Professor Dennis Ippolito, Department Chair
Professors: Seyom Brown, James Hollifield, Calvin Jillson, Michael Lusztig, Harold Stanley, Stephen Wegren; Associate Professors: Bradley Carter, Joseph Kobylka, Luigi Manzetti, Dennis Simon, Matthew Wilson; Assistant Professors: Valerie Hunt, Taka Sakamoto, Hiroki Takeuchi, Wendy Watson; Professor Emeritus: James Gerhardt.
The department offers undergraduate courses of three types. Introductory courses (at the 1000 level) survey each of the broad fields of study in the discipline. Advanced courses (at the 3000 and 4000 levels) explore more closely defined topics within each of those fields — 3000-level courses examine relatively broad subjects; 4000-level courses examine more specific topics, but are not inherently more demanding than 3000-level courses. Introductory-level preparation or at least sophomore standing is recommended for students undertaking these advanced courses.
Independent study courses (at the 4000 level) are offered to majors with sophomore or higher standing; prerequisites for these courses are stated in the course descriptions that follow. For purposes of distribution and concentration, courses are grouped in their broad fields in the listings below, as indicated by the last two digits of their course numbers:
Requirements for the B.A. Degree. The B.A. degree in political science requires a total of 33 term hours with two introductory courses (six hours) of choice and 27 advanced hours (3000 and above). Advanced course work must include at least six hours (two courses) in each of two distribution fields, and three hours (one course) in a third.
Minors in Political Science. Four minor concentrations are offered, a general program in Political Science and three specifically focused programs in Political Thought, Comparative and International Politics, and American Politics. Each concentration requires 18 term hours of political science courses, including three or six hours (one or two courses) at the introductory level and 12 or 15 advanced hours.
Departmental Distinction. The department offers graduation with distinction to select majors of high academic achievement. Interested students may consult with an appropriate faculty member and apply to the Director of Undergraduate Studies for admission to the distinction track. Eligible students must have completed two introductory departmental courses and completed 24 hours of departmental credit before applying for candidacy.
Criteria for graduating with Departmental Distinction include the following:
A minimum 3.00 overall G.P.A. at graduation.
A minimum 3.50 average in courses taken for the Political Science major.
Preparation for a departmental distinction thesis under the supervision of a faculty thesis adviser. The faculty adviser’s grade for the thesis must be A- or higher. This work will be accomplished by taking PLSC 4307 and will be in addition to all other requirements for the major.
Passing “with distinction” an oral examination of at least one hour, conducted by a faculty distinction examination committee, which reviews the candidate thesis and major curriculum.
A minimum 3.50 average in at least two advanced courses related to the topic of the thesis; one of these may, but need not, be a course taken outside the requirements of the Political Science major.
Students advanced to the distinction track must write a substantial piece of independent and original research (PLSC 4307) and present it to a distinction committee composed of faculty selected by the distinction adviser in consultation with the student. Upon positive recommendation of this committee, the department will award the student graduation with distinction.
Eligible students will be admitted to the distinction track upon recommendation of the Director of Undergraduate Studies in consultation with the faculty member who has agreed to chair the distinction committee and oversee the student’s research and writing. The department does not require candidates for distinction to take Research Design and Data Analysis (PLSC 4376), but strongly advises students interested in empirical research to do so.
Notes of Importance. Students must receive at least a C- in all classes counting toward the major or minor.
No course may be counted more than once toward meeting departmental major or minor requirements. In unusual circumstances, a student may petition, through his or her adviser, to the department chair for exceptions to the above requirements. Only the department chair may grant such a written waiver.
1320. Introduction to American Government and Politics. The organization, functions and processes of our national government, with particular attention to parties, pressure groups, and other forces that influence its course. Attention will also be given to the Texas Constitution.
3320. Principles of Public Policy. Public policy is the study of the outcome of the political process. Parties, pressure groups, bureaucracies and legislative bodies create the decisions that govern domestic social policy, international economic policy and defense policy. Prerequisites: ECO 1311 and PLSC 1320. Recommended: ECO 1312 and either PLSC 1340 or PLSC 1380.
3321. Congress and the Legislative Process. The powers, organization and rules and procedures of legislatures in the United States. Emphasizes the U.S. Congress: its constitutional responsibilities, committee and staff systems, and legislative procedures in the House and Senate.
3322. The American Presidency. An evaluation of the office of president in the American political system with emphasis placed upon the functional and institutional development of the office and presidential leadership in policy making.
