The Department of Political Science offers a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science as well as elective courses in political science for program majors and non-majors.

The political science curriculum has two central objectives. It offers the student a broad liberal arts education along with a comprehensive understanding of the nature and the functioning of the political process and government. It also provides a sound foundation for graduate study in political science, public administration and nonprofit management, or for careers that require knowledge of governance and the political process, such as law.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  1. Assumptions, methods and analytical tools
    Students will demonstrate knowledge of the assumptions, methods and analytical tools of the discipline of political science.
  2. Current political and policy issues
    Students will demonstrate knowledge of current political and policy issues.
  3. Theory and principles of four subfields
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of basic theory and conceptual principles of political science in the four subfields of American government, political theory, international relations and comparative politics.
  4. Advanced understanding of one subfield
    Students will demonstrate an advanced understanding of current theoretical and empirical study in one subfield.
  5. Expository and analytic writing
    Students will demonstrate skill in expository and analytic writing in the political science discipline
  6. Political behavior
    Students will demonstrate knowledge of the ways in which individuals, national governmental organizations, political movements and parties, nation-states, and intergovernmental institutions work to achieve their political objectives.

Honors in political science

Political science majors can earn honors in political science. Students earn honors status when they complete POLI   490 Senior Seminar with an A grade and graduate with an overall 3.0 GPA and a 3.3 GPA in political science.

Special requirements

To graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, students must complete 45 upper-level credits (including upper-level course work in the major) and maintain a cumulative and major GPA of 2.0. Students may count a maximum of nine credits from internships, mentorships or independent studies toward the major. Students may also apply three credits from courses in other departments toward the major with prior approval from the department chair.

Degree requirements for Political Science, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) with a concentration in U.S. government

General Education requirements

University Core Education Curriculum (minimum 21 credits)
UNIV   111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IFocused Inquiry I3
UNIV   112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IIFocused Inquiry II3
UNIV   200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument3
Approved humanities/fine arts3
Approved natural/physical sciences3-4
Approved quantitative literacy3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences3-4
Total Hours21-24
Additional College of Humanities and Sciences requirements (11-23 credits)
HUMS   202Choices in a Consumer Society1
Approved H&S diverse and global communities3
Approved H&S human, social and political behavior (fulfills University Core social/behavioral sciences)
Approved H&S literature and civilization (fulfills University Core humanities/fine arts)
Approved H&S science and technology (fulfills University Core natural/physical sciences)
Approved H&S General Education electives6-8
Experiential fine arts 11-3
Foreign language through the 102 level (by course or placement)0-8
Total Hours11-23
1

Course offered by the School of the Arts

Collateral requirements

Foreign language (201-level)3
Foreign language (202-level)3
Total Hours6

Major requirements

POLI   103U.S. Government3
POLI/INTL 105International Relations3
POLI   107Political Theory3
POLI   109Comparative Politics3
POLI   490Senior Seminar3
POLI electives6
Concentration electives (Choose four from list below)12
Total Hours33

Open electives

Select 35-49 credits of open electives35-49

Total minimum requirement 120

Electives

POLI   301U.S. Parties and Elections3
POLI/AFAM 302Politics of the Civil Rights Movement3
POLI   303Public Opinion, Polling and the Media3
POLI   306The Congress3
POLI   308U.S. Presidency3
POLI   309Bureaucratic Politics3
POLI   310Public Policy3
POLI/ENVS 311Politics of the Environment3
POLI   314U.S. Constitutional Law3
POLI   315Courts and Politics3
POLI   316Women and the Law3
POLI/AFAM/GSWS 318Politics of Race, Class and Gender3
POLI/GSWS 319Women and American Politics3
POLI   320Research Methods in the Social Sciences3
POLI   321City Politics3
POLI   322State and Local Government and Politics3
POLI   323Virginia Government and Politics3
POLI   329Intergovernmental Relations3
POLI   331Public Administration3
POLI/AFAM 345African-American Politics3
POLI/INTL 364Vietnam3

What follows is a sample plan that meets the prescribed requirements within a four-year course of study at VCU. Please contact your adviser before beginning course work toward a degree.

