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Political Science Courses

2013-14 Undergraduate Academic Catalog

POL 111. AMERICAN GOVERNMENT  4 sh

American Government serves as an introduction to the national political system including the legislative, executive and judicial branches; the Constitution; political parties; interest groups; public opinion and public policy issues. Offered fall and spring.

POL 112. NORTH CAROLINA STUDENT LEGISLATURE  1 sh

This is an experiential course which promotes active participation in the NCSL, debate of public issues and organizational involvement at the university and state-wide level. Offered fall and spring.

POL 114. MODEL UNITED NATIONS  1 sh

Through experiential learning activities, students gain insight into the workings of the United Nations, diplomacy and international politics. Offered fall and spring.

POL 116. LOCAL GOVERNMENT SIMULATION  4 sh

This course examines the structure and functioning of local governments and applies that understanding in a simulation of local government issues in which students assume the roles of city council members, planning commission members, organizational leaders, business owners, citizen groups and the media. Offered winter.

POL 120. INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL THOUGHT 4 sh

In a critical introduction to the great political thinkers, discussion spans from Plato to Rousseau. Offered spring.

POL 141. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS  4 sh

This course gives students a basic appreciation for our world and examines political issues such as the role of power and international law in the international system and economic, social and cultural features of the world. Offered fall and spring.

POL 161. COMPARATIVE POLITICS   4 sh

This introduction to the central concepts of comparative politics and to the major types of contemporary political systems may include Britain, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, China, Mexico and the post-Soviet independent states of Eurasia. Offered fall and spring.

POL 220. RESEARCH METHODS IN POLITICAL SCIENCE  4 sh

This course introduces methodologies used in political science research. It focuses on concept formation, research design for problem solving and the measurement of data and data analysis. Political science and public administration majors should take this course in their sophomore years. Offered fall and spring.

POL 222. STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS  4 sh

This course focuses on the structure and functioning of the state and local government and their roles within the American federal system. Offered fall and spring.

POL 224. ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND LAW  4 sh

This course focuses on the policy processes and institutional settings for environmental policy formation and governmental action. It deals with the role of the courts, Congress and federal agencies in the development, implementation and evaluation of environmental policy. Offered spring.

POL 301. POLITICAL SIMULATIONS IN AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT 4 sh
This course will  provide an introduction to American political thought via an engagement with a crucial moment in American political thought and practice: The debates leading up to and involved in the constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1787.  It will rely on actually recreating and engaging with the ideas and arguments of these times through a guided simulation of the constitutional convention. This course satisfies the political theory requirement for a major in political science. No prerequisites. Taught fall and spring.


POL 302. DEMOCRACY AND ITS CRITICS 4 sh
What seems like a simple concept (i.e. democracy) and a simple goal (i.e. promoting democracy both
in the United States and abroad) become complicated when we ask ourselves a few, simple questions: What is democracy? Is it a set of institutions? If it is a set of institutions, how is democracy best institutionalized? Is it a way of life? How does rule by the people protect the rights of minorities? This course takes an original approach to exploring the complexity of democracy by closely examining Plato's dramatic critique of democracy, the politics of democracy and empire in classical Athens, and the actual practice of democracy in Athens. The course relies on an intensive examination of classic texts as a well as a guided simulation of Athens in 403 BCE in order to examine the value of democratic institutions. This course satisfies the political theory requirement for a major in political science. No pre-requisites.

POL 311. CRIMINAL LAW  4 sh

This course studies criminal procedure, elements of criminal law and standards of evidence. In addition to various infractions such as homicide, assault, robbery, property and drug crimes, it examines the right to an attorney, reasonable cause to stop and probable cause to arrest, criminal defenses, witness identification and wrongful convictions. Offered fall.

POL 312. POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT  4 sh

Using a theoretical and experiential approach, this course capitalizes on the excitement surrounding electoral campaigns to focus on the concept of political engagement. Readings about political values and civic activities complement fieldwork in civic areas, including voter registration and political debates. Offered fall of even-numbered years.

POL 313. AMERICAN POLITICS THROUGH FILM  4 sh

This course uses documentaries and fictional films to probe the politics of different historical eras adn political topics, emphasizing analytical papers and class discussions. Offered summer.

