Courses Offered in Political Science | Salem State University Skip to main content

This course introduces students to the study of politics (including political ideas and behaviors, political institutions, and public policies), both in the United States and abroad. Topics may include democracy and authoritarianism, political parties and elections, political violence, and globalization. The course also familiarizes students with key academic skills such as critical thinking and information literacy, as well as to the requirements and opportunities that are part of the Political Science program. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Contemporary Society

Concentrated study of topics in Political Science introducing qualified students to central concepts, structures, and processes of politics and government. Course topics may include: democracy in America, globalization, ethnic conflict, social justice, etc. The seminar format will emphasize critical analysis of assigned readings, extensive student participation in class discussions, and engagement in various forms of written reflection. Three seminar hours per week.
Prerequisites: Honors Program student; or, Political Science major or minor with the permission of the department chairperson.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Contemporary Society

This course provides an analysis of the United States political system, with primary emphasis on the national government. Students will discuss the U.S. Constitution as well as the powers and functions of Congress, the presidency and the Supreme Court. They also will evaluate the changing roles of political parties, interest groups and citizens in American democracy. Additionally, students will debate contemporary issues and events. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Contemporary Society

This course provides an introduction to contemporary issues in American public policy. The course will examine the roles of interests, political institutions, governmental and nongovernmental actors, and the media in shaping public policy. We will identify competing goals, problem definitions, and solutions in policy debates over issues such as social welfare, criminal justice, economics, civil rights, healthcare, education and the environment. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Oral Communication

A survey of the history of political theory Intended to introduce students to the major theoretical answers to fundamental questions of political life Readings may include selections from Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Tocqueville,Marx and Nietzsche. This is a portfolio based writing course where students will build on the W-I course to write various kinds of papers for various audiences and reprise some of their work for a final portfolio Three lecture hours per week Not open to students who have received credit for POL300 or POL302. Prerequisite: W-I

Credits: 3.00

This course is about understanding how the origins and historic evolution of the international system fundamentally shape the structure and functioning of international relations (IR) today .In addition to introducing basic concepts and analytical frameworks, the first part of this course uses contending theories of IR to describe and interpret the major global events of the modern era. Building on this foundation the second part of the course explores several key issue-areas in IR: international law and governance. security and conflict, the global economy, and global human welfare. Three lecture hours per week. Not open to students who have received credit for POL351.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: The Human Past

This course introduces students to the comparative study of politics by examining the political systems and political cultures of selected developed and developing countries. Topics covered go beyond institutions and public policies, encompassing, for example, a study of how ethnicity and religion shape politics and of the role played by political culture. The course also teaches students how to analyze and compare unfamiliar societies. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: World Cultures

As an introduction to the fundamentals of scientific inquiry as they apply to political science, this course will explore the nature and process of social science research generally, and applied political science research with a focus on methodologies particularly prominent within our discipline. Representative political science research examples will be critically analyzed to illuminate course topics and establish frameworks for assessing the validity and utility of various forms of political research. The practical application of research methodologies to the study of empirical political questions will be emphasized. Three seminar hours per week. Not open to students who have received credit for POL291.

Credits: 3.00

This course explores various manifestations of grassroots politics, especially social movements that focus on race, gender, sexual orientation, and protection of animals and the environment. The course examines the role of protests, boycotts, ballot measures, lobbying, litigation, and community organizing in spurring political, economic, and social change. Particular attention is given to the impact of grassroots activism on American democracy and political institutions. Three lecture hours per week

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Pers Growth & Responsibility

This course introduces students to a broad set of themes in environmental politics and political ecology. Issues include: epochal transformations in human-environment relations; various approaches to contemporary environmental conditions and their political ramifications; sustainability; the impacts of environmental movements, and the character of environmental institutions, policies, and politics on the local, state, national, and global scales. Three lecture hours per week. Offered in alternate years.

