Political Science

Courses

POLS 100 | POWER AND JUSTICE

Units: 3-4

This course presents an overview of the discipline, including the basic theories, concepts, approaches, and enduring questions of political science. It provides students with a foundation of knowledge and the analytical skills necessary to understand modern politics in historical context.

POLS 120 | INTRODUCTION TO AMERICAN POLITICS

Units: 3

This course offers students a fundamental overview of American politics by analyzing the origin, development, structure, and operation of all levels of the American political system. This course also examines how politics are practiced in the United States in order to analyze the uniqueness of the American political system.

POLS 130 | INTRODUCTION TO THE POLITICS OF RACE AND ETHNICITY

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

What is the role of race and ethnicity in U.S. politics? Are we post-racial yet? The course surveys the impact of race and ethnicity on social, economic and political issues in the United States. We will examine the political experience and engagement of Native Americans, Black Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and White Americans in both a historical and contemporary context. We will also investigate the potential for colorblindness as an approach to American politics.

POLS 150 | INTRODUCTION TO COMPARATIVE POLITICS

Units: 3

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the study of comparative politics. Comparative politics is the study of the domestic politics of other countries. This course offers a fundamental overview of the major issues in comparative politics, such as, state formation, political regimes, political culture, civil society, political economy, governing institutions, electoral institutions, and other forms of political representation and participation.

POLS 170 | INTRODUCTION TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Units: 3-4

This course examines major theoretical approaches in the discipline of international relations. Students are introduced to the study of the causes of war and the conditions of peace, international law and organizations, international political economy, great power politics, and foreign-policy decision making. The course also explores issues such as global poverty, economic development, human rights, and the environment as they affect international politics.

POLS 200 | TOPICS IN POLITICAL THEORY

Units: 3

This course will offer lower division students an opportunity to take a course in a more specialized area of political thought. Topics may include "American Political Thought," "Political Thought in Literature," : Discourse & Democracy," and "Conservative Political Thought" and others.

POLS 220 | TOPICS IN AMERICAN POLITICS AND PUBLIC LAW

Units: 3

This course will offer lower division students a close look at a particular element fo the American political system. Topics may include "The Presidential Election," "The Vote," and "Money in American Politics" and others.

POLS 250 | TOPICS IN COMPARATIVE POLITICS

Units: 3

This course will offer lower division students the opportunity to examine specialized topcs in comparative politics. Topics may include "Political and Social Change in South Africa and the United States," "Democratization in Comparative Perspective," "political Change in the 21st Century" and others.

POLS 270 | TOPICS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Units: 3

This course will offer students a closer look at specialized topics in the international political system. Topics may include "Indigenous Peoples and the Environment," "Rising Powers and the Future of American Global Predominance," "War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century," "Twenty-first Century Global Challenges," and "Political Borders: Cooperation and Conflict Along Interstate Boundaries" and others.

POLS 300 | DEMOCRATIC THEORY

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

This class is an investigation of the virtues and vices of democracy. Course texts will be comprised of works in Ancient political thought, modern and contemporary democratic theory, and works of literature, By working to interrogate and analyze such texts, we will, hopefully come to a greater understanding of the attractions, harms, shortcomings, and potential of democracy in new and more fully developed ways.

POLS 301 | POLITICAL THOUGHT:ANCIENT TO MODERN

Units: 3

This course examines the formation and development of political ideas, from Greek political philosophy through the late Middle Ages. Emphasis is placed on the relationship between theory and practice in political life.

POLS 302 | POLITICAL THOUGHT:MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY

Units: 3

This course examines political ideas in the modern and contemporary Western tradition. Emphasis is placed on the relationship between theory and practice in political life.

POLS 303 | LIBERAL POLITICAL THOUGHT

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

This course investigates the history of liberalism, its foundational principles, its changing features, and the contemporary criticisms of and alternatives to liberalism from the likes of communitarians, republicans, and feminists.

POLS 304 | AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Through self-conscious interaction with the history of political thought, concern for practical solutions, and attentiveness to particularities of their own circumstances, Americans have crafted a tradition of political thought distinct in both form and content from that of their European forebears. This course explores the varieties of political thought in the United States, highlighting the diversity of perspectives on political life and institutional design throughout American history.

POLS 305 | BLACK POLITICAL THOUGHT

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

The course traces and examines how black political thinkers and activists have responded to central political questions in the United States and their relationship to the broader African Diaspora. We will explore major ideological trends and political philosophies, as they have been interpreted and applied by black thinkers. Key themes include the relationship between racial identity and questions of liberation, faith, and national belonging.

