The minor in political science introduces students to the systematic study of power in society. The minor builds on the state-centric models common in the field with a unique focus on individual and community-level analyses of structures, behaviors, and outcomes. The core classes of the minor introduce students to the current state of the field. Further coursework, through electives, is flexible ranging from prescriptive coursework on policy and justice to descriptive coursework on systems and history. Broadly, students can focus on domestic, local, or international levels of analysis with economic, policy, legislative/legal, or historic emphases shaped by both the courses and research interests. Those interested in pursuing careers in political science are encouraged to pair the minor with a departmental honors project.

Political Science minor
(18 hours)
PLS 100    Introduction to Political Science (3)
CRJ 180    Law, Justice, and Society (3)
PLS 411    Social Sciences Capstone (3)

Choose three from the following:
PLS 251    American Political Process (3)
PLS 272   Global Politics and International Relations (3)
PLS 285   Comparative Politics (3)
PLS 301    Constitutional Law (3)

This course covers the scope and methods of the study of political science and examines the basic concepts and theories in the discipline. Traditions and approaches in the field and their application to the various subdivisions of political science are covered. Intended to help develop within the student the critical ability to analyze and evaluate political issues and questions.

A study of the historical evolution of American political institutions. Appropriate attention is given to the theory of American federalism, constitutional safeguards, the political role of minorities and the contemporary challenges to democratic government.

A study of international nation-state behavior since World War II. The course surveys political forces that operate in the contemporary international system such as ideology, nationalism, international law and economic interests. Selected current issues in international politics are identified for in-depth study and discussion. Such issues might include the Middle East conflict, the arms race, revolution in Central America, international development, protecting world resources, the struggle of Black Africa, nuclear proliferation and related issues.  This course is one of the core courses in the Peace and Conflict Studies minor. Prerequisite: PLS 100 or PLS 215.

An introductory course in comparative politics designed to introduce the student to the systematic study of nations and their political systems, to provide a solid base of information about political systems of selected countries and to develop analytical skills so that each student is able to compare any two nations with regard to political culture, political socialization, structure and institutions of government and public policy. This course may be taken as part of the Peace and Conflict Studies minor.

This course utilizes a variety of perspectives and gives particular attention to the growth and development of the relationship between the individual and government at the federal, state and local levels. Offers an analysis of the historical evolution of the relationship between the states and the Bill of Rights and of the impact of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment on the application of the Bill of Rights to the states. Provides a study of notable Supreme court decisions from Marbary and Madison to the leading decisions relating to the criminal justice system. Upper level standing and PLS 215 recommended for registration, or permission of instructor.

This capstone course is cross-listed in Criminal Justice, Public Health and Political Science. Capstone experiences provide students with an opportunity to reflect upon their education experiences and apply the knowledge and skills gained during their course of study. In this class, students will utilize problem-based learning to review key ideas and examine how they embed in the broader context of the social sciences. In parallel with the course content, students will engage in career development activities, including resume building, job searching and interviewing skills, as they prepare to join the workforce or pursue a graduate education. Students without prior field experience will need to complete the relevant placement/internship (at least 2 semester hours/80 on site hours in their relevant field) in conjunction with the course. Topics covered in the course: career development, applied problem-solving, identifying interdisciplinary connections in the social sciences.

August 2013