POLS699 - Master’s Capstone Seminar in Political Science
The Master’s Capstone Seminar option includes a thesis, or a major research project or paper in lieu of the final comprehensive examination, which has no credit hours. Those who elect this option may reduce their electives by three semester hours to accommodate the seminar option credit. This option is desirable for those students who wish to focus on specific subject matter of an interdisciplinary nature or who would like to continue their education at a higher level. Students electing this option must use this as one of the graduate electives.
In addition to the institutional and degree level learning outcomes objectives, the Masters of Arts in Political Science seeks the following specific learning outcomes of its graduates:
- Analyze the fundamental theories and philosophies of government, governance, economy, and civil society and apply them to contemporary political systems.
- Evaluate the political elements of representative democracy and compare and contrast those elements with other political systems.
- Assemble and evaluate the appropriate information and data used in the social, economic, foreign affairs and security policy-making realm.
- Assess the actors and processes involved in policymaking and evaluate policy implementation outcomes in various sectors to include the social, economic, foreign policy and security policy domains.
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Total Credits - 36 Hours
International Political Systems
This course examines how the international political system---the patterns of interaction among world political actors---has changed and how some of its fundamental characteristics have resisted change. Students will investigate how the global system works and how the process of globalization is remaking the political and economic world.
This course examines the way government policies emerge from the political process and are implemented through participating institutions. In this class students will investigate how good analysis can contribute to informed policy-making and review the factors that go into developing effective implementation strategies. In addition, today’s need for enhanced public accountability and the challenging problems of measuring program performance are examined.
Law and Public Policy
This course critically examines the complex and ongoing role of courts in the public policy process. With renewed emphasis on economic stability, financial and non-financial regulation, decentralization, downsizing and re-engineering, there is an increasing awareness that public policy, and the administrative law system that manages it, are subject to intense political and cultural pressures. The attempt to address social concerns with new laws and regulations has created increased pressure on the administrative law process in the courts and legislative chambers. This course examines the sources, influences, operation and consequences of law and public policy formation, and analyzes public policy initiatives from political and legal aspects as to their intentions, achievable aims, and intended and unintended outcomes.
Research Methods in Social Science
This course presents the research methods commonly used by all social scientists. Consequently, the course will prepare the student to understand material and issues associated with but not limited to the logic of the scientific method, research design, and statistical analysis of data. The course is intended to provide a foundation from which the student may use the knowledge and practices acquired throughout the rest of their graduate program in their selected field of study. This course is required as the first course in the M.A. in Political Science.
This course takes the student into the exciting world of ideas that have always captivated mankind and inspired the great advances in Western civilization. The course examines some eternal questions: On what philosophical precepts does the rule of law depend? What are the philosophical justifications for respect for the individual? What legal and moral implications arise from these precepts? How should we behave? How should we govern ourselves and each other? Through reading, studying, and reflecting upon the works of the great philosophers ranging from Socrates to Marx and beyond, the class will enter into these “great conversations” and examine how political philosophers throughout time have relevance to the modern world.
The U.S. Presidency, Congress, & Bureaucracy
The course covers a combination of theories and applications that will provide the student with basic tools required to understand, navigate, and communicate with the three administrative elements of the federal government. The emphasis of the course is based on a study of composing, legislating, implementing, and enforcing public policy set against a background of both historical and current elements.
U.S. Constitutional History
This course examines the origins, content, and judicial interpretations of the U.S. Constitution. The course involves study of the Supreme Court’s evolving decisions on such issues as States’ rights, civil rights, the Commerce Clause, Due Process in criminal and other proceedings, and protected freedoms (speech, religion, assembly, etc.) under the Constitution.
Homeland Security and Defense
This course offers a comprehensive overview of key elements of the United States’ homeland security program. This overview will have students examining, discussing and analyzing homeland security operational and policy concerns which have continued to evolve in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.
International Relations Theory
This course provides an analysis of the three important theoretical debates of international relations: Idealism vs. Realism, Traditionalism vs. Behavioralism, and Realism vs. Neo-realism. The course also addresses the level of analysis problem, as well as the central assumptions and key concepts of various theories of international relations, with special emphasis on the basic concepts, propositions, and current critique of realism and neo-realism.
This course introduces issues surrounding the two major categories of international institutions: intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) such as the United Nations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as the International Committee of the Red Cross. The course studies the theories, origins, principles, organization, activities, legal authority and performance of major international organizations as world actors in areas of economic development, international security, trade, and humanitarian assistance. IGOs serve as forums for communications, as regulators, as distributors, as organs of military security, and as peacekeepers. A few IGOs, such as the European Union (EU), have taken on supra-national political functions; they have power to make decisions that bind member-states, and their failures are not inherent, but are often caused by the reluctance of states to surrender sovereignty.
History of American Foreign Policy
The purpose of this course is to provide students with the analytical tools and knowledge skill sets to assess American foreign policy and America’s role in a changing world. Specifically, this course attempts to make sense of the change dynamics by exploring the policy process and the core values that have defined America’s role in the world.
Strategic Geography and Geopolitics
This course of study examines the history of political, tactical and strategic developments and concepts regarding geopolitical concerns regarding political and military planning and execution from the mid-20th Century through the modern era. The comparative analysis of these concepts from the applicable secondary literature will provide a stepping stone to understanding the nature of modern combined arms and joint forces warfare.