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
POLI   103 U.S. Government 3
UNIV   101 Introduction to the University 1
UNIV   111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I Focused Inquiry I 3
Approved quantitative literacy 3
Foreign language (101-level) 4
 Term Hours: 14
Spring semester
HUMS   202 Choices in a Consumer Society 1
POLI   105
International Relations
or International Relations
3
UNIV   112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II Focused Inquiry II 3
Approved natural/physical sciences 3-4
Foreign language (102-level) 4
 Term Hours: 14-15
Sophomore year
Fall semester
POLI   107 Political Theory 3
POLI   109 Comparative Politics 3
UNIV   200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Approved H&S literature and civilization 3
Foreign language (201-level) 3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
Concentration electives 6
Experiential fine arts 1-3
Foreign language (202-level) 3
Open electives 4
 Term Hours: 14-16
Junior year
Fall semester
POLI elective 3
Approved H&S General Education electives 3-4
Open electives 9
 Term Hours: 15-16
Spring semester
Approved H&S General Education electives 3-4
Concentration elective 3
Open electives 9
 Term Hours: 15-16
Senior year
Fall semester
POLI   490 Senior Seminar 3
Concentration elective 3
Open electives 12
 Term Hours: 18
Spring semester
POLI elective 3
Open electives 12
 Term Hours: 15
 Total Hours: 120-125

POLI   103. U.S. Government. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A study of American national government focusing on its underlying political ideas, constitutional basis, major institutions and their interaction in the determination of public policy.

POLI   105. International Relations. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An introductory analysis of interstate relations and world affairs. Attention focuses on theories of international politics, military capabilities and their application, international organizations, global economic trends, domestic sources of state behavior and other selected issues as appropriate. Crosslisted as: INTL   105.

POLI   107. Political Theory. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Introduces students to the great thinkers and ideas of political theory. Provides an analysis of the relationship between ethics and politics in contemporary democracy and current challenges to traditional democratic theory. Topics discussed may include the nature of human existence and civilization; political obligations between the state and the citizen and among citizens; attempts to justify authority; the content and uses of power; and the right to disobedience and resistance, freedom, social justice, and equality.

POLI   109. Comparative Politics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Introduces students to the ways in which societies around the world govern themselves. Covers such topics as the historical evolution of the political system, political processes and institutions, and key issues in contemporary public policy for a globally representative group of 10 to 15 countries.

POLI   301. U.S. Parties and Elections. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An overview of U.S. political parties and elections. Topics will include the history, organization and methods of U.S. political parties, presidential nominations and elections; Congressional elections.

POLI   302. Politics of the Civil Rights Movement. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. The main objectives of the course are to introduce and examine the personalities and activities of the modern Civil Rights Movement. The course provides the historical background leading up to the peak years of the struggle for racial equality in America. Crosslisted as: AFAM   302.

POLI   303. Public Opinion, Polling and the Media. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Study of the interplay among the mass media, political campaigns and public opinion. Topics include public opinion and its measurement, how campaigns use public opinion polling and the impact of the media on public opinion.

POLI   304. Political Campaigns and Communication: New Hampshire Primary. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Enrollment requires permission of instructor. Introduces students to the historical and political contexts of presidential primary campaigning. Investigates candidate strategy and ways candidates seek out money, media coverage and grassroots organization. Includes a week-long trip to New Hampshire during the first-in-the-nation primary to provide students with hands-on experience. Offered as an intersession class during presidential election years.

POLI   305. Political Campaigns and Communication: Theory and Process. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An examination of political campaigns focusing on presidential elections. Analysis includes the study of electoral contexts, political mobilization, campaign organizational structures and strategies, campaign rhetoric, and the evolution of campaign-related technology such as polling and social media.

POLI   306. The Congress. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A study of the behavior of legislators and the structures and processes of legislative decision making in the U.S. Congress. Analysis will include both the internal and external environment of congressional policy making, and an assessment of the impact of congressional policy.

POLI   308. U.S. Presidency. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A political and institutional study of the chief executive, focusing especially on the presidential personality and relations with Congress, the bureaucracy, the courts and the shaping of domestic and foreign policy.

POLI   309. Bureaucratic Politics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An analysis of the nature of bureaucracy and bureaucratic phenomena in American governments; the role and involvement of the bureaucracy in politics and the policy-making process. Primary focus on theories and approaches to understanding the central role of bureaucracy in modern society and its use and abuse of power.

POLI   310. Public Policy. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An analytical survey of policy formulation and implementation in the United States, together with an examination of the impact of policy upon individuals and groups in American society.

POLI   311. Politics of the Environment. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An exploration of the current controversy about environmental politics and the issues and crisis it centers on. Special attention will be given to the constitutional, political and geographical factors in the development of environmental policy and the organized effort to deal with governmental actions and inaction and its impact on policy outcomes. Crosslisted as: ENVS   311.

