Department of Political Science

West Chester University

Contact Info:
Tara Easterling
205 Ruby Jones Hall

Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Political Science

Symbol: PSC, unless otherwise indicated

100 U.S. Government and Politics (3) Devoted to understanding how the system works: political action, elections, interest groups, civil liberties, Congress, the presidency, and the courts are among the topics considered. Seeks to provide a framework in terms of which process and current issues become meaningful.

101 The Politics of Diversity in the United States (3) Uses contemporary issues as a means to investigate the effects of race, class, and gender on the political experiences of citizens while providing an overview of American political institutions. Diverse communities course

200 Political Analysis (3) Incorporates techniques for analyzing political questions logically and systematically, and introduces basic research design and methodological and library usage skills appropriate to the political science discipline. Required course for B.A. majors in political science, applied/public policy, and international relations, and the B.S. in education with a political science concentration. Optional course for minors in political science and public administration. PREREQ: PSC 100.
Writing emphasis course.

202 Elements of Public Administration (3) Considers public administration in the United States as a process of implementing public policy. Uses case studies and projects with texts focusing on organizational theory, human behavior and motivation, budgeting, personnel, and administrative responsibility.

213 International Relations (3) Politics among nations, including politics carried on through international organizations. Examines power politics, techniques of diplomacy, and methods of current international organizations. Special attention to U.S. interests and policies.

230 Introduction to Political Thought (3) Examination of key ideas that animated the great thinkers of Western thought. Special emphasis is placed on specific historical context and the continued relevance of considered ideas. Class will conclude with in-depth case study of a contemporary dilemma that forces students to examine what extent past ideas can aid the understanding of the present political landscape.
Writing emphasis course.

240 Introduction to Comparative Politics (3) An introduction to the comparative study of political systems at various stages of cultural, social, economic, and political development.

301 Women and Politics (3) Examines the role of women in politics and examines how the perspectives of marginalized groups gives access to new interpretations about the U.S. political system. Specific topics include socialization, the media, political campaigns, elections, and public policy.
Diverse communities course

304 Urban Politics (3) This course examines the politics of governing American urban areas. In doing so, a number of social science perspectives are explored. Particular attention is paid to theories of urban power and democracy and the politics of urban development.
Approved interdisciplinary course

310 The United States and Latin America (3) This course examines U.S. relations with the nations of Latin America. Emphasis is on understanding the goals of U.S. policies and the real impact of those policies. U.S. views of Latin America, both contemporary and historical, are explored as are Latin American attitudes and views toward the United States. The extent to which the United States has been motivated in its dealing by great power hegemonic concerns, economic self interests (dollar diplomacy), cultural imperialism, human rights, and desire to champion democratic governance are all examined. Contemporary concerns with promoting market economics, narcotic trafficking, and immigration are also considered.

311 Russian Foreign Policy (3) Emphasis on Russian and Soviet-American relations since 1945. Topics treated include the influence of Marxism, Great Russian nationalism, and historical experience on Soviet and Russian foreign relations. PREREQ: PSC 213 or permission of instructor.

312 Politics of Modern Nationalism (3) An analysis of political processes in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and the Middle East. The role of nationalism in these countries after the demise of communism. The rise of nationalism in the Middle East and Western Europe.

317 Contemporary International Relations (3) Recent issues and problems with special emphasis on superpower behavior around the world. Also, third world revolutions, international terrorism, human rights, international law and the United Nations, and the changing international economic order.

318 International Political Economy (3) The focus is the politics of international economic relations. Alternative analytical and theoretical perspectives will be examined for their value in helping to understand and evaluate the historical developments and current operation of the global economy. Special attention is given to system governance (international regimes such as the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund) and the ability of the nations of the world to provide stability to the international political economy. The primary objective of this course is to develop analytical and theoretical skills in the application of various international political economy perspectives (liberalism, mercantilism, Marxism/structuralism) which examine the interrelationship between states and markets.
Approved interdisciplinary course

319 Middle Eastern Politics (3) Topics include the Arab-Israeli conflict, the politics of the Persian Gulf, the role of OPEC, and the superpower conflict in the region.

