Political Science


Degree Offered

  • Bachelor of Arts

Nature of Program

The undergraduate curriculum in the Department of Political Science has five main objectives:

  • To acquaint students with the nature and role of government in modern society, thus contributing to the general education of political science majors.  In order to achieve this objective, the department offers the general political science emphasis.  This emphasis is open to any student who has an interest in political science but who has not yet focused on a specific career goal.
  • To impart a broad understanding of the American political system.  Courses are offered on national institutions, political actors, and political behavior. Other courses focus on the policy making process and on various substantive policy issue-areas. Students who seek to work in politics and/or government should enroll in the American politics and policy area of emphasis.
  • To provide a broad foundation of relevant courses for students who plan careers in law.
  • To prepare students who wish to pursue future careers in international relations, comparative politics, and national security area.
  • To provide pre-professional training for students who intend to pursue political science as a career.  Those who intend to be teachers, researchers, or administrators should plan to enroll in graduate school after completing their bachelor’s degrees, and our major is designed to provide a strong foundation for that.

Students who earn a degree in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences must complete the University requirements, the College requirements for their specific degree program, and their major requirements.


All students have the possibility of earning one or more minors; view a list of all available minors and their requirements here. Please note that students may not earn a minor in their major field.

Certificate of Global Engagement

Students in the Eberly College, regardless of their major, can earn a Certificate of Global Engagement. Completion of the Certificate demonstrates the student’s knowledge of diverse cultures, as well as the ability to communicate and interact effectively with people of different cultural backgrounds.  Students will be required to apply their knowledge of contemporary issues and global social contexts to their course work and their broader citizenship.  For details regarding Certificate requirements, please visit the Eberly College page.

Honors Program

The Department of Political Science, in cooperation with the University Honors College, offers courses that are open exclusively to honors students.  These courses are listed in the University’s Schedule of Courses each semester.  Students who meet the standards of the University Honors Program may enroll in these courses.

Admission Requirements

All first-time freshmen and first-time transfer students are admitted directly to the major.  Students admitted from other majors must have an overall GPA of 2.0 and have completed at least one POLS class with a grade of C- or higher.

Benchmark Expectations

Within four semesters in the POLS major, students must have completed four of the following courses: 102, 230 or 240, 250, 260, 270. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA overall and in the major. They must declare an Area of Emphasis in consultation with an adviser.  Students must meet with their POLS adviser each semester. Students who do not meet these benchmarks may be removed from their major.

Click here to view the Suggested Plan of Study

General Education FOUNDATIONS

Please use this link to view a list of courses that meet each GEF requirement.

NOTE: Some major requirements will fulfill specific GEF requirements. Please see the curriculum requirements listed below for details on which GEFs you will need to select.

General Education Foundations
F1 - Composition & Rhetoric3-6
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research
Accelerated Academic Writing
F2A/F2B - Science & Technology4-6
F3 - Math & Quantitative Skills3-4
F4 - Society & Connections3
F5 - Human Inquiry & the Past3
F6 - The Arts & Creativity3
F7 - Global Studies & Diversity3
F8 - Focus (may be satisfied by completion of a minor, double major, or dual degree)9
Total Hours31-37

Please note that not all of the GEF courses are offered at all campuses. Students should consult with their advisor or academic department regarding the GEF course offerings available at their campus.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete WVU General Education Foundations requirements, College B.A. requirements, major requirements, and electives to total a minimum of 120 hours. For complete details on these requirements, visit the B.A. Degrees tab on the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences page

Departmental Requirements for the B.A. in Political Science

All students wishing to obtain a degree in Political Science must complete a minimum of 39 credits of POLS courses, and comply with the following: 

  • Capstone Requirement: The General Education Foundations requires the successful completion of a Capstone course.  Political Science majors must successfully complete one of the following: POLS 487, POLS 488, POLS 489.
  • Writing Requirement: The Department of Political Science is a SpeakWrite Affiliated Program, committed to fostering and assessing students’ written, verbal, visual, and mediated communication skills. The Political Science  major requires its Bachelor of Arts program graduates to complete ENGL 101 and ENGL 102 (or ENGL 103), and a minimum of four additional SpeakWrite Certified Courses TM as a part of their programs of study.
  • Calculation of the GPA in the Major: A cumulative and political science GPA of 2.0 is required for graduation. If a course is repeated, all attempts will be included in the calculation of the GPA unless the course is eligible for a D/F repeat.
  • Area of Emphasis: All Political Science majors must complete a minimum of 39 credits of POLS courses.   Students may select an Area of Emphasis, depending on their academic or career interests.