POLI   313. U.S. Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A survey of the major provisions of the U.S. Constitution concerning civil rights and civil liberties as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court. Topics to be covered include how the federal courts enforce individual rights found in the Constitution, limitations on governmental actions and the use of the Constitution as a starting point for discussions of the nation’s need to balance competing interests of individuals, government and societal values.

POLI   314. U.S. Constitutional Law. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A survey of the development of the Constitution through judicial interpretation. Topics to be covered include an introduction to the operation of the Supreme Court, decisions on federalism, the powers of Congress, the president, the judiciary and civil rights and civil liberties.

POLI   315. Courts and Politics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A study of theories and models of judicial decision-making in the Supreme Court, focusing on judicial structure and procedures, policy-making analysis, political ideology, and judicial activism.

POLI   316. Women and the Law. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course will introduce students to the history, politics and status of women under the American legal system. Topics to be covered may include equal protection, sexual violence, the particular rights of women of color and lesbians, reproductive rights, women criminals and women in the legal profession. Crosslisted as: GSWS   316.

POLI   318. Politics of Race, Class and Gender. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A study of the racial, class and gender influences on the history and development of political values, conflicts, processes, structures and public policy in the United States. Crosslisted as: AFAM   318/GSWS   318.

POLI   319. Women and American Politics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course analyzes the participation of women in American politics. Attention is given to both women's historical and contemporary roles in politics, their participation as voters and citizens, and their behavior as candidates and office holders. Additional topics may include workplace, family and education issues and reproductive rights. Crosslisted as: GSWS   319.

POLI   320. Research Methods in the Social Sciences. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 2 laboratory hours. 3 credits. Current methods of research in the social sciences. Includes a brief introduction to the use of SPSS for storage, retrieval and exploration of social science data. Crosslisted as: SOCY   320.

POLI   321. City Politics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An examination of urban political power and influence, governance, and public policy. Topics include: power and influence, governmental structures and the political process, public policy, and service delivery.

POLI   322. State and Local Government and Politics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An examination of the politics and governance of states and localities. Attention is devoted to political culture, interest groups, political parties, the legislative, executive and judicial components of state government, along with the structure and political processes of local governments.

POLI   323. Virginia Government and Politics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An examination of Virginia state government and politics, with appropriate attention given to political culture, interest groups, political parties, the media and the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.

POLI   329. Intergovernmental Relations. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An examination of vertical and horizontal intergovernmental relations. Attention will be given to the major variants of federalism. The role of categorical and block grants in programmatic federalism will be assessed. Trends in intergovernmental relations will be advanced.

POLI   331. Public Administration. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A study of the concepts and practices of public administration in the United States. Particular attention will be given to the administrative procedures and practices of the national government and of the government in Virginia.

POLI   341. History of Political Theory: Classical to Modern. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A survey of leading political ideas of the ancient and medieval periods.

POLI   342. History of Political Theory: Modern to Contemporary. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A survey of leading political ideas of modern and contemporary thought.

POLI   343. Black Political Thought. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An historical and sociological perspective on the political and social ideas of black thinkers from David Walker to the present. Crosslisted as: AFAM   343.

POLI   344. Contemporary Political Theory. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course provides a survey of recent trends in political theory. It examines updates of the major ideological traditions, arguments about the nature of modernity and recent developments in environment, feminist and non-Western thought.

POLI   345. African-American Politics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. In this course, students will discuss and analyze the dynamics of the black experience in the American political system. The status of African-Americans in the United States and the struggle for racial equality will be examined, as will the manner in which American institutions have responded to these phenomena. Students will examine the race/class metric in African-American politics, particularly policies of Affirmative Action as a black progress strategy. Crosslisted as: AFAM   345.

POLI   351. Governments and Politics of the Middle East. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A comparative analysis of political systems in the Middle East including the study of contemporary aspects of traditionalism, the political nature of transition, the instruments of political modernization and evolution and revolution in the political process of Middle Eastern states. The course will explore the primary bases of cleavage and conflict and the principal forces that shape the policies and political dynamics of the region. Crosslisted as: INTL   351.

POLI   352. European Governments and Politics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A comparative study of the political systems of selected western and eastern European countries. Crosslisted as: INTL   352.

POLI   353. Latin American Governments and Politics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A survey of politics characteristic of Latin American systems, including democratic reformism, military authoritarianism and revolutionary socialism. The course also examines the contemporary problems of fledgling democracies as they cope with economic and debt crises and various opposition challenges. Crosslisted as: INTL   353.