320 U.S. Foreign Policy (3) Principles of U.S. foreign policy; process of policy formulation; roles and influence of the president, Congress, State Department (and other government agencies), media, and interest groups. Topics include national security and intelligence analysis, terrorism, Cold War, economics/trade, and international organizations.
Writing emphasis course.

322 Public Opinion, Media, and Politics (3) This course examines the dynamics of public opinion and public policy, as well as the nature of public opinion measurement and the vital role national and international media play in forming and changing public opinion. Various theories about media effects are analyzed.

323 The Politics of Race, Class, and Gender (3) This course examines the relationship among race, class, and gender as they relate to people's political behavior and experiences. Also examines the American political system's response to them in terms of its public policies.
Diverse communities course

324 U.S. Political Parties (3) Patterns, functions, and history of the American political party system at national, state, and local levels. Theoretical and empirical studies of political interest groups, public opinion, and voting behavior.

325 Campaigns and Elections (3) This course analyzes American elections and voting behavior, with an emphasis on recent presidential elections. Course objectives include understanding American voting patterns in elections.

329 Judicial Decision Making (3) Analysis of different schools of thought regarding the interpretation of legal texts. Course will address questions such as: What does it mean to say the Constitution is a "living document"? How can we determine what the framers of the Constitution intended the document to mean? How do judges’ political beliefs affect their understanding of the cases before them? Analysis will focus on specific cases and more general writings and will culminate with in-class simulation.

330 The Politics of the Holocaust and Genocide (3) This course examines the political causes of the Holocaust and genocide both in a historical and current context. Case studies include the Jews in Europe as well as the Armenians and Cambodians.

338 U.S. Political Thought (3) Examination of animating ideas behind most influential dilemmas that affected the political development of the United States. Emphasis on historical context and continuing relevance.

339 Contemporary Political Thought (3) Consideration of the most influential political thinkers over roughly the last 100 years. While emphasis will be placed on particular thinkers, the course will be organized around key topics such as: What is justice and how much should the government do to ensure it? To what extent are humans – and, by extension, collection of humans that wield political power – capable of rational behavior? In what ways can competing values clash and how do we decide which ones to promote forcefully?

340 Latin-American Culture and Politics (3) Comparative analysis of contemporary Latin-American systems. Political cultures, decision making, ideologies, and political processes. Emphasis is on Mexico and Central America. Offered each semester.
Culture cluster. Diverse communities course.

342 European Politics (3) Comparative analysis of political cultures, parties, and decision-making processes in principal European political systems. Strong focus on major European nation states: France, Germany, U.K. and Italy. Additional attention given to the European Union.
Culture cluster

343 Culture and Politics of Asia (3) Study of cultural, philosophical, and political systems of modern Asia with special emphasis on China, Japan, and India.
Diverse communities course. Writing emphasis course.

346 Russian Government and Politics (3) Analysis of the Russian political system with a strong emphasis on the old Soviet system. Some focus on Russian foreign policy.
Culture cluster

348 African Culture and Politics (3) The political nature and practices of individuals, organizations, and governments of Black Africa are examined in the cultural context of the contemporary independent period.

350 Constitutional Law I: Government Institutions: Power and Constraints (3) Survey of power relationships among branches of government (checks and balances) and between levels of government (federalism). Course will focus on important constitutional provisions and historically critical Supreme Court decisions, as well as areas of high contemporary interest (detainee treatment and the war on terror, globalization and the U.S. economy, taking of private property).

351 Energy and the Political Process (3) Stresses the process of policy making and implementation in the field of energy. Emphasis also is given to foreign policy and national security implications.

352 Constitutional Law II: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights (3) Examination of the relationship between government and its citizens, including restrictions on interference with the individual freedom (civil liberties) and obligations to prevent discrimination and ensure equality (civil rights). Heaviest focus will be on the constituent clauses of both the First (free speech, free press, free assembly, and the religion clauses) and the Fourteenth Amendments (equal protection and due process).