  • Minor:  All students must complete a minor in a related area, except for students who select the Pre-Law and Legal Studies Area of Emphasis.

  • Benchmarks Expectations: For details, go to the Political Science admissions tab.

Curriculum Requirements

First-Year Seminar
GEF: number of classes will vary depending on overlap
ECAS B.A. Requirements12
Fine Arts Requirement
Foreign Language
International Studies Requirement
Core Requirement
Introduction to American Government
Political Science Policy Analysis or Public Administration requirement:
Introduction to Policy Analysis
Introduction to Public Administration
Introduction to Comparative Politics
Political Science International Requirement:
Global Political Issues
Introduction to International Relations
Concepts in Political Theory
History of Political Thought 2
Empirical Political Analysis
Political Science Economics:
Politics of Economic Policy
International Political Economy
15 additional credit hours in POLS above the 100-level, excluding POLS 230, 240, 260, 270, 271, 334, 360
Capstone Experience3
Select one of the following:
Capstone: Senior Paper
Capstone: Political Simulation
Capstone: Citizenship Seminar
All Political Science majors must complete a minor in a related area, except for students who choose to complete the Law and Legal Studies Area of Emphasis
General Electives32
Number of General Electives may vary depending on GEF overlap and Area of Emphasis
Total Hours120

Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
POLS 1911ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3
Foreign Language 1013GEF 2A3
POLS 102 (GEF 4)3GEF 33
POLS 103 or 260 (ECAS Glo. St. & Div.; GEF 7)3Foreign Language 1023
General Elective2POLS 270 or 2713
GEF 2A3 
 15 15
Second Year
ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3GEF 53
Foreign Language 2033ECAS Fine Arts Requirement (GEF 6)3
POLS 2503Foreign Language 2043
General Elective3POLS 230 or 2403
General Elective3POLS 3003
 15 15
Third Year
POLS 334 or 3603POLS Elective 200-level or above 33
POLS Elective 200-level or above 13POLS Elective 200-level or above 43
POLS Elective 200-level or above 23Minor Course 23
Minor Course 1*3General Elective3
General Elective3General Elective3
 15 15
Fourth Year
POLS Elective 200-level or above 53POLS Capstone3
Minor Course 33Minor Course 53
Minor Course 43General Elective3
General Elective3General Elective3
General Elective3General Elective3
 15 15
Total credit hours: 120

Areas of Emphasis

American Politics and Policy Area of Emphasis Requirements

Select five of the following courses:15
Introduction to National Security
American Presidency
Political Parties & Elections
American Constitutional Law
Civil Liberties in the United States
Law and Public Policy
Public Opinion and Politics
Interest Groups and Democracy
American Federalism and Policy
West Virginia Government
Race, Ethnicity & US Politics
Religion & Politics
Sexuality, Law, and Politics
Criminal Law Policy and Administration
Politics of Social Welfare
Politics of Economic Policy
Civil Rights, Policy, and Politics
Energy Policy and Politics
Gender/Politics and Policy
Environmental Policy
National Security Analysis
Bureaucratic Politics
American Political Philosophy
Total Hours15