3323. Southern Politics. Focuses on the South, paying particular attention to partisan competition, the politics of race, redistricting, and voting rights in the 11 Southern states.
3326. State Government and Politics. A comparative study of the structure, procedure and functional services of state, county and municipal governments with emphasis upon intergovernmental relations in the federal government and Texas government.
3327. Texas Politics. This course focuses on government and politics in Texas both by exploring its processes, institutions and policies, and by placing them within the broader context of the U.S. federal system.
3329. Bureaucracy and Regulatory Politics. Examines the “fourth branch” of government, including the rise of regulatory policymaking in the twentieth century, its instructions and organization, the role of administrative law, the behavior of civil servants and interest groups, and the relationship between bureaucracies and other branches of government.
3330. Law, Politics and the Supreme Court. An introduction to the uniquely political and legal role played by the Supreme Court in elaborating the scope of governmental power and defining individual rights and liberties.
3331. Media and Politics. Examines how the media influence the American institutional governing process and citizen engagement in democratic practices such as acquisition of political knowledge and political decision-making.
3333 (PP 3310). Environmental Policy. Overview of governmental environmental policies designed to provide a foundation for future application and study in the growing environmental field.
3334. Public Opinion and American Politics. Focuses upon the influence of public opinion on American politics and policy making. Topics for the course will include public opinion and democratic theory, the methods of survey research, the use of the polling “industry,” and the influence of polls on politicians and policy.
3335. Judicial Process. Examines the role played by courts in the American system of government. Ranges from the generation of disputes, to the tools used by the judiciary to resolve them, to the ways judges are selected and make decisions, and to the impact of those decisions on society and government.
3336. Congress, the President and the Constitution. An examination of how constitutional interpretation, precedent and politics affect presidential and congressional powers and the separation of powers with respect to war and foreign affairs; legislation and administration; and budgetary and fiscal policies.
4320. Special Studies in American Government and Politics.
4321. Basic Issues in American Democracy. An analysis of current American public policy issues within a theoretical framework. Examines the foundations of concepts and value orientations within which policy considerations are made.
4322 (CFA 3326). Latino Politics. An analysis of contexts, causes and consequences of Latino political participation. The focus is on Latinos in the Southwest with some attention to other racial and ethnic groups elsewhere in the U.S.
4323 (CFA 3334). The Politics of Change in America, 1930-2000. Focuses on American politics and society from 1930 to the present. Examines how America has changed, explains why changes occur, and assesses the consequences of these changes.
4324. Political Dynamics. Use of political parties in formulating political opinions; pressure groups; propaganda; measurement of mass opinions; political leadership.
4325. Practical Electoral Politics. An exploration of techniques of political organization drawing on studies of recent campaigns and examining the political pressures that affect policy making in government.
4326. Presidential Elections. An examination of presidential nominations and elections. Topics include voter decision making, media coverage, campaign finance, delegate selection rules, the electoral college and kindred concerns.
4327. Urban Politics. Traces ideas and beliefs about the nature and purpose of local political arenas in the American experience from New England townships to modern metropolises.
4328. Seminar: American Government and Politics. An overview of the central questions in the study of American government and politics.
4329. The Politics of Economic Policy. Analysis of interactions among political beliefs, economic theories, political processes and public policies that shape and change the American political economy.
4330. Politics and Film. This course will use films as a vehicle for understanding politics, leadership and the political process in the United States. The class involves substantial reading and writing by students.
4331. Government and Business. Analysis of the roles of business in American policies and the impacts of political and governmental decisions on business activity.
4332. Politics of Litigation. An examination of the interaction between law and politics and, in particular, of the role interest groups have played in the litigation process.
4333. Policy, Politics and the Budget. Examines the federal budget’s historical evolution and contemporary significance. The constitutional division of the power of the purse between the legislative and executive branches; presidential-congressional conflicts over control of budget policy; major policy issues relating to the size of the federal budget; spending and tax policy priorities; and deficit and debt problems.
4335. Constitutional Law. Examines the scope of constitutional power in the American governmental system, questions of separation of powers between the branches of the national government, and the federal relationship between the national government and state governments.
4336. Civil Liberties: First Amendment and Privacy. Examines the place and treatment of expression, religion and personal autonomy in the American Constitution and in the cases in which the Supreme Court has defined and applied the Constitution.
