Course Code Credits

First-Year Seminar: Power, Order & Justice

This course will explore the dilemmas facing all governments: on what principles should the political order be based? What is the nature of the just state? What determines citizenship, political authority, and power? What is the good life and how is it related to the political order and the satisfaction of justice? This course is the equivalent to POL 171 Power, Order, and Justice. Limited to 16.

POL110 4

American Government & Politics

An introduction to the institutions and participants in American politics; the development of institutions and ideas from the founding era, the interaction among institutions and between the levels of government in the formulation and implementation of public policy, and the impact of citizens and groups on political behavior. Limited to 25.

POL123 3

International Politics

An exploration of the formation of foreign policy, the structure and processes of international systems, patterns of conflict, economic and security issues, and institutions and processes of conflict resolution. Limited to 25.

POL143 3

Power, Order & Justice

The dilemmas facing all governments: On what principles should the political order be based? What is the nature of the just state? What determines citizenship, political authority and power? What is the good life, and how is it related to the political order; and the satisfaction of justice? Limited to 25.

POL171 3

Religion, Politics & the Law

Viewed through the lenses of U.S. Supreme court decisions, this course examines the intersection of religion and politics in American history. An exploration of how the place of religion in the public arena has been understood in different historical periods. In addition, current issues where organized religion and public policy clash are examined. Limited to 25.

POL203 3

Education Policy and Politics

An in depth investigation of the political dynamics and policy challenges in American education. This course explores the history and purpose of education, problems facing U.S. public education within an increasingly globally competitive world, governance structures, education finance, and specific education policy issues, standards and accountability, among others. Pre-requisite: POL 123. Limited to 25.

POL221 3

Political Ideologies

An introduction to Western political ideologies: basic philosophical concepts, the theory of democracy and its critics, and various political ideologies including conservatism, fascism, feminism, liberalism, Marxism, and socialism. Pre-requisite: POL 171. Limited to 25.

POL222 3

Comparing States

The variations in political systems of states will be explored in terms of state-society relations. Types of democratic and authoritarian systems will be investigated, as well as conditions of their consolidation, change or transformation. In addition, the role of such forces as political protest and participation, ideologies and civil society on shaping politics and policy outcomes will be explored through comparative case studies of countries around the world. Cannot receive credit for both POL 134 and POL 234. Limited to 25.

POL234 3

American Political Thought

An exploration of the basic structure, values, and theoretical foundations of the American republic and its political development. The creation and definition of American political thinking in the works of Locke, Jefferson, Madison, Tocqueville, Calhoun, Lincoln, and others. Pre-requisite: POL 171. Limited to 25.

POL235 3

American Foreign Policy

The interplay between American interests and the international political system is examined in terms of decision-making. Political pressures, ethical considerations, a changing security agenda, patterns of cooperation and conflict, trade and aid, human rights and resource distribution. Limited to 25.

POL245 3

Elections in America

Elections are the signature events of American democracy and provide a mechanism to ensure democratic accountability. This course examines how elections in America are structured and how political parties shape the electoral system. The course also examines how interest groups, the media, and money impact electoral dynamics. Pre-requisite: POL 123. Limited to 25.

POL247 3

Contemporary Global Conflict

Conflicts around the globe are grounded in ethno-national or ethno-religious foundations and exemplify this low level but intensely savage terrorism and war. The course will look at the explanations and analyze the causes of such wars and the strategies policy makers offer to deal with the consequences.

POL249 3

Environmental Policy & Politics

The environment as a political issue, the rise of environmental concerns in America; the influence of public opinion on environmental policies; and some of the conflicts between the values of economic growth, energy needs, and environmental quality will be examined. Limited to 25.

POL255 3

Politics of Developing Nations

The application of theories of political development to selected countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. The course also examines problems of political development such as leadership, ideologies, political change, parties and political movement, nation-building, and constitutional development. Pre-requisite: POL 143. Limited to 25.