353 Latino Politics (3) This is a "hands-on" course for upper-level social science students, as research methods are explored and put into practice in coordination with local organizations working with Latinos. Service-learning projects with Latinos in the region are required. Content material includes demographics of Hispanics in the United States, critical theories from Latino perspectives, interdisciplinary immigration studies, and Hispanic perspectives in relation to social welfare, education, employment, crimes and justice, and politics. PREREQ: Permission of instructor required.

354 Environmental Politics and Policy (3) This course explores the politics of governing the environment both nationally and globally. During the semester, students will investigate the policymaking process as it relates to current environmental challenges.

355 Congressional Politics (3) Deals with the internal and external factors that influence Congressional behavior, including the roles of constituents, pressure groups, parties, the committee system, rules, and the leadership. Their relationships to the president and court structure and their impact on electoral politics also are considered. Comparisons with state legislatures.

356 U.S. Public Policy (3) Policy formation and execution. Policy areas considered vary from semester to semester. May include role-playing.

357 Advanced Political Analysis (3) Discussion and application of research design, conceptualization, measurement, operalization, research models, sampling, and data analysis for political science.

358 Applied Public Policy Analysis (3) An examination of public policy issues of state or national concern. Both analysis of current policy and research resulting in new policy recommendations will be included.

359 Presidential Politics (3) In-depth analysis of the nature and significance of the American presidency, including constitutional development, presidential roles and customs, the recruitment process, the executive branch, and the politics of the presidency.

371 State and Local Government (3) Examination of the organization, functions, and politics of state and local government, including analysis of politics in states, counties, cities, and towns in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Intergovernmental relations in education, transportation, and welfare policy are examined.

372 Organization and Management (3) Introduction to public and nonprofit organization management. Broad coverage of key elements of organizational functions and structure for potential managers. Uses both macro sociological and micro psychological levels of analysis. Case studies integrated into conceptual frameworks.

373 Intergovernmental Relations (3) Designed to familiarize students with the complex network of conflict, cooperation, and interdependence among national, state, and local government units. Topic areas, among others, include an analysis of the continuing evolution of American federalism, an examination of this relationship from state and city government perspectives, and a description of specific intergovernmental fiscal programs and policies.

375 Public Policy and Budgeting (3) Introductory course to public fiscal management applicable to local, state, and national levels of government. Focus on the three major aspects of fiscal management: public services in a free market/mixed economy; revenue/taxation theory and practice; and governmental budgeting systems and concepts. PREREQ: PSC 202.

399 Political Science Symposium (3) Nature of research in political science. Construction of a research design. Extensive reading in an area of political science.

HBI 400, 401, 402 Harrisburg Internship Seminar (15) A full-semester internship in Pennsylvania state government. Student intern is placed in cabinet-level or legislative office. Placement (9 cr.); Policy Research Project (3 cr.); Policy Seminar (3 cr.). The internship is open to any junior or senior student, regardless of major, who has a minimum GPA of 3.5. Stipend involved.

400 Senior Seminar in Political Science (3) Research in political science. Methodology, bibliography, and presentation, both oral and written. The research paper for the seminar must be acceptable as a required departmental senior research paper.

401 Senior Project in Political Science (3) Execution of the research design constructed in PSC 399. Involves completion of a major senior paper under supervision of a staff member. Extensive independent effort.

402 Seminar in International Relations (3) Theme centered with capstone paper. Senior I.R. majors only.

410 Independent Studies in Political Science (1-3) Research projects, reports, and readings in political science. Open to seniors only. PREREQ: Permission of instructor.

412 Internship in Political Science (3-15) Upper-level student field placement learning. Short-term, 3- to 6-hour experiences in political settings under faculty advisement; and 9- to 15-hour placements in state, federal, local government or public service agencies. Learning contracts and faculty advisement create a whole experience from exposure to government administration and politics. Offered each semester.
This course may be taken again for credit.

414 International Theory (3) General theory applied to specific case studies. Advanced readings.