Pre-Law and Legal Studies Area of Emphasis Requirements

Law-Related Courses in Political Science12
Select 2 classes:
Law and the Legal System
American Constitutional Law
Civil Liberties in the United States
Select 2 classes:
Appellate Judicial Process
Civil Liberties in the United States ((alternate classes from above))
American Constitutional Law
Law and Public Policy
Sexuality, Law, and Politics
Criminal Law Policy and Administration
Administrative Law
Comparative Law and Politics
International Law
European Union Law/Legal Systems
European Union Law/Institutions
Skills & Related Courses6
Select two of the following:
Effective Public Speaking
Business and Professional Writing
Introduction to Critical Reasoning
Introduction to Symbolic Logic
Philosophy of Law
Elementary Statistical Inference
Elementary Business and Economics Statistics
Political Science Electives3
Select 3 credits above 100 level, except POLS 230, 250, 260, 270 or 300 for 39 total credits in POLS.
Total Hours21

International Relations, Comparative Politics, and National Security Area of Emphasis Requirements

Select Five of the following:15
Introduction to National Security
Government of Japan
Russian and Post-Soviet Politics
Politics of the European Union
Western Democratic Governments
Government of China
Governments of Latin America
Politics of the Middle East
Comparative Law and Politics
Politics of Africa
Politics of Terrorism
International Political Economy
International Law and Institutions
Comparative Foreign Policy
International Law
American Foreign Relations
Foreign Policy Decision-Making
Politics of War and Peace
Far East International Affairs
Dictatorship and Democratization
European Union Law/Institutions
European Union Law/Legal Systems
Gender and International Relations
Transformation of War
Select one of the following:
Twentieth Century Europe
Latin America: Reform and Revolution
Colonial Africa and Independence
Modern China
American Foreign Relations to 1941
American Foreign Relations 1941 to Present
Total Hours18

Major Learning Outcomes

political science

Political Science Department Learning Outcomes

  1. A command of basic substantive knowledge about the basic institutions, political actors, and relevant processes in state, national, and international political systems – in particular as they apply to the student’s particular area of emphasis.
  2. A knowledge of major policy issues in state, national, and international affairs and an appreciation of the complexity reflective of the uncertainties, trade-offs, and institutional/bureaucratic context of problems confronting governments.
  3. An ability to think critically about political phenomena in a way that applies alternative explanatory perspectives across the major theoretical schools of thought in the political science literature.
  4. A demonstrated capability to carry out systematic empirical research in political science, i.e. articulate a theoretical question, construct a rigorous research design, and analyze data or cases using appropriate methodological approaches.
  5. An appreciation of the policy implications of different theoretical approaches and, more generally, how they relate to the larger ethical issues facing the West Virginia, national, and international communities.

Political Science (General) Minor


Students must earn an overall GPA of 2.00 in all courses applied to the minor.

Required Courses:
Select two of the following:6
Introduction to American Government
Law and the Legal System
State and Local Government
Introduction to Policy Analysis
Introduction to Public Administration
Introduction to Comparative Politics
Introduction to International Relations
Upper-Division Electives
Select 3 courses from POLS 310-3799
Total Hours15

American Politics & Policy Minor

Minor Code - U027

Students must earn an overall GPA of a 2.0 in all courses applied to the minor.

Required Courses:
Select two of the following: *6
Introduction to American Government
Law and the Legal System
State and Local Government
Introduction to Policy Analysis
Introduction to Public Administration
Select 3 courses from POLS 310-349 *9
Total Hours15

International & Comparative Politics Minor



A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in all courses applied toward the minor.
Required Courses:6
Introduction to Comparative Politics
Introduction to International Relations
Upper-Division Electives:9
Select 3 courses from POLS 350-369
Total Hours15

Law & Legal Studies Minor



A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in all courses applied toward the minor.
Core Courses:6
Introduction to American Government
Law and the Legal System
Upper-Division Electives:9
Select three of the following:
Appellate Judicial Process
American Constitutional Law
Civil Liberties in the United States
Law and Public Policy
Criminal Law Policy and Administration
Civil Rights, Policy, and Politics
Administrative Law
International Law
Total Hours15

Political Theory Minor

Minor Code - U030

Students must earn a minimum overall GPA of 2.0 in all courses applied toward the minor.

Core Courses:6
Concepts in Political Theory
History of Political Thought 2
Upper-Division Electives:9
Select 3 additional POLS courses from 370-379
Total Hours15


POLS 101. Introduction to Political Science. 3 Hours.

