Political Science

Julie Blase, Professor

Brian D. Roberts, Professor

John W. Williams, Professor

Political science is the systematic study of government, politics, and the policy process. It focuses on power—its pursuit, exercise, and restraints. It involves analysis of structures, functions, processes, and systems of government and their interrelationships; of political behavior, such as elections and public opinion; and of the formation of public policy—including the conflicts and compromises involved, as well as the merits of policies that are the ever-changing results of the political process.

The program provides two concentrations: Politics and Policy, and International Relations. Non-majors can take either concentration as a minor. The Politics and Policy concentration focuses on core fields of political science, including American government and politics, international relations, comparative politics, political philosophy, and methodology. This concentration is strong preparation for law school. The International Relations concentration considers issues of global significance, such as why nations go to war, when countries cooperate, the evolution of the world economy, the role of democratic ideals in different regions of the world, and how security can be achieved. Among the topics considered are the enduring influence of history and how culture, technology, and religion influence political identity.

Theory and practice are emphasized in both concentrations. American politics courses combine study with fieldwork in the surrounding areas. Students have undertaken internships in Washington, DC, around the United States, and abroad. They also have opportunities to represent Principia at nationwide conferences on domestic and international issues.

Transfer students, for a major in either concentration, must take at least four courses (12 semester hours) from Principia political science faculty. Two of these courses must be at the 300 level.

Independent study courses on and off campus are available to majors by arrangement with political science faculty. No more than nine semester hours of independent study taken off campus can be applied toward the requirements of the major or three semester hours for the minor.

The foreign language requirement for the major can be met by testing out at the required level of proficiency. Testing is done by the Languages and Cultures Department. Students whose native language is not English are exempt from the foreign language requirement.

Departmental Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will analyze the forces shaping politics. This includes forces political, economic, social, cultural, and geographic.
  2. Students will analyze political institutions and processes both international and domestic.
  3. Students will analyze the behavior of political actors.
  4. Students will evaluate theories and policies through guided research and evaluation of theories and policies.
  5. Students will utilize the methods and analytical tools of political science, including prediction, statistics, qualitative and quantitative methods, temporality, periodization and analysis of historic and current political events.

College Wide Student Learning Outcomes of Principia College: Defining a Liberal Arts Education

The curricular and co-curricular programs at Principia College are designed for students to be lifelong learners, thinkers, and problem-solvers, to draw out spiritual and moral qualities indispensable to growth in Christian Science, and to cultivate an understanding of service to the Cause of Christian Science in meeting the global needs of the 21st century. To accomplish this, the College has established the following outcomes for its graduates.

Guided by Principle, Principia College students will demonstrate:

  1. Depth and breadth of knowledge
  2. Critical and creative thinking
  3. Effective communication
  4. Intellectual inquiry and engagement
  5. Active commitment to community and global citizenship

POLS 020 Model Illinois Government 0.0 SH [  ]

Model Illinois Government is the annual intercollegiate simulation of the Illinois General Assembly, held each winter in the State Capitol. Students serve as the various elected officers of the executive and legislative branches of the state government.

POLS 021 Moot Court (Model IL Govt) 0.0 SH [  ]

Teams of students prepare and argue appellate cases before mock state or U.S. Supreme Courts in the annual collegiate judicial simulations at state or national levels.

POLS 052 Model United Nations 0.0 SH [  ]

Students simulate the actions of the various bodies of the United Nations - the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council - in annual intercollegiate competition.

POLS 111 Intro to Political Behavior 3.0 SH [GESS]

Course considers how U.S. citizens form values, beliefs, and preferences toward politics and public policies. Sources of knowledge explored include family, the media, and political elites. The impact of participatory and deliberative processes that may contribute to or detract from tolerance of others is also examined. Specific attention is devoted to political ramifications of attitudes concerning race, ethnicity, and gender.
Class Level Restriction: Freshman only.

