King's College - Political Science

Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

CORE COURSES
CORE 158 — Introduction to Political Science (3)

Political science consists of many fields of study. This course provides an introduction to the basic theories and concepts of political science. The overview includes political
theory, the political process, American government, comparative politics, and international relations.

CORE 188 — American Government (3)
Fundamental political principles and concepts as applied to the American political system. The formal structure of American government, its basic political institutions, and the political problems created by American society and culture will be examined. Political
behavior and socialization will be emphasized, particularly as those phenomena contribute to an understanding of the policy-making process in the United States.

POLITICAL SCIENCE COURSES
PS 231 — American Intergovernmental Relations (3)

An analysis of the origin, evolution, and status of American federalism. National, state, and local decision-making will be reviewed, particularly as each government’s policies impact
upon the others. The course will examine such phenomena as grants-in-aid, inter-state compacts, and metropolitan consolidation. An introduction to state and local government and politics is also included.

PS 232 — Public Administration (3)
Application of the basic concepts, tools, and issues of American public administration. The relationship between the theory and the practice of public administration will be investigated through the use of classical conceptual works in the discipline (Waldo, We ber, Wilson, Lindblom) and contemporary administrative case studies. Consideration will also be given to such persistent bureaucratic problems as control, efficiency, equity, responsiveness, and the rise of the administrative state. Students will complete a major project which will be the sophomore assessment of progress in the major.

PS 241 — Political Theory I (3)
An examination of the fundamental and enduring issues of politics as articulated by leading political theorists. Among the issues examined will be power, order, authority, individual rights, the nature and merits of democracy, the relationship of the individual to the state, and revolution. The course will focus on commentaries written before 1700, i.e., Plato to Locke. Alternate year course.

PS 242 — Political Theory II (3)
A continuation of Political Theory I with the focus on analyses written since 1700, i.e., from Rousseau to contemporary political theorists. Alternate year course.

PS 245 — Comparative Political Systems I (3)
An analysis of politics in the established liberal democracies of Western Europe and the newly democratized countries of the former Soviet Union. Problems of transition from Political Science 261 command economics to the market system, and from Totalitarian political systems to democracy are a central focus. In addition, aspects of political culture, state-society relations, groups, parties, elections, governmental structure, public policy issues, and institutional environments are examined on a comparative basis.

PS 246 — Comparative Political Systems II (3)
An analysis of the politics of developing countries with an emphasis on Latin America. Problems of post-colonial transition (economically, socially, and politically), state building and nationalism, and issues of modernization and dependency theory will be a central focus. In addition, aspects of political culture, state-society relations, groups, parties, elections, governmental structure, public policy issues, and institutional environments are examined on a comparative basis.

PS 248 — Comparative Issues in Latin America (3)
An examination of crucial political, socioeconomic, and cultural issues in Latin America, ranging from military regimes to human rights to neo-liberalism. These issues are examined in an historical comparative framework.

PS 250 — American Political History (3)
A survey of the historical development of the American political system from the Federalist Era to the current day. The course will examine growth of the major American political parties as well as third party movements. Primary focus will include political party philosophies and programs, ideas and forces which shaped the political system, men and women who served as party leaders, and significant state and national elections. Usually offered by the History Department and cross-listed as HIST 250.

PS 294 — Leadership for the 21st Century (1)
Designed to help prepare students to be effective leaders for positive social change in local, national, and international affairs. A new paradigm of values-based leadership development provides the framework. Students will be encouraged to apply classroom learning to actual on-going leadership opportunities in organizations of which they are members. Class closed to freshmen. Cross-listed as HRM 294.

PS 321 — Scope and Methods of Political Science (3)
This course is an introduction to the use of quantitative methods in political inquiry. Students use computer based statistical methods and databases to examine elementary
concepts of data analysis within the context of various political questions. Topics include basic statistical concepts, a survey of primary measures of descriptive and inferential statistical methods, and considerations of the appropriateness of these various methods in political inquiry.

PS 322 — Theories and Research Methods in International Relations (3)
An analysis of theories and research paradigms in the field of international relations. Major topics will include the key assumptions in international relations and in the major theoretical schools, focusing on balance of power, collective security, foreign policy decision-making, diplomacy, the United Nations, and other concepts. Students will use quantitative methods in political inquiry to design a research project within the field of international relations. A variety of computer-based analytical methods will be used to describe, explain, and predict international relations phenomena. Prerequisite: PS 321.