4337. Civil Rights. Examines changes wrought in the American system of governance by the addition of the Fourteenth Amendment, particularly its Equal Protection Clause, and the ways the Supreme Court has interpreted and applied it over time. Topics include racial discrimination, sex discrimination and equality in the political process.
4338. Criminal Process Rights. Examines the application of the principles of “ordered liberty” and the Bill of Rights to criminal process disputes. Its concerns extend through initial police investigation, trial preparation, trial and jury concerns, and the post-trial determination of punishment.
4339. Women and the Law. The status of women in the American legal system, including an assessment of women defined as a legal category and the impact of increasing numbers of women lawyers, judges and criminals.
1340. Introduction to Comparative Politics. Analyzes and contrasts different patterns of national political development in Western, Marxist-Leninist and Third World countries. Examines political dilemmas confronting each type of system.
3340. Western European Politics. The political development of Britain, France, Germany and Italy. Topics include: the emergence of parliament and parties; democratic breakdown and the rise of fascism; modern parties and interest groups; state economic planning; corporatism; extraparliamentary oppositions.
3341. Politics of Participation and Representation in Western Democracies. Focuses on the numerous avenues through which citizens influence politics and policy making in advanced industrial democracies. Considers the implications of formal institutional structures, such as electoral and party systems, the impact of organized groups, as well as more informal forms of participation, such as protest movements and citizen initiatives.
3342 (CF 3388). Making Democracy Work. Aims to answer the fundamental question of why democracy thrives in some nations while in others it struggles, and in many more it has not yet taken root.
3345. Governments and Politics of the Middle East. A survey of modern Middle East governments and politics; historical, ideological and economic and social influences on their domestic and foreign policies; analysis of emerging political forms; some emphasis on modernization problems.
3346. Governments and Politics of Japan. A study of political institutions, foreign policies and international relations, and the economic and social problems of Japan.
3347. Governments and Politics of Africa. The politics of Black Africa in an international context, emphasizing the problems of race, nationalism and economic development.
3348. Governments and Politics of Latin America. The structure, functions and operations of governments in Latin American countries with emphasis on political practices and institutions.
3349. Politics of Major Latin American Countries. An introduction to the problems of political development in some of the major countries of Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico.
3352. Chinese Politics. Chinese contributions to Marxist-Leninist theory; analysis of Chinese institutions and policy making, with emphasis on recent political developments.
3355. The Political Economy of the Welfare State. Focuses on the origins, evolution and management of industrial democracy in Europe and America. Emphasizes the interconnections between political and economic challenges inherent in policy making, and the economic implications of public policy.
3358. Government and Politics of Russia. Examines attempts to reform the former Soviet Union since 1985. Analyzes, in particular, the social and political processes behind the demise of the Soviet system. Emphasis is placed on sources for support of, as well as obstacles to, political, economic and social reform in post-communist Russia.
3359 (CFA 3359). From Communism to Democracy. The rise and fall of communist regimes and the transition to democracy in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, emphasizing social, economic and political influences affecting divergent paths to democracy.
4340. Special Studies in Comparative Government and Politics.
4341 (CFA 3304). Comparative Rights and Representation. Examines the tension that exists between rights and democratic representation. Explores judicial social-policy making, individual versus collective rights, aboriginal rights and affirmative action.
4342. Why Nations Revolt. Provides an introduction to revolutions by surveying the major theories that have been developed to explain the occurrence of revolutions. Various revolutions will be examined as case studies, including the French, Russian, Nazi and Chinese revolutions. In addition, at least one peasant revolution in the Third World will be covered.
4348. Seminar: Comparative Government and Politics. An overview of the central questions in the study of comparative government and politics.
4353. Governments and Politics of East Asia. Analysis
of various aspects of social change and modernization and their effects on
mass and elite political behavior and political processes in selected countries
of East Asia.
4354. The Third World and North-South Relations. An inquiry into problems and theories of political economy of development and dependency in the Third World countries.
4355 (CFA 3355). Comparative Political Economy of Industrialized Democracies. Examines the nature and workings of the political economies of industrialized democracies of North America, Europe and the Pacific in comparative perspective. Recommended: Prior completion of one introductory political science and/or economics course.
4356. Latin American Political Economy. Focuses on the challenges facing public policy in the Latin American region and how to interpret that region’s politics and economic frustrations. Attentive to the basic rules of the Latin American political game and the lack of agreement on them.