POLS 120 American Government & Politics 3.0 SH [GESS]

Study of the American political system and formation of public policy, primarily at the national level: political culture, constitutions and constitutionalism, democratic theory, federalism, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, the electoral system, Congress, the presidency, and the judicial system.

POLS 125 Moot Court: Reason & Argument 2.0 SH [  ]

Students prepare legal briefs and argue appellate cases before mock Illinois or U.S. Supreme Court in the intercollegiate judicial simulations at state or national levels. Students learn legal reasoning and analysis, learn to think under intense pressure, and develop oral argumentation skills.
Prerequisite: POLS 120.

POLS 152 Politics Among Nations 3.0 SH [GESS]

Introduction to international politics, with emphasis on what causes conflict between nations, why nations cooperate, and how contemporary forces influence international politics.
Class Level Restriction: Freshman and Sophomore only.

POLS 215 Soc Science Research Methods 4.0 SH <GEM>[GESS]

Explores qualitative and quantitative research methods used in the social sciences. Students conduct social science research projects to learn various research designs, their strengths and weaknesses, and their applications. Students collect, analyze, and interpret data, as well as test hypotheses and develop theories. Also listed as SOAN 215.

POLS 220 American Parties & Elections 4.0 SH [GESS]

Theoretical study of political parties, elections, and public opinion, supplemented with case studies, guest speakers, and field research. Students attend political rallies and conduct surveys. Taught in election years. (A student may receive credit for only one of the courses POLS 220 and POLS 221.).

POLS 221 Presidential Elections 3.0 SH [GESS]

Examination of modern U.S. presidential election laws and processes that influence candidate and voter behavior. Specific topics include: primary elections and nominations, campaign finance law, voter turnout, debates, the Electoral College, media coverage, and the role of political parties. (A student may receive credit for only one of the courses POLS 220 and POLS 221.).

POLS 231 American Congress 3.0 SH [GESS]

Study of the representational nature, institutional structures, and deliberative processes of the United States Congress. Topics addressed include member goals and political resources, party organizations, the committee structures, legislative rules and procedures, and interbranch relations.

POLS 232 American Presidency 3.0 SH [GESS]

Study of the constitutional and prerogative powers, institutional arrangements, public dimensions, and policy-making roles of the modern presidency. The institution's relationships with the legislative and judicial branches as well as the federal bureaucracy are considered along with the impact individual presidents make on the exercise of power and authority.

POLS 240 Women in Politics 3.0 SH [GESS]

Examination of the experience of women in U.S. politics, particularly at the federal and state level. Considers the impact of gender on political participation, political attitudes, policy preferences, voting behavior, campaign styles, and institutional norms.

POLS 252 U.S. Foreign Policy 3.0 SH [GESS]

Values, process, and governmental institutions involved in the formulation of American foreign policy. In-depth analysis of American foreign policy since 1945 dealing with Cold War and post-Cold War challenges, the developing nations, and international organizations including the United Nations.

POLS 254 Latin American Politics 3.0 SH [  ]

Study of the historical, economic, and social forces influencing the politics of contemporary Latin America, with a focus on why countries shift from authoritarianism into democracy, and how to assess the consolidation of democracy.

POLS 255 Contemporary European Politics 3.0 SH [GESS]

Comparative survey of the political process and issues in Britain, France, and Germany: organization of political interests, decision-making processes, governmental bureaucracies, and political responses to social and economic change.

POLS 261 Politics of China 3.0 SH [GESS]

Study of the cultural, historical, and ideological origins of the People's Republic of China, the role of the Chinese Communist Party and its leaders, the structure and processes of its political institutions, and the nature of issues facing contemporary China, from rapid economic growth to human rights.

POLS 263 Topics in Asian Politics 3.0 SH [  ]

Focuses on government, politics, and public policies of one or more countries in Asia. Designed to deepen the student's work in political science, international relations, or Asian studies. Specific topics vary, from Southwest Asia to the Vietnam War to the politics of Japan. The title will be extended to describe the current topic. May be taken more than once provided the topics differ.

