• Department of Humanities &
    Catholic Social Thought


  • Political Science Classes


    POL 101

    FOUNDATIONS OF POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT introduces students to the basic ideas in the study of politics (e.g., authority, sovereignty, and the state), the perennial questions of politics (e.g., What justifies the right of some men to rule over others?), the nature of the discipline of political science and the various approaches to it, and the major political ideologies. Students receive a basic grounding in the systematic study of politics based on solid philosophical principles, as well as an introduction to political philosophy, papal social teachings, methodologies for studying politics, and the way to carry out research and write papers in political science. Also, selected current political issues are evaluated in light of the principles studied. (Social Science Core)
    Required of all political science majors.
    3 credit hours


    POL 220

    AMERICAN NATIONAL GOVERNMENT surveys the institutions of the U.S. national government—the Congress, presidency, federal courts, and the federal bureaucracy—federalism, elections and voting, interest groups, the basic political principles of the US Constitution, and the historical, philosophical, and political background of our national institutions. Some current public policy questions may also be considered. (American Founding Principles Core)
    Required of all political science majors.
    3 credit hours


    POL 233

    INTERNATIONAL POLITICS examines, with copious examples from history, the various principles and practices characteristic of the relations among nations. Particular emphasis is given to the centrality of the struggle for power among nations and the importance of diplomacy. Also considered are the following: the morality of warfare and other international actions; the nature of Communism; arms limitation and disarmament; the morality of warfare; the problem of terrorism; papal encyclicals on international questions; and geopolitics. International law and organizations may also be touched on, and current international issues are considered.
    Required of all political science majors.
    3 credit hours


    POL 291-292

    POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY I & II supply the student with a basic foundation in political philosophy, which is essential for studying the rest of the discipline of political science. The first course briefly examines the philosophical foundations for political authority and studies the major political thinkers in the classical and medieval periods; the second focuses on the modern and contemporary periods. Among the thinkers studied are Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Burke, J.S. Mill, Marx, Nietzsche, Dewey, and Rawls.
    It is recommended that POL 101 be taken before either of these courses, but this is not a prerequisite.
    Both courses are required of all political science majors.
    3 credit hours per semester


    POL 301

    NATURAL LAW studies the notion of natural law and its relationship to human law and the political order. It examines the natural law tradition from its classical expressions to the great Catholic tradition of natural law to its substantial influence on the Anglo-American common law to its role in influencing the American Revolution and constitutional tradition. The contrast between the classical/Christian tradition of natural law and its modern expression is discussed. The course also considers how modern legal thinking has diverged from the natural law tradition, and how the clash between natural law and positivistic conceptions of law and morality is vividly seen in many current public issues and legal questions.
    While not a prerequisite, it is recommended that students take POL 101 before enrolling in this course.
    Cross-listed with LST 301
    3 credit hours


    POL 304

    AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT studies key writings of America‘s greatest political thinkers and the most noteworthy commentators on the American political order. Among the thinkers who may be studied are the Founding Fathers, Alexis de Tocqueville, John C. Calhoun, Abraham Lincoln, Orestes Brownson, John Courtney Murray, SJ, Irving Babbitt, Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin, Russell Kirk, Gerhart Niemeyer, and the Southern Agrarians. Attention may also be given to the nature of American liberalism and conservatism.
    Cross-listed with HST 336
    3 credit hours


    POL 308

    CATHOLIC POLITICAL THOUGHT concentrates on key works, in whole or in part, of the major Catholic political thinkers and commentators. St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas will be considered, but they will be treated primarily in the Political Philosophy I course. Among the other writers and works that may be studied are selected papal encyclicals—especially those of Pope Leo XIII—Bellarmine, More, Suarez, Tocqueville, Brownson, Santayana, Acton, Maritain, Gierke, Rommen, Messner, Murray, McCoy, Costanzo, and Schall.
    3 credit hours


    POL 320

    COMPARATIVE POLITICS studies the government and politics of selected foreign countries. Similarities and differences among foreign governments and between foreign governments and the US government are stressed, along with the political philosophies underlying the other countries‘ institutions. Certain general topical areas, such as comparative law, are sometimes treated in addition to individual countries.
    Required of all political science majors.
    3 credit hours


    POL 327

    UNITED STATES PRESIDENCY studies the powers and responsibilities of the U.S. president. It also considers the shaping of the presidency in the Constitution by our Founding Fathers, the development of the office by the various men who have occupied it, the way the president is elected, the role of political parties, the expansion of the presidential role in American government, and the constitutional limitations on the president. Some special attention may also be given to the current presidential administration.
    3 credit hours


    POL 334

    UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY examines the history of American foreign policy, the influence of our political past and the underlying principles of our political order in shaping our foreign policy, the manner in which our foreign policy is formulated and implemented by the legislative and executive branches, the connection between our foreign and defense policies, and the nature of current and recent American foreign policy. Special attention will be given to the moral considerations that have influenced U.S. foreign policy.
    Cross-listed with HST 335
    3 credit hours


    POL 337

    INTERNATIONAL LAW AND ORGANIZATIONS surveys the current state of international law and its philosophical and historical background. Catholic principles on the law of nations are also considered. The main international organizations and alliances, such as the United Nations and its arms (including NGOs), the European Union, the Organization of American States, and NATO are also examined.
    3 credit hours


