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Political Science

Political Science Courses

POLS 011. Introduction to Comparative Politics. 4 Units.

Students examine the basic functions performed by a political system, compare the different organizations and procedures societies have developed for handling these functions, and analyze of recurring patterns of political behavior from the level of the individual to that of the nation/state. (GE1C)

POLS 021. Introduction to Political Theory. 4 Units.

This course introduces the philosophical study of basic issues in political life, such as democracy, freedom, the responsibilities of political power, the role of the state, and justice through the close reading and analysis of selected major political thinkers. (GE2B)

POLS 031. Introduction to Law and Policy in the American Political System. 4 Units.

This is an introductory course examining courses, law, and the role the judiciary plays in policy-making in the American political system. Focus on political aspects of legal rulings, as well as the constitutional limits to government power.

POLS 041. U.S. Government and Politics. 4 Units.

Students analyze the constitutional structure of the federal government and its function as well as the political processes involved. This course satisfies the state teaching credential requirement on the U.S. Constitution. (GE1B, PLAW)

POLS 051. Introduction to International Relations. 4 Units.

This course introduces the major issues of international politics and the analytical approaches applied to their study. Topics include: the causes of war, intervention, pursuit of economic prosperity and managing global resources. (GE1C)

POLS 060. Legal Study Seminar. 1 Unit.

Students are introduced to the legal profession, court structure, and practical skills needed for law school. This course also examines current problems in different fields of law through panel discussions by law faculty. Prerequisite: Pacific Legal Scholar Student or permission of the instructor.

POLS 062. Legal Practice Seminar. 1 Unit.

Students examine different legal career trajectories, legal scholarship, and career exploration. This course also draws connections between academic training and legal practice through panel discussions by legal practitioners, and courthouse visits. Prerequisite: Pacific Legal Scholar Student or permission of the instructor.

POLS 081. Career and Internship Preparation. 2 Units.

POLS 081 orients and prepares students for the workplace expectations commonly encountered by students in political science internships. The course also provides information about careers commonly pursued by political science majors and how to prepare for them. Prerequisites: POLS 041. Sophomore standing.

POLS 087A. Political Science Internship. 1-4 Units.

POLS 093. Special Topics. 1-4 Units.

POLS 104. Urban Government. 4 Units.

Students examine the structure and operation of urban units of government with emphasis on inter-governmental and inter-group relations in the United States. Problems of finance, racial, ethnic and class conflict, the adequacy of services and planning for future growth are included. The course emphasizes the role of race, class, and ethnicity in the city and is approved by Ethnic Studies. (DVSY, ETHC)

POLS 106. California Government and Politics. 4 Units.

This course covers an overview of California governmental structures and selected political, economic and ecological conflicts, both historic and contemporary.

POLS 111. Introduction to Health Policy. 4 Units.

This is an introductory course in U.S. health policy and law. It begins by describing the basic machinery of policymaking and legal process that underpin the individual health care and public health systems and then turns to an exploration of many of the fundamental problems and contemporary issues in health policy and law. Students will learn to think systematically about these issues and the various methods available to public and private policymakers to solve them. Finally, this course describes the methods of writing a policy analysis, allowing students to apply analytic writing skills to policy and legal problems in the health care and public health systems.

POLS 112. Congress and the Presidency. 4 Units.

This course examines the relative influence of Congress and the presidency on politics and policy making in America. Topics include the development, organization, operation, interactions, and policy making role of the two branches. Prerequisite: POLS 041.

POLS 114. Political Parties and Interest Groups. 4 Units.

Students analyze of the role of political parties and interest groups in the American political system in addition to the origins, development, and current state of parties and interest groups. The group includes a focus of the ways that these groups organize and influence the policy-making process.

POLS 116. Campaigns & Elections. 4 Units.

This course is designed to introduce students to campaigns and elections in the American political system. The focus is on what political science has discovered about campaigns, their operation, and their relative influence on elections. Other determinants of election outcomes are also examined.