Credits: 3.00

In this course students explore the many faces of political power and political socialization. Through the study of classical and contemporary theories, students will examine various forms of political and social coercion, and they will explore how individuals are inducted into a political system. Students will investigate the exercise of political power, analyze individual and group socialization, and determine whether or not these processes undermine democratic principles and practices. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course examines attitude change, public opinion, propaganda, mass media, and other aspects of communication as they influence the political world. Additionally, utilizing a hand-on approach, students will generate various forms of political communication covering both individual and governmental spheres. Three seminar hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Oral Communication

This course will identify and explain core issues and writings in Feminist political theory. The goal is fourfold. First, it will introduce students to a theoretical framework with which to analyze the power relationships and political structures of society. Second, it will familiarize students with the body of literature that forms the core of this framework. Third, students will be encouraged to think about politics and political life from the perspective of these works. Fourth, building on their W-I experience, students will be introduced to and encouraged to use a variety of
writing forms to explore and express their own feminist positions.This course differs from Women in Politics in that it focuses on theory and normative issues rather than on current politics. Three lecture hours per week. Prerequisite: W-I course.

Credits: 3.00

Described alternately as a mere tool for special interests or as the most democratic branch of the United States government, Congress remains a perplexing institution. This course offers a comprehensive introduction to the legislative branch, its internal modes of operation, and its relation to the executive and judicial branches. Simulations, role-play and other methods may be used to explore the legislative process. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Contemporary Society

This course analyzes the theoretical, ideological and organizational development and influence of post-World War II American conservatism (including the New Right). Emphasis will be on its main trends, differing interpretations of its role in American politics, contradictions within the movement, implications of its policies and its future, covering such topics as separation of church and state, the role of the market, states' rights, class, race and gender and foreign policy. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Pers Growth & Responsibility, Written Communication-Level II

The study of the structure and operation of State and Local Government and their relationship to the federal government. Analysis of Federalism as the dynamic concept propelling Federal-State-Local relations (intergovernmentalism) with special emphasis on the key policy problems of subnational governments. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course examines the development and contemporary structure of political parties. Topics may include the different periods of party organization, the changing relationship between parties and the citizenry. the influence that parties have on today's political struggles, and the impact that major and third parties have on the political process. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Contemporary Society

This course examines the Executive Branch. Special attention is given to the vast increase in executive authority in the past century as well as the limitations placed on the president by the Constitution, Congress, Supreme Court, political parties, and the American citizenry. The course will also explore the development of the executive's military, administrative and agenda setting powers, examine the influence of the president's leadership style, and evaluate the performance of the present Chief Executive. Three lecture hours per week.
Prerequisite: Level I Written Communications course.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: The Human Past, Written Communication-Level II

An examination of the nature of bureaucracy and the administration process. Emphasis will be placed on the policy-making role of bureaucracy. Also included will be the theory, organization, and function of the bureaucracy and the nature of the budgetary process. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

Using cases and secondary sources, students will explore the judiciary's organizational structure, state and federal courts' jurisdiction as well as civil and constitutional decisions. Students will also consider judges' commitments to both the written Constitution and the political environment, and students will examine the legal system's democratic and anti-majoritarian aspects. This course will help prepare students for a career in the legal profession, and it will be valuable to those interested in the powers and limits of the U.S. judicial system. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course examines the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of civil liberties and civil rights, with emphasis on judicial decisions rendered since the 1960's. Topics include freedom of expression and religion, the rights of the accused, the right to privacy, and equal protection. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course focuses on theories, analytical approaches and current techniques for analysis of public policy contests and content. The course is designed to help student develop the skills required to analyze policy problems, identify decision-making criteria for policy analysis, and evaluate alternative policy solutions. Students develop research and writing skills through preparation of case studies and policy memos on policy topics of interest to them. It is recommended that students take POL201 or POL219 before enrolling in this course. Three seminar hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Written Communication-Level II

Through a primary focus on the struggles for and against civil rights, this course provides a historical, ideological, and institutional examination of race within the context of American political development. In our readings and discussions we will consider: (1) the various ways race has been conceptualized; (2) the connections between those who hold these ideological frameworks and their corresponding legislative agendas; and (3) the institutional channels (both governmental and nongovernmental) that facilitate and limit these political actors' attempts to advance or hinder civil rights. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: The Human Past

