Department of Government and International Affairs

Course Descriptions

1315 American Politics

This course is a survey of US national government. It is designed to provide the student with an understanding of the foundations, constitutions and processes of their national government. The major institutions of the national government will be examined in order to gain an understanding of how they work, the role of the people in the political system and the consequences of a democratic political system. The success (and lack there of) of some groups to influence government and obtain benefits from it will be considered in an effort to evaluate the workings of a democratic system.

1316 State and Local Politics

This course examines a public policy approach to the examination of Texas government and politics through a public policy approach. This course fulfills TEA teacher certification requirements.

1391 Human Rights

This course studies individual, group, and society rights; the basis of a just society; and the meaning of equality. This course will also examine the theoretical and philosophic underpinnings of justice as well as examine the extent to which society is just and how to promote greater justice. No prerequisite.

2300 Social Science Research Methods

In this course, students design and analyze research problems in the social sciences. The focus is on the use of computer statistical packages, research in original sources, and research on the Internet. Prerequisite; At least 6 semester hours of upper division courses in the major. This course is an introduction to the methods of social science research with emphasis on the use of the computer to analyze survey data, election results, census data, and other aggregated and non-aggregated data. Also included will be content analysis, experimental, and quasi-experimental design. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315, GOVT 3312 or PSYC 3381.

2305 Introduction to Political Studies

This course is designed to introduce the student to the professional standards and expectations of Political Science. The course focuses on the process of developing political arguments, discovery and evaluation of sources, as well as oral and written presentation of political science material.

2310 Comparative Politics

This course is designed to serve as an introduction to the comparative study of political systems. Students will develop a core body of knowledge concerning various political regions of the world. Students will also learn what the comparative method is and how to apply it to the study of different political systems. Students will also be introduced to the political systems of selected nation-states around the world. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315.

2320 International Relations

This course is designed to introduce the student to the different approaches to the study of relations between sovereign nations. The study of international relations covers many topics, from the study of war and peace, to world government and the conduct of trade between nations. An emphasis will be placed on how nations relate to each other politically and how politics affects such things as economics and human rights. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315.

2342 Law and Social Justice in Movies and Novels

This course explores American law, using movies and novels with law-related themes as the subjects for analysis and discussion. Emphasis will be placed on fictional and nonfictional depiction of laws, lawyers, courts, and citizens in American society—and on the social justice dynamics and outcomes of law.

2350 Environmental Politics

This course will focus on the history and politics of the international and American environmental movements. Students will also develop an understanding of environmental policy making at both the domestic and international level. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315. May be taken as a Cultural Studies elective.

2375 International Organizations

This course introduces students to the study of international organizations, primarily the United Nations and its specialized agencies. It will examine such topics as the predecessors and origins of the UN, its basic principles and structure, problems of war and peace, major contemporary issues of world politics, international law and non-governmental actors. Students should leave the course with a better understanding of the place of international organizations in the contemporary world system. Prerequisites: GOVT 1315 andGOVT 2320.

2376 Model Organization of American States

In this course students will study the structure and function of the Organization of American States and learn and apply parliamentary procedure in a simulation setting. Students are cast as high-level negotiators on issues of international importance. Working together on “country-teams,” students model real-world interactions between states. The simulation is conducted on two levels: deliberations within country-teams and negotiations between country-teams. The teams then communicate their policies to the other country-teams in a three-day simulation. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315, GOVT 2320, and GOVT 2375.

2392 Introduction to the U.S. Legal System

This course is designed to introduce the student to the workings, organization, and impacts of the judicial system in the United States. Courts throughout the world are given the responsibility to determine guilt or innocence or to make decisions concerning civil controversies. Courts can make their decisions in such a way as to influence, if not make, public policy. Courts in the United States can also determine the constitutionality of laws created by legislative and executive bodies, giving courts greater policy making powers if they choose to use them. Emphasis will be placed on examining the policy impacts of the courts. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315.

3300 U.S. Presidency

This course is designed to introduce the student to the theory, organization, and behavior of the American presidency. Comparisons to state governors and executives in other nations will be made but the emphasis will be on the American president. By the end of the semester the student should understand what constitutes an executive, how executives behave, how executives interact with other branches of government and with other executives, and how they affect people and institutions. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315.

3305 U.S. Congress

This course is designed to introduce the student to the study of Congress and congressional behavior in the American political system. The course will cover representation, selection of legislators, organization and procedures of legislative bodies, and the relation of the legislative to the executive and judicial branches. By the end of the semester, the student should have an understanding of how legislatures function, how and why legislators behave as they do, and how legislatures relate to the other branches of the government as well as to constituents. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315 and GOVT 1316.

3350 European Politics

This course is designed to serve as an introduction to the study of politics in Europe. Students will develop a core body of knowledge concerning the political systems in Europe. Students will also be introduced to the political systems of selected nation-states in Europe. Prerequisites: GOVT 1315 and GOVT 2310 or GOVT 2320.

3351 Politics of Asia

This course is designed to serve as an advanced examination of the study of politics in Asia. Students will develop a core body of knowledge concerning the political systems in Asia. Students will examine in more depth those countries introduced in POLS/GOVT 2310 (Comparative Politics) as well as being introduced to the political systems of other selected nation-states in Asia.

3353 Texas Legislative Process

This course examines how the Texas legislative branch functions. It is offered every two years in May during the legislative session in Austin. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315.

