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Political Science Course Descriptions

PSC 200 Research Methods (3 cr.) 
Introduces the student to the logic of the linear approach in the analysis of political events. Emphasis is placed on the relevance and importance of the scientific method to scholarly study and to effective thinking about questions relevant to the discipline of Political Science. Introduces students to the principles of scientific research, its methodologies and tools as a prelude to their future use in sponsored research projects and in the Senior Seminar.

PSC 210 Introduction to Political Theory (3 cr.) 
An introduction to the historical, normative, and analytical issues and concepts which characterize the literature of Western Political Philosophy to 1) the continuity and innovation which has characterized the Western tradition, as well as its relevance to contemporary political problems, 2) to developing critical thinking skills for a sophisticated understanding of the complexity of political realities and political thinking, and 3) to thinking critically about personal identity within politics.

PSC 230 Introduction to American Government (3 cr.) 
Provides a basic introduction to how the American, and the state and local government of Virginia function. It will emphasize the institutional roles of the Presidency, the Congress, and the Supreme Court, as well as the more informal roles of political parties, interest groups, the media, and elections. The course will include a complete study of the structures, function, and powers of state and local government in Virginia. Also, the course will study the importance of citizen participation in the political process in state and local government in Virginia.

PSC 330 The American Presidency (3 cr.) 
An analysis of the constitutional origins and legal development of the American Presidency, while placing special emphasis on the role of the President as party leader, Chief of State, Commander-in-Chief, molder and executor of public policy, and chief administrator of the federal bureaucracy. Prerequisite: PSC 230.

PSC 331 State and Local Government (3 cr.) 
An introduction to the structure, functions, and roles played by state and local governments within the federal system. Prerequisite: PSC 230.

PSC 332 Parties and Elections (3 cr.) 
This course provides an understanding of the central role that parties play in American politics and other governmental systems. It explains the similarities and differences among political parties, interest groups and factions. There is a discussion of the evolution and the pervasiveness of parties in the United States; and an assessment how the two-party system has endured, and the role of minor parties in U.S. Political history. Prerequisite: PSC 230.

PSC 340 Introduction to Comparative Politics (3 cr.) 
An analysis of the theoretical varieties of government and a study of selected and illustrative contemporary foreign governments. Prerequisite: PSC 230.

PSC 350 Introduction to International Relations (3cr.) 
Introduces students to the major theories, concepts, and problems of international relations and foreign policy, especially the effect of diplomacy, nationalism, and imperialism. Prerequisite:PSC 230.

PSC 336 Problems of Democracy (3 cr.) 
In-depth examination of both current and enduring problems related to the theory and practice of democratic government. Prerequisite: PSC 230.

PSC 415 Civil Rights and Liberties and the Constitution (3 cr.) 
An intensive study of the aspects of constitutional law and politics, focusing on the rights of individuals and groups in American society. Prerequisite: PSC 230.

PSC 430 African-Americans and the Political Process (3 cr.) 
The study of the political behavior of African-Americans. Through analyses of mass movements, political parties and established interest groups, students develop a sophisticated comprehension of techniques of political mobilization and organization used in African-American communities. Prerequisite: PSC 230.

PSC 490 Selected Topics (1 - 3 cr.) 
In-depth study of a topic of current interest in political science.

PSC 492 Internship (1 - 3 cr.) 
An opportunity for students to work or serve in an internship with a governmental/public agency or institution. Prerequisite: Junior or senior status, cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better, and permission of the instructor.