Required Core Courses (15 hours):
Note: SOCI 3312, Statistical Techniques in the Social Sciences is required. See the Sociology section for a course description.
PSCI 2300, Introduction to Political Science: This is an introduction to political science. The emphasis of this course is on the development of political science as a discipline, its role in society, and some of the fundamental problems of politics and government.
1. To help students identify and understand a working vocabulary in the discipline of Political Science.
2. To assist students understand the discipline of Political Science, its theoretical foundations, scope, significance, and changing patterns.
3. To examine the concepts of nation/state and government, their meaning, development, their significance in modern societies, and examine some of the crises in the nation-building process.
4. To examine various types of government, the ways in which they are classified, and their different characteristics.
5. To examine the different branches of government, their role, and functions.
6. To discuss the significance of constitution and the constitutional process.
7. To explain the concepts of political culture, its significance and implications for political systems.
8. To identify and explain some major political structures, such as political parties, interest groups, and electoral systems.
9. To examine the relationship between the study of politics and the scientific method.
10. To examine the nature of and consequences of political ideologies.
PSCI 3350, Seminar: Introduction to Political Theory:
Surveys some of the principal ideas among prominent political thinkers from classical Greeks to Utilitarian’s
1. To learn how to identify the influence of political philosophy on politics.
2. To understand the history of many political theories and the political environment during their inception.
3. To understand how to apply political theories to individuals, groups and nations throughout the world.
4. To propose designs for testing hypothesis concerning the relationship of political thought to political occurrences.
5. To develop and build on political theory through examining current social, economic and civic phenomena’s.
PSCI 4315, International Relations: This course introduces students to international relations, the political science sub-discipline concerned with non-domestic events. It combines the study of key analytical concepts relating to political science and international affairs with substantive issues of contemporary international relations. It comprises two segments: international security (encompassing topics like power politics, foreign policy, and international conflict); and international political economy (embracing topics like integration, the North-South gap, and international development). The course emphasizes critical thinking and to introduce students to technology application in international relations, it will involve exercises performed using the Internet or Worldwide Web.
Course Objectives: Upon completing the course, the student will be able to understand:
1. The definition of International Relations (IR) as a field of study, the actors of interest in IR, and the historical and geographical context in which IR occurs;
2. Power politics (political realism) and the various alternatives to this framework in IR.
PSCI 4351, Empirical Political Theory:
A study of quantitative methodology for empirical political research.
1. To introduce students to the techniques and practice of research in the field of Political science.
2. To learn research methods of the political science discipline.
3. To develop conceptual and analytical techniques in the discipline of political science.
4. To productively develop a research paper in the field of public policy and public administration.
5. To learn how to collect empirical data and to utilize statistical implementation.
6. How to construct a literature review, establish surveys, questionnaires, and conduct a research study.
Political Science Electives (24 hours):
PSCI 2311, Law as a Career: This course is designed to provide information to students that will enhance their overall preparation for law school and develop a more thorough understanding of law as a career.
Course Objectives: Upon completing Law as a Career, it is assumed that a student will:
1. Explore their beliefs about law and begin to develop a sense of reality of becoming an attorney or a career in the legal field.
2. Develop sustaining relationships with other students seeking admission to law school.
3. Develop a networking system with local attorneys, judges, law school students, and law school representatives.
4. Learn how to effectively prepare for the LSAT.
5. Develop strategies to be successful in the law school classroom.
6. Gain specific knowledge about law school admission requirements and application process.
7. Become aware of career opportunities with a law degree.
8. Learn about hiring trends regarding attorneys by specialty area.
9. Learn how to finance a legal education.
PSCI 2312, American Government: This is an introduction to the principles, structure, processes, and functions of the United States federal government and other related political activities. This course is designed to acquaint the student with the fundamentals of American government and politics, and help the students improve his/her skills in evaluating and analyzing issues in American government and politics.