Introduction to government and politics. Origins, forms, and functions of the state; organization and processes of government; and the behavior of groups and individuals in various political systems.

POLS 102. Introduction to American Government. 3 Hours.

General survey of American national government and politics.

POLS 103. Global Political Issues. 3 Hours.

Analysis of issues in post-cold war international politics, ranging from traditional major power diplomacy and intervention to the newer problems of economic interdependence and development, human rights, population pressures on limited resources, and the environment.

POLS 191. First-Year Seminar. 1-3 Hours.

Engages students in active learning strategies that enable effective transition to college life at WVU. Students will explore school, college and university programs, policies and services relevant to academic success. Provides active learning activities that enable effective transition to the academic environment. Students examine school, college and university programs, policies and services.

POLS 199. Orientation to Political Science. 1,2 Hour.

Orientation to degree programs and requirements, departmental resources, curriculum options, student responsibilities and opportunities.

POLS 210. Law and the Legal System. 3 Hours.

Introductory course on the role of law in the political system. Includes a survey of subfields in United States law and an examination of participants, processes, and policy making in the United States legal system.

POLS 220. State and Local Government. 3 Hours.

The legal basis, structure, politics and operation of state and local governments, in the content of the American federal system.

POLS 230. Introduction to Policy Analysis. 3 Hours.

Examination of the causes and consequences of public policies. Substantive policies examined include: civil rights, housing, social services, environment, health, law enforcement, education, and taxation.

POLS 239. Introduction to Non-Profit Orgainzation. 3 Hours.

An examination of the broad institutional and organizational components of non-profit organizations.

POLS 240. Introduction to Public Administration. 3 Hours.

The development, organization, and processes in governmental administration in the United States.

POLS 250. Introduction to Comparative Politics. 3 Hours.

An introduction to the political and governmental systems of industrialized and developing countries. Focuses on approaches to comparative political study, political cultures and participation, and government structures, processes, and policy performance.

POLS 260. Introduction to International Relations. 3 Hours.

Theories and concepts in international politics and their application to contemporary world politics.

POLS 261. Introduction to National Security. 3 Hours.

Introduction to theories related to security studies and national security. Includes discussions of intelligence, strategy, military operations, terrorism, and civil/military affairs, along with current events.

POLS 270. Concepts in Political Theory. 3 Hours.

Introduction to political theory using texts from antiquity through modernity. Themes include citizenship, power, justice, and political obligation.

POLS 271. History of Political Thought 2. 3 Hours.

Major political philosophers and ideas of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, including Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Burke, Bentham, Mill, Hegel, and Marx.

POLS 293A-Z. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

POLS 298A-D. Honors. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Student in Honors Program and consent by the honors director. Independent reading, study, or research.

POLS 300. Empirical Political Analysis. 3 Hours.

Designed to provide a basic understanding of how to read and conduct empirical political science research. Topics include research design, hypotheses testing, data collection, and statistical analysis. No prior knowledge of computers or statistics required.

POLS 301. Introduction to Intelligence Analysis. 3 Hours.

PR: POLS 260. A professionally-oriented survey of the history, logic, and methods of intelligence analysis as applied to policy-making in foreign policy and national security.

POLS 302. Intelligence Analysis Methods. 3 Hours.

PR: POLS 260 and POLS 301. An advanced course in the understanding and use of skills, processes, and tools currently used by intelligence analysts in the national security community.

POLS 309. State and Local Government. 3 Hours.

Origins, background, comparisons, and contrasts of state governments; state and federal relations; state executive, legislative, and judicial branches; state services; county and municipal governments.

POLS 310. American Presidency. 3 Hours.

Institutional, behavioral, and societal forces which have given rise to the modern presidency; factors which enhance and constrain the exercise of presidential power over those constituencies with which the president must interact; the nature and consequences of the presidential decision-making process; desirability and/or feasibility of reforming the presidency.

POLS 311. Political Parties & Elections. 3 Hours.

