Political Science Courses

COURSES

PSC 101 Introduction to American Politics
(fulfills U.Studies cluster 4.B)

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
(fulfills U.Studies cluster 4.C)
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
(fulfills U.Studies cluster 4.C)
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
(fulfills U.Studies cluster 4.B)
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
(fulfills U.Studies cluster 4.A)
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
Examination of the challenges of organizational and community sustainability, using UMass Dartmouth as the principle example. Students will engage with university operations to design and implement measures to advance campus sustainability. Areas of focus include the built environment, purchasing, transportation, natural resources, energy use, adaptation to new technologies, and the economics of higher education.

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

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
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
(fulfills 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 261 Topics in International Relations
Variable topics course in international relations. This course offers an examination of topical issues affecting the international political system. Typical topics include the international relations of East Asia, the politics of human rights, global terrorism, the politics of drone warfare, and the global politics of everyday things, etc. Open to majors and non-majors, with no prerequisites. May be repeated with change of content.

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
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 271 Topics in Political Theory
Issues and ideas courses on selected topics in Political Theory 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 include: Pluralism and Politics of Evil. May be repeated with change of content.

PSC 277 Africa in World Politics
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 284 Model UN
Examination of the role played by the United Nations in dealing with important issues and challenges in the arena of international politics. Students perform the role of delegates representing individual countries and, through the format of simulations, learn about the statecraft of foreign policy, diplomacy and international relations.

PSC 286 Contemporary Issues in World Politics

PSC 291 Contemporary Issues in Human Rights

 

PSC 301 The Presidency
Prerequisites: PSC 101 or 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 major or upper-division standing or permission of instructor

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
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)
(fulfills U.Studies Cluster 5.B)

Prerequisite: permission of instructor
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

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 or 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

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
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 or 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
Prerequisites: PSC 101 or CJS 190 or upper-division standing or permission of instructor
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
Prerequisites: PSC 101 or CJS 190 or upper-division standing or permission of instructor
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 major or upper-division standing or permission of instructor
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: sophomore or above 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: upper-division standing or PSC major or permission of instructor
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 337 Reproductive Rights and Health
Prerequisites: PSC 101 or WGS 101 or permission of instructor
Trends, controversies, laws, policies and politics relating both to women’s control over their fertility and to reproductive health in the United States. The areas covered include abortion, birth control, sterilization, sex education, sexually-transmitted disease (STD) prevention, assisted reproductive technologies (ART), the birthing process, and infant-feeding. We leanr differing feminist perspective relevant to these areas. Cross-listed with WGS 337.

PSC 339 Women and Public Policy
Prerequisites: sophomore or above 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, WGS 339

PSC 342 Public Administration
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
Introduction to the concepts surrounding environmental law. Students explore the reasons, development, and implementation of environmental laws. Areas of focus include the following: using the law to consider environmental impacts before taking action; using the law to protect water and air quality; the law of land use; and global applications of legal frameworks to deal with large scale environmental problems like climate change. Cross-listed with SUS 347.

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.  Cross listed with SUS 348

PSC 349 Political Science Research Methods
Prerequisites: PSC 249 or permission of instructor
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 Theory
(fulfills U.Studies cluster 4.A)
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
(fulfills U.Studies cluster 4.A)
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
(fulfills U.Studies cluster 4.A)
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
Prerequisite: PSC 151 or permission of instructor
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 or permission of instructor
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
Special topics course in the field of Comparative Politics.  May be repeated with change of content.

PSC 363 Government and Politics of the Middle East
Prerequisites: upper-division standing
The politics of the Middle East in terms of the region’s history, geography, culture and the impact of the West. Country studies include Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf States.

PSC 366 Islam and Politics
Prerequisites: PSC 151 or permission of instructor
The political and cultural history of Islam. Students will learn about the contemporary revolutionary religious movements in Muslim countries and their effect on world politics.

PSC 367 African Political Systems
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
Prerequisites: PSC 151 or permission of instructor
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
Prerequisites: PSC major or upper-division standing

PSC 371 Topics in Political Theory
Special topics course in the field of Political Theory. Course topics will range from an in-depth examination of a major political thinker such as Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, Rawls, or Habermas to an examination of a fundamental issue political theory such as the basis of political legitimacy, the relationship of duties and rights, or the varieties of social contract theory. May be repeated with change of content.