Government and Security in Korea
An examination of the governments and the militaries of the two Koreas. This course will closely examine the reasons behind the Korean peninsula playing such a pivotal role in overall Northeast Asian security. The course will examine domestic political, economic and social problems and prospects of North Korea and South Korea; the prospects for reunification; the military balance and the changing strategic environment; and the relations of Pyongyang and Seoul with their key allies. Includes an examination of U.S. relations with Korea.
Latin American Security Issues
Latin America continues as one of the most important areas to the United States -- even as it remains one of the least understood. In particular, the internal dimension of security has not yet been resolved in many Latin American nations to the extent that domestic stability can be taken for granted, a reality which could have profound consequences for the United States.
Seminar in Middle East Politics and Security
This course examines evolution of the contemporary Middle East politics. It studies political, social, and cultural, interactions both within and among the countries located in the Eastern Mediterranean basin, the Persian Gulf region, and the North Africa. The course aims to present detailed and multidimensional analysis of the political attitudes and behaviors of prominent players biased through religious motives, regimes, patterns of patrimonial leadership, and diverse aspirations and goals of traditional social groups rooted in the Middle East. In this framework, focusing, first, on the birth and rise of Islam and religious motives in social life, the course sets the stage for historic developments which brought about structural dilemmas of today. Emphasizing on the period starting with the industrial revolution early in the nineteenth century, it also draws attention to the political economic motives of the region shaped by petroleum as well as the rise of mass politics. Correspondingly, involvement of the great powers into the politics of region is, in the final analysis, another topic that adds up flavor to the discussions and perspectives related to the Middle East politics. Finally, it takes up the analysis of current developments, like the U.S. led Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and democratization efforts in the Broader Middle East area in the context of U.S. war on terror.
The course is designed to introduce students to the concepts and sources of international law that evaluate the various components, processes, and functions of the international legal process and consider how international law impacts the laws within the United States. Additionally, the current state of the international legal order is reviewed with legal opinions regarding major philosophies, components and current practices and problems of the field of international law.
Institutions of National Security
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED AS YOUR SECOND CLASS in National Security Studies. The course will cover the roles, missions, organization, capabilities, unique cultures and strategic purposes of the President, the Departments of State and Defense, Congress, National Security Council, Armed Forces, intelligence community, and NGOs, as well as how these actors interact to formulate national security strategy. Students will examine some of the successes and failures of the interagency process and will gain an appreciation of the capabilities, limitations and organizational cultures of the players in the national security community, as well as providing an overview of legal and ethical issues that impact on the development of national security policy.
This course is designed to develop fundamental skills essential for students to evaluate public programs. Knowledge of the policy process and research methods is brought together in the ethical assessment of program needs, processes, and outcomes.
Political Parties and Interest Group Behavior
This course examines the organization and behavior of political parties and interest groups within the American political system. The course emphasizes the extent to which these organizations operate differently across the national, state, and local levels of government.
Gender and American Politics
This course will study women as political players in society--their history as outsiders, strategies for gaining political power, the evolution of public policies that affect the lives and opportunities of women, and the present political status of women in the U.S. (and globally). The course begins with a historical analysis of the gendering of American politics and addresses the cultural changes in women’s lives, the forces behind those changes and their reflection in public policies in education, health care, reproductive rights, employment, the economy, family law, childcare, and criminal justice. The course will review the history of women's political participation and the challenges and opportunities for women as candidates and officeholders.
Legislatures and Legislative Behavior
This course focuses on legislative structure and decision-making. Through reading, studying, and reflecting upon legislatures, legislators, and legislative processes, students will examine the U.S. legislative structure and conduct an analysis of comparative legislative behavior.
The Presidency: Institution and Performance
This course offers a perspective on the U.S. presidency that examines the institutional development while assessing the leadership behavior of office holders from George Washington through the present. Through reading, studying, and reflecting upon Presidential administrations and Presidential leadership styles, students will examine the development of the presidency and the role of the President in U.S. government and abroad.
Judicial Politics, Process, and Policy Making
This course introduces students to the role of the judiciary in American politics and policymaking and explores the questions asked and the methods employed by political scientists studying courts and the legal system. An equally important objective of this course is to familiarize students with the seminal works in judicial research, with particular emphasis on Supreme Court cases. Students will study the judicial process in the United States from a variety of perspectives in order to examine the role of law and courts in the larger political arena and social environment.
Federalism: The American Governance Process
This course focuses on the political, legal, financial, and administrative relationships among national, state, and local governmental units. Topics include the nature of federal and other political systems and the issues presented in each system at all levels; the evolution of the American federal system from its origins through present day; intergovernmental cooperation and conflict; and the various theory and concepts associated with a breakdown of responsibilities among federal, state, and local governments.
Masters Capstone Seminar in Political Science
The Master’s Capstone Seminar option includes a thesis, or a major research project.This option is desirable for those students who wish to focus on specific subject matter of an interdisciplinary nature or who would like to continue their education at a higher level. Capstone courses are NOT included in the university retake policy. All grades for any capstone attempts will appear on transcript and will be calculated in GPA
Electives are typically courses available at your degree level that are not currently required as a part of your degree program/academic plan. Please visit the catalog to view a complete listing of courses.