Course Objectives: The objective of the course is to increase the students’ knowledge, understanding, and awareness of how American government and politics work. Upon Completion of the course, the student will be able to:
1. Gain essential factual information about American national government.
2. Explain basic concepts, theories, and frameworks for analyzing politics.
3. Identify and discuss important issues and problems of the American political system.
4. Evaluate the American political system in terms of how well it meets the major needs of the society.
PSCI 2313, State and Local Government: State politics is one of the most exciting areas of on-going research in Political Science in recent years. Long ignored as a poor sister of national government, research and little systematic work was done in the area until the 1950s. Today, the literature and arguments about the empirical realities (what states are actually doing) make the area of special interest. Through this course the student should have a better a understanding of the organization and functions of our state and local governments as well as the policy results of such systems. This course will focus on three issues: the rejuvenation of state and local governments in recent years, the developing role of state and local governments in the political economy, and the ideological conflict over public issues that dominate state and local politics.
Course Objectives: The goal of this course is to increase the student's knowledge, understanding, and awareness of state and local government and politics through lectures and discussions. Four objectives are identified:
1. To give the student essential factual information concerning state and local government.
2. To explain basic concepts, theories, and frameworks for analyzing state and local politics.
3. To identify and discuss important issues and problems of the state and local political systems.
4. To evaluate the system in terms of how well it meets the major needs of the people.
PSCI 3321, Major Governments of Western Europe: A comparative study of Western European governments in terms of national character, political cultures, forms, constitutions and political practices.
1. To understand the history and development of the Western World.
2. To understand the modern international system of globalization developed in the West.
3. To develop a greater understanding of the political-geographic structure of the international system.
4. To be well verse in the formation of western nations and their influence on the current international system.
5. To understand the political cultural of western countries.
PSCI 3324, The Law School Experience: This class is a partially non-lecture course designed to introduce students to the Socratic method of instruction commonly used in American law schools. As opposed to lectures, the instructor will assign readings on pertinent materials and question students, who must be prepared for oral recitation on those readings. The course embraces three sets of non-mutually exclusive materials, namely: i) introduction to the Anglo-American Legal System; ii) introduction to the study and practice of law in America; and iii) legal research. Other features of the course include: 1) guest speakers relating to the law school experience by practicing attorneys here in Pine Bluff, as well as from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) Law School; and 2) a guided trip to and tour of the UALR Law School; and 3) observation of live court proceedings.
Course Objectives: The objectives of the class include:
1. to introduce students to the Socratic method of instruction used in law schools
2. to sensitize them to alternative instructional methodology other than the lecture approach
3. to introduce them to the Anglo-American Legal System
4. to introduce them to the study and practice of law in America
5. to expose them to some of the intricacies of legal research
6. to give them helpful insight into life in law school, thereby assisting them to make an informed decision about law school and the choice of a career in law
7. to enlighten them regarding the various roles and functions that law and lawyers play in society
8. to give each student a sense of some of the everyday duties and activities of real (as opposed to TV actors) lawyers
PSCI 3341, Constitutional Law I: A survey of the fundamental laws of the U.S. according to its established constitution, its consistency with the letter and spirit of the constitution and how the laws are sanctioned by, or permissible according to the interpretation given it by the courts. The supremacy of the laws through the eyes of the courts is emphasized contrary to the British constitutional practice in which parliamentary laws are supreme and the court cannot effect its own interpretation.
Course Objectives: This course is designed to achieve the following purposes:
1. To introduce students to the diverse sources of American Constitutional Law and their effect on societal existence, growth and development over time
2. To expose students to the changing or fluctuating interpretation of the U.S. constitutional laws as determined by courts from time to time
3. To expose students to the legal and social considerations given the U.S. constitution as the basic laws of the American civil society.