4358. Soviet Politics: Revolution to Revolution. A survey of Soviet political history from 1917-1991. Special attention is devoted to the way in which each Soviet leader attempted to change the political and economic system.
1360. Introduction to Political Theory. An introduction to political theory through an examination of classical and modern approaches to the study of politics. Addresses questions concerning how we get knowledge about politics and what we do with that knowledge.
3360. Foundations of Political Thought. Main currents of political thought in their historical settings from Plato to the 17th century, with a critical evaluation of those elements of continuing worth.
3361. Modern Political Thought. Main currents of political thought in their historical setting from the 17th century to the present.
3362. Twentieth-Century Political Thought. Analysis of the political implications of selected responses to the problems of modern mass society.
3363. American Political Thought. A historical and analytical survey of the thinkers, actors and main currents of American political thought from the founding of the first European colonies to the present day.
3365. Communism and Post-Communism. Theoretical foundations of communism and its variant forms in practice, explanations for the collapse of Eastern European communist systems, and possible futures of communism.
3370. Women and Politics. An analysis and critique of women’s role in politics, theories on women’s status and power, political activities, ideologies, and programs of feminists, past and present.
4360. Special Studies in Political Theory.
4361. Political Regimes: Understandings of Rome. Focuses on the various understandings of “Rome” as developed in the writings of Plutarch, St. Augustine and Machiavelli. Addresses three fundamentally different conceptions of the regime – beginning with the Roman Empire, considering the effects of the Christian Order, and addressing the new modes and orders introduced by Machiavelli.
4362. Medieval Political Philosophy. Introduces students to the tradition of political philosophy represented by various thinkers of the medieval period. Through an analysis of Islamic, Jewish and Christian authors, students attempt to come to an understanding of the fundamental issues at stake in their works. The course also examines closely the alternative solutions proposed for solving what has been termed the “theological-political problem.”
4363. Religion and Politics. Analysis of the relationship between religious faith and civil government in the Western tradition. Focuses on thinkers and controversies from the late Roman empire to the contemporary United States.
4368. Seminar: Political Theory and Philosophy. An overview of the central questions in the study of political theory and philosophy.
4369. Republicanism and the Good Society. Our understanding of liberal democracies owes a great deal to republican thought. This course seeks to examine the intellectual history of republicanism, its uneasy alliance with liberalism, and its various contemporary manifestations – particularly in the United States and Canada.
4371. Jurisprudence. An introduction to alternative ways of viewing the sources, functions and uses of law. Attention is given to various understandings of concepts of justice and rights.
4376. Research Design and Data Analysis in Political Science. Focuses on the “art” and “science” of designing and conducting empirical research in political science. The topics covered include research design, measurement, data analysis and hypothesis testing.
1380. Introduction to International Relations. A basic survey of the elements of international relations, including the nation-state system, international organizations, international law, diplomacy, foreign policy and various nonstate actors such as multinational corporations.
3351. Russia Under Putin. A study of contemporary Russia. The goal is to prepare a multi-faceted assessment of the superpower that is and was Russia. How will it develop, politically, economically and militarily? The course is part of the SMU-in-Copenhagen program.
3381 (CFA 3381). Current Issues in International Politics. An interdisciplinary survey of contemporary issues and challenges in the international arena. The student will research and propose solutions taking into account the multi-dimensional aspects of these international challenges.
3382. International Organizations: Global and Regional. A study of the United Nations and other international agencies in their attempts to deal with the great international political problems of our times.
3383. The American Foreign Policy Process. A survey of the contemporary content and the conduct of American foreign policy.
3387 (CF 3303). Political Geography. An examination of topics in international political rivalries within the nation-state system. Major emphasis will be given to the adaptations within that system since 1850 for spatial distributions of physical terrain, populations, economic resources and activities, and political and social divisions.
3389 (CF 3389). International Political Economy. Introduces students to the study of international political economy. The expansion of trade and foreign direct investment, and the increase in international migration, are indicators of a new interdependence and globalization. How do nation-states respond to globalization and manage international economic relations?
3390. Negotiating International Trade. Examines the means by which countries negotiate international trade. In part, the course is theoretical, examining standard theories of trade. In part it is empirical, with hemispheric trade as the substantive focus. Finally, in part the course is practical. Students are engaged in a computer-based simulation exercise with students from other universities.
