College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

Lower-Division Coursework (34 Units)

By the time our students graduate from our program, they are expected to become well-immersed in the seven subfields of political science. Our degree requirements require students to take the introductory course to the major (PLS 101) and the corresponding core course in ALL seven subfields. In upper-division coursework, students are encouraged to specialize in those subfields which they are most interested in.

Should you have additional questions, please consult the 2017-2018 Catalog, the 2017-2018 Political Science Curriculum Sheet, the 2017-2018 Political Science Road Map, or contact your advisor in the department. 

Introduction to the major

A course for political science majors designed to introduce them to the resources available for the study of, and careers in, political science, including the development and practice of research skills, presentation skills, and career strategies.

Core Course: PLS 101 - Resources in Political Science (2)

American Government

Faculty and students examine the United States constitutional and political philosophies, intergovernmental relations, political institutions and processes, and the rights and obligations of citizens.

Core Course: PLS 201 - Introduction to American Politics (4)
Faculty: Dr. Neil Chaturvedi, Dr. Mario Guerrero

Comparative Politics

Faculty and students in Comparative Politics analyze both Western and non-Western politics and government. Relevance of such concepts as political culture, political socialization, and political ideologies to the understanding of political systems.

Core Course: PLS 202 - Introduction to Comparative Politics (4)
Faculty: Dr. Robert Nyenhuis, Dr. Marc Scarcelli

International Relations

Faculty and students study contemporary international affairs, with an emphasis on politics among states. This core area examines national foreign policies, the organizational, legal and economic dimensions of the state system, the causes of war, and the future of the global order.

Core Course: PLS 203 - Introduction to International Relations (4)
Faculty: Dr. Robert Nyenhuis, Dr. Marc Scarcelli

Political Thought

Faculty and students examine the writings of selected philosophers on central questions of political life such as political order, governance, freedom and liberty, equality, justice, rights, the public interest, power. This area studies the conceptions and principles of normative political theory.

Core Course: PLS 204 - Introduction to Political Thought (4)
Faculty: Dr. Jill Hargis, Dr. David Speak

Research Methods

Faculty and students examine the methods of the social sciences as applied to the study of politics. This area questions how social scientists  attempt to answer empirical questions about politics.

Core Course: PLS 205(A) - Introduction to Research Methods (3/1)
Faculty: Dr. Neil Chaturvedi, Dr. Sandra Emerson, Dr. Mario Guerrero, Dr. Jing Wang

Public Administration

Faculty and students study the structures, functions, principles, and processes of American governmental administration. This area pays particular attention to the importance and growth of government administration and to the principles and processes of establishing, directing, and evaluating governmental programs.

Core Course: PLS 206 - Introduction to Public Administration (4)
Faculty: Dr. Brady Collins, Dr. Sandra Emerson, Dr. Charles Gossett, Dr. Lisa Nelson, Dr. Renford Reese, Dr. David Speak, Dr. Jing Wang

Public Law

Students and faculty examine public law’s theoretical and historical foundation, and its functioning within legislative, judicial and administrative institutions of government.

Core Course: PLS 207 - Introduction to Public Law (4)
Faculty: Dr. Jill Hargis, Dr. David Speak

Note: In addition to these core courses listed above, seniors are required to enroll in our senior capstone program (PLS 461/462 - Senior Thesis in Political Science (4/4) OR PLS 481/482 - Senior Internship in Political Science (4/4))