PSCI 3390, Public Administration: This is a survey of some of the major theories and practices in the field of Public Administration. We will explore the intellectual heritage of the field and in so doing, enable you to gain an appreciation of that heritage and presumably begin to develop insight and understanding into the issues confronting modern day public administration. You should understand right away that there is no single overriding theory or approach to the study and practice of public administration (there is even no consensus as to the definition of public administration). But there are paradigms which have become part of the heritage of the field of public administration and which most scholars and practitioners agree upon. We will focus on those paradigms and their practical applications in the real word.
Course Objectives: The course format will be primarily lectures, case studies, and discussions, and upon completion, the student will be able to:
1. Understand the theoretical foundations of Public administration in the U.S.
2. Examine alternative models of American Public Administration and the distinction between public and private administration.
3. Identify and discuss the major issues, problems, and/or challenges of contemporary public administration.
4. Evaluate the practice of public administration in the United States in terms of its effectiveness in serving society.
5. Gain useful insight necessary for a comparative analysis of public administration in other systems.
6. Develop research methods and online skills relevant to public administration.
PSCI 4316, Global Issues:
A study of contemporary global issues, the problems and ways to solve them in order to achieve a more “just’’ world order.
1. To understand the interdependent international system and its effects on individual nation states.
2. To understand the history of the current political order within the international system that sparked globalization.
3. To examine the impact on multinational corporations and non-state actors influence on the global economy.
4. To understand the universal labor movement and global migration by workers seeking access to better quality of living.
5. To examine the effects of global pollution and environment crisis on nation states within the international system.
6. To understand global poverty and the international response to mass starvation and potential hunger wars.
7. To examine sexism, child and sex slavery, within the international system.
8. To understand underdeveloped nations in relationship to wealthier western countries.
9. To examine issues of genocide, racism, global terrorism, nuclear/military proliferation, and religious extremism within the international system.
PSCI 4331, The Presidency: Most scholars agree that it is difficult to analyze the American presidency. The reason for this is obvious, because unlike other institutions of government (Congress, Courts), only one person occupies the office of the Presidency at any given time. As a result, there are not that many studies in this area. That notwithstanding, the Presidency and the occupant of that office continue to be an exciting field of study. We will focus on seven aspects of the American Presidency: historical origin, power, selection, accountability, decision-making, personality, and leadership/management style.
1. Develop students' knowledge and appreciation of the historical evolution of the American presidency.
2. Identify the major sources of presidential power and discuss why some presidents have more effective use of these powers than others.
3. Describe the institutionalization of the presidency and the various staff structures presidents have used to assist them in carrying out their duties.
4. Expose students to some of the range of questions, theoretical approaches, methods and findings of academic research on the presidency.
5. Help students develop necessary skills in critical reasoning, reading, analysis, communication and writing.
6. Encourage students to apply the theories and frameworks developed in class to the current political environment, as it unfolds throughout the semester.
PSCI 4340, American Foreign Policy: This course examines American foreign policy practice, goals, and theory in light of the realities of international politics. Domestic social structures (including national politics and identity) and international institutions are examined.
Course Objectives: Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. Better understand the role of culture in the context of American foreign policy and the impact of ideas in international relations. (NCSS 1.1, 1.2, 1.6)
2. Develop an appreciation for politics’ productive side, as well as the diversity of actors and interests in public life at the global level of relations among nations in particular. (NCSS 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.10)
3. Describe their identity and interests and as social agents. (1.1, 1.5, 1.6, 1.10)
4. Identify and differentiate among the challenges (actions, issues, and policy decisions) American’s face emanating from politics at the global level, the level of foreign policy and/or relations among nations. (NCSS 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.10)
5. Research and more effectively act upon foreign policy challenges American’s face emanating from politics at the global level. (NCSS 1.3, 1.6, 1.9)
6. Achieve a basic level of knowledge necessary to function within political science, especially within the study of American foreign policy and international relations. (NCSS 1.6, 1.10)
7. Develop study skills necessary to succeed in university and life endeavors. (CF Knowledge of Content)