Parties and elections in America; emphasis on nomination and general election processes, campaigns, the mass media, campaign finance, voting, the electoral college, and parties in government.

POLS 312. Appellate Judicial Process. 3 Hours.

PR: POLS 210 or consent. The role of appeals courts and judges in American politics. Topics include appellate court organization and processes, the quantitative and qualitative analysis of judicial behavior, and the influence of courts on public policy.

POLS 313. American Constitutional Law. 3 Hours.

The role of the Constitution in the American political system. Topics include the political concept of constitutionalism; the role of the Supreme Court in the political process; division of powers among the three branches of government; and the constitutional relation between the national government and the states.

POLS 314. Civil Liberties in the United States. 3 Hours.

Issues in constitutional law concerning personal liberties against government action. Topics include free speech, press and association; religious freedoms; abortion; the right to privacy; due process of law; and criminal procedure safeguards.

POLS 315. Law and Public Policy. 3 Hours.

PR: POLS 210 or consent. Advanced examination of the role of trial courts in policymaking, including agenda-setting and policy formulation by courts, the outcomes of policy litigation, and the politics of legal reform.

POLS 316. Public Opinion and Politics. 3 Hours.

In-depth treatment of the origins, content, and impact of public opinion in American politics; political ideology, partisanship, socialization, mass media, opinion polls, and survey research techniques.

POLS 317. Interest Groups and Democracy. 3 Hours.

The role of interest groups in American politics, focusing on their distribution and internal dynamics, their involvement in campaigns and elections, their influence on public policy, and their place in a democratic system.

POLS 318. Legislative Process. 3 Hours.

Structure, organization and processes of legislative bodies; powers of the legislature; detailed study of law-making processes and procedures.

POLS 319. Comparative Government. 3 Hours.

Comparison of governmental systems in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Select countries in each region will be studied with regard to their political institutions and SOCI- economic systems.

POLS 320. American Federalism and Policy. 3 Hours.

Examines the history and philosophical justification of federalism, the relationships among the federal, state and local levels of government, and the contemporary debate over what those governmental relationships should be in America today.

POLS 321. West Virginia Government. 3 Hours.

Organization and operation of the state government of West Virginia.

POLS 322. Race, Ethnicity & US Politics. 3 Hours.

Examines the influence of race and ethnicity on U.S. politics, including contemporary scientific research on minority politics. The focus is on African American politics, and, to a lesser extent, Latino or Hispanic politics, but other racial and ethnic groups are also discussed.

POLS 323. Religion & Politics. 3 Hours.

Examines how religion and religious institutions affect political outcomes and vice versa. The focus is on American politics, but the effects of religion on politics in other nations will also be discussed.

POLS 324. Sexuality, Law, and Politics. 3 Hours.

PR: Sophomore standing. Examines politically significant legal debates regarding sex, sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identity, focusing primarily on the United States from the middle of the twentieth century to the present.

POLS 331. Criminal Law Policy and Administration. 3 Hours.

Legal and administrative approach to policy issues in criminal justice. Focuses on the criminal law, police, court decisions, and the implementation of law and policy in the criminal field.

POLS 332. Civil Society in Context. 3 Hours.

Classic theories of citizenship and organization and critical examination of contemporary dynamics of ethnicity, minority politics, and social reform.

POLS 333. Politics of Social Welfare. 3 Hours.

Questions of poverty and inequality: who are the poor; what causes economic inequality; what have been governmental and private solutions to the problem of poverty; and what successes and failures have there been in the war against poverty.

POLS 334. Politics of Economic Policy. 3 Hours.

An examination of U.S. economic policy, with an emphasis on the political considerations that influence policy development and implementation in government regulation, taxation, and spending.

POLS 335. Civil Rights, Policy, and Politics. 3 Hours.

Analysis of the law, politics, and policy related to discrimination in public accommodations, voting, education, housing and employment based on race, gender, national origin, handicapped status, and age.

POLS 336. Energy Policy and Politics. 3 Hours.

