Course Offerings | Political Science | Thiel College
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POSC 116: American Government and Politics
3 CH

An introduction to government and politics in the United States through an examination of the structures and processes that affect how public policies are made and what impacts they have.

POSC 146: Introduction to Comparative Politics
3 CH

This course serves as an introduction to the subfield of comparative politics. The course surveys a number of basic topics and themes central to the study of comparative political systems. Topics to be examined include political culture and socialization, participation in politics, governmental structures, decision-making, economic and social policies, and evaluation of performance. These topics will be explored in selected countries from Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North America.

POSC 156: Introduction to International Relations
3 CH

This course serves as an introduction to the history and theory of international relations. The course will provide an overview of the major substantive and theoretical issues of the field. Topics that are covered include origins of the nation-state, national power, war, arms races and arms control, imperialism and dependency, international law and international organizations.

POSC 225: Gender and Politics
3 CH

This course explores the social and political implications of gender in American society. In doing so, it examines women as political actors and evaluates the many challenges that they face as political candidates and leaders. Differences between men and women as citizens voters and the social problems that deferentially impact them will also be explored. Tentatively offered every other year.

POSC 226: State and Local Politics and Policy
3 CH

Study of state and local government through a consideration of public policy issues, policy making processes and structural attributes of the various subnational political systems of the United States. An introduction to public administration is an important part of the course.

POSC 230: Globalization
3 CH

Focus on issues, themes, and perspectives related to the concept of globalization. Because globalization entails a complex interaction among political, social and economic dimensions, a diverse range of topics that include economic integration and crises, the acceptance and rejection of global cultural norms and the (in) stability created by democratization will be covered. Tentatively offered every other year.

POSC 236: Public Policy
3 CH

Study of contemporary public policy problems in the United States. Students will develop descriptive, analytic and advocacy skills while studying public policy issues concerning such matters as the environment, social welfare, health, education, business regulation, economic development, communication, transportation and housing.

POSC 286: Political Analysis
3 CH

A course devoted to an examination of the conduct of systematic research in political science and public policy. A broad range of topics will be considered, including such subjects as research design, identification and use of data bases, as well as the collection, description and analysis of data. Review of some of the typical approaches and theories used in the study of politics. (P: six credit hours in POSC; MATH 211 is recommended.)

POSC 297: Political Parties and Elections in the United States
3 CH

A study of elections as a central feature of the American political landscape and the influential role that political parties play in such elections. Presidential and congressional elections are the framework for examination of such topics as campaign tactics and strategies, public opinion and voter decision-making and the roles of the media and interest groups. Offered fall of even-numbered years.

POSC 300: Introduction to Legal Studies
3 CH

Study of law and legal systems in the context of the liberal arts. Focus of the course is primarily on the United States. While considering the nature and functions of law in society, attention will be given to actors in the legal system including lawyers, judges, police and juries.

POSC 307: Research and Reading in Political Science
1-3 CH

A course designed to permit advanced students in political science to conduct a research and/or reading program in an area of their interest that does not duplicate other departmental offerings. (P: Junior standing, major GPA of 2.5 or better and consent of instructor.)

POSC 310: International Political Economy
3 CH

The exploration of concepts and themes related to the intersection of international politics and the global economy. This subfield of political science encompasses a diverse array or topics that include methods of political-economic decision-making, historically influential actors and institutions, and prospects for international cooperation in areas of trade, finance, and monetary policy. Tentatively offered every other year.

POSC 312: International Security
3 CH

The exploration of concepts and themes related to the perception, evaluation and management of international security problems. In doing so, it encompasses a diverse array of topics that include interstate war, transnational crime, the protection of human beings, economic assets and environmental resources. The role and future of international and regional security institutions along with the policies of key states will also be explored. Tentatively offered every other year.

POSC 315: Political Psychology
3 CH

Drawing upon an interdisciplinary field, this course explores the psychological sources of politically relevant attitudes and behaviors mostly among the masses, but among the elite as well. In doing so, it investigates the effects of personality, intergroup psychology and context on attitudes and behaviors with the interest of better understanding how our democratic processes operate. Tentatively offered every third year.

POSC 316: Selected Topics
2-4 CH

Study of selected issues in political science classes will be conducted either as seminars or as lecture and discussion meetings, as determined for the specific offering. May be repeated for credit as topics vary.

POSC 327: Politics of Developing Societies
3 CH

This course serves as an introduction to the political systems of the Third World. The course will focus on issues associated with the legacy of colonialism, economic development, culture, political institutions and policy-making. The course will also introduce students to some of the concepts, theories and methods of comparative analysis.

POSC 335: The American Presidency
3 CH

A course designed to examine the impact of the American presidency on politics, policy and culture in the United States. A broad range of topics will be considered, including such topics as the evolution of the presidency as an institution, the variety of roles that the presidents play in the American political system and the interaction of presidents with other prominent political actors.

POSC 336: Public Administration
3 CH

An introduction to the study of public administration through an examination of the organization, members, processes and policies of bureaucracies in the public sector. Topics such as decision making, human resource management, budgeting, administrative law, the policy process and the role of bureaucracy in a democratic society will be considered.