POLS 306 | CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL THOUGHT

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Through the careful critical study of some of the most thoughtful and influential works of conservative political thought over the past two centuries, this class will explore the idea of conservatism and the varieties of conservative thought. The texts have been chosen primarily for the high quality of their writing and argument, rather than for any particular relevance to the most familiar manifestations of conservative ideology. Our goal in this class will be to take conservatism seriously as an idea—rather than merely an ideology—and expand our conceptions of what conservatism can mean far beyond the reductive picture we get in contemporary politics.

POLS 307 | POLITICS AND RELIGION

Units: 3

This course offers an introduction to the study of the role of religion in sociopolitical change. The course deals with the theoretical literature on the subject and focuses on the salient cases in the various religious traditions and regions of the world.

POLS 308 | POLITICS AND LITERATURE

Units: 3

This course explores the political content of selected classical, modern, and contemporary literature. Emphasis is placed on concepts such as authority, power, freedom, equality, organization, obligation, and the ways these concepts have been treated by different authors.

POLS 309D | SEX, POWER, AND POLITICS

Units: 3

This course offers an analysis of gender in politics from historical as well as theoretical perspectives. Topics examined include: gender power, leadership, and governance; social, economic, and political factors explaining women’s political status and participation in relation to men’s; and the women’s movement as a political movement.

POLS 310 | THE PRESIDENCY

Units: 3

This course focuses on the American presidency as an institution. The class examines the origins of the president’s domestic and international powers, how those powers have grown and changed over time, and how they are both enhanced and limited by other actors in the political system.

POLS 312 | CONGRESS

Units: 3

This course examines the history, organization, operation, and politics of Congress. Nomination and election, constituent relations, the formal and informal structures of both houses, relations with the executive branch, and policy formulation are discussed. Students participate in a simulation of the House of Representatives.

POLS 313 | PARTIES AND INTEREST GROUPS

Units: 3

This course examines the origin, nature, structure, and operation of American political parties, interest groups, and social movements, and their roles in the political process.

POLS 314 | CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS

Units: 3

This course analyzes how rules and laws affect the roles that parties, candidates, voters, and other political actors play in elections. It also investigates the behavior of political actors during elections by examining campaign strategy, staffing, polling, advertising, turnout, and symbolic communication. Its main emphasis is on American federal elections, but also considers elections in a comparative context and sub-national elections in the United States.

POLS 316 | STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Units: 3

This course explores the theory and practice of governmental administration at the national, state, and local levels, and the development and implementation of legislation.This course examines the political functions of state and local governments, with special attention to California.

POLS 317D | URBAN POLITICS

Units: 3

This course is designed to introduce students to the major debates that have structured the field of urban politics: interaction among governmental institutions; political actors; private interests; and the marketplace. Other issues such as urban regimes, urban political history, suburbanization, urban growth and renewal, race, class, and gender are examined throughout the course.

POLS 318 | BLACK POLITICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

The course traces and examines the political efforts of Black Americans to gain full and equitable inclusion into the American polity. Key topics include identity, ideology, movement politics, electoral participation, institutions and public policy.

POLS 319 | POLITICS OF RACE AND ETHNICITY

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

The course surveys the impact of race and ethnicity on social, economic and political issues in the United States. We will examine the political experience and engagement of Native Americans, Black Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and White Americans in both a historical and contemporary context.

POLS 320 | WAR POWERS IN THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL SYSTEM

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

This course focuses on the war powers that the Constitution grants to the Congress and the president. Particular attention will be paid to the ways in which that balance has evolved over time from the founding to the present day.

POLS 321 | CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND AMERICAN GOVERNMENT:FEDERALISM AND SEPARATION OF POWERS

Units: 3

This course begins with an examination of the early development of American constitutional law, including the Articles of Confederation, the Constitutional Convention, and the Federalist Papers. Students also explore the development of Supreme Court doctrine regarding judicial review, conflicts among the three departments of government in domestic and foreign affairs, and the ongoing struggle to define the responsibilities of state and federal governments.

POLS 322D | CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: CIVIL RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES

Units: 3

This course examines constitutional law and politics, with a focus on civil rights and individual liberties. Topics include free speech, racial and sexual discrimination, church and state, privacy, voting rights, and the rights of the accused. (Note: POLS 321 is not a prerequisite for this class).

POLS 323 | JUDICIAL BEHAVIOR

Units: 3

This course explores judicial politics and decision-making, with particular emphasis on judges, lawyers, and juries. Topics include judicial selection and appointment, the limits of judicial power, the roles that lawyers play in our legal and political systems, and the development of trial by jury.