Explores the formulation and implementation of energy policy, including a discussion of scientific, risk, technological, economic, and political variables affecting policy with emphasis on national security, environmental protection, resource management and economic growth problems.

POLS 337. Gender/Politics and Policy. 3 Hours.

Comparative study of how gender differences affect politics across the world. Emphasis on advanced industrial democracies. Topics include: political attitudes and behavior, gender differences in political recruitment, and the impact of gender on public policy.

POLS 338. Environmental Policy. 3 Hours.

Explores the formulation and implementation of environmental policy, using both a policy process approach and policy analysis. Includes a discussion of the scientific, technological, risk, economic, and political variables which affect policy making in this area.

POLS 339. National Security Analysis. 3 Hours.

Introduction to the analysis of national security issues. Examines historical development of defense and military policy, arms procurement and transfers, deterrence, the application of game theory, and intelligence analysis.

POLS 340. Social Movements in Fiction and Film. 3 Hours.

In this course, students engage social movement theory through a varied selection of novels and film, which are used to illustrate abstract concepts related to political activism. The course is organized around three central themes: identity politics and activism, networked social movements, and social movement outcomes. It emphasizes liberal social movements in the American political context.

POLS 342. Bureaucratic Politics. 3 Hours.

Analysis of the nature and processes of American public administration (political, legal, economic, and social), including the role of bureaucracy in a democracy.

POLS 344. Administrative Law. 3 Hours.

Administrative powers and limitations; procedures in administrative adjudication and rule-making; discretion, ultra vires as a check on administrators; notice and hearing; administrative penalties; judicial control; and administrative liability.

POLS 350. Government of Japan. 3 Hours.

Survey of political institutions and governmental processes in Japan with special emphasis on the analysis of political problems in the post-war period.

POLS 351. Russian and Post-Soviet Politics. 3 Hours.

PR: POLS 250 or POLS 260. Survey of the politics and government in Russia and post-Soviet states.

POLS 352. Politics of the European Union. 3 Hours.

PR: POLS 250. Examination of the evolution of European integration and the political and institutional dynamics of the contemporary European Union.

POLS 353. Western Democratic Governments. 3 Hours.

Cross-national and/or cpimtru based analysis of selected western democracies, such as Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy, and the European Union.

POLS 354. Government of China. 3 Hours.

Survey of political institutions and governmental process in the People's Republic of China with special emphasis on the analysis of political problems since 1949.

POLS 355. Governments of Latin America. 3 Hours.

Comparative study of the government and politics of the Latin American states.

POLS 356. Politics of the Middle East. 3 Hours.

Survey of the domestic and international political dynamics of the Middle East.

POLS 357. Comparative Law and Politics. 3 Hours.

An introduction to the comparative analysis of law and politics. Examines the forms of law, legal communities, judiciaries, and justice systems of polities other than the United States.

POLS 358. Politics of Africa. 3 Hours.

Historical legacies and current political processes of tropical African countries.

POLS 359. Politics of Terrorism. 3 Hours.

Terrorism is a method used against civilian population to affect political change. To understand this, the course will examine the ideology, history and tactics used of those engaged in violence.

POLS 360. International Political Economy. 3 Hours.

Analysis of the relationship between international relations and economics. Topics include free trade, globalization, regionalism, and development.

POLS 361. International Law and Institutions. 3 Hours.

Analysis of the development of international organizations, norms, and law, as well as the creation and functioning of the United Nations and the European Union.

POLS 362. Comparative Foreign Policy. 3 Hours.

PR: POLS 260. Introduction to comparative foreign policy focused on political structures and processes in advanced industrial democracies, transitional polities, and Third World states. Includes three weeks international system simulation.

POLS 363. International Law. 3 Hours.

Law governing relations among nations, including development of rules, means of enforcement, and conflict between theory and practice.

POLS 364. American Foreign Relations. 3 Hours.

PR: POLS 260 or consent. Examination of contemporary U.S. foreign policy and its historical, cultural, and domestic political roots. Substantive and theoretical issues in understanding foreign relations since WW II, including both continuity and change in the emerging post-cold war system.