This course examines the politics surrounding migration into the United States. Students will explore general reasons why individuals immigrate and how governments regulate migration. Students will also investigate how the flow of immigrants into the United States is shaped by notions of gender, race and ethnicity, employers' need for workers and the specific demands of the U.S. political system. Student will explore contemporary U.S. immigration debates and recent immigration legislation. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: The Human Past

Through in-depth analysis of contemporary issues in American politics and policy, this course will explore important concepts and concerns in Political Science such as democratic participation, federalism, political power, and the relationship between science and politics. The topics of the course will vary by semester and instructor. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course explores how gender shapes American law and policy. Through the review of court decisions, laws, and legislation on issues such as employment discrimination, same sex marriage, welfare, and access to birth control and abortion, the course examines the ways in which perceptions of gender influence the formulation, adoption, and implementation of public policy. This writing intensive course also looks at the interests and organizations involved in these policy contests and legal disputes. Three lecture hours per week.
Prerequisite: Completion of W-I course.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Written Communication-Level II

This course is an introduction to American foreign policy and policymaking, and examines where American foreign policy comes from (i.e. its historical, cultural, ideological and political sources), its evolution, major turning points and shifting presidential foreign policy doctrines since the founding of the United States, the key players in America foreign policymaking and the foreign policymaking process, and the instruments available for implementing foreign policy decisions. In depth discussion and analysis of select cases in modern American foreign policy will also be undertaken. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: The Human Past

Introduction to the key components of international governance in the 21st century: international law, international regimes, and international organizations. Emphasis will be placed on international organizations, including their historical evolution, structure, roles and functions, decisionmaking processes, and the rise to prominence of international nongovernmental organizations. The United Nations and other select institutions of international governance will be analyzed as case-studies. Three lecture hours per week. Not open to students who have received credit for POL322.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Contemporary Society

This course will discuss the politics of "The Sixties," Using the concept of the "long sixties" covering the fifties through the seventies this course provides a fuller understanding of the origins of and consequences of this period. As much as it will analyze both key political issues and different political trends within "The Sixties" in order to challenge students to think about the contemporary influences and legacies of the political, economic, social and cultural movements and events of the sixties. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Pers Growth & Responsibility

This course introduces students to the theories, concepts and issues pertaining to international security, conflict and conflict resolution. The course includes the study of new and nontraditional security concerns and problems of the early 21st century even while maintaining a focus on interstate security issues. The course will first introduce students to the various theoretical approaches to and perspectives on war and peace, and conflict versus cooperation. This introduction will be followed by the application of these theories, concepts and analytical frameworks to the detailed study of such issue areas as: interstate rivalries and wars; intrastate wars that spill across state borders; interstate competition over critical natural resources; large-scale population displacements; pandemic diseases; trade disputes and economic conflicts; ideological conflicts; cultural conflicts; etc. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Contemporary Society

This course will study the human, social and organizational causes of terrorism and political violence, the motives and methods of the individuals, organizations and states undertaking such action and the effects of political violence on the institutions of democratic societies. It will also analyze the growth and implications of terrorism and political violence and possible tools to prevent or counter terrorism. Three lecture hours per week. Not open to students who have received credits for POL382.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Contemporary Society, Written Communication-Level II

An introduction to the changing nature of the globalized world economy through the analytical frameworks and concepts of international political economy (IPE). Covering such topics as the global monetary, financial and trade systems, politico-economic cooperation and competition among states, sustainable development, foreign aid and investment, debt, population growth, and environmental and energy concerns, this course will acquaint students with a range of arguments and perspectives about the structure, functioning, and problems of the contemporary global economy thereby empowering students to make independent judgments about them. Students will also gain an appreciation for the extent in which IPE issues directly affect their daily lives. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Contemporary Society

For centuries international relations have been dominated by geopolitics, where states engaged in ruthless "I-win-you-lose" competition against other states based on geography, history, national power, and national interests. In the early 1990s an alternative paradigm - globalization - emerged. In an increasingly borderless and integrated world with new forms of transnational networks and where geography and the baggage of history did not matter much, countries and people could work cooperatively to advance common interests that would benefit them all. But is globalization all that it is said to be? Can some form of globalization truly replace geopolitics? This course seeks answers to these and other related critical questions about the future of international relations. Three seminar hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: The Human Past