POL273 3

American Political History

American governance from the 1960s to the present, the interplay of political and cultural forces during critical episodes, the Cold War, the Great Society, the Civil Rights Movements, the Reagan Era, and the War on Terrorism. Political ideologies, domestic and foreign policy challenges, broad political, cultural and institutional changes are explored. Pre-requisite: POL 123. Limited to 25.

POL291 3

Political Science Research Methods

This course provides an introduction to the methods that political scientists use to answer questions. Students will learn analytical tools to critically evaluate and conduct research. The course will cover research design, hypothesis formulation, and various qualitative and quantitative methods for collecting and analyzing data. Pre-requisite: POL 123. Limited to 25.

POL310 3


The causes of war, military history with the interplay of strategy, technology and politics as the central focus, the nuclear threat and terrorism in the contemporary period. Prevention and the limitation of war and the moral and legal restraints on the activities of states are explored. Limited to 25.

POL331 3

The American Presidency

The origins and growth of the American presidency, the Executive office, and its occupant, the relationship between the office and democratic government, the separation of powers and divided party government, and on the expansion of public administration during the twentieth century. Pre-requisite: POL 123.

POL332 3

Contemporary Political Theory

This course explores contemporary political theory from the perspective of core political concepts such as liberty, rights, and democracy. What does it mean to be free in a modern society? What does it mean to have rights, and what rights should individuals have? What does democratic theory expect of citizens? Pre-requisite: POL 171. Limited to 25.

POL333 3

Constitutional Law & Politics

This course focuses on the structural form and institutional powers of American government. The central purpose of the course is to explore the question of constitutional interpretation. Who are the authoritative interpreters of the Constitution, what is the relationship between them, and what interpretive methodology should they employ? Pre-requisite: POL 123. Limited to 25.

POL336 3

Public Administration

Administration of public affairs; how public policy is put into effect by government bureaucracies; theories of government organizations; the political setting of bureaucracies; problems of budgeting and personnel; efficient and humane conduct of public business. Pre-requisite: POL 123. Limited to 25.

POL337 3

European Politics

The history, political structures, and politics of the major nations of Europe, the political ideologies and policies of Great Britain, Germany, France, and Italy. The European Union is central to the course and its expanding membership and deepening responsibilities are explored. Pre-requisite: POL 143. Limited to 25.

POL340 3

Civil Rights & Civil Liberties

The primary goal of this course is to provide a broad understanding of the civil liberties and civil rights enjoyed by persons in the United States. The course explores the historical evolution of rights and liberties and their application to current controversies. The course covers freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to privacy, freedom from cruel and unusual punishments, protections against discrimination, and affirmative action. Pre-requisite: POL 123. Limited to 25.

POL341 3

Public Opinion & Voting Behavior

The course focuses on trends in public opinion on public issues, measurement of public opinion, and the forces affecting public opinion and its expression in various public activities. Specific issues explored in the course include public attitude formation, trends in public opinion on political issues, measurement of public opinion, and political participation and voting behavior in American elections. Pre-requisite: POL 123. Limited to 25.

POL343 3

Contemporary Global Issues

Key issues in international relations: Terrorism, civil and ethnic conflict, economic interdependence, weapons of mass destruction, international political economy, human rights, failed states, and global warming. Limited to 25.

POL344 3


Democracy is based on the deal of political equality. Yet inequality is an undeniable feature of American society, How do inequity and poverty affect the working if American democracy? This seminar examines the nature and extent of poverty in the U.S., its causes and consequences, and the antipoverty effects of existing and proposed government programs and policies. Pre-requisites: POL 123. Limited to 20.

POL345 3

Ethnicity & Conflict Management

At the end of the Cold War global peace and security have proven short-lived due to the revival of ethnic conflicts. Competing theories on nationalism and ethnic conflict, modern conflict management tools and approaches and case studies: Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Sudan, Sri Lanka, and Chechnya will be examined. Pre-requisite: POL 134 or POL 234. Limited to 25.