POLS 326 | COMPARATIVE LAW

Units: 3

This course presents a cross-national, historical, and comparative analysis of constitutional, administrative, and criminal law. Subject countries vary, but include representative judicial systems within the Civil Law, Common Law, and Socialist Law traditions.

POLS 327 | INTERNATIONAL LAW

Units: 3

This course examines the theory and practice of international law, including efforts to create effective legal means to define, proscribe, and punish war crimes, crimes against humanity, and terrorism. We discuss the negotiation, ratification, and enforcement of treaties and study multinational legal institutions such as the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, and the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

POLS 329 | LAW OF THE SEA

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

This course introduces students to the study of regimes of the sea including fisheries, pollution control, and coastal management zones. The politics of ocean regulation are examined with particular attention to law of the sea negotiations.

POLS 330 | RESEARCH METHODS IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

Units: 3

This course introduces students to the various stages of the research process, from conceptualization of the research question to interpretation of findings. Students not only learn to develop efficient research strategies to evaluate empirical relationships from a theoretically informed perspective, but they also design and conduct empirical research of their own.

POLS 340 | PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

Units: 3

This course explores the theory and practice of governmental administration at the national, state, and local levels, and the development and implementation of legislation.

POLS 342 | PUBLIC POLICY

Units: 3

This course examines the political and administrative processes through which public policy is formulated, adopted, implemented, and evaluated.

POLS 349 | POLITICS AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Units: 3

This course examines the decision-making processes through which modern societies attempt to cope with environmental and natural resource problems. Students investigate both American and international environmental issues, and consider the historical and theoretical bases of current environmental policies and initiatives.

POLS 350 | THEORIES OF COMPARATIVE POLITICS

Units: 3-4

This course examines the major theoretical approaches to comparative politics as well as the political histories of individual countries. It is designed to introduce students to a variety of themes central to this field, including state-society relations, state capacity, the role of institutions, nationalism, cultural/ethnic pluralism, political culture, and democracy.

POLS 352 | COMPARATIVE POLITICS OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

Units: 3

This course examines concepts and theories of development and assesses their utility in understanding political, economic, and social change in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia. Particular emphasis is placed on issues such as: state building; the bureaucracy; civil-military relations; national identity; economic development; and democratization.

POLS 354 | REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE

Units: 3

This course is a comparative study of the revolutionary process focusing on the meaning of revolutionary change, the causes and development of revolutions, and the conditions influencing their outcomes. Special attention is devoted to the French, Russian, Chinese, Cuban, and other revolutions.

POLS 355 | POLITICS IN EUROPE

Units: 3

This course offers a survey of the political cultures, institutions, and processes of the United Kingdom, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, and other West European countries. The development of a more integrated European community is also discussed.

POLS 357 | POLITICS IN LATIN AMERICA

Units: 3

This course examines the dynamics of political and economic change in 20th-century Latin America. There is particular emphasis on the causes and consequences of cyclical economic development and recurrent waves of democratization and authoritarianism.

POLS 358 | POLITICS IN SOUTH ASIA

Units: 3

This course is designed to introduce students to the study of contemporary South Asian politics by examining historical as well as contemporary issues relating to socio-economic change, political development, regional relations, and international links. The course focus is primarily on India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, but the politics of Nepal and Sri Lanka are also considered.

POLS 359 | POLITICS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Units: 3

This course offers an introduction to the study of the politics of the Middle East and North Africa. The complex issues of regional conflicts with international significance and the forces shaping the internal development of the modern Middle East are explored.

POLS 360 | POLITICS IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Units: 3

This course provides an introduction to Sub-Saharan African political systems and the relationships that exist between governments and their citizens in this region. We examine some of the main factors that shape contemporary African politics, including the legacy of colonialism, the rise of authoritarian states, ethnic, national, and racial conflict, and political and economic reform.

POLS 361 | POLITICS IN SOUTH AFRICA

Units: 3

This course is designed to examine the major issues and challenges facing South Africa today.  The goal of the course is to introduce students to contemporary South African politics and to situate the current political challenges into the broader historical context.  We will analyze the processes of democratic consolidation, state building and nation building since the end of apartheid in 1994.

POLS 362 | POLITICS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

Units: 3

This course examines the development of democracy in England, the institutions of government and parliament, political parties, and selected domestic and foreign policies.

