Course Catalogs

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2012-2013 Course Catalog

Political Science

The choice of a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree is available to political science majors. If a student has a second major, the degree choice may be determined by the other major.

Capitol Hill Internship Program

Nebraska Wesleyan University’s Capitol Hill Internship Program (CHIP) offers students the experience of living, interning, and studying in the heart of Washington, D.C. The public-affairs focused program provides students of any major with a total Washington experience through an academically rigorous program with a focus on experiential learning. In addition to interning in either government or non-governmental offices, students will discover the role of government in fields including law, the media, health care, and the arts and sciences. Challenging seminars and courses that are tailored to enrich students’ internship experiences are an integral part of the internship program.

Applicants must have a 3.00 GPA, be a junior or senior [or second semester sophomore with special consideration], and have taken PolSc 1 or it’s equivalent.

Courses offered in the fall and spring semesters are:

  • PolSc 180 The Washington Experience (9 hrs.)
  • PolSc 181 The Internship Seminar (3 hrs.)
  • PolSc 190 Selected Topics-various topics when approved (3 hrs.)

Contact the Department Chair for more information.


An examination of the context, processes, institutions, and outcomes of the U.S. political system. This course introduces the student to basic concepts and theories central to the study of political science.

(Normally offered each semester.)

This course provides an introduction to a basic understanding of the concepts of international relations. It focuses on the interrelationship of nations and how they coexist and interact with each other. It will expose the student to the theories of international relations and how these theories apply to current problems and experiences.

This course provides an introduction to the concepts and methods of comparative politics. It highlights those factors that are common to all political systems and the ways in which political behavior and institutions differ between nations. It will achieve these goals by examining the problems that all political systems face: political violence, power transfer, public policy, and what role the government plays in the society.

This course introduces students to the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences and its statistical procedures. The course will teach students how to run programs with the software and to interpret the output from those programs. Students will enter, edit, and learn how to analyze data using SPSS.

Corequisite(s): POLSC-200.

(Normally offered each fall semester.)

A study of the role of political parties and interest groups in national, state, and local government, and of elections in the United States.

Prerequisite(s): POLSC-001.

The focus of this course is the development and implementation of public policy. The course will consider the actors constituting the environment in which policies are formulated. Next it will survey the major areas of public policy to understand the processes that constrain ongoing policy implementation. Finally, it will study one or two particular factors that influence the development and implementation of policy.

Prerequisite(s): POLSC 001 United States Government and Politics and sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.

An examination of the political role of minorities in U.S. society. The course will focus on the historical evolution of minority rights with emphasis on current debates and controversies. It will also apply political science theories to the relationship between majority and minority communities in the U.S.

In this course students will examine the organization, functioning, and impact of courts in the United States. Attention will be paid to the role of lawyers in the judicial system, trial and appellate court procedures, selection of judges, and the relationship of courts to other elements of the U.S. political system. Topics will include the nature of law, the role of juries, plea bargaining, alternative conflict resolution, court workload, and proposals for reform.

Prerequisite(s): POLSC-001.

(Normally offered alternate years.)

This course examines the functioning of legislatures in the United States, chiefly but not exclusively the U.S. Congress. Legislatures' place in the political system, the forces acting on them, and their impacts on other actors in politics will be examined, as well as the behavior of legislators and the internal structures of legislatures will be considered.

Prerequisite(s): POLSC 001 United States Government and Politics or permission or the instructor or department chair.

This course examines the impact of the contemporary mass media on politics in the United States, focusing most directly on the effect of news gathering and reporting practices on political processes and institutions, and on the responses of political actors to those journalistic norms. Questions about the nature of democracy in a media society will arise and be addressed over the course of the semester.

Prerequisite(s): POLSC-001.

Analysis and discussion of two major works of classic Greek political philosophy by Plato and Aristotle. This course introduces students to the kind of close reading and thoughtful writing necessary to deal effectively with such works.

An examination of significant works of political philosophy in the modern era, including pieces by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Mill with emphasis on close reading of and thoughtful writing about these works.

A study of the social, historical, and political factors that have affected the countries of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal). The course will examine the historical origins of the culture; the development of Hinduism and Buddhism; and the current political, economic, and social problems that the countries of the region face.