POLS 119. Government in Action: Public Policy Analysis. 4 Units.

This course is an analysis and evaluation of how government makes and implements policy at various levels, both state and local. This is a core major requirement that develops political science learning objectives that are the bases for advanced coursework in the major. Prerequisite: POLS 041. (ENST, PLAW)

POLS 120. Courts and Judicial Behavior. 4 Units.

Students examine the role, nature and sources of law, the courts and the adversary system; schools of jurisprudence. An emphasis is on contemporary problems such as reform, the jury system, selection of judges and selected problems. (PLAW)

POLS 122. Constitutional Law. 4 Units.

this course is a study of the development of the American Constitutional System through court cases. Law school techniques and methods are stressed. (PLAW)

POLS 124. Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties. 4 Units.

Students analyze the rights and guarantees contained in the Bill of Rights and other constitutional and statutory provisions. (PLAW)

POLS 126. Criminal Law. 4 Units.

This course focuses on the concepts, principles and problems of substantive criminal law. (PLAW)

POLS 128. Introduction to Public Administration. 4 Units.

This course introduces students to the study of public administration. It examines the role of public agencies and their personnel in a democratic political system. Topics include what public agencies are, why they exist in democracies, the functions they carry out, the mutual influence public agencies have with elected officials and the public, and interactions between public and not-for-profit spheres.

POLS 130. Ancient to Medieval Political Theory. 4 Units.

Students analyze ancient and medieval political thinkers examine the formation of social and political thought from approximately fifth century Greece through twelfth century Europe. The course materials address tensions between democracy and empire, ideas of democracy, freedom, the responsibilities of political power, the place of ambition, the role of justice, and the meaning of the good life. (GE2B)

POLS 132. Modern to Contemporary Political Theory. 4 Units.

Students analyze modern and contemporary political thinkers and examine the formation of social and political thought form the sixteenth through the twenty-first centuries. The course materials address the development of the nation state, individual rights and freedom, religious liberty and toleration, popular sovereignty, popular consent, social equality, and intellectual, social, and historical progress. (GE2B)

POLS 133. Political Science Research. 4 Units.

This course develops skills needed for conducting and understanding research in political science and other social sciences. The course includes research design, critical statistical techniques and computer applications. Prerequisite: Fundamental Skills Math. (ENST, GE3B, PLAW)

POLS 134. American Political Thought. 4 Units.

Principles and problems of political theory within the American setting are examined as they emerge from the founding period to the present. The course explores both the mainstream tradition and branches of counter traditions of political ideas in America. Emphasis is on the themes of authority, community, equality, liberty. (DVSY, ETHC, GE2B)

POLS 136. Jurisprudence. 4 Units.

Students analyze of the nature and functions of law, law as an instrument of social control, and the relationship between law, morality, and justice. This course examines current problems in law as it intersects with politics and society. Readings are drawn from legal and political philosophy, social science, and judicial opinions.

POLS 141. Western European Comparative Politics. 4 Units.

This course is a comparative analysis of the political and economic forces that have shaped the advanced industrial states of Western Europe. Topics include: 1) state-building, nation-building and industrialization; 2) political and economic reconstruction of France, Great Britain and Germany; 3) contemporary problems facing the advanced capitalist states of Western Europe.

POLS 151. Principles of Comparative Politics. 4 Units.

Students examine the most important analytical approaches used by political scientists in the comparative analysis of political systems and application of those approaches to selected examples. This is a core major requirement that develops political science learning objectives that are the basis for advanced coursework in the major. Prerequisites: POLS 041 and POLS 051 or permission of instructor.

POLS 152. Politics of Asia. 4 Units.

This course is a general political introduction to modern East, South-East and South Asia. The course includes a survey of geography, history and culture and it uses selected case studies in all three areas, an exploration of problems of development and modernization, as well as regional interaction and the relation of Asia to the West. (GE1C)

POLS 160. Theories of International Politics. 4 Units.