POLS 363 | POLITICS IN FRANCE

Units: 3

This course examines contemporary French politics. We begin by constructing an historical and ideological foundation for the course, we then move to recent institutional and electoral practices, and we finally analyze a variety of foreign and security policies, including relations with the United States, members of the European Union, and countries throughout the world.

POLS 364 | POLITICS IN GERMANY

Units: 3

This course introduces students to German politics by examining contemporary as well as historical issues that challenge the unified Germany. The course’s main focus is on the post-Cold War and post-unification era, with particular emphasis on the current political, social, and economic agendas, and on explaining and predicting German national and international politics.

POLS 365 | POLITICS IN RUSSIA

Units: 3

This course examines the development of the political institutions and culture of Russia since the collapse of Communism, with a focus on the role of the Presidency, the Parliament, political parties, and the public in shaping the life of the Russian Federation.

POLS 366 | POLITICS IN MEXICO

Units: 3

This course provides an overview of the contemporary Mexican political system. The primary focus is on the breakdown of the dominant party system in the late 20th century and the subsequent recalibration of executive-legislative relations, decentralization of power, and emergence of democratic political culture and competition.

POLS 367 | POLITICS IN JAPAN

Units: 3

This course examines the development of contemporary Japanese politics by analyzing Japan’s pre-WWII political and social systems, its domestic capabilities, and Japanese policy-making processes. The course also evaluates current, and speculates regarding future Japanese politics by assessing historical and current political, economic, and social conditions in Japan.

POLS 368 | POLITICS IN CHINA

Units: 3

This course examines politics and political issues in the People’s Republic of China from the mid-1800s to the present. Throughout the course students assess factors such as China’s traditional political, social, and economic systems, ideology, and current policy-making structures that shape China’s policies in order to understand contemporary Chinese political issues.

POLS 370 | THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Units: 3

This course analyzes the major theoretical perspectives in the field of international relations by reflecting upon the writings of the most important scholars in the discipline. Students study the mainstream realist and liberal approaches and explore theoretical alternatives to these paradigms. The relationship between theory and practice is also examined.

POLS 371 | AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY

Units: 3

This course provides an in-depth exploration of the challenges and opportunities facing American foreign policy in the 21st century. Students examine the historical legacy and internal and external constraints on foreign policy decision making. Students also study theoretical approaches in the discipline of international relations and discuss their relevance to an empirical analysis of American foreign policy.

POLS 374 | U.S.-LATIN AMERICAN RELATIONS

Units: 3

This course explores the history of economic and political relations between the U.S. and Latin America to understand the basis of contemporary U.S. policy. Topics examined include military intervention, drug trafficking, immigration and trade policies, and relations with Cuba.

POLS 376 | U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY

Units: 3

This course examines contemporary U.S. security policy, including military technology, nuclear strategy and arms control, recent U.S. military interventions, biological and chemical weapons, domestic security politics, the defense industry and budget, and terrorism.

POLS 377 | REGIONAL SECURITY

Units: 3

This course examines security dynamics in selected regions of the world (e.g. Europe, East Asia, Latin America, Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East). We address issues ranging from military technologies to diplomatic relations, political economy, and transnational challenges like drug trafficking and terrorism.

POLS 378 | TRANSNATIONAL CRIME AND TERRORISM

Units: 3

This course focuses on how the law enforcement community has responded to the unprecedented increase in crimes and terrorist acts that cross international borders. The course examines those factors that have led to this increase in transnational crime and terrorism, the types of crimes that pose the greatest threat to lawful societies, the responses that have been developed to combat transnational crime, and the extent to which transnational crime threatens the national security interests of the United States and the world community.

POLS 379 | INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL BOUNDARIES AND BORDER POLICIES

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

This course provides an examination of the theoretical and empirical literature on international boundary dynamics and border policies related to diplomacy, migration, trade, economic development, crime, and terrorism. This course may also consider boundary negotiations over contested interstate borders.

POLS 380 | THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY

Units: 3

This course offers an introduction to the study of the history, issues, and dynamics of political/economic interactions in the international economy. The course covers both advanced industrial societies and less developed countries. Special topics such as international energy, the international debt crisis, and international migration are considered. ECON 101 and 102 are recommended prerequisites.

POLS 382 | INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS

Units: 3

This course explores contending approaches to human rights, the role of institutions and organizations in setting human rights agendas, and human rights problems and policies in international politics.

POLS 383 | INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Units: 3

This course provides an introduction to the study of international organizations in world politics. The focus is on the United Nations and other selected organizations.

