, the Soviet Union and East-Central Europe, and South America, from a comparative theoretical perspective. Theoretical problems include what democracy is and is not, democratic transition and democratic consolidation, how and why transitions to democracy have occurred, and factors that influence the success or failure of democratization.

PSC 370 Latin American Politics

PSC 371 Topics in Political Theory

PSC 373 Cape Verdean Politics and Society
Gen Ed: C, D, G
A study of Cape Verdeans as an ethnic subpopulation in the United States, and as comprising an independent, self-governing nation-state. The historical, political, social, and economic contributions of Americans of Cape Verdean descent in the United States and in Cape Verde are examined. Crosslisted as AAS 303.

PSC 374 Haitian Politics and Society

PSC 381 Topics in International Relations

PSC 382 American Foreign Policy
Prerequisite: PSC 161 or permission of the instructor
Policy choices made by the United States and the actors, institutions, and influences that affect those decisions. Students gain an understanding of the foreign policy positions of presidential candidates and presidents, the various influences on the making of American foreign policy and the American foreign policy process, and the impact of the hanging international environment on American foreign policy.

PSC 384 International Law and Organization (Gen Ed: G)
Prerequisites: PSC 161
Examines efforts to address problems of international concern through international law and organizations.

PSC 385 The Politics of Global Climate Change

PSC 393 Portugal and the European Union
Gen Ed: G, Prerequisite: sophomore standing or above
Examines the political, economic, and demographic shifts in Portuguese society that have accompanied the process of European integration. This is a four-week summer course offered in a study-abroad format in Portugal. Various field trips and guest lectures will shed light on the impact of EU integration.

PSC 394 The Politics of European Integration
Prerequisite: sophomore standing or above
Topics on European integration, the historical development of the European Union, eastward expansion, treaties, the Single Market, the EURO, theories of European integration, and challenges facing small states in the EU. This is a four-week summer course offered in a study-abroad format in Portugal. Various field trips and guest lectures will shed light on the impact of EU integration.

PSC 395 Politics and Development of Modern Portugal
Gen Ed: G
The politics and economic development of 20th century Portugal. This course will explore the links between changes in the socio-economic structures of the country and the transformation of the political system. Portuguese colonialism, the corporatist Estado Novo, and the transition to and consolidation of democracy will be examined from a comparative European perspective.

PSC 396 Directed Study

PSC 400-449 Seminars in American Politics and Ideas

Offerings include:

PSC 400 Seminar: Topics in American Politics and Policy

PSC 408 Seminar: Judicial Process and Behavior

PSC 416 Seminar: Civil Rights in America

PSC 445 Seminar: Women and Politics

PSC 450 Seminar: Topics in Comparative Politics

PSC 451 Seminar: Politics of Developing Countries

PSC 471 Seminar: Topics in Political Theory

PSC 474 Seminar: Global Environmental Politics

PSC 477 Seminar: Topics in International Relations

PSC 495 Independent Study

PSC 496 Directed Study

PSC 498 Capstone Seminar in Political Science

PSC 499 Thesis

Note: All courses earn 3 (three) credtis unless specified otherwise