Political Science, BA

Program Description

Political science is the study of politics, government, and public policy at the local, state, national, and international levels. It is concerned with the struggle for power and the exercise of power in public institutions. Political science seeks to reveal the patterns of behavior associated with politics, to explain the functioning of political and governmental institutions, to appraise alternative public policies, and to assess government’s role in society.

Political science provides students with the broad-training necessary to become successful professionals in a variety of fields, as well as engaged democratic citizens. As such, the purpose of the political science program is to foster the development of vital skills such as critical thinking, communication, and analytical abilities in our students in order to prepare them for both a broad range of career choices and the pursuit of lifelong learning.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the BA in political science, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate critical thinking skills, to include: creative thinking, innovation, inquiry and analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of information.
  2. Demonstrate communication skills, to include: the effective development, interpretation, and expression of ideas through written, oral, and visual communication.
  3. Demonstrate empirical and quantitative skills, to include: the manipulation and analysis of numerical data or observable facts resulting in informed conclusions.

Program Requirements

To earn a BA in political science, a student must complete a minimum of 33 semester hours of political science courses beyond the requirements of the Core Curriculum Program. Political science majors are advised to take MATH 1324 Mathematics for Business and Social Sciences (3 sch)MATH 1325 Calculus for Business & Social Sciences (3 sch), or MATH 1442 Statistics for Life (4 sch) to satisfy the Mathematics Core Curriculum Program requirement. Students who do not take MATH 1324 Mathematics for Business and Social Sciences (3 sch)MATH 1325 Calculus for Business & Social Sciences (3 sch), or MATH 1442 Statistics for Life (4 sch) to satisfy the core Math requirement will be required to take one to fulfill the requirements for the major. The department recommends taking MATH 1442 Statistics for Life (4 sch) to satisfy both the Core and major requirement. If students have any questions, they should visit with the social science academic advisor.

General Requirements

Requirements Credit Hours
Core Curriculum Program 42
First-Year Seminars (when applicable)1 0-2
Political Science Major Requirements 33
University Electives 36-38
Foreign Language Requirements 6
Total Credit Hours 117-121
Full-time, First Year Students
UNIV 1101First-Year Seminar I1
UNIV 1102First-Year Seminar II1
Core Curriculum Program
University Core Curriculum 142
Political Science majors must take the following as part of the University Core Curriculum
U.S. Government and Politics *,^
State and Local Government *,^
Political Science Major Requirements
POLS 2304Introduction to Political Science3
POLS 3303Contemporary Political Analysis 23
POLS 4303Seminar in Political Science 33
Upper-division 4
List 1: American Politics, Public Policy, and Public Administration
Select at least three of the following:9
Mexican American and Latinx Politics
Women and Politics
Campaigns and Elections
The Legislative Process
Public Opinion
Political Parties
The American Presidency
Judicial Politics
Interest Groups
Introduction to Public Administration
Introduction to Public Policy
U.S. Constitution and Federalism
Urban Politics
Government Budgeting and Finance
Topics in Political Science 3
List 2: Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory
Select at least three of the following:9
Religion and Politics
Comparative Politics
International Relations
Western Political Theory
POLITICAL THEORY AND IDEOLOGIES
Comparative Politics of Developing Nations
Transitions to Democracy
Politics in Latin America
The Politics of War
American Political Thought
Topics in Political Science 3
Political Science Electives
Select 6 hours of unrestricted electives from any Political Science course including those above or6
APPLIED EXPERIENCE
University Electives
Select 36-38 hours of university electives.36-38
Foreign Language Requirements
See the College of Liberal Arts for the college language requirement.6
Total Hours119-121

Courses

POLS 2304  Introduction to Political Science  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

INTRODUCTORY SURVEY OF THE DISCIPLINE OF POLITICAL SCIENCE FOCUSING ON THE SCOPE AND METHODS OF THE FIELD, AND THE SUBSTANTIVE TOPICS IN THE DISCIPLINE INCLUDING THE THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS OF POLITICS, POLITICAL INTERACTION, POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS AND HOW POLITICAL SYSTEMS FUNCTION.