PS 333 — State Politics (3)
A comparative analysis of political processes and how confl ict is managed at the state level. The increasing power of the state executive, legislature and judiciary as demonstrated in
decision-making and behavior is examined. The changing roles of political parties and interest groups in policy-making are explored by focusing on selected public policy.

PS 341 — American Political Theory I (3)
This course provides an examination of the basic philosophical issues in American political theory. The course looks at a variety of issues, concepts, and controversies that characterize
and define our political experience. The course covers the colonial period, the Revolution, formation and growth of a constitutional government, the Civil War, and reconstruction.

PS 342 — American Political Theory II (3)
The course is a logical continuation of PS 341. The course follows the development of pragmatism, the influence of the scientific method and behaviorism, objectivism and its critics, postmodernism, and neo-conservative theories as they apply to the American political experience.

HIST 343 — The American Presidency (3)
The course will analyze the evolution of the Presidency by targeting the administrations of a select group of American Presidents. Emphasis will be on the leadership roles each exercised in shaping the character of the office, as well as the primary political, economic,
and cultural forces of the respective historical periods. Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and several 20th Century presidents will be the primary subjects. Usually offered by the History Department and cross-listed as HIST 343.

PS 351 — Municipal Administration (3)
A study of the administration of services of municipal government. The context in which city administrators and other participants in municipal politics work is also examined. Such contextual opportunities and constraints as governmental structure, economic base, community values, and political patterns and heritage are studied.

PS 352 — The Politics of Policymaking (3)
An analysis of primarily, the making, and secondarily, the content of American domestic policy at the national level. An integrative approach is taken to examine policy processes and practices from the political perspective (e.g., how is a policy formed?), the economic
perspective (e.g., who really benefits from the policy?), and the ideological perspective (e.g., what values are at stake?). Since the focus of this course is on the agenda-setting and formulation phases of the policymaking process, special consideration will be given to problems to which policies are a response, the emergence and evolution of policy issues, and the status of current policies.

PS 355 — Political Psychology (3)
The application of psychological insights to such political phenomena as leadership, decision-making, etc. In particular, the theories of Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis will be examined and analyzed with relevance to the concerns of political science in general (power, conflict, authority, etc.) as well as to the more specific problems of political behavior and personality.

PS 361 — American Constitutional Law I (3)
The origin of the concept of a “higher law” with particular emphasis upon the development of the English common law. The historical setting of the framing of the United States Constitution is considered as a background to the study of its specific provisions. Also examined is the organization and powers of the federal government and its relationship to the state governments as seen through successive decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. Some consideration is given to uniquely important decisions of the lower courts.

PS 362 — American Constitutional Law II (3)
Those portions of the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment to the Constitution which include the “civil rights and civil liberty” of citizens. The First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, religion, and assembly are considered together with the “personal rights” reserved to citizens by the Ninth Amendment. Substantial time is spent on the “due process” and “equal protection” clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment as they bear on integration, access to public facilities, equality of economic opportunities and “busing” of students in the public schools.

PS 363 — American Constitutional Law III (3)
A study of the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution by focusing on those provisions which relate to the rights of persons accused of crimes. The individual’s right to due process safeguards the availability of counsel and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, compulsory self-incrimination and double jeopardy. Development of, and reasoning behind the “exclusionary rule” of evidence is analyzed. In addition, this course will examine the Federal and Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. Cross-listed as CJ 363.

PS 364 — Problems in American Constitutional Law (3)
Problems in the American constitutional system. Flexibility in subject matter and approach is designed to offer qualified, advanced students the opportunity to analyze, in greater detail and smaller groups, particular areas within the fi eld of constitutional law. Admission with permission of the Department Chairperson.

PS 365 — The Judicial Branch: Courts, Law and Politics (3)
A comprehensive look at the Judicial branch of government, both Federal and State. The course will examine the structure and functions of the Federal Court system and State Courts, with an emphasis on Pennsylvania State Courts. The course will examine the politics of judicial selection, judicial decision-making, and the role of the courts in the policy process.

PS 371 — International Politics (3)
This course analyzes select aspects of international politics at three major levels: the international political system, the major actors in the system; and the principal forms of interaction between actors in the system. Among topics are the balance of power; collective security; foreign policy decision-making; environmental factors; diplomacy; bargaining and war; arms control; and role of non-national actors such as multinational corporations and the United Nations. Cross-listed as HIST 371.

