Government and International Affairs

Political Science (POLS) 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: POLS 1315, POLS 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: POLS 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: POLS 1315.

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: POLS 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: POLS 1315 and POLS 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: POLS 1315, POLS 2320, and POLS 2375.

2392 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: POLS 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: POLS 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: POLS 1315 and POLS 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: POLS 1315 and POLS 2310 or POLS 2320. 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: POLS 1315 and POLS 1316.

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: POLS 1315 and POLS 2310 or POLS 2320. May be taken as a Cultural Studies elective.

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: POLS 1315.

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: POLS 1315.

4315 Constitutional Law and Politics

This course explores judicial interpretations of fundamental U.S. Constitutional issues using the case study method. Emphasis will be placed on basic issues of federalism, civil liberties, civil rights, and property rights. Economic, sociological, and psychological factors in judicial behavior will also be examined. Prerequisite: POLS 1315 and POLS 2392.

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: POLS 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.

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: POLS 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: POLS 1315 and POLS 2392.

4335 Comparative Political Parties

Political parties perform many important functions in society. Political parties are linkage institutions connecting citizens to the government, they channel and moderate citizen demands on government, and they provide a mechanism for recruiting and nominating governmental leaders. 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. Prerequisites: POLS 1315 and POLS 2310.

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: POLS 1315 and POLS 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.

POLS 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: POLS 1315.

POLS 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: POLS 1315 and POLS 2310 or POLS 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: POLS 1315.

4391 Political Internship I

Prerequisite: POLS 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: POLS 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 POLS 4691. May not count toward fulfillment of the requirements for the major. Instructorâs permission required. Prerequisite: POLS 1315.


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