Course Descriptions

POSC 110 Introduction to American Politics (Gen. Ed. Domain III-B)
An introduction to American governmental institutions and the political process. Among the topics included are the political culture and socialization, political participation, the media, social movements and minority politics, and interest groups and political parties. This course fulfills the requirement to study the United States and Massachusetts constitutions.

POSC 120 Introduction to World Politics (Gen. Ed. Domain III-C)                             An introduction to the theory and substance of world politics. Concentration on the rise and nature of the modern state system, study of the roles played by international law, diplomacy, and international organizations, and an analysis of the impact on the international system of the transition from a Euro-centered system to a more truly global one.
Intermediate Level

POSC 206 Constitutional Law: Powers of the Government (Gen. Ed. Domain III-A)

A study of the role of judicial supremacy, judicial restraint, and judicial activism concerning the powers of the government in the American political system and the processes by which they have evolved in the United States. The course is designed to give students an understanding of the role of constitutional law in the American polity, the interrelationships between law, politics, and economics, and the role of courts, especially the United States Supreme Court, in the process.

POSC 211 Political Theory: Justice, Law, and Order
An historical approach to the study of the ideas of justice, law, and order as they evolved in Western tradition from Hammurabi’s code and Plato’s Republic in ancient times to such twentieth- century analyses as John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice. This course integrates information from the disciplines of politics, history, and philosophy. It also fulfills the requirement to study the federal and Massachusetts constitutions.

POSC 212 Political Theory: Age of Ideology
An historical approach to the study of nineteenth and twentieth-century ideologies including such “isms” as conservatism, liberalism, socialism, totalitarianism, ethnic nationalism, and religious fundamentalism. Lectures, discussions, and written assignments focus on analyzing primary sources in terms of historical context and political consequences.

POSC 216 Film and Politics (Gen. Ed. Domain III-C) 
An examination of the relationship between film and American politics. This course examines how film depicts and influences American political culture, values, and institutions with emphasis on the relationship between film and the politics of gender, class, and race. Students are required to review and analyze film texts in relationship to the scope of the course.
Prerequisite: ENGL 110 Expository Writing.

POSC 223 Bureaucratic Politics and Power
An introduction to bureaucratic organizations servicing the public sector. The course analyzes the politics and power of governmental bureaucracies and discusses their substantive impact upon individuals and societal policy. Topics include the growth of bureaucratic authority and power, organizational behavior, administrative leadership, decision making, the politics of budgeting, and administrative accountability and responsibility.

POSC 245 Comparative Politics: Europe
An integrative study of the history, political institutions and public policies of Western Europe in the post-World War II period. Initially, the country-by-country approach focuses on the “Big Four”: the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy. To a lesser extent, “smaller” nations like Sweden and the former Yugoslavia are included. International organizations such as NATO and the European Union are also considered.

POSC 250 American Legal Systems (Gen. Ed. Domain III-B)
A study of the origins and essentials of the common law, statutes, constitutions, and court decisions in the United States. Emphasis is on legal reasoning and case analysis to promote legal problem-solving skills. Topics include criminal law and procedures, property law, contract law, and the law of torts. This course fulfills the requirements to study the federal and Massachusetts constitutions.
Advanced Level Courses

POSC 313 American Political Thought
A focus on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in an attempt to understand American political thought in terms of “national mythology.” Readings are primary sources.

POSC 315 Judicial Politics and Policy
The roles of judges, lawyers, law enforcement officials, and litigants in the judicial system. The process used to make legal decisions and the effect of these decisions will be examined. Finally, the courts’ relations with other political institutions are analyzed.

POSC 316 U.S. Constitutional Law and Politics
A study of the role of judicial supremacy, judicial restraint, and judicial activism in the American political system and the processes by which they have evolved.

POSC 325 Public Management
A study of organizational management, administrative behavior, and public policy issues. The course is structured around the case method approach. Students’ participation in the form of role playing and game simulation is highly emphasized.

POSC 326 Political Parties and Interest Groups
An analysis of the characteristics, roles, and status of American political parties and interest groups. Attention is focused on the strengths and weaknesses of the party system and alternative forms of political organization.

POSC 327 Elections and Campaign Strategy
An analysis of the changing nature of electoral politics resulting from such factors as the decline of parties, reforms, finance laws, the media, and voting behavior. The course focuses upon the techniques of campaign management to include strategy, fund raising, the media, polling, and the new technology. Students participate in a campaign and conduct an election survey.

POSC 328 Public Budgeting and Management
In the present context of resource scarcity and cutbacks in government spending, an examination of reform-oriented budgeting practices and techniques with an emphasis on effective resource allocation and management control in public and non-profit organizations. Course topics include contracting, leasing and procurement practices, analytical techniques, performance measurement, and evaluation design. Particular emphasis is given to the development of program/grant proposals and location of funding sources.

POSC 329 Public Policy Analysis
An analysis of the policy process emphasizing the response of officials to problems, available policy alternatives, the way officials choose and implement programs and the effect of these programs. A substantive topic is used to illustrate the basic concepts and principles of the public policy process.

POSC 335 Public Personnel Management
A focus on organizational theory, organizational structure, staffing, job classification, unionism, collective bargaining, and personnel productivity and performance evaluation with respect to public sector management. Managerial tools related to recruitment, personnel supervision, organizational control, and leadership are emphasized. Case studies, role playing, and simulation are used to engage the student in the practical application of theories and practices of personnel management.

POSC 337 Legislative Politics and Policy
An examination of the selection, organization and decision-making processes found in Congress and the state legislatures. The relationship of the legislature to the President, bureaucracy, interest groups, and judicial branch also are discussed. Students participate in a simulation of the process by which bills are enacted into law.

POSC 341 The Presidency: Politics and Administration
A description and analysis of the President as a major actor in the American political system. It investigates the political stakes, strategies, and resources of the President with respect to other political actors and institutions. The course focuses upon the sources and limitations of Presidential power and the nature of Presidential decision making.

POSC 342 Formation and Conduct of U.S. Foreign Policy
An analysis of the principal decision-making processes that affect, and have affected, the formulation and implementation of American foreign policy since World War I. Emphasis is on the major agencies and institutions responsible for the formulation and execution of American foreign policy decisions. A case study approach is followed.
Prerequisite: Basic course requirements of Politics majors.

POSC 425 Seminar in Politics
An advanced study of politics under the direction of a member of the faculty. The theme for the seminar, as well as for research topics, papers, projects, and/or student presentations, is determined by the course instructor.
Prerequisite: MATH 117 Introduction to Statistics, and Approval of the Department Chair. Open to Politics majors only.

POSC 450 Internship in the Judicial System
A supervised internship experience in the judicial system combined with an authorized field study assignment of a minimum of ten hours per week for the semester. Does not count toward the Politics major.
Prerequisite: POSC 250 American Legal Systems and permission of instructor. For details see Chair of the Government Department one semester prior to registration.

POSC 490 Independent Study
A politics major whose QPA in the major is no less than 3.0 and who has completed at least six courses in the Department of Government may apply to the Department for a course in Independent Study under the supervision of a member of the Department. This application should be made no later than the end of the third week of the preceding semester. The application must include a detailed proposal outlining either an extensive reading program or a research project. The Department will respond to the application usually within four weeks.

POSC 495 Internship in Politics/Government
A supervised work experience in politics or government combined with a field study assignment.
Prerequisite: A 3.0 or better QPA in the major plus completion of six courses in the Department. See Department Chair for details of specific requirements one semester prior to registration

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