This course is an intensive study of the principal theories of international politics and behavior. The course covers major social scientific theories, critical approaches to theory, and international political theory. Prerequisite: POLS 051, or permission of instructor.

POLS 164. International Political Economy. 4 Units.

Students examine the major analytical and substantive issues in the field of international political economy and explore the political and economic problems generated by growing interdependence among advanced industrial states and the conflicts between industrialized and developing countries over the structure and functioning of the postwar international economic order. Prerequisite: POLS 051.

POLS 166. International Conflict and Conflict Management. 4 Units.

This course is a study of the causes of interstate and civil war. We will read works that approach the basic questions about war causation from several perspectives: historical treatment of war causation, theoretical works, and the empirical research in conflict studies. The course will focus primarily on the scientific study of war, and what we know about war. Prerequisites: POLS 051 or permission of instructor.

POLS 168. Comparative Foreign Policy. 4 Units.

Students examine of foreign policy making around the world, across major powers, middle powers, and small states. The course begins with a study of the different theories that try to explain why nations make the choices they do in the international arena, and then it considers the validity of those theories as students look at cases from the United States to China to New Zealand and a number of stops in between. Prior to the completion of a basic course in political science is recommended.

POLS 170. U.S. Foreign Policy. 4 Units.

Students examine of the major developments and current issues in U.S. foreign policy and various analytical approaches to their study. Topics include: U.S. diplomatic history, the processes and structures by which the U.S. government develops and implements foreign policy. Emphasis is placed on students developing the analytical capacity to pose and pursue significant puzzles about U.S. foreign policy. Prerequisite: POLS 051.

POLS 175. Legal Writing and Research Seminar. 1 Unit.

Students are exposed to legal writing and advanced research skills, the content of first year law courses, and resources and facilities at Pacific McGeorge. Prerequisites: POLS 060 and POLS 062. Pacific Legal Scholar Student with Sophomore or Junior standing and an overall GPA of 3.0, or permission of the instructor. This course must be taken in the spring semester of their sophomore year (regardless of whether a student is in the 3+3 or 4+3 program).

POLS 187C. Pre-Law Internship. 4 Units.

This course is a supervised experience in an approved legal or judicial setting that is contracted on an individual basis. Prerequisites: POLS 041; POLS 031 or POLS 122 or POLS 124 or POLS 126. Junior standing is required with an overall GPA of 2.0. Department permission is also required.

POLS 189. Capstone Seminar. 4 Units.

This seminar course is for political science majors about to graduate. Students demonstrate their mastery of political science program learning objectives and outcomes through analysis and discussion of recent significant work in the major political science subfields; American Politics, Political Theory, Comparative Politics, and International Politics and by the completion and presentation of a substantial political science research project. Prerequisite: Political Science majors with senior standing or by permission of instructor is required.

POLS 189A. Practicum. 4 Units.

POLS 189B. Practicum. 4 Units.

POLS 189C. Practicum. 4 Units.

POLS 191. Independent Study. 2-4 Units.

Political science majors with a "B" average in their work in political science take this course.

POLS 197. Undergraduate Research. 2-4 Units.

Students acquire skills in the design and implementation of political science research while they serve as a research assistant to a faculty member or conduct an independent research project under the supervision of a faculty member. Junior or senior standing as a political science major and permission from department is required.

Pre-Law Courses

BUSI 031. Principles of Financial Accounting. 4 Units.

Students analyze the recording and reporting of business transactions, use of financial statements, and the use of accounting information in management decision-making. (PLAW)

BUSI 053. The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business. 4 Units.

This course is designed to acclimate students to the American legal system and regulatory law. The student will be exposed to a variety of statutory and regulatory law areas as well as torts, contracts, product liability, ethics and international law. The course is intended to broaden the student’s awareness of legal issues. The emphasis of the course will be on solving issues utilizing legal reasoning. (GE1B, PLAW)

BUSI 157. Commercial Law. 4 Units.