This course explores the role of nationalism and ethnic identity in politics. It examines how Americans and others define the political arena, the nation, and the state and the impact of these different definitions. The course will also examine case studies where differences in ethnic identity impact national politics, sometimes to the point of interethnic conflict and genocide. Readings focus on the theoretical
aspects of nationalism as well as case studies. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

Women in Politics introduces students to the political, economic and social challenges met by women worldwide and examines how these challenges can be confronted through political action. The course relies on a comparative framework to examine women's conditions and political participation in various countries and regions throughout the world. It is designed to help students think critically about gender issues, power relations, and the multiple ways in which patriarchy manifests itself. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Contemporary Society

This course is an exploration of the contemporary politics and governments of Europe. Emphasis is placed on institutional choices and differing party systems. Present trends or issues in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Russia as well as in selected other countries will be covered. Students will be introduced to the European Union and its effects on the domestic policies of member and non-member countries. Selected security issues and instruments will also be examined. Three lecture hours per week. Not open to students who have received credit for POL330.

Credits: 3.00

This course provides a comparative survey of the modern political history, current politics, governments, civil societies, political economies, and foreign relations of South Asia; India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldive Islands. Emphasis will be placed on four major comparative frameworks: political culture and political socialization, interest articulation and aggregation, governmental structures, and conflict resolution. Although the course will be comparative, overall significant parts of the course will be devoted to a more detailed (internally comparative) study of the government and politics of India, and to the international politics of South Asia. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: World Cultures

This course critically examines the politics of the greater Middle East, a region of the world comprising the traditional Middle East plus Arab North Africa, and Turkic Central Asia. A wide array of topics are covered in the course including a broad survey of the ways in which the tumultuous history of this region and its diverse and complex cultures influence and shape region-wide and local politics. Particular attention is given to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and to the United States' involvement in the region. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: World Cultures

This course will analyze modern Chinese government and politics by providing contrasting views of significant political issues and institutions in modern China. Emphasis will be on assisting students to develop ways to understand and bridge the political and cultural differences between American and Chinese approaches to politics and international relations. Three lecture hours per week. Not open to students who have received credits for POL353.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: World Cultures

This course examines the origins and evolution of the Vietnam War (or the American War to the Vietnamese) and its contemporary legacies in both countries. Topics include (from both perspectives) cultural and historical differences which contributed to the outbreak of the war; decision-making processes; execution of the war; popular reactions to the war; post-war veterans' experiences; retrospective perceptions of the war as well as the war's lasting impact on the political-economic structure of each country and the international system. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: The Human Past

This course introduces students to the political, economic, and social challenges faced by developing countries. Case studies and simulations are used to examine difficult, often controversial issues in the field of international development, including foreign aid, democracy assistance and democratization, state capacity and state failure, and corruption. Three lecture hours per week. Not open to students who have received credits for POL350.

Credits: 3.00

This course will analyze the contemporary politics, governments, political institutions and political cultures of various Latin American countries. Emphasis will be on critical comparative thinking, overcoming simplistic and/or stereotypical notions and understanding these countries' prospective futures as well as assisting students to develop ways to understand and bridge the political and cultural differences between American and various Latin America approaches to politics. Various Latin American countries will be the focus from semester to semester. Three lecture hours per week. Not open to students who have received credits for POL343.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: World Cultures

This course introduces students to the contemporary politics of sub-Saharan Africa. It focuses on the challenges that are common to most of its states (such as post-colonialism, neo-patrimonialism, and ethnic diversity) but also on variations in performances, especially in terms of state buildings, democratization, and development. Selected case studies serve to illustrate the diversity of this area of the world and the complexity of the issues examined. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: World Cultures

This course introduces students to major theories about democracy and democratization as well as to the study of regime transition by using selected case studies. Special emphasis is placed on key concepts such as waves of democratization, democratic consolidation and illiberal democracy. The course is designed to stimulate discussion and debates. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