Prerequisite(s): POLSC-009 or POLSC-020.

This course will examine the current state of politics in the sustained democracies of Western Europe as well as the new democracies of Eastern Europe. Attention will be given to the challenges of political and economic transition in the former communist countries. The course will also examine issues of ethnicity and nationalism in Europe. Implications of the enlargement of NATO and the deepening and widening of European integration will be studied.

Prerequisite(s): POLSC 009 Introduction to International Relations or POLSC 020 Introduction to Comparative Politics or approval of the instructor.

This course examines the participation of women in society and politics, and their ability to influence the policy decisions related to the issues of concern to them. The course will take a cross-national perspective, although primary emphasis will be women in Middle Eastern and South Asian societies.

Students enrolled in this course complete a 15 week, 32 hour/week internship in an organization related to national or international politics in Washington, D.C. The primary goal of this course is to introduce the student to the world of practical politics in the nation's Capitol. A secondary goal of the course is to enrich the participants' understanding of self; sharpen their career goals; and foster networking, professional skills, and civil literacy.

Prerequisite(s): Acceptance into Capitol Hill Internship Program.

Corequisite(s): POLSC-181.

Each week interns gather (in the classroom in our building on Hill-510 C St, NE) to discuss their internship and to extract its deeper meaning. The goal of the course is to expose students to generalizations about politics and how their internships are either confirming or challenging those generalizations. The readings for the course vary according to the internship placements of the students. Students are exposed to various research methodologies for understanding Washington politics. Guest speakers are used in this course.

Prerequisite(s): Acceptance into Capitol Hill Internship Program.

Corequisite(s): POLSC-180.

A topical course designed to investigate relevant subject matter not included in any of the standard courses. The title, content, and credit will be determined by current mutual interests of students and faculty.

This course allows students to participate at a meaningful level in an internship with a public official, political figure, public agency, campaign or interest group and to use that experience as the basis for an academic paper.

Pass/Fail only.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of the department chair.

An examination of social science research with an emphasis on the development of research skills and methodology.

Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or permission of the department chair.

Corequisite(s): POLSC-100.

(Normally offered each fall semester.)

The problems faced by the political systems of the countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Specific topics will include their attempts to maintain political stability and resolve such issues as the food and population problems.

Prerequisite(s): POLSC-009 or POLSC-020 and junior standing or permission of the instructor.

An advanced course focusing on an examination of the basic principles of U.S. constitutional law, based on study of U.S. Supreme Court cases. Trends in interpretation of the Constitution and the role of Supreme Court decisions in U.S. politics will be stressed.

Prerequisite(s): POLSC 001 United States Government and Politics and junior standing or permission of the instructor.

In this course the sources, content, and impact of international law will be examined in detail. Special attention will be given to some of the modern substantive areas of international law such as human rights, international economic relations, and the international environment. This course is also designed to familiarize the student with the rise and role of public international organizations since 1945.

Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or permission of the instructor.

In this course the student will examine the theoretical body of literature on international security. We will consider traditional topics in international security, such as the role of conventional and nuclear weapons, arms control, the impact of alliances and collective security agreements, and the stability of bipolar vs. multipolar international systems. We will also broaden our definition of security politics to include environmental degradation, ethnic conflicts, and even organized crime.

Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or permission of the instructor.

A course designed to treat subject matter not covered in other departmental courses or to provide advanced study of subject matter introduced in other courses. The title, content, and credit hours will be determined by current mutual interests of faculty and students.

An opportunity for individual students to engage in advanced field or library research. A formal paper reviewing the research, suitable for placement in the college or departmental library, is required. Independent Study may not duplicate courses described in the catalog.

Prerequisite(s): Approval of the department chair.

This course is designed to allow students to pursue interests in political science or government beyond the extent possible in POLSC 295 Independent Study. Open only to qualified seniors with approval. Special Projects may not duplicate courses described in the catalog.

Prerequisite(s): POLSC 200 Research Methods in Political Science, senior standing and approval of the department chair.

A research seminar in which students conducting their research to satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement meet regularly to share insights, progress, and problems encountered along the way.

Prerequisite(s): POLSC-200 and senior standing or permission of the department chair.

(Normally offered each spring semester.)