This course is an in-depth study of commercial transactions between entities and individuals in the business environment. The topics that are covered include contracts, commercial paper, sales, secured transactions, bankruptcy, personal property, securities regulation and other related topics over the semester. Case materials and problems are used extensively in the course. Prerequisite: BUSI 053 with a “C” or better. Junior standing. (PLAW)

BUSI 159. Employment Law. 4 Units.

This course examines major labor-management relations legislation and its interpretation and treatment by administrative agencies and the courts. Primary emphasis is on the National Labor Relations Act as amended, but attention is also given to law concerning public sector labor relations, employment discrimination and other related law. Prerequisite: BUSI 053 with a "C" or better. Junior standing. (PLAW)

COMM 027. Public Speaking. 3 Units.

Basic principles of public speaking are studied. This course is one of the four lower core courses for the communication major. (GE2A, PLAW)

COMM 114. Argumentation and Advocacy. 4 Units.

Students are introduced to the theory and practice of argumentation, which is a method of decision-making emphasizing reason giving and evidence. The course includes instruction in debating, research, and critical writing, as well as advanced topics in the study of public deliberation. Prerequisites: COMM 027 or COMM 031 or COMM 043 or COMM 050, with a grade of C or higher. (PLAW)

ECON 053. Introductory Microeconomics. 4 Units.

Economic decisions of individuals and firms are studied as well as the evaluation of efficiency and equity in individual choice processes. The course examines the economics of monopoly and competition as well as the economics of pollution and governmental regulation. Prerequisites: Completion of the Fundamental Skills Math requirement, or placement into MATH 005 or MATH 005E. (GE1A, PLAW)

ECON 055. Introductory Macroeconomics: Theory and Policy. 4 Units.

Students study the national economy with special emphasis placed on policies designed to meet the national goals of full employment, stable prices and economic growth. The course examines the spending and saving behavior of households and business, government spending and taxing policies, and the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies. Prerequisites: Completion of the Fundamental Skills Math requirement, or placement into MATH 005 or MATH 005E. (GE1B, PLAW)

ECON 161. Empirical Methods. 4 Units.

This course teaches students to use current statistical software to perform empirical analysis of economic theory and applications. It is designed to provide students with practical data and econometric analysis skills for the workplace (private sector or government). The course will cover data collection, entry management, analysis and presentation. Some Familiarity with computer programming is recommended. Prerequisites: ECON 053; ECON 055; MATH 037 or MATH 037 or MATH 130 or MATH 131 or INTL 101; or permission of instructor. (PLAW)

ECON 190. Econometrics. 4 Units.

Students study the methods used to test economic theory with real-world data. The course presents the theory underlying common econometric methods and gives students experience in applying these analytical tools to data from a variety of sources. Students learn to develop testable hypotheses based on economic theories they have learned in earlier courses and to make reliable statistical inferences about these hypotheses. Students gain a working, applicable knowledge of the skills and software used by many professional economists and sought by many employers. Prerequisites: ECON 053; ECON 055; MATH 037 or MATH 039 or MATH 130 or MATH 131 or INTL 101. (PLAW)

ENGL 025. English 25. 4 Units.

This course provides an introduction to the discipline of English studies. While topics of individual sections vary, all ENGL 025 sections are writing-intensive and share learning outcomes for enhanced critical thinking and analysis, written and oral expression, and understanding of the functions of genre. Multiple and varied sections are listed by thematic focus title each semester. Prerequisite: a passing score on the General Education writing skills examination or WRIT 021. (GE2A, PLAW)

HESP 165. Legal Aspects of Health, Exercise and Sport. 4 Units.

This course addresses legal issues and responsibilities relevant to professionals in the areas of health and exercise science, sport management, sport pedagogy and athletics. General legal principles supported by case law in such areas as negligence, contract law, constitutional law, antitrust laws and unlawful discrimination are offered. (PLAW)

INTL 101. Social Science Research Methods. 4 Units.