POLS 365. Foreign Policy Decision-Making. 3 Hours.

PR: POLS 260. An advanced course examining the psychological and political dynamics by which decision- making formulates foreign policy with emphasis on American national security. Includes three weeks' simulation.

POLS 368. Politics of War and Peace. 3 Hours.

PR: POLS 260 or consent. Analysis of great power politics in the international system. Examination of theories of war, historical patterns of the balance of power, and origins of the 20th century's major conflicts: WW I, WW II, and the Cold War.

POLS 369. Far East International Affairs. 3 Hours.

International relations of countries of the Far East with emphasis on historic roots of recent conflicts, the roles of the United States and other major powers, confrontation between the countries in the region, and the regional cooperation and security problems in the post-World War II period.

POLS 370. Dictatorship and Democratization. 3 Hours.

Examines the politics of authoritarian rule by focusing on dictators and their demise. Compares current scholarship with real-world accounts of a variety of dictatorships, differentiating among governing strategies and long-term impacts. Students will gain the ability to analyze trends and outcomes, as well as comprehension of different approaches to the study of dictatorship.

POLS 371. History of Political Thought 2. 3 Hours.

Major political philosophers and ideas of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, including Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Burke, Bentham, Mill, Hegel, and Marx.

POLS 372. Modern Political Thought. 3 Hours.

Beginning with early Marxist thought, this course examines the evolution of the concepts of rights, justice, liberty, democracy, and equality from 1850 through the present, using the works of both classical and contemporary political theorists.

POLS 373. American Political Philosophy. 3 Hours.

Major American political ideas and their influence upon American society and government from the 17th century to the present.

POLS 375. Psychological Theories of Politics. 3 Hours.

Introduction to rational choice theory and various psychological theories of politics; application of psychological theories to both international relations and American politics.

POLS 376. Contentious Politics. 3 Hours.

This course focuses on non-institutional forms of disruptive political behavior, including public demonstrations, riots, strikes, roadblocks, terrorism, and civil war. In studying these phenomena, the course explores what fuels “claim-making,” the circumstances under which contentious political participation becomes more likely, and how movements organize. Case studies of current and recent contentious events are examined.

POLS 383. Debate. 3 Hours.

Intensive research and writing on policy options related to the annual intercollegiate debate topic. Research will focus on both the policy and political implications of enacting and implementing a variety of options.

POLS 393A-C. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

POLS 400. Terrorism and National Security. 3 Hours.

Basic overview of terrorism tactics and national security initiatives.

POLS 450. Elections and Political Parties Around the World. 3 Hours.

Analyzes international election rules and their effects in theory and practice, addressing questions such as: How do groups make decisions? What are the advantages/disadvantages of different decision rules? What are the origins and functions of political parties? By the end of the term, students should hone their skills in the research process, fact-checking, cooperative learning, and public speaking.

POLS 452. European Union Law/Legal Systems. 3 Hours.

3 Hr. An introduction to the politics of law in Europe. Examines the forms of law, legal communities, judiciaries, and justice systems of the major European politics (Great Britain, France, and Germany.).

POLS 453. European Union Law/Institutions. 3 Hours.

3 Hr. An examination of the European Union with respect to the evolution of its legal framework, core decision making institutions, and current issues of constitutional prospects, further economic integration, and protection of human rights.

POLS 460. Gender and International Relations. 3 Hours.

PR: POLS 260. Focuses on how women affect and are affected by international conflict, development, and human rights issues, using a 'feminist' lens and methodology in studying international relations.

POLS 461. Transformation of War. 3 Hours.

The nature of war has changed significantly in the past half-century. This course examines the new aspects of violent conflict, specifically asymmetric war, insurgency, and Fourth Generation Warfare, through theory and case studies.

POLS 462. Intelligence Failures. 3 Hours.

Explores complicated attempts to understand what constitutes an intelligence failure and how policy, intelligence, and decision-makers approach these issues. Evaluates the validity of theories of intelligence failure in analyzing case studies.

POLS 480. Seminar in Non-Profit Administration. 3 Hours.