3356 Terrorism and Conflict in the International Arena

This course is designed to study the causes of war and terrorism. Students will also examine what we need to know to prevent war if possible, and prepare for it when necessary. Students will finally examine the extent to which wars are the purposeful, rational pursuit of policy, the result of miscalculation and misperception, or the result of forces over which there is little control. Prerequisites: GOVT 1315 and GOVT 2310 or GOVT 2320. May be taken as a Cultural Studies elective.

3371 Political Theory

This is a survey of political ideas from the Greeks to John Rawls, particularly as those ideas influence American political development. The course includes classical thinkers, writers of the Enlightenment, and modern political theories. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315.

3375 Moot Court

This course is a participatory course in which students research legal cases and arguments, learn courtroom etiquette and procedures, practice making prepared courtroom arguments and responding to questions, and engage in inter-university moot court competition.

3376 Model United Nations

In this course students will study the structure and function of the United Nations and apply parliamentary procedure in a simulation setting. Students are cast as high-level negotiators on issues of international importance. Prerequisite: POLS/GOVT 2320 or permission of the instructor.

4315 Constitutional Law and Politics I

This course explores the U.S. Constitution, using the case study method and historical, institutional, philosophical, and behavioral approaches to the development of constitutional law. Emphasis will be placed on constitutional provisions for presidential, congressional, and judicial powers, as well as states’ powers in the federal system.

4316 Constitutional Law and Politics II

This course explores the U.S. Constitution, using the case study method and historical, institutional, philosophical, and behavioral approaches to the development of constitutional law. Emphasis will be placed on sources of rights and constitutional provisions for civil liberties and civil rights, focusing on U.S. Supreme Court interpretations and applications of the Bill of Rights. The course also examines the social justice dimensions of individual rights and the dilemmas of communitarianism versus individualism in constitutional law.

4317 Public Policy

This course examines the causes and effects of governmental policy making, including theories of decision making and an exploration of the impact of policy on people and institutions. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315.

4321 US Foreign Policy

This course examines the formation, implementation and implications of American Foreign Policy. The major problems and challenges facing the international community and US reaction to and influence on these problems will also be examined. Primary emphasis will be placed on the post WWII era.

4322 National Security Policy

National security policy addresses the political, military, legal, and economic factors that will affect both security strategy and policy. This course will assess those factors and how they have an impact upon possible solutions to those challenges. The course approaches national security from both military and government-wide perspectives and addresses the executive branch, Congress, and global environments. The course also assesses resource requirements and constraints for national security and the federal government in general. Prerequisite: POLS/GOVT 2320 or permission of the instructor.

4323 Politics of Coffee and Sugar

This class explores the history of imperialism in its political, economic, and cultural dimensions through the exploitation of coffee and sugar as well as other commodities. Over the course of the semester, we will explore the role of commodities in economic, political, and social transformation; the role of social class and gender in colonial ideologies; the economic, social, and environmental impact of colonial rule; the forces behind decolonization; and globalization in the post-colonial world. Prerequisite: POLS/GOVT 2320 or permission of the instructor.

4325 Political Behavior

This course studies the nature of and major influences on public attitudes, the measurement of public opinion, the role of public opinion in government and campaigns, and the impact of media on political campaigns. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315.

4330 International Law

This course examines the development and application of the rules that nations recognize as governing their relationships with one another. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315 and GOVT 2392.

4335 Political Parties and Elections

This course is designed to introduce the student to the basic theories and concepts of political parties in the United States and around the world. Particular emphasis will be placed on the political party system in Texas in comparative perspective.

4355 Politics of Developing Areas

This course is a general introduction to the study of social and political change and conflict in developing areas of the world. It seeks both to point up the wide diversity of the developing countries around the world in their approaches to social, economic, and political change. Emphasis will be placed on such issues as who governs, the role of the military in politics under different types of regimes, and causes of military intervention, revolution, and transitions to democracy. Prerequisites: GOVT 1315 and GOVT 2310. May be taken as a Cultural Studies elective.

4363 Political Globalization

This course explores the interrelatedness of issues such as food, energy, population, arms race, East/West, and North/South confrontations. It examines alternative world order models. No prerequisite.

4365 Political Economy

This course aims to provide students with advanced knowledge concerning analysis of economic and institutional mechanisms of markets and of private and public organizations in order to define their choices and to address problems. Students will acquire a knowledge of schemes of economic analysis and also a concrete competence in using instruments of quantitative analysis. Prerequisite: POLS/GOVT 1315 or permission of the instructor.

4385 Topics in American Politics

This course is an advanced study in political science focusing on American politics. The course may be repeated for credit when topics vary. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315.

4387 Topics in Comparative Politics/International Relations

This course is an advanced study in political science focusing on comparative politics or international relations. The course may be repeated for credit when topics vary. Prerequisites: GOVT 1315 and GOVT 2310 or GOVT 2320.

4390 Political Issues Seminar

This course offers students an opportunity to receive UIW credit for participating in intensive academic seminars offered off campus. Students must have permission of the Discipline Coordinator before applying for the seminar, and may be required to complete additional work beyond that assigned in the seminar. It may be repeated once for credit when topics vary, but only 3 hours may be counted toward fulfillment of the requirements for the major or minor in Political Science. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315.

4391 Political Internship I

Prerequisite: GOVT 1315.

4691 Political Internship II

This course provides approved internships designed to give qualified students career experience. Credit hours earned depend on number of hours worked as intern. instructorâs permission required. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315.

4692 Political Internship III

This course provides internships in Washington, D.C. It is available only to juniors and seniors. This course may only be taken concurrently with GOVT 4691. May not count toward fulfillment of the requirements for the major. Instructorâs permission required. Prerequisite: GOVT 1315.


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