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Logo The content below is information specific to this academic department's fields of interest.

Course Descriptions

Course descriptions for all departments and programs can be accessed
on the Muskingum University Registrar's site.


Course Offerings:

111. American Political Systems (3)

introduces students to the institutions, processes, and values that constitute the American Political system. In dealing with such topics as First Amendment Rights, Congress, the Presidency, Parties and Interest Groups, Bureaucracy, and Public Policy, some time is spent in examining select aspects of the social and political background to American politics.

121. Introduction to Public Administration and Policy (3)

examines the broad environment in which public policies are formulated and implemented. The structure of the American bureaucracy, administrative processes, organizational theory, the people in government organizations, and the implementation of government decisions are explored.

131. Introduction to Comparative Politics (3)

introduces students to foundational concepts and dynamics in the field of comparative politics. The course discusses patterns of political behavior, the essential elements of a political system, and the various ways in which states reconcile freedom, order, and equality. Numerous political systems will be studied in comparative context, with special attention to democracies and democratization.

251. Introduction to International Relations (3)

introduces students to foundational concepts and dynamics in the field of international relations. Topics focus on the nature
of interaction between political entities on the world stage, including states, IGOs, NGOs, and other entities. Topics to be covered include globalization and its consequences the nature of East-West and North-South relations, the international economic system, the causes and consequences of war, and the international paths to peace.

310. US National Security (3)

examines the nature of national and homeland security in the United States, including actors, institutions, and the impact of national security structures and behavior on the US and the world. Areas of concentration include the history of national security issues and concerns, changes in the post-9/11 workd, homeland security issues, intergovernmental coordination and conflict, domestic and global implications of US policy, and both current and future challenges to US national security.


311. Congressional Politics (3)

provides an understanding of the organizational structure, membership, and various activities of the United States Congress, including how members are elected, the overall legislative process, and the impact of such internal factors as political parties and the committee system. Also examined are Congress' interactions with such external actors as the president, the public, and interest groups, and its role in various aspects of policy and politics.

312. Constitutional Law I: Governmental Powers (3)

focuses on the activity of the Supreme Court in interpreting the meaning of the Constitution through case law specific to the areas of governmental powers. After examining the powers and activites of the Court, specific areas of law will be examined. These include: powers and limitations of each branch, separation of powers, checks and balances, issues of federalism, taxing and spending powers, and economic powers.

313. Judicial Politics (3)

focuses on the organization, behavior, and impact of the judicial system on American politics, policy, and culture. Attention is given to how judges are selected, the roles of state and federal court systems, civil and criminal court procedures, the powers of appellate courts, the impact of the courts on policy and political discourse, and outside influences on the courts, current issues of concern, and considerations of reform. See listing under Criminal Justice 313.

315. The Presidency (3)

examines the role of the presidency in the American political system, including the electoral process, the power of the presidency, White House/executive branch organization and interaction, and the president's overall place in American society. Also examined are the president's external relations with such actors as Congress, the courts, and the American public, as well as an exploration of policy areas in which the president is involved.

316. Urban Politics (3)

focuses on the political and policy choices and constraints faced by America's cities. A theoretical base is established then utilized to assess cities in terms of the political, economic, and social issues they are confronting. The role of the private sector in the development of U.S. cities is stressed, as is the impact of the politics of race and ethnicity.

317. Constitutional Law II: Civil Rights and Liberties (3)

focuses on the activity of the Supreme Court in interpreting the meaning of the Constitution through case law specific to the areas of civil rights and liberties. After examining the powers and activities of the Court, specific areas of law will be examined. These include: civil liberties (religion, speech, privacy, etc.), rights of the accused (search and seizure, due process, fair trial, etc.), and civil rights (equal protection, discrimination, etc.)

318. Criminal Law (3)

provides an overview of the basic concepts of crime definitions, criminal liability, elements of a crime, case precedents and the rights afforded to individuals under the law. Prerequisite: 101. See listings under Criminal Justice 318. Offered in alternative years.

319. Political Parties and Elections (3)

examines political parties found in democratic nations including multiparty systems with an emphasis on the case in the United States, and the meaning of parties for governing, political participation, and citizenship. Different election processes, election law, political finance, and the effects on outcomes are also studied.

321. Public Administration (3)

studies the structures and processes for formulating and implementing public policies. Emphasis is given to the role of the national-level bureaucracy. State and local managerial and administrative concerns are addressed broadly and through specific illustrative examples.

322. Public Policy (3)

establishes a framework for the policy cycle and applies it to selected policy concerns. The nature of public policy, making public policy, substantive policy issues, and policy analysis are explored.