TCCNS: GOVT 2304  
POLS 2305  U.S. Government and Politics  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

A BASIC SURVEY OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING FUNDAMENTAL POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS, WITH SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE UNITED STATES AND TEXAS CONSTITUTIONS.

TCCNS: GOVT 2305  
POLS 2306  State and Local Government  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THE POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND ADMINISTRATION OF AMERICAN STATES, COUNTIES, CITIES, AND SPECIAL DISTRICTS, WITH SPECIAL EMPHASIS ON TEXAS.

TCCNS: GOVT 2306  
POLS 2311  Mexican American and Latinx Politics  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THE STUDY OF MEXICAN AMERICAN AND LATINX POLITICS WITHIN THE AMERICAN POLITICAL EXPERIENCE. TOPICS INCLUDE HISTORICAL, CULTURAL, SOCIOECONOMIC, AND CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES THAT PERTAIN TO THE STUDY OF MEXICAN AMERICANS AND OTHER LATINX POPULATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES. OTHER TOPICS SUCH AS POLITICAL PARTICIPATION, GOVERNMENTAL INSTITUTIONS, ELECTORAL POLITICS, POLITICAL REPRESENTATION, DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS, AND OTHER CONTEMPORARY PUBLIC POLICY DEBATES WILL ALSO BE ADDRESSED.

TCCNS: GOVT 2311  
POLS 3303  Contemporary Political Analysis  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

ANALYSIS OF CURRENT PROBLEMS IN NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL POLITICS. EMPHASIS IS ON METHODS OF ANALYSIS, PARTICULARLY THE USE OF COMPUTERS. INCLUDES A SEGMENT ON CAREER OPPORTUNITIES FOR POLITICAL SCIENCE MAJORS.

POLS 3311  Women and Politics  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THE COURSE WILL EXAMINE PUBLIC POLICIES AFFECTING WOMEN, POLITICAL PARTICIPATION, WOMEN IN PUBLIC OFFICE, AND POLITICAL ATTITUDES OF WOMEN.

POLS 3312  Campaigns and Elections  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

A SURVEY OF THE LITERATURE ON CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS INCLUDING THEORIES OF VOTER CHOICE; EFFECTS OF MASS MEDIA AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE REGULATIONS ON THE CONDUCT AND OUTCOME OF ELECTIONS; EFFECTS OF ELECTIONS ON POLICY; EMPHASIS ON U.S. NATIONAL ELECTIONS.

POLS 3313  The Legislative Process  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

SURVEY AND DESCRIPTION OF THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS IN THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS WITH RELEVANT COMPARISONS TO PRACTICES WITHIN THE SEVERAL STATES AND FOREIGN NATIONS. EMPHASIS UPON THE LAW?MAKING PROCESS EXPLAINED IN TERMS OF STRUCTURE, PARTICIPANTS, GROUPS, ASSOCIATIONS AND POWER RELATIONSHIPS.

POLS 3314  Public Opinion  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

AN ANALYSIS OF THE KINDS AND DISTRIBUTIONS OF OPINIONS AND ATTITUDES IN THE MASS PUBLIC AND THE EFFECTS OF THOSE OPINIONS ON ACTIVITIES OF POLICY MAKERS, WITH SPECIAL ATTENTION TO PROBLEMS OF LINKING PUBLIC OPINION TO PUBLIC POLICY.

POLS 3315  Political Parties  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

ORGANIZATION, HISTORY, AND ACTIVITIES OF POLITICAL PARTIES AND FUNCTIONS THEY SERVE IN NATIONAL, STATE, AND LOCAL POLITICS IN THE UNITED STATES AND ELSEWHERE.

POLS 3316  The American Presidency  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

A STUDY OF THE FEDERAL EXECUTIVE BRANCH WITH AN EMPHASIS UPON THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY WITH ITS RELATIONSHIPS TO OTHER AMERICAN POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS AND PROCESSES.

POLS 3317  Judicial Politics  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THIS COURSE EXAMINES THE POLITICAL FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE JUDICIAL SELECTION, DECISION-MAKING AND THE POLICY-MAKING ROLE OF COURTS. FURTHERMORE, ATTENTION IS DIRECTED AT THE IMPACT OF COURT DECISIONS AND THE STRUCTURE OF THE JUDICIARY.