POLS 430 | FIELD SEMINAR IN CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT

Units: 1

Students attend a three-day seminar on California government and politics in the California State Capitol building in Sacramento. The seminar is offered only during the spring semester at the end of February. Students attend seminar presentations featuring elected state legislators, legislative and executive staffers, journalists, lobbyists, and academic experts on current issues confronting California.

POLS 434 | WASHINGTON, DC: THE PRESS AND THE PRESIDENCY

Units: 3

This course provides an analysis of U.S. politics and decision-making as seen through an extensive evaluation of the U.S. press and the U.S. presidency. Students meet during the first two weeks in Washington, D.C., during intersession.

POLS 435 | WASHINGTON, DC: DIRECTED STUDY IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

This course requires students to complete a research paper while interning in Washington, D.C. The paper will address an issue in political science that relates to the internship experience.

POLS 436 | WASHINGTON, DC: INTERNSHIP IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

Units: 3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Students work 35-40 hours a week in Washington, D.C., at an internship related to political science. The internship must be approved by the Department of Political Science and International Relations. Students receive 6 units of credit, of which 3 units may apply toward the major.

POLS 437 | WASHINGTON, DC: CLASS IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

This political science course is taken in Washington, D.C., during the internship. The course must be approved by the Department of Political Science and International Relations.

POLS 444 | SPECIAL TOPICS IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

Units: 3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Special topics courses offer an examination of a topical issue affecting politics in the United States. The course number may be repeated for credit provided the topics of the courses are different.

POLS 448 | INTERNSHIP IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

Units: 1-6 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

This course involves participation in a governmental office at the local, state, or national level. Students are required to complete a research paper under the supervision of the instructor. This course is open only to junior or senior political science or international relations majors with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Students may not enroll in more than 6 internship units, and only 3 units may be used toward the major.

POLS 449 | INDEPENDENT STUDY IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

Units: 1

This course involves advanced individual study in public policy, american politics, public law, political behavior, or political theory. This course is open only to junior or senior Political Science or International Relations majors with a grade point average in political science courses of 3.3 or higher. Approval of instructor and department chair is required, and substantial prior coursework in the area is expected.

POLS 480 | MODEL UNITED NATIONS

Units: 1

This course involves a simulation of the decision-making process of the United Nations. Students participate in at least one conference per semester where they have the opportunity to represent an assigned country and compete against other universities. This course may be repeated once for credit.

POLS 485 | WASHINGTON, DC: DIRECTED STUDY IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Units: 3

This course requires students to complete a research paper while interning in Washington, D.C. The paper will address an issue in international relations that relates to the internship experience.

POLS 486 | WASHINGTON, DC: INTERNSHIP IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Units: 3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Students work 35-40 hours a week in Washington, D.C., at an internship related to international relations. The internship must be approved by the Department of Political Science and International Relations. Students receive 6 units of credit, of which 3 units may apply toward the major.

POLS 487 | WASHINGTON, DC: CLASS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Units: 3

This international relations course is taken in Washington, D.C., during the internship. The course must be approved by the Department of Political Science and International Relations.

POLS 492 | SPECIAL TOPICS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS--STUDY ABROAD

Units: 3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Special Topics courses--Study Abroad offer an examination of a topical issue affecting the domestic politics of foreign countries or foreign policy and international relations, while taking a course in a study abroad program. This course number may be repeated for credit provided the topics of the courses are different.

POLS 494 | SPECIAL TOPICS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Units: 1-4 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Special topics courses offer an examination of a topical issue affecting the domestic politics of foreign countries or the international political system. This course number may be repeated for credit provided the topics of the courses are different.

POLS 495 | SENIOR CAPSTONE SEMINAR

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: POLS 330

This course is required for Political Science and International Relations majors. There are four main objectives for this course. First, it provides an opportunity for students to synthesize, integrate and apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired while pursuing the PS or IR major. Second, it provides an opportunity to produce an original research paper or equivalent creative project. Third, it provides students with the opportunity to present their conclusions with faculty, peers, and members of the community. Finally, this class aims to help students improve their writing and communication skills.

POLS 498 | INTERNSHIP IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Units: 1-6 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

This course involves participation in an internship related to international relations. Students are required to complete a research paper under the supervision of the instructor. This course is open only to junior or senior political science or international relations majors with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Students may not enroll in more than 6 internship units, and only 3 units may be used toward the major.

POLS 499 | INDEPENDENT STUDY IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Units: 1-3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

This course involves advanced individual study in international relations or comparative politics. This course is open only to junior or senior political science or international relations majors with a grade point average in Political Science courses of 3.3 or higher. Approval of instructor and department chair is required, and substantial prior coursework in the area is expected.