Students are introduced to how research is conducted in the social sciences. The course shows how qualitative and quantitative research complements each other and it compares research methodologies in the different social science disciplines. The course also introduces basic statistical methods for analyzing social scientific data, and introduces the use of computers for quantitative analysis. Prerequisite: fundamental quantitative skills. (ENST, GE3B, PLAW)

INTL 167. Advanced Model United Nations (MUN II). 1-2 Units.

This course offers advanced instruction on the workings of the specialized agencies of the United Nations and other international organizations with particular attention paid to current world issues before those bodies. Emphasis is placed on independent research and writing, as well as leadership skills, in preparation for attending a competitive Model United Nations conference. Prerequisite: POLS 051. May be taken for up to 2 units. (PLAW)

MATH 035. Elementary Statistical Inference. 4 Units.

Emphasis is on the applications and limitations of statistical methods of inference, especially in the social and behavioral sciences. Topics include: estimation and test of hypothesis concerning a single group, One-way Analysis of Variance and analysis of categorical data. The use of statistical computer programs is addressed. Credit is not given for this course if a student has received credit for MATH 037 or has AP credit in Statistics. Prerequisite: MATH 003 or MATH 005 or MATH 041 with a "C-" or better, or an appropriate score on either the Elementary Algebra placement test, the Intermediate Algebra Placement test, or the Pre-calculus placement test or permission of instructor. (ENST, GE3B, MATH, PLAW)

MATH 037. Introduction to Statistics and Probability. 4 Units.

Students study elements of descriptive statistics: graphs, tables, measures of central tendency and dispersion. Probability models including binomial and normal are covered. The course introduces to estimation, hypothesis testing and analysis of variance in addition to linear and multiple regression and correlation. The use of statistical computer programs is addressed. The course is not recommended for first semester freshmen. Credit is not given for this course if a student has received credit for MATH 035 or has AP credit in Statistics. Prerequisites: MATH 033 or MATH 041 or MATH 045 or MATH 051 or MATH 053 with a "C-" or better or appropriate score on the calculus placement test. (ENST, GE3B, MATH, PLAW)

MMGT 153. Entertainment Law. 4 Units.

Students study all aspects of legal relationships and rights of problems in films, television, music and records. Prerequisites: BUSI 053 and MMGT 011 or permission of instructor. Junior standing. (PLAW)

PHIL 021. Moral Problems. 4 Units.

Students explore some of the "big ticket" moral issues of our time for example: physician-assisted suicide, capital punishment, abortion, animal rights, pornography, the limits of free speech, the legalization and use of drugs, affirmative action, war, torture, civil disobedience, gun control, and the distribution of wealth. The best philosophical arguments on both sides of each issue are considered so that each student can decide which positions are most rationally compelling. (GE2B, PLAW)

PHIL 027. Fundamentals of Ethics. 4 Units.

This course is an inquiry into the question "How should we lead our lives?" Each student is asked to reflect on her/his own moral commitments and how she/he makes morally difficult decisions, and then to consider whether there is any coherent, unifying system or procedure underlying this. The course then explores several of the most durable and influential philosophical approaches to moral decision making which include the strengths and weaknesses of each approach and how each might apply to various real-life situations. Additional issues might include: why we ought to take morality's demands seriously; whether moral judgments are mere opinions; and whether it is legitimate to criticize morally the practices of other cultures. (GE2B, PLAW)

PHIL 037. Introduction to Logic. 4 Units.

This course is an introduction to the basic concepts and methods employed in the analysis of arguments. The course begins with some of the basic concepts of logic, such as truth, probability, validity, soundness, proof, and consistency. Students learn how to translate arguments into symbolic languages (categorical, sentential, and predicate logics) and evaluate them using various formal techniques. Time may also be spent examining the notion of probability and the character of inductive inference, as well as detecting and explaining common fallacies. (GE3B, PLAW)

PHIL 106. Philosophy of Law. 4 Units.