PS 372 — International Law (3)
A survey of the rules and behavior standards of international law based on custom, treaties, and national legal decisions. Topics include: the nature and sources of international law; the rights and duties of states; territorial questions and the law of the sea; jurisdiction over individuals; the law of international transactions; settlement of disputes; and the rules of war. Cross-listed as IB 372.

PS 373 — Foreign Policy and National Security Issues (3)
A comparative study of basic national security issues faced by actors in the international system. Beginning with a survey of the principal comparative policy frameworks, the nature of the foreign policy process by which actors address these issues will be considered, and the unique national security problems of representative states will be analyzed and compared.

PS 374 — The Politics of the United Nations (3)
An in-depth analysis of the United Nations and its role in international relations. Other types of international organizations will be considered, including non-governmental and supra-national organizations. The course will incorporate preparation for and attendance at the National Model United Nations Conference in New York City.

PS 425 — Political Behavior (3)
An examination of the social conditions that are required for democracy; and, an exploration of the relationship of government with other social institutions toward the creation of consensus in society. Major topics covered include political culture, public opinion, symbolic politics, political socialization, and voting behavior.

PS 431 — Women and Politics (3)
An analysis of the social and political changes that have influenced the involvement of women in the American political process. The role of women in government and policymaking and the impact of public policy on women are explored from historical, political, and constitutional perspectives. Cross-listed as WMST 431.

PS 432 — Politics and the Arts (3)
A critical study of various artistic media and their proponents, as applied to the study of politics. Multiple artistic forms, traditions, attitudes, and methods of analysis, criticism, and expression which focus on political topics, are presented and considered. The course
examines how the rich multiplicity of means of discourse, such as the traditional venues of film, literature, the stage, music, and painting compare and contrast with various emerging forms such as multimedia presentations, to provide a full spectrum of assessment and conclusions about the political world.

PS 435 — Religion and Politics (3)
An investigation of the intersection of two powerful institutions: the Church and the State. Attention will be paid to historical questions, survey data, constitutional issues, as well as to analysis of contemporary political mobilization of religious groups. An on-site field excursion to religious groups involved in the political process is included within this course.

PS 441 — Problems in Political Theory (3)
A seminar, characterized by flexibility in subject matter and approach, designed to offer to qualified, advanced students an opportunity to pursue in greater detail and depth, particular developments, both traditional and contemporary, which have enriched the field of political science.

PS 442 — Philosophy of Political Inquiry (3)
A seminar that focuses on the central issues of epistemology and methodology in the social sciences with particular reference to political inquiry. Topics vary, but generally address questions concerning the nature of social inquiry and the specific implications for the study of political issues, phenomena, and institutions.

PS 452 — Environmental Politics and Policy (3)
An examination of the creation and implementation of environmental policy. The course examines the political, economic, scientific, and technological dimensions of environmental policy. The course poses these questions: Who makes environmental policy? What levels of government make and implement environmental policy? What are the economic considerations in making environmental policy? What is the role of science and technology? This course aims to enable students to think critically about the choices any society faces in making decisions about environmental policy. Cross-listed as ENST 452.

PS 461 — The U.S. Congress and the Legislative Process (3)
A study of the US Congress, the history of its development, and the national legislative process. Themes to be covered include the significance of procedural strategies and the difficulty of negotiating the complex political environment. This course includes a legislative simulation exercise.

PS 462 — The American Presidency and Leadership (3)
An analytical study of the American Presidency and related aspects of leadership. The course will examine key events and personalities in history that have had a lasting influence on the office and national politics. Themes to be covered include the institutional environment and the constitutional foundation of the office, the development of power and expectations of the office, and the politics of leadership.

PS 491 — Topics in American Government (3)
A seminar concerned with the fundamental problems of American government and politics. American political ideas, institutions and constitutional issues are discussed, and basic works are analyzed. The subject of the seminar varies each semester.

PS 492 — Topics in International Relations (3)
A seminar concerned with various problems in International Relations. This seminar will include either an area studies focus, such as Latin America, or a focus on a particular problem
or problems in international relations such as arms control and nuclear proliferation.

PS 493 — Senior Seminar (3)
In-depth exploration of an issue or area in one of the fi elds of political science. Recent seminars have focused on the American Presidency and specifically on the administrations
of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Topic and format will vary from year to year. Students will propose, research, and write a major paper in political science and then present their paper and findings in a public presentation. Required of all seniors.

PS 496 — Independent Research (3)
Research under tutorial supervision. Registration requires approval of the Department Chairperson.

PS 499 — Political Science Internship (3)
A one-semester, supervised experience in a government agency or the legal system. Required of all seniors.

 

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