POL347 3

Public Policy Analysis

The course examines the roles that values play in the making of public policy, considers why some problems reach the public agenda, and why some policies succeed. Using a variety of policy problems, students will hone their ability to analyze complex issues and develop concise reports of their findings and recommendations. Pre-requisite: POL 123. Limited to 25.

POL351 3

International Organizations & State Building

Explores the extent to which international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank are able to alter the contours of statehood and state sovereignty and whether such international organizations serve or dominate state actors. Case studies are Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Iraq. Pre-requisite: POL 143. Limited to 25.

POL353 3

Irish Politics

The development of Irish nationalism, the creation of the Irish state in 1922, and the building of the Irish State. Economic development, Church state relations, education are explored as well as unsolved puzzle of the Irish nation and state, Northern Ireland. Limited to 25.

POL354 3

Topics in Politics

From time to time, faculty members may offer a special course in their field of expertise. The course engages in analysis of selected topics in one of the four area fields of the discipline: Political Theory; American National Government; Comparative Politics; and International Relations. Pre-requisite: POL 143 (or POL 123 or POL 171). Course may be repeated under different topics. Limited to 25.

POL357 3

Massachusetts State Politics

A study of the organization, powers, processes and politics of state government in Massachusetts. Topics will include Massachusetts history, political institutions, budgeting, political leaders, and contemporary issuers in the state. Limited to 20.

POL358 3

The United States Congress

This course explores the politics of the U.S. Congress. Emphasis is placed on representation, the legislative process, and policymaking. Congressional organization, namely committee systems and party leadership, are also examined to gain a deeper understanding of Congressional decision-making. Pre-requisite: POL 123. Limited to 25.

POL360 3

International Political Econ

The development of the modern international economy and strategies for the pursuit of wealth, order, and development, emerging trends shaping the post-Cold War international economic order, the global monetary order, multinational corporations, economic aid relationships, food and energy politics, market reforms in non-Western and former communist societies. Pre-requisite: POL 143. Limited to 25.

POL377 3

Dirty Hands: Moral Dilemmas

The difficult "problem of dirty hands" that is making morally unpalatable choices when confronting mutually exclusive and competing ethical claims. Works of modern political philosophy and classic literature explore some possible responses to such problems. Pre-requisite: POL 171. Limited to 25.

POL380 3

Citizens of the World

This course introduces students to ongoing debates within contemporary cosmopolitan political theory over what is morally required of us as our world increasingly becomes globally interconnected. Applications of cosmopolitan theory to real world dilemmas such as how to respond to crimes against humanity and how to assess actions of transnational non-governmental associations will be explored. Pre-requisites: POL 171 or One 100-Level Philosophy Cornerstone Course. Limited to 25.

POL381 3

Politics in Washington, D.C.

A series of seminars during the semester will focus on an in-depth study of power and politics in American government. During a two-week stay in Washington, D.C., students will combine traditional academic work with seminars with prominent individuals in government, journalism and the nonprofit sector. Limited to 25.

POL390 3

Political Science Honors Thesis I

The Honors Program of Political Science & International Studies involves the writing of a thesis and a public defense. Each honors

POL401 3

Capstone Seminar

The course examines central themes, problems, and issues in the four fields of the discipline (Political Philosophy, American Politics, International Relations, and Comparative Government) resulting in a major research paper. Open to senior Political Science and International Studies majors. Limited to 12.

POL422 3

Internship in Government

Participation and research in local, state, and national government. Requires approval of the intern director and Department Chairperson. Open to juniors and seniors with a minimum of a 2.7 GPA. Internship application approved by Internship Coordinator and Department Chair. Limited to 25.

POL475 6

Directed Study

Supervised reading and research on selected topics. Permission of the faculty member directing the project and the Department Chair.

POL490 3