POLS 3318  Interest Groups  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

ROLE OF INTEREST GROUPS IN POLITICS: TYPES OF GROUPS AND RESOURCES; INTERNAL DYNAMICS; GROUP STRATEGIES/TACTICS (INCLUDING PACS); FORMS OF INDIRECT AND DIRECT LOBBYING; INFLUENCE OF GROUPS IN THE POLITICAL ARENA.

POLS 3319  Religion and Politics  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THE COURSE WILL EXAMINE THE INTERSECTION OF RELIGION AND POLITICS HISTORICALLY AND DURING CONTEMPORARY TIMES WITH AN EMPHASIS ON BELIEFS, BEHAVIORS, INSTITUTIONS, AND POLICIES.

POLS 3321  Comparative Politics  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

CONCEPTS, THEORIES AND ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORKS FOR COMPARING DIFFERENT TYPES OF POLITICAL SYSTEMS AROUND THE WORLD. EMPHASIS IS PLACED ON LEARNING ABOUT DIFFERENT POLITICAL SYSTEMS AND USING THE COMPARATIVE METHOD TO EVALUATE AND DEVELOP A RICHER UNDERSTANDING OF POLITICS, POLITICAL CULTURE, POLITICAL BEHAVIOR, AND POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS.

POLS 3331  International Relations  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

EXAMINATION OF THE STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM FOCUSING ON THE POWER RELATIONSHIPS AMONG STATES, INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, AND THE CRITICAL ISSUES ANIMATING CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS.

POLS 3341  Introduction to Public Administration  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

STUDY OF ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT THEORIES AND PRACTICES OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AFFECTING FEDERAL AND SUBNATIONAL GOVERNMENTS. BUREAUCRATIC STRUCTURES AND PROCEDURES WILL BE EXAMINED FOR THEIR EFFECTS ON POLICY, PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION.

POLS 3342  Introduction to Public Policy  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

A SURVEY OF THE POLICY PROCESS IN THE UNITED STATES. THE COURSE WILL EXAMINE FACTORS AFFECTING THE DEVELOPMENT, IMPLEMENTATION AND IMPACT OF PUBLIC POLICIES AS WELL AS A DISCUSSION OF POLICY ALTERNATIVES AND CONTROVERSIES.

POLS 3343  Bureaucracy  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

EXAMINES THE CONCEPT OF THE POLITICAL ROLE OF THE BUREAUCRACY AND THE IMPACT OF OTHER GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS ON BUREAUCRATIC STRUCTURES, FUNCTIONS AND BEHAVIOR. THE ROLE OF BUREAUCRACY IN PUBLIC POLICY MAKING AND THE INFLUENCE OF POLITICS ON IMPLEMENTATION IS ANALYZED.

POLS 3351  U.S. Constitution and Federalism  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THE COURSE WILL EXAMINE THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION SINCE 1789 THROUGH LEGAL DECISIONS AND INTERPRETATIONS. THE DEVELOPMENT, EVOLUTION, AND INTERPRETATIONS OF FEDERALISM ARE ALSO ADDRESSED. (NOTE: THIS COURSE WILL COMPLETE THE TEXAS TEACHER CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENT IN GOVERNMENT FOR THOSE WHO ALREADY HAVE THREE SEMESTER HOURS IN U.S. GOVERNMENT AND NEED THREE ADDITIONAL SEMESTER HOURS THAT INCLUDE THE GOVERNMENT AND CONSTITUTION OF TEXAS.)

POLS 3361  Western Political Theory  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THE FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS AND PROBLEMS OF POLITICAL THEORY, AS VIEWED BY THE MAJOR CLASSICAL PHILOSOPHERS AND CONTEMPORARY THEORISTS, INCLUDING JUSTICE, POWER, AUTHORITY, OBLIGATION, FREEDOM, EQUALITY.

POLS 3365  POLITICAL THEORY AND IDEOLOGIES  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

MAJOR 19TH AND 20TH?CENTURY POLITICAL THEORISTS AND IDEOLOGICAL MOVEMENTS. INCLUDES A REVIEW OF CAPITALISM, SOCIALISM, FASCISM, AND LIBERALISM.