POLI   354. Russian and Post-Soviet Politics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A study of the origins, institutions, processes and disintegration of the Soviet political system, and the ongoing reform efforts during the post-Soviet period. Special emphasis is placed on the politics of the transition to a democratic political system and a market economy. Other topics include nationality issues, social problems and foreign policy. Crosslisted as: INTL   354.

POLI   355. Asian Governments and Politics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A comparative analysis of the politics and governments of major Asian states, with a focus on Japan, China and India. Crosslisted as: INTL   355.

POLI   356. Government and Politics of Africa. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course will introduce the student to the basic outlines of government and politics in Africa. The course will consider such topics as colonialism, elitism and nationalism and modernization strategies. Using the comparative approach, the course will primarily focus on West, East and Central Africa. Crosslisted as: AFAM   356/INTL   356.

POLI   357. Politics of Southern Africa. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An examination of racial and political developments in the southern tip of Africa. While South Africa will be the primary focus of analysis, other countries in the region such as Zimbabwe, Angola and Mozambique will be studied. Crosslisted as: AFAM   357/INTL   357.

POLI   358. Concepts of Comparative Government. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Comparative study of politics and governments. Introduces concepts and theories used in the study of political systems. Topics include democratization and democratic governance, the role of the state, one-party and military regimes, revolution, and economic and political development. Crosslisted as: INTL   358.

POLI   359. The Politics of Developing Areas. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Analysis of the processes of political and economic development. Includes a study of various challenges facing developing countries, such as economic inequalities, environmental degradation, mass political participation, military coups, revolution and civil war. Crosslisted as: INTL   452.

POLI   360. China in Transition. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Traces how China is making the transition from a planned to market economy, and what implications this transition has on the political, social and urban landscape. Class discussions are grounded on a basic understanding of China's modern history and regional geography. Crosslisted as: INTL   480.

POLI   361. Issues in World Politics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An exploration of several significant issues in world politics. Topics may include peacekeeping and collective security, international economic competitiveness, global environmental politics as well as selected others. Topics will vary with current events and trends in the international arena. Crosslisted as: INTL   361.

POLI   362. International Organizations and Institutions. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A study of the background development structure and operations of organizations and institutions such as the United Nations, the European Community and the Organization of American States. Crosslisted as: INTL   362.

POLI   363. U.S. Foreign Policy. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An analytical survey of processes and practices in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy, including an introduction to the goals, problems of implementation and current challenges faced by policy makers. Crosslisted as: INTL   363.

POLI   364. Vietnam. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An analysis of the complete record of the conflict in Vietnam. The primary focus will be on the period of United States involvement. The course will examine closely how and why the United States became involved in Vietnam and what impact the Vietnam war has had on political institutions and behavior. In particular, the course will examine what impact the period of U.S. involvement has had upon U.S. foreign policy. The course also will consider additional topics including: public opinion and the war, the relationship between president and Congress in light of the war and contemporary U.S. politics as a backlash against the political movements of the 1960s. Crosslisted as: INTL   364.

POLI   365. International Political Economy. 3 Hours.

3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A survey of both theoretical and current policy issues in international political economy. Theories to be covered include liberalism, mercantilism, Marxism, regionalism, world systems theory and others. Policy issues include differing styles of capitalism in the industrialized world, the political economy of development, the politics of international corporate alliances and others. Crosslisted as: INTL   365.

POLI   366. Women and Global Politics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A study of women and global politics, providing both a feminist re-examination of traditional international-relations theories and a comparative analysis of the political, legal and economic status of the world's women. The impact of women on global political institutions such as the United Nations will be addressed as well as other feminist and grass roots means of taking political action. Crosslisted as: GSWS   366/INTL   368.

POLI   367. Terrorism. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: HSEP   101, POLI   103 and INTL   105/POLI   105, or permission of instructor. A survey of the modern problem of terrorism with an emphasis on the political nature of terrorist acts. Examines the history of terrorism, domestically within the U.S. and internationally, the role of religion, the structures and operations of terrorist organizations, as well as counterterrorism policies and policy making. Crosslisted as: HSEP   301.

POLI   368. Comparative National Security Policy. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A study of national security policies and policy-making in a diverse set of nation-states. Emphasis is placed on comparing how threat perception, historical context, ideology, political structure and leadership impact national security policies of both powerful and weak nation-states. Crosslisted as: INTL   468.