POL 317. CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT  4 sh

This course provides a practical study of how to run an election campaign with attention to setting up, staffing and financing a campaign office, organizing events, media relations, campaign technology, polling, advertising and getting the vote out. Students spend significant time as an intern for a candidate of their choice and reflect on their experience. Offered fall of even-numbered years.

POL 318. CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS  4 sh

An examination of election systems and how campaigns function, what prompts candidates to run for office, the role of the media, and why voters choose certain candidates over others. Normative questions will be addressed, such as the extent to which elections permit citizens to have a meaningful voice in the American political process. Offered fall of even-numbered years.

POL 319. PARTIES AND INTEREST GROUPS  4 sh

An examination of the role that parties and interest groups have played and are playing in American politics, how they advocate public policy preferences, and how they organize legislatures and carry out electoral and policy-oriented efforts to impact legislation. Offered every other year.

POL 321. PUBLIC OPINION POLLING  4 sh

The goal of this course is for students to learn how to supervise a public opinion poll and apply survey research theory to the Elon Poll. Students participate as interviewers in several polls and learn survey design, computer programming, analysis of poll data and how to write about survey results. Offered fall.

POL 323. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW  2 sh

Using a case study approach, this course focuses on American Constitutional structures: separation of powers, judicial review and federalism.

POL 324. CIVIL LIBERTIES  2 sh

The focus of this course is on individual rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

POL 325. THE PRESIDENCY  4 sh

A study of the contemporary presidency emphasizing the organization of the office, its relationship to other structures in American politics and its role in the policy-making process. Offered every other year.

POL 326. THE CONGRESS  4 sh

Topics of study cover the policy-making process in Congress, focusing on party leadership, the committee system and the relationship between the Congress and the presidency, interest groups and the executive branch. Discussion also includes congressional reform proposals. Offered every other year.

POL 327. JUDICIAL PROCESS  4 sh

The study of the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal court system, state courts and how judicial decisions are made. An examination of legal procedures is accompanied by case studies, such as the O.J. Simpson and Duke Lacrosse Team cases. Offered spring.

POL 329. POLITICAL BEHAVIOR  4 sh

This course focuses on political life from a micro-perspective by examining how political attitudes and behaviors are learned and how they affect our political choices, especially in regard to political socialization and electoral behavior. Offered every other year.

POL 341. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS  4 sh

This course focuses on the creation, enforcement, and political implications of a variety of international organizations ranging from the United Nations to regional organizations and NGOs. Offered every other year.

POL 342. U.S. FOREIGN POLICY  4 sh

This course covers the foreign relations, foreign policy process and international politics of the United States. Offered every other year.

POL 343. INTERNATIONAL LAW AND ORGANIZATIONS  4 sh

This course studies the relationship between international law and international politics by exploring the nature, sources, theories, and evolution of international law as a tool to regulate state behavior and promote international peace and cooperation. Key areas examined include: dispute resolution, international courts, human rights, use of force, diplomacy, international crimes, environment, and international trade.

POL 344. INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY  4 sh

This course addresses environmental issues that cross national boundaries, such as global warming, natural resource scarcity, waste disposal and issues of international trade and the environment. It is useful for students of International Studies and Environmental Studies as well as Political Science.

POL 345. INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM  4 sh

This course examines the genesis, typology and impact of international terrorism on nation states and the international community. It also explores the variety of approaches used, especially by the United States, to deal with international terrorism. Offered fall and spring.

POL 346. INTERNATIONAL SECURITY  4 sh

This course examines the patters of military and political interstate relationships from the Cold War to the present, with attention to the major institutions involved in decision making, military alliances and issues such as nuclear proliferation. It focuses on the causes, effects and various strategies for approaching problems related to war and peace that impact millions of people around the world. Offered fall. 

POL 348. INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS  4sh

This course examines the philosophical, historical, political, and legal development of international human rights within international politics. It looks at the efforts and challenges to promote human rights by international organizations, states, courts, and non-governmental actors. Particular issues may include U.S. human rights foreign policy, humanitarian intervention, activism, social/economic rights, torture, women’s rights, and media/images and human rights.

POL 358. MEDIA AND WAR  4 sh

A comparative examination of the relationship between governments and media organizations during wartime periods in a variety of international contexts, such as the U.S. during the Vietnam war and the Soviet Union and its war in Afghanistan. Topics such as media ownership, government efforts to influence media content, government rhetoric and propaganda, and the impact of media reports on public opinion are explored. Offered every other year.