4380. Special Studies in International Relations.
4381. National Security Policy. The historical background and development of national security policy in the United States. Emphasizes war powers and defense policy: the constitutional framework, precedents, and presidential-congressional authority; and Cold War and post-Cold War national security strategies and defense policy issues.
4382. The Politics of Military Force. An examination of uses of U.S. military force as a political instrument and an attempt to judge its effectiveness as a tool of American foreign policy since the end of the Second World War.
4384. American-Russian Relationship: Soviet and Russian Foreign Policy. Surveys American-Russian relations since 1945. Examines the relationship during the Cold War, with emphasis on how and why the Cold War began and then investigates the reasons for the end of the Cold War. Explores the nature of the relationship in the post-Cold War era, with emphasis on common interests and issues that divide the two nations. Incorporates a negotiation simulation exercise between American and Russian negotiating teams.
4385. Inter-American Relations. A survey of the diplomatic and commercial relations between the United States and the republics of the Western hemisphere with particular attention to involvement in the Caribbean area.
4386. Issues of U.S.-East Asia Relations. Analysis of politics of trade imbalance, regional collective security, technology transfer and other problems of bilateral and multilateral relations between the United States and East Asian countries.
4388. Seminar: International Government
and Politics. An overview of the central questions in the study of international
government and politics.
4391. NAFTA and Free Trade in the Americas. Exploration of the domestic politics of the three NAFTA countries leading to the North American Free Trade Agreement, the effects of the agreement, and possibilities for expanding free trade in the Americas.
4398. Nuclear Weapons and World Politics. Focuses on the nuclear rivalry between the U.S. and the USSR, and on how this rivalry has transformed the nature and conduct of world politics. Emphasis is placed on theoretical and analytical perspectives, including deterrence theory, bargaining and game theory. Attention is also given to the implications stemming from both the vertical and horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Opportunities for independent study and research are available to majors in political science. Students must have departmental approval prior to registering for these courses. Prerequisites are stated for each independent study course below. Such courses may not be counted toward departmental distribution requirements, and no more than two such courses may be counted toward overall major or minor requirements.
4102, 4202, 4302. Directed Readings. Students develop and execute independent reading or research projects under the guidance of a departmental faculty member, culminating in a written report. Prerequisites: Written approval of the instructor and the department chair or a designate, at least sophomore standing, and appropriate introductory and advanced course preparation.
4301, 4401, 4402, 4403, 4404. Washington Term. Intensive study of national political institutions. Includes a four-hour research project (4401), a four-hour internship (4402), and an eight-hour seminar (4403 and 4404). Prerequisites: Two courses in political science, at least one at the upper level, that are relevant to the selected program. Available for Political Science, Public Policy or International Studies majors or minors.
4304. Departmental Seminar: Scope and Methods of Political Science. An overview of the enterprise of political science. It canvasses the areas of interest to the discipline, the questions political scientists pursue, and the ways scholars have addressed these questions.
4306. Internship in Political Science. Undergraduate students who arrange for part- or full-time jobs in government, political parties, interest groups or other organizations relate these experiences to their academic curriculum through research and writing, under the guidance of a departmental faculty member. Prerequisites: Written approval of the instructor and the department chair or a designate, at least sophomore standing, and appropriate introductory and advanced preparation.
4307. Departmental Distinction Thesis. Candidates for departmental distinction write a thesis under the direction of a departmental faculty member, culminating in an oral examination over the field of the thesis. Prerequisite: Admission to departmental honors candidacy.
4343. Nationalities and Minorities in Europe. A study of minority issues in Europe. The Balkans, the Baltics, the Basques: what is the fighting for? In modern Europe, minority issues are constantly debated and acted upon, both by majorities and minorities. The course is part of the SMU-in-Copenhagen program.
4363. Religion and Politics in the Western Tradition (CFA 3363). Analysis of the relationship between religious faith and civil government in the Western tradition. Focuses on thinkers and controversies from the late Roman empire to the contemporary United States.
5341. European Politics: The European Union. Europe is in a period of transformation, emerging as a major player on the world scene, while internally developing a novel balance between unification of countries and the rise of local identities. What are the forces that shape the new Europe? How does European policy materialize and who makes the decisions? The course is part of the SMU-in-Copenhagen program.
5383. Seminar on Regional Conflicts. A study of the problems of European security, with a particular emphasis on the issues confronting populations and policy makers after the Cold War, on the search for a new European security order, and on the emergence of new threats to security. The course is part of the SMU-in-Copenhagen program.