POLS 4303  Seminar in Political Science  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

CAPSTONE COURSE FOR POLITICAL SCIENCE MAJORS, EXAMINES SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS AND ISSUE IN AMERICAN POLITICS AS THEY ARE ADDRESSED IN THE PROFESSIONAL LITERATURE OF POLITICAL SCIENCE. OFFERS THE OPPORTUNITY OF AN INTENSIVE STUDY OF AS SELECTED TOPIC. EMPHASIS ON SUPERVISED RESEARCH ON SELECTED TOPIC.

Prerequisite: POLS 3303.

POLS 4311  Urban Politics  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THE INSTITUTIONS, POLITICAL PROCESSES AND POLICY ISSUES OF URBAN AREAS OF THE UNITED STATES.

POLS 4312  Government Budgeting and Finance  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

STUDY OF THE POLITICS AND PROCESSES OF GOVERNMENTAL BUDGETING AT LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL LEVELS WITH EMPHASIS ON THE INTERRELATEDNESS OF GOVERNMENTAL UNITS THROUGH BUDGETING.

POLS 4314  Media and Politics  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

IMPACT OF MASS MEDIA COVERAGE ON AMERICAN POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS, THE ELECTION PROCESS, AND PUBLIC OPINION IN GENERAL AND THE APPROPRIATE ROLE OF MEDIA AND NEWS IN A SOCIETY.

POLS 4320  The Politics of the European Union  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

EXAMINATION OF THE INSTITUTIONAL, ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL FORCES THAT LED TO THE CREATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION. EMPHASIS ON THE IMPACT THE EUROPEAN UNION HAS HAD ON WORLD AFFAIRS.

POLS 4321  Comparative Politics of Developing Nations  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

ANALYSIS OF CONTEMPORARY ISSUES WITHIN AND AMONGST DEVELOPING NATIONS. EXAMINES VARIOUS INSTITUTIONS, POLITICAL PROCESSES, AND PUBLIC POLICY DEBATES IN SOME OR ALL OF THE FOLLOWING REGIONS: AFRICA, LATIN AMERICA, THE MIDDLE EAST, OR ASIA.

POLS 4322  Transitions to Democracy  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

ANALYSIS OF TRANSITIONS TO DEMOCRACY FROM AUTHORITARIAN RULE. VARIOUS STAGES OF THE TRANSITION PROCESS AND THEORIES OF DEMOCRATIZATION ARE ASSESSED. EMPHASIS WILL BE PLACED ON "THIRD WAVE" TRANSITIONS TO DEMOCRACY.

POLS 4325  Politics in Latin America  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

LATIN AMERICAN GOVERNMENTS AND POLITICS AS RELATED TO SUCH TOPICAL PROBLEMS AND PROCESSES AS LAND REFORM AND EXPROPRIATION.

POLS 4327  The Politics of War  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THIS COURSE WILL EXAMINE THE POLITICS OF WAR FROM ANCIENT TIMES TO THE PRESENT. INCLUDED IN THIS SURVEY ARE GREAT GENERALS AND MILITARY STRATEGISTS, FROM SUN TZU TO NAPOLEON TO GENERALS OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR. STUDENTS WILL STUDY CONCEPTS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, THE LAW OF NATIONS, AND THE LAWS OF WAR. THE COURSE FURTHER EXAMINES MILITARY STRATEGY AND TACTICS OF THE 20TH CENTURY.

POLS 4361  American Political Thought  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

A SURVEY OF THE MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS IN AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT FROM THE COLONIAL PERIOD TO THE PRESENT, FOLLOWED BY AN ANALYSIS OF IMPORTANT RECENT THEORETICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT.

POLS 4390  Topics in Political Science  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

MAY BE REPEATED FOR CREDIT WHEN TOPIC VARIES.

POLS 4396  Directed Individual Study  
1-3 Semester Credit Hours (1-3 Lecture Hours)  

SEE COLLEGE DESCRIPTION.

POLS 4398  APPLIED EXPERIENCE  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

NCD.