POLS 264 Russia and the FSU 3.0 SH [GESS]

Study of the cultural and historical origins of post-Soviet Russia and the various former Soviet republics, the person and rule of Vladimir Putin, the structure and processes of Russia's political institutions, and the nature of issues facing contemporary Russia, from reassertion of a global presence to the decline of democratic institutions.

POLS 265 Contemporary Issues 3.0 SH [  ]

Focuses on one or more current political issues. Designed to deepen the student's previous political studies. May focus on either domestic or international topics. The title will be extended to describe the current topic. May be taken more than once provided the topics differ.

POLS 271 Middle Eastern Politics 3.0 SH [  ]

Study of the historical, economic, and social forces influencing the contemporary politics of the Middle East, including culture, religion, resources, state formation and development, security, regional/foreign relations, and competing interests. Focused on the most politically-significant countries and issues.

POLS 280 Classics of Political Thought 3.0 SH [  ]

Exploration of the most important writings of authors who have had a profound impact on the West's conception of politics. The emphasis is on original texts by authors such as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Rousseau, Machiavelli, and Marx. Also listed as PHIL 280.

POLS 300 Rev:Politics of Violent Change 3.0 SH [GESS]

Study of violent political change: its causes, frequency, varieties, process. Various revolutions and their leaders considered at length, including the classic revolutions (English, American, French, Bolshevik), Mao Zedong's Chinese Revolution, Che Guevara in Latin America, and Eastern Europe in the post-cold war era.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

POLS 311 Political Behavior 3.0 SH [  ]

Seminar examines the nature of both political socialization and political participation of United States citizens. Influences on socialization studied include family, education, socioeconomic status, political elites and the media. Forms of participation include voting and membership in both interest groups and voluntary civic organizations.
Prerequisite: POLS 120.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

POLS 325 The Legal Process 4.0 SH [  ]

How the nature of law, including its history, development, and efficient administration, affects our political system. Modern American legal system is studied with the idea of understanding law as ongoing process - how the process works and its political ramifications. Useful for students considering law school.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

POLS 330 American Constitutional Law 3.0 SH [  ]

Study of the politics and law of the U.S. Supreme Court. Selected Supreme Court cases are analyzed to show how court decisions shape the American constitutional system of government. Useful for students considering law school.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

POLS 332 Presidential Leadership 3.0 SH [  ]

Seminar examines personal, public, constitutional and institutional sources of power modern presidents utilize in their attempts to lead their various constituencies - the public, the legislative branch, and the federal bureaucracy. In addition to the critical analysis of various models of modern presidential leadership, students also conduct case studies of presidential leadership during the modern presidency (1945-present).
Prerequisite: POLS 120.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

POLS 340 Public Policy Analysis 4.0 SH [  ]

Survey of the policy process (agenda setting, adoption, implementation, and evaluation) and conceptual approaches to policy analysis. Seminar addresses specific policy topics and broader theoretical concerns.
Prerequisite: POLS 120 and POLS 215.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

POLS 348 U.S. and Global Security 3.0 SH [  ]

Explores traditional and non-traditional threats in a globalized world and the options for response; how the concept of security is evolving to take into account global technological, social, and political developments; the role of the military in U.S. political culture.
Prerequisite: POLS 152.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

POLS 352 International Relations Theory 3.0 SH [  ]

Advanced study of the means and methods of theory construction in the field of international relations.
Prerequisite: POLS 152.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only
Field of Study Restrictions: Political Science Majors only.

POLS 354 Globalization: Theory/Practice 3.0 SH [  ]

Explores globalization and its many facets from both practical and theoretical viewpoints, including the processes and institutions that cause and advance globalization; evaluating the utility of current theories to explain globalization; debating the effects of globalization.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

POLS 365 Advanced Issues 3.0 SH [  ]

Advanced study and analysis of one or more current political issues. Designed to deepen the advanced student's previous political studies. May focus on domestic or international topics. The title will be extended to describe the current topic. May be taken more than once provided the topics differ.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.