This course is an analysis of the nature and function of law. More specific topics in the course might include: the idea of law as an instrument of social control; whether democratically decided laws can ever be illegitimate; the extent to which we are obligated to obey the law; the justification for punishment, and its permissible forms; the relationship between law, morality, and justice; the appropriate role of legislators, lawyers, and judges; and the role of interpretation, coherence, and precedent in judicial reasoning. Readings draw from legal and political philosophy, social sciences, and judicial opinions. Not recommended for first-year students. (PLAW)

PSYC 031. Introduction to Psychology. 4 Units.

This course is an introduction to the major fields within psychology. Topics include: 1) experimental methods in psychology, 2) physiological psychology, 3) sensation and perception, 4) psychology of learning, 5) memory, 6) cognition and language, 7) cognitive abilities, 8), motivation and emotion, 9) human development, 10) personality, 11) abnormal psychology and treatment of mental illness, and 12) social psychology. (GE1A, PLAW)

SOCI 033. Criminology. 4 Units.

This course provides an overview of the nature and extent of crime, theories of crime causation, the social correlates of crime, and the structure of the criminal justice system. The geographic focus of the course will be the United States, though international comparisons may be brought in for a comparative perspective. (ETHC, GE1A, PLAW)

SOCI 139. Corrections. 4 Units.

Students examine the history and theories of and current practices in institutional and non-institutional programs addressed to the correctional treatment of juvenile and adult offenders. Prerequisite: a course in sociology or permission of instructor. (PLAW)

SOCI 171. Social Research Methods. 4 Units.

This course reviews and examines the various methods used in social science research to gather and analyze data. The course considers the relationship between social theory and such methodologies as experiments, observations, interviews, surveys and content analysis. It guides students in each of these data collection techniques and introduces students to quantitative and qualitative data analysis. It also considers the ethical issues involved in the use of such methods. Student designed research projects are a central part of this course. Prerequisites: SOCI 051, SOCI 071, and SOCI 079. (PLAW)

Conceptual and Analytical

Students should be able to use key concepts and analytical approaches from Political Theory, U.S. Government and Politics, Comparative Politics, and International Relations to explain and understand government, politics, and public affairs.

Inquiry and Research

Students should be able to construct a summative project or paper that draws on current, research, scholarship, and techniques in a political science subfield.


Students should be able to make clear and effective presentations of their work in writing and in public presentations.

Professionalism and Citizenship

Students should know, understand, and be able to meet the expectations of professionalism and citizenship.

Political Science Faculty

Brian E. Klunk, Associate Professor and Chair, 1987, BA, Pennsylvania State University, 1977; MA, University of Virginia, 1980; PhD, 1985.

Jeffrey Becker, Associate Professor, 2006, BA, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1991; MA, Rutgers University, 1996; PhD, 2004. Member, Phi Beta Kappa.

Robert B. Benedetti, Professor Emeritus, 1989, BA, Amherst College, 1964; MA University of Pennsylvania, 1967; PhD, 1975; Member, Phi Beta Kappa.

Michael T. Hatch, Professor Emeritus, 1985, BA, Utah State University, 1970; MA, Johns Hopkins University, 1973; PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 1983.

Cynthia Ostberg, Professor, 1994, BA, University of California, Berkeley, 1985; MA, Northern Illinois University, 1991; PhD, 1995.

Susan G. Sample, Professor, 1999, BA, University of Missouri, 1991: PhD, Vanderbilt University, 1996. Member, Phi Beta Kappa.

Keith W. Smith, Associate Professor, 2008, BA, Pepperdine University, 1997; MPM, University of Maryland, 1999; MA, University of California, Berkeley, 2000; PhD 2005.

Dari Sylvester Tran, Associate Professor, 2005, BA, Trinity College, 1998; MA State University of New York, Stony Brook, 2002; PhD, 2006. Member, Phi Beta Kappa.