POLI   369. U.S. National Security. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A survey of key issues in U.S. national security including national security decision-making, the use of force, military intervention, nuclear strategy and strategic arms control, ballistic missile defense, the transformation of war due to technology and globalization, defense policy, planning and budgeting, the impact of technology on strategy from airpower to cyberspace and robotics, and critical regional issues.

POLI   370. Nonprofit Organizations and Society. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Examines the history and foundations of the nonprofit agency in the U.S. and abroad. Compares and contrasts relationships between business, government and the nonprofit sector. Discusses requirements for formalizing and managing nonprofit organizations from the perspectives of the volunteer board and employees. Examines issues of accountability, policy, research and resource development.

POLI   372. Ethics, Law and Governance. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Examines how legal, legislative and public policy issues affect the development and growth of nonprofit organizations. Examines ethical principals and legal issues related to personnel and employment, as well as the goals of advocacy and its importance to nonprofit practitioners.

POLI   374. Financial Management for Nonprofits. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Examines how nonprofit organizations are influenced by prices, distribution of goods and services and the distribution of income and wealth. Topics include financial-statement analysis, time-value of money, budgeting concepts and techniques, securities valuation, long- and short-term financial planning issues and working capital management. Designed to develop skills in decision-making in financial management of the nonprofit organization.

POLI   380. Human Security. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A survey of the key elements of human security: the positive and negative impacts of globalization, the rise and impact of civil violence within many nations, the dilemmas of the aid industry, the impact of non-state actors, and issues related to chronic poverty, food security and water security.

POLI   381. The Politics of Genocide and Human Rights. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An examination of the history and causes of genocide and large-scale human rights violations of the 20th century and more recent examples. Using case studies, and focusing on the Holocaust as the paradigmatic genocide, the course studies historical events and theoretical explanations to understand why people have been so willing, in every historical era, to kill each other in large numbers.

POLI   382. International Health. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A survey of the basic principles of international and comparative health, as well as the national and international institutional structures in place to address health challenges. Focuses on the political, economic, social and individual burdens of inadequate health to societies and the international community. The implementation of global health programs and methods used to evaluate them are studied in detail.

POLI   383. The Middle East and North Africa in Transition. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An examination of the political, social and economic aspects of the “new” Middle East and North Africa after what has come to be known as “The Arab Spring.” Topics addressed include a historical and geographical overview of the Arab world prior to the mass uprisings, an examination of the political and economic motivations for popular unrest in several Arab countries, the role of women and youth movements as well as social media in mass demonstrations that happened in several Arab countries, the wider regional and global impact of the uprisings, and an assessment of the Arab world today.

POLI   391. Topics in Political Science. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Maximum total of 9 credits in all departmental topics courses may be applied to the major. An intensive survey of a specialized field of political interest. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

POLI   448. Scope and Method of Political Science. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: POLI   103 or permission of instructor. A comprehensive and systematic study of the philosophy of political science, various theories seeking to explain political phenomena and some of the techniques of political analysis.

POLI   490. Senior Seminar. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: 24 credits in political science courses or permission of instructor. A capstone course examining the major ideas and debates in each of the four sub-fields of the discipline of political science: American government, political theory, comparative politics and international relations. Students are required to produce a research project on a critical issue in one of the sub-fields.

POLI   491. Topics in Political Science. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Maximum total of 9 credits in all departmental topics courses may be applied to the major. An intensive survey of a specialized field of political interest. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

POLI   492. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. Variable credit. Maximum of 4 credits per semester; maximum total of 6 credits for all independent study courses. Open generally to students of only junior or senior standing who have acquired at least 12 credits in political science. Determination of the amount of credit and permission of the instructor and department chair must be obtained prior to registration of the course. An independent study course that allows a political science major or other student who meets the requirement to do research, under the direction of an instructor qualified in that area, in a subject or field of major interest.

POLI   493. Political Science Internship. 1-6 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-6 credits. (50 hours per credit.) May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits. Permission of internship coordinator required. Restricted to political science majors, nonprofit management and administration minors and public management minors. Provides an opportunity to relate theory to practice through observation and actual experience within the field of political science. Graded as pass/fail.

POLI   494. Political Science Mentorship. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-3 credits. Prerequisites: 24 credits in political science courses including POLI   103, 105, 107 and 109, permission of instructor, and 3.3 GPA in POLI courses. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits. A mentorship course that allows students to develop advanced research skills, to experience managing a classroom and to present the results of their research in a classroom setting. Different sections of the course specialize in different subfields of political science: U.S. government, comparative politics, international relations and political theory.