POSC 347: Politics of Industrialized Societies
3 CH

This course examines the political systems of Western Europe and Japan. The course will focus on the political institutions, social and economic structures, political culture and the political socialization processes of the countries of the industrialized West. The course will also provide a comparative analysis of contemporary economic and social policies of selected Western European countries and Japan.

POSC 355: Cooperative Education
Credit Hours Vary

POSC 385: The Law of Families
3 CH

This course examines the role that law, government and ideology play in defining the “American family.” It focuses on the rights and responsibilities of family members in such areas as marriage, divorce, child care and parental care. It also examines a number of current controversial issues, including reproductive rights, child custody and working parents.

POSC 388: The Death Penalty
3 CH

This course will introduce students to the law of capital punishment: what are the rules and procedures which govern who is and is not subject to the death penalty. It also examines the social and political factors that influence the death penalty, including the impact of racism, poverty and shoddy lawyering on capital punishment.

POSC 395: Policy and Program Evaluation
3 CH

Designing and operating effective programs necessitates proper evaluation. This information supplies program managers and policymakers with data that can be used for making decisions about which programs to fund, modify, expand or discontinue. As such, program evaluation can be both an improvement and accountability tool for program managers and funders. This course serves as an introduction to evaluation methodology and evaluation tools commonly used to assess programs geared toward public use.

POSC 397: Public Affairs Internship
2-16 CH

Internships in governmental or other organizations with a significant public service mission. Placements are available in both semesters and in the summer. Internship placements in law-related organizations, the Harrisburg Capitol Semester, and other state and local organizations are available.

POSC 405: Terrorism
3 CH

The background, motives and tactics of terrorism as a means of political violence is explored. This class covers a range of issues including attempts at defining terrorism, identifying motives for terrorism, and assessing contemporary methods of counterterrorism. Tentatively offered every other year.

POSC 406: Independent Study
1-4 CH

Reading and independent study concerning a subject in political science that is mutually agreed upon by the student and sponsoring departmental faculty. (P: Junior standing, consent of the instructor and compliance with College requirements for independent study.)

POSC 410: International Organization and Law
3 CH

This course examines the development of international organizations and their role in the international community. Particular emphasis will be placed on the role of the United Nations after World War II. The course will also introduce students to the nature and impact of public international law in the international system.

POSC 436: Constitutional Law
3 CH

Survey of the main features of the American constitutional system, particularly through examination of selected decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. (P: POSC 116 or consent of the instructor)

POSC 437: First Amendment Law
3 CH

This course examines the philosophical underpinnings of the First Amendment, as well as the historical and current doctrines of freedom of speech, press, association and religion as developed by the Supreme Court of the United States. (P: POSC 116 or permission of the instructor.)

POSC 438: Criminal Due Process Rights
3 CH

This class provides an examination of the procedures utilized in the criminal justice system as they relate to criminal law and the administration of justice. Specifically, this course will examine how the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and 14th Amendments to the Constitution impact individual rights and the police powers of the State. (P: POSC 116 of CJS 101 or permission of the instructor.)

POSC 445: The Great American Trial
3 CH

This class introduces students to the fundamental techniques and theory necessary to conduct a trial in court. It provides students with a thorough knowledge of the American judicial system and helps them develop both oral and written communication skills. The course concludes with students’ participation in mock trials (P: POSC 300 or CJS 101 or permission of the instructor). Class size is limited to 16 students.

POSC 456: American Foreign Policy Formulation
3 CH

This course provides a history and analysis of American foreign policy with emphasis on the post- World War II period. The course will survey various factors which influence the policy-making process and evaluate several analytical models of foreign policy behavior. Attention will also be devoted to the emerging post-cold war era of American foreign policy and the changing role of the United States in the international system. (P: POSC 107 or 116 or consent of instructor.)

POSC 466: International Relations: Selected Problems
3 CH

An analysis of international relations since World War II especially at the present time in Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Emphasis is on selected problems and policies in the several regional areas.

POSC 467: Washington Internship
8 CH

A semester in Washington, D.C. with a focus on contemporary public affairs. A supervised internship is required. This may be in governmental, private or public service sectors. The subject of the internship varies according to student interest and preparation.

POSC 468: Washington Seminar I
4 CH

POSC 468 and POSC 469 are topical seminars required of Washington Semester participants. Students may select from a range of subjects.

POSC 469: Washington Seminar II
4 CH

POSC 468 and POSC 469 are topical seminars required of Washington Semester participants. Students may select from a range of subjects.

POSC 495: Public Policy Capstone
4 CH

The purpose of this course is to have students practice principles learned in the classroom by applying knowledge toward the creation of a project for a client. Working in teams, students will conduct program research for a client in either a non-profit organization or government agency. Over the course of a semester, student teams will work with their client to develop a work plan, collect relevant data, identify and analyze policy options, and produce a professional report that includes specific recommendations for action.

POSC 496: Senior Seminar
4 CH

Examination of political science as a field of study; discussion of selected topics in political science and preparation of a number of analytical papers on selected topics in political science or an extended analytical research paper. Required of all majors in political science. Offered every fall. (WIC)