    POL 342

    PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND BUREAUCRATIC POLITICS considers such topics as the principles and practices of effective management and administration; the structure and expansion of the executive branch of the U.S. Government; the nature of bureaucratic activity in American governmental institutions; agency-public employee relations; budgeting and fiscal administration; agency rule-making and enforcement powers; administrative law and other legal and constitutional restraints on agencies; proposals for bureaucratic reform; the bureaucratic response to selected public issues; the implications for public administration of American founding principles and political developments in American history; and the evolution of American ideas about public administration.
    3 credit hours


    POL 343

    POLITICS, ECONOMICS, AND THE SOCIAL ENCYCLICALS focuses on the interrelationship of politics, ethics, and economic activity. The major papal social encyclicals are studied in depth and are the chief basis for considering the subject. Philosophical principles relating to economic life are examined. The works of important economic-ethical thinkers such as Pesch, Fanfani, Roepke, Chesterton, Belloc, and Schumacher are also considered. Basic contemporary economic principles, orders, institutions, and practices as they relate to politics are also discussed. Some attention may be given to the history and nature of the governmental role in the U.S. economy.
    3 credit hours


    POL 347

    METROPOLITAN POLITICS studies politics and government in leading American cities and metropolitan areas. Among the topics considered are: the growth and development of urban and suburban America; urban political machines and reform movements; the political relations and conflicts between city and suburb; political trends in recent years in major cities and metropolitan areas; urban and suburban political parties; recent demographic, economic, and social changes in metropolitan areas; the nature of urban problems and the governmental response to them; and the role of private institutions in urban and metropolitan development.
    3 credit hours


    POL 358

    AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW surveys U.S. constitutional law from the earliest years of the Republic to the present. The major U.S. Supreme Court decisions in our history in the areas of the powers of government, federalism, and individual rights, and the philosophical and historical background of American constitutional law are considered. The operation and intended role of the U.S. Supreme Court are also examined.
    Required of all political science majors.
    3 credit hours


    POL 361

    AMERICAN STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT explains and analyzes the structure and functioning of government on the state and local level. Forms and operation of municipal and county government, problems confronting state and local governments, state constitutions, lawmaking, and administration are considered. The role of political parties and interest groups in state and local government is also examined.
    Required of all political science majors.
    3 credit hours


    POL 365

    THE AMERICAN JUDICIARY examines key aspects of the operations and powers of federal and state courts. The political impact of judicial decisions and the possible political role of the judiciary in the U.S. are also considered.
    3 credit hours


    POL 368

    CONGRESS AND LEGISLATIVE POLITICS studies the many facets of the U.S. Congress and the activities of its members. Included among the topics treated are the views of the Founding Fathers about the institution and its place in the scheme of republican government, its historical development, the powers of Congress, the relationship of Congress with the other branches of the national government, congressional rules and procedures, congressional elections and constituency relations, the activity of congressional committees, congressional leaders, political parties and Congress, interest groups and Congress, congressional staff, and the activity of passing legislation. Some attention may also be given to comparisons between Congress and American state legislatures
    3 credit hours


    POL 370

    GLOBAL TERRORISM studies this major current threatening phenomenon in the international domain. Among the topics considered are: the definition of terrorism, its history and causes, the different types of threats posed by terrorists, how terrorists exploit the media for their purposes, responses to terrorism and the ways of insuring homeland security, and the need for international cooperation to adequately counter terrorism. Students will study significant terrorist episodes in recent decades and consider and evaluate the effectiveness and the strengths and weaknesses of different policy alternatives and strategies to deal with terrorism.
    3 credit hours


    POL 380

    SELECTED THEMES IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW focuses, in-depth, on specific subjects or topics in American or comparative constitutional law. Possible topics are First Amendment rights, the courts and religion, and constitutional law and the family. This course may be repeated for credit if the selected topic is different from when previously taken.
    While not a prerequisite, it is recommended that students take POL 358 before enrolling in this course.
    3 credit hours


    POL 393

    POLITICAL PARTIES, INTEREST GROUPS, AND MEDIATING STRUCTURES studies the major types of non-governmental organizations in political life today. It examines the historical development, structure, power, and changing political and societal roles of political parties and interest groups. It also considers the efforts at reforming political parties and limiting the influence of interest groups in the U.S. in recent decades. It also examines the political perspectives and platforms of the major parties in American history, especially in light of Catholic social teaching. Parties at different levels are considered: local, state, national and congressional. While the focus is on parties and interest groups in the U.S., comparative study with those of other countries may also be included. The general importance of mediating structures (churches, the family, and voluntary associations [such as political parties and interest groups]) for a democratic republic and a good political order generally—according to Catholic social teaching, social ethics, and the tradition of political philosophy—is also discussed.
    3 credit hours


    POL 435

    COORDINATING SEMINAR requires in-depth reading and research on a selected topic in political science, culminating in a research paper or project with an original component. Students will also present their research orally to the seminar group. There may also be class discussion on the state of the discipline of political science and related topics.
    Required of all political science majors.
    Open only to political science majors with Senior standing who have completed at least seven of the following required courses: POL 101, 220, 233, 291, 292, 320, 358, 361 and all of the following courses that are required for the major: ENG 103-104 (except for Honors Program students), HST 207-208, PHL 113, 211, 212.
    1 credit hour

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