POL 359. POLITICAL COMMUNICATIONS  4 sh

This examination of political communications processes uses a comparative perspective and emphasizes the role of media in the U.S., Europe, Eurasia and developing countries.

POL 362. INDIA AND PAKISTAN  4 sh

This course analyzes political development and international relations in South Asia, with a focus on India and Pakistan, from the late colonial period to the present. It seeks to understand the foundations and evolution of democracy in India, the challenges that democracy has confronted in Pakistan, and the roots of the longstanding rivalry between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. Other topics include inter-regional relationships with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Offered spring.

POL 365. POLITICAL ISLAM 4 sh
This course will critically examine and analyze the resurgence of political Islam since the 1970s. Topics of study include, but are not limited to, attitudes towards modernity, democracy, human rights, civil society, gender equality and political ethics. Emphasis will be placed on political actors, groups and movements primarily within the Arab Middle East. No prerequisites.

POL 365. THE POLITICS OF ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM IN THE MIDDLE EAST  4 sh

This course will critically examine and analyze the resurgence of political Islam, or what some refer to as Islamic fundamentalism, since the 1970s. Topics of study include, but are not limited to, Islamic fundamentalist attitudes towards modernity, democracy, human rights, civil society, gender equality and political ethics. Emphasis will be placed on political actors, groups and movements primarily within the Arab Middle East. No prerequisites.

POL 366. MIDDLE EAST POLITICS  4 sh

This course studies Middle Eastern political dynamics and institutions, contemporary issues and problems of selected Middle Eastern and North African countries.

POL 368. LATIN AMERICAN POLITICS  4 sh

Central America and Mexico receive emphasis in this study of the political dynamics, governmental structures and contemporary issues of selected countries of Latin America.

POL 369. U.S.-LATIN AMERICAN RELATIONS  4 sh

This course starts with an examination of the relations between the U.S. and Latin America from an historical perspective during the last two centuries. It emphasizes U.S. interventions during the contentious Cold War period, and contemporary issues such as migration conflicts, drug wars, human rights and the rise of alternative sources of power in the regional system. Offered every other year.

POL 485. WASHINGTON CENTER SEMINAR  1-4 sh

Students learn first hand from speakers, on-site visits and other experiential opportunities in Washington, D.C., and other locations through the Washington Center. Course requirements include readings, writing assignments and collaborative work dealing with a wide variety of topics. Prerequisite: permission of department. Offered every semester.

POL 392. TOPICS IN POLITICAL SCIENCE  4 sh

POL 461. SENIOR SEMINAR IN POLITICAL SCIENCE  4 sh

The capstone experience for senior Political Science majors involves close review of the discipline’s conceptual approaches to the study of political issues, discussion and development of research strategies. Students must also present a work of original scholarship. Prerequisite: senior majors only. Offered fall and spring.

POL 481. INTERNSHIP IN POLITICAL SCIENCE  1-16 sh

Work experience in a partisan, nonprofit, business, governmental or legal setting requires students to establish experiential goals and to reflect on the learning experience. Offered on an individual basis when suitable opportunities can be arranged.

POL 485. WASHINGTON INTERNSHIP IN POLITICAL SCIENCE  1-12 sh

Work experience in a partisan, nonprofit, business, governmental or legal setting in the Washington, D.C., area, requires students to establish experiential goals and reflect on the learning experience. Offered on an individual basis when suitable opportunities can be arranged.

POL 491. INDEPENDENT STUDY  1-4 sh

POL 492. TOPICS IN POLITICAL SCIENCE  4 sh

This advanced course explores significant contemporary issues or developments within the discipline. Prerequisite: POL 111 or permission of the instructor.

POL 499. RESEARCH  1-4 sh

This course is an opportunity for students to undertake an empirical or theoretical study of a topic in Political Science in collaboration with a departmental faculty member. Research projects may include a review of research literature, developing a research design, data collection and analysis, and a presentation or report when the study is completed. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. A research proposal form completed by the student in conjunction with the faculty member is required for registration. Students may register for one-four hours of credit per semester and may register for more than one semester of research for a total of eight hours of research credit toward the major. Students must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and have completed 28 semester hours of undergraduate work.

This page was updated July 19, 2013.