Special Topics in the area of non-profit administration and current problems.

POLS 484. Capstone: Build a Politics Podcast. 3 Hours.

PR: Political science major. Students work in teams to apply knowledge and skills they have gained as political science majors to creating podcast episodes that describe and explain political events or theories about politics to a broad audience. This course serves as a capstone for political science majors.

POLS 485. Great Books-American Politics. 3 Hours.

Allows students from all disciplines to explore the history, institutions, and major actors of the American political system and American politics by reading and studying important books and literature in the discipline.

POLS 486. Great Books-Law and Politics. 3 Hours.

Course designed to allow the student to engage in a directed, independent examination of law and politics by reading and critiquing significant works on law and politics.

POLS 487. Capstone: Senior Paper. 3 Hours.

One of three capstone options for Political Science majors. Students choosing this option undertake a faculty-supervised independent research project culminating in a written research paper and oral presentation at a faculty/student colloquium.

POLS 488. Capstone: Political Simulation. 3 Hours.

One of three capstone options for Political Science majors. Students choosing this option conduct research and participate in role-playing exercises through planned political simulations involving both U.S. politics and international relations.

POLS 489. Capstone: Citizenship Seminar. 3 Hours.

One of three capstone options for political science majors. Students choosing this option participate in a seminar focusing on the role of citizens in a democracy, with emphasis on experimental learning through civic participation.

POLS 490. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Teaching practice as a tutor or assistant.

POLS 491A-Z. Professional Field Experience. 1-18 Hours.

PR: Consent. (May be repeated up to a maximum of 18 hours.) Prearranged experiential learning program, to be planned, supervised, and evaluated for credit by faculty and field supervisors. Involves temporary placement with public or private enterprise for professional competence development.

POLS 493A-Z. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

POLS 494A-Z. Seminar. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Presentation and discussion of topics of mutual concern to students and faculty.

POLS 495. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

POLS 496. Senior Thesis. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent.

POLS 498A-B. Honors. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Student in Honors Program and consent from the honors director. Independent reaging, study, or research.



  • John Kilwein - Ph.D. (Ohio State University)

Director of Undergraduate Studies

  • John C. Kilwein - Ph.D. (Ohio State University)


  • Joe D. Hagan - Ph.D. (University of Kentucky)
    Barnette Professor in Political Science.
  • Erik Herron - Ph.D. (Michigan State University)
    Eberly Family Professor
  • Jeffrey S. Worsham - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin)

Associate Professors

  • Erin Cassese - Ph.D. (SUNY at Stony Brook)
  • R. Scott Crichlow - Ph.D. (Louisiana State University)
  • Christina Fattore - Ph.D. (Florida State University)
  • John C. Kilwein - Ph.D. (Ohio State University)
  • Jason MacDonald - Ph.D. (The George Washington University)
  • Philip Michelbach - Ph.D. (University of California)
  • Trisha Phillips - Ph.D. (Rice University)

Teaching Associate Professors

  • Clarissa Estep - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
  • David Hauser - Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh)

Assistant Professors

  • Shauna Fisher - Ph.D. (University of Washington)
  • William Franko - Ph.D. (University of Iowa)
  • Simon Haeder - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin)
  • Patrick Hickey - Ph.D. (University of Texas)
  • Matthew Jacobsmeier - Ph.D. (University of Rochester)
  • Jay Krehbiel - Ph.D. (Washington University)
  • Mason Moseley - Ph.D. (Vanderbilt University)
  • Matthew Wilson - Ph.D. (Pennsylvania State University)

Teaching Assistant Professors

  • Boris Barkanov - Ph.D. (University of California)

Professors Emeriti

  • Richard Brisbin - Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins)
  • Robert E. DiClerico - Ph.D. (Indiana University)
  • Allan S. Hammock - Ph.D. (University of Virginia)
  • Sophia L. Peterson - Ph.D. (University of California)
  • Susan Hunter - Ph.D. (The Ohio State University)
  • James Whisker - Ph.D. (University of Maryland)