323. Administrative Law (3)

provides an understanding of the legal concepts that define what has been called “the bureaucratic state.” Students will examine the law governing the creation of, powers of, and limitations upon administrative agencies of all sorts.

325. Public Personnel Administration (3)

examines the environment of public employment. Differences between the public and private sector, the historical growth of the personnel system in the public sector, and topics in administration, staffing, and productivity are explored. Public sector processes for recruitment, selection, development, motivation, evaluation, compensation, and discipline are given particular attention. See listings under CRMJ 325.

326. Regional Planning (3)

introduces students to planning at the city level and offers a unique opportunity to directly apply what has been learned in the classroom. Students are exposed to the major ideas behind both regional planning, including land use planning, MPDUs and regional coalitions. Must be taken the same semester as 381: Community Planning Workshop.

331. Politics of Western Europe (3)

studies such states as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and others in depth, with comparisons being drawn among them. The emphasis is on the distribution of power and the organization for governing in parliamentary, presidential, and related democracies.

334. Ethnic Conflict and Nationalism (3)

develops an understanding of nationalism and its effects in the world through reading and discussion of both theoretical explanations of nationalism and real-world case studies. The course includes studies of nationalist movements, such as in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa.

336. Post-Soviet Politics (3)

introduces students to issues in the Post-Soviet world of democratization, nation-building, and building capitalism from the ground up.  Using Russia as the main case, the course recaps Russian and Soviet history before discussing some of the problems that country faces, including territorial disintegration and the prospect of future ethnic conflicts in the North   Caucasus.                                                                                                                                                                    

337. Comparative Politics and Literature (3)

uses influential works of literature from around the world to introduce important political issues and processes. The course utilizes a comparative analysis of literature as an ethnographic technique to understand the experiences of political actors and social movements, including groups who are subject to racial, class, gender, and sexual discrimination.                                                                                                                                                             

341. Theory & Methods in Political Science (3)

surveys the development and bases of Political Science as a scientific academic discipline. An analysis of empirical theory and methodology as applied to the study of political behavior is undertaken. Students develop and practice skills in understanding and using qualitative and quantitative methodologies to describe, explain, and predict political phenomena.

342. Ethical Issues in Politics (3)

examines the ethical aspects to some of the difficult political issues facing the United States and the world community, including such topics as the influence of money on political systems, the role of ethics in addressing domestic social welfare issues, the moral aspects of humanitarian and economic development issues, and ethical concerns relating to issues of war and peace.

343. Social and Political Philosophy (3)

considers theories of the nature and legitimacy of the state and its laws. Also deals with topics such as the rights and responsibilities of citizens, ethics in political decision-making, economic justice, punishment, race and gender oppression, political and cultural identity, and the value and meaning of democracy. See listings under Philosophy 343 and Sociology 335.

352. American Foreign Policy (3)

examines the actors, institutions, and the impact of foreign policy structures and behavior on the US and the world. Issue areas given significant attention include the history of AFP, issues of consensus and conflict, pre- and post-9/11 dynamics, inside and outside actors/influences, the impact of politics on policy, national and homeland security issues relating to foreign relations, and both current and future challenges of American foreign policy.

356. War, Peace, and Security (3)

looks at the causes and conduct of conflict, and ways to end wars and promote lasting, non-threatening peace.

372. Politics in Film (3)

uses popular films to introduce important political issues and processes to a broad set of students. Movies are complemented with readings that center discussion on the political issues that emerge from the films.

380. Topics: Off-Campus Study (3)

provides students with an off-campus structured, faculty-led learning experience in the U.S. or abroad. Instructor permission required.

381. Community Planning Workshop (3)

provides students a hands-on opportunity to complete a project for a city or town. Students work as a group overseen by faculty completing a project in urban or regional planning, community development, and/or downtown redevelopment.

387. Internship in Political Science (1-3)

involves a supervised work-study experience in a political structure or environment outside the university. Supervised jointly from within the respective political entity and the Department, the internship may take place in a private organization or business if it deals directly with the organization's involvement with political or governmental affairs.

470. Topics in Political Science (3)

provide students with a semester-long study of a topic of interest under the direction of a departmental faculty member. Topical offerings provide an opportunity for intensive study in a field of interest to the student.

481. Student/Faculty Collaborative Research in Political Science (3)

Students work one-to-one with a faculty member on a professional project. The final project/paper will list both the faculty member and the student as coauthors. Students are expected to present their findings with the faculty member at a professional conference. Instructor permission required.

491. Senior Seminar in Political Science (3)

involves an intensive research project reflecting the student's interest in a political topic and skills learned in studying political science. Each student works individually with a professor in completing the capstone project and also meets regularly within a group of all Political Science Senior Seminar students.