Students will use the methodologies of Political Science to understand and evaluate the political assumptions and implications, implicit and explicit, and potential for learning from varied works of fiction and film. Students will analyze the structure and validity of arguments, including their internal logic as well as the veracity of the supplied facts and their linkages to reality. Works and topics will vary. The seminar format will emphasize critical analysis of assigned readings. Written assignments will serve as the primary evaluation method for this course. Utilizing a draft/revision process, students will demonstrate critical thinking skills relevant to the course materials. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

Provides advanced students with an opportunity to reflect upon the field of Political Science and discover new ways of integrating what has been learned in previous courses. Course topics, which vary each semester, may include; Government and Society, Inequality, Transitions to Democracy, Political Corruption, and Resolving Global Conflict. The seminar format will emphasize critical analysis of assigned readings, class presentations and a research paper. Three seminar hours per week. Offered each semester. Limited to Junior and Senior Political Science majors. Prerequisites: POL 300R and W-II course.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Written Commun-Level III

Examination of strengths and weaknesses of the U.N. and of how to make it work through the process of negotiation, caucus, compromise, and consensus. Students will participate in the annual four-day Harvard National Model U.N. with other students from all over the world. Three seminar hours per week. Not open to students who have received credits for POL512.

Credits: 3.00

This course allows students to participate for a second year in the Harvard National Model United Nations by taking the role of mentor to students enrolled in POL412. Students in the course will be partnered with a student in POL412 and will work to enhance the learning experience of the team as a whole. A lab fee may be imposed. Please see Instructor for estimate. This course may not be used as a major or minor elective in Political Science.
Prerequisites: POL412 and permission of Department Chairperson.

Credits: 3.00

Study in depth of some aspect of Political Science under the direction of a member of the department. A research paper is required. The student must first present a proposal at a department meeting. A total of six hours may be taken only in exceptional cases and with the approval of the department. See POL 520 description for combined total of Directed Study and Internship credits. This course is highly recommended for students expecting to go on to graduate school.
Prerequisites: POL300R and junior or senior Political Science major; or, permission of the department chairperson.

Credits: 3.00

This internship provides extensive and valuable political involvement: field experience in a political situation, work with various political institutions and/or participation in internship conferences. Interns must be ready to defend papers on their work at Departmental meetings if so requested and to participate in discussion panels. A total of 6-9 credits may be taken rarely and only with the permission of the Department Chairperson. Under no circumstances may a combined total of POL 500 Directed Study and POL 520 Internship exceed 12 hours.

Credits: 3.00

This course allows Political Science majors to satisfy the final academic requirement for becoming a Commonwealth Honors Scholar and graduate as a member of the Commonwealth Honors Program. It is preceded by two 1.5-credit experiences (Honors Junior and Senior seminars) in which students work
extensively with peers on topic invention and development. This capstone experience requires students to undertake a significant creative or research project in the discipline of Political Science under the direction of a faculty member in the department. This directed study can be done in one semester for three credits. A more substantive two semester six credit version is available.
W-II, IDS 600H, consent of Commonwealth Honors Program Director, and permission of Department Chairperson, Co-requisite: IDS 601H.

Credits: 3.00 - 6.00

This course examines theoretical and practical aspects of public administration. Topics include the structure of government, functions of agencies, organizational theories and problems, decision-making, public employees, accountability and the budgetary process. Emphasis will be placed on the relationship between public administration, politics and policy implementation.

Credits: 3.00

The course introduces students to a variety of theoretical approaches for analyzing the policy process and tools for evaluating policy alternatives. Through in-depth research in policy areas of interest to them, students will gain skills in policy analysis and familiarity with policy research resources, including laws, regulations, legislation, and public records of interest group activity. During the course, students will complete a policy analysis case study and a policy memo.

Credits: 3.00

An independent in-depth research and/or writing project supervised by a faculty member of the Political Science Department on a topic not covered by any POL graduate courses. Three lecture hours per week. May be repeated once for a total of six credits, and two enrollments in the same semester is allowed.
Prerequisite: Approval of the Political Science graduate coordinator.

Credits: 3.00

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