PSC 373 Cape Verdean Politics and Society

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
A study of Haitians as an ethnic subpopulation in the United States and as comprising an independent self-governing nation-state. The historical, political, and socioeconomic contributions of Americans of Haitian descent in the United States are examined.

PSC 381 Topics in International Relations

Prerequisite: upper-division standing

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
Prerequisites: PSC 161 or SUS 101 or uper-division standing or permission of instructor
Examines efforts to address problems of international concern through international law and organizations.

PSC 385 The Politics of Global Climate Change
Prerequisites: PSC 161 or SUS 101 or upper-division standing or permission of instructor
Examination of the politics of global climate change.  Topics include the politics of climate science, the political psychology of climate concern, international climate change negotiations, climate change and violent conflict, and policies to mitigate and adapt to climate change at the local, national, and international levels.

PSC 393 Portugal and the European Union
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
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
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
Prerequisites: PSC 101 and upper-division standing
Available topics seminar in the field of American politics. Repeatable with change in content.

PSC 408 Seminar: Judicial Process and Behavior
Discussion of the judiciary, specifically focusing on the actions of courts and judges. Questions explored include: How do courts work? What impact do courts have on society? How do judges make decisions? What factors influence judicial decision-making and the judicial selection process? What constraints exist upon judicial actions? In exploring the answers to these questions, students will have a better understanding of the importance of the courts and judicial actors in democratic government.

PSC 416 Seminar: Civil Rights in America
Prerequisites: upper-division standing
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. Cross-Listed as AAS 416; LST 416. Cross-listed with BLS 416

PSC 445 Seminar: Women and Politics
Prerequisites: PSC 101 or permission of instructor
An exploration of women’s involvement in the processes, institutions and outcomes of politics including voting and other forms of electoral participation, campaigning for political office, office-holding and leadership, and public policy. In examining these topics, the course looks at the roles played by women’s movements, feminism, and antifeminism. The focus is primarily on the United States with some coverage of other countries. Cross-listed with WGS 445

PSC 450 Seminar: Topics in Comparative Politics
Prerequisites: PSC 151 or 161 or permission of instructor
Available topics seminar in the field of Comparative Politics. Repeatable with change in content.

PSC 451 Seminar: Politics of Developing Countries
Prerequisites: PSC 151 or permission of instructor
Focus is “development” and its conceptual counterpart “underdevelopment.” Some of the questions we seek to explore are: What is development? How should it be measured? Will all countries eventually follow the development path of the advanced industrial countries? Is income inequality getting better or worse between rich and poor on a global scale? What factors explain underdeveloped in different regions of the globe? What are some of the specific development strategies that countries have followed and with what results? Cross-listed with SUS 451

PSC 471 Seminar: Topics in Political Theory
Available topics seminar in the field of Political Theory politics. Repeatable with change in content.

PSC 473 Seminar: Rules of War
Prerequisites: PSC 161
Examines the ethical and legal dimensions of “just cause” and “just conduct” in warfare.

PSC 474 Seminar: Global Environmental Politics
Examination of the creation, operation, and effectiveness of international efforts to address transboundary environmental problems. Topics include the politics of scientific expertise, the role of nongovernmental organizations, the negotiation of international environmental treaties and regimes, international trade and the environment, and domestic sources of international concern.

PSC 477 Seminar: Topics in International Relations
Available topics seminar in the field of International Relations. Repeatable with change in content.

PSC 495 Independent Study

PSC 496 Directed Study

PSC 498 Capstone Seminar in Political Science
(fulfills U.Studies cluster 5.A)
A culminating seminar in political science. Topics will vary, but may include public opinion, international environmental policy, comparative legal system, and the rules of war. This course is intended for advanced political science majors and fulfills the University Studies capstone requirement.

PSC 499 Thesis
Prerequisites: premission of instructor
Undergraduate thesis under the supervision of a faculty member, by arrangement.May be repeated for credit, up to a total of six credits.


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

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