Undergrad Catalog 2010

Course Descriptions

Political Science Courses (PSC)

PSC 1100. Special Topics in General Education: Political Science (3). These courses are designed to provide special topic classes in political science approved for the general education program. Students may take no more than one course from this prefix to meet social science general education requirements.

PSC 1210. American Government (3). An introductory course covering the federal government in the United States. This course may not count toward a major or minor in Political Science or Political Economy.

PSC 1300. The United States and World Affairs (3). A course which examines current international political, economic and cultural issues and their implications for American foreign policy. This course may not count toward a major or minor in Political Science or Political Economy.

PSC 1990-4990. Independent Studies (1-3). Courses designed with a professor for independent study purposes.

PSC 1895-4895. Special Topics (1-3). Special Topics or pilot courses.

PSC 2010. Capital Experience (3-9). Co-requisites: Permission of the Capital Internship liaison and enrollment in a capital internship in the student's major or minor. Students who have been admitted to an approved internship program will complete a full-term internship in an office or agency located in Washington, D.C. or Nashville. Open to all students. Credit earned will be counted as general elective credit only. (Students participating in the Washington Center Program pay an alternate tuition during their semester in the capital equal to the Center's program fees plus additional Belmont University course fees. Students are fully responsible for all housing costs during the semester.)
Gen. Ed. Designation: EL (I – Internships, Clinicals, Practica).

PSC 2200. American Political Institutions (3). Prerequisite: PSC 1210 or permission of the instructor. The focus of this course is on Congress and the Presidency, the political branches of American government, and the bureaucracy. As an introduction to the sub-field of American politics, the course will study these institutions in greater depth through looking at the approaches the discipline takes toward them. In studying these three institutions in greater detail, it will also investigate how they interact to create public policy.

PSC 2300. International Relations (3). A survey of the sub-field of international relations, this course gives special emphasis to political and economic factors which contribute to conflict and cooperation among nations.
Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

PSC 2400. Comparative Politics (3). Prerequisite: PSC 1210. This course examines political, economic and social divergence between nations. As one field of political science, comparative politics attempts to identify patterns of divergence and to determine their causes. A particular focus of this course is how differences in institutional arrangements across countries affect differences in outcomes.
Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

PSC 2500. Political Theory (3). An introduction to the foundations of normative political theory, with emphasis on great political ideas and thinkers.

PSC 2600. The Discipline of Political Science (4). This course is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the various sub-fields, approaches, and methods of Political Science. Special emphasis is placed on honing the research, writing, and critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in the discipline.

PSC 2700. Political Economy (3). This course studies incentive structures relating to the allocation of resources, both through state and through markets.  This includes not only the incentives for participants in those institutions, but also the incentives which they produce for those interacting with those institutions.  In the case of the state, for example, this ranges from the behavior of candidates and office holders in creating policy to the behavior which policies induce in individuals subject to them.

PSC 2950-4950. Studies Abroad (3-18). Study in a foreign country. Individual course titles and locations are assigned for each course taken. See Studies Abroad program for details.

PSC 3010. Internship (1-3). Prerequisite: Approval of departmental internship director. Practical training and experience in government and/or private agencies that provide an environment for substantial growth in the understanding of political science / political economy. Students shall be expected to work four to five hours per week per semester credit hour. A maximum of three hours of this internship may apply toward the major or minor.

PSC 3015. Junior Cornerstone Seminar (3). The junior cornerstone experience. 

PSC 3210. State and Local Politics (3).  Government in the United States is a complex interaction between federal, state, and local levels.  This course focuses on the state and local levels, their ability to set policy or influence federal policy, as well as the opportunities and means for citizens to influence the policymaking process through them.

PSC 3230. American Democracy and Popular Film (3). An examination of American political culture and ideas through the medium of popular film, focusing upon the period from the New Deal to the Vietnam War. Course offered Pass/Fail only.

PSC 3240. Politics and Mass Media (3). Prerequisite: PSC 1210 or permission of the instructor. This course examines the relationship between politics and media, both traditional and emerging, using the nature of a mediated political event as a tool to investigate how each sphere shapes the other.

PSC 3250. Southern Politics (3). Prerequisite: PSC 1210 or permission of the instructor. This course examines the particular character of politics in the southern United States since the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case. This includes such themes as civil rights, leadership, revolution, power, institutions, and elections, as well as the evolution of these themes over time.

PSC 3260. Presidential Nominations (3). This class will explore the dynamics of modern presidential primaries through a chronological overview of the nomination season. Special attention is given to the political maneuvering of the exhibition season, the psychology of campaigning in a primary context, and the ability of mass media outlets to frame political events.

PSC 3270. Electoral Politics (3). Prerequisite: PSC 1210 or permission of the instructor. This course investigates the institutions and phenomena which influence the choices of those running for public office, especially at the federal level. During presidential election years, the course will focus more exclusively on presidential campaigns.

PSC 3280. American Constitutional Law I (3). Prerequisite: PSC 1210 or permission of the instructor. This course is an introduction to legal reasoning and the development of rules through Supreme Court precedent. It focuses on Supreme Court interpretation of constitutional provisions which establish the relationship between government institutions and thus indirectly protect individual rights.

PSC 3290. American Constitutional Law II (3). Prerequisite: PSC 3280 or permission of the instructor. This course is an introduction to legal reasoning and the development of rules through Supreme Court precedent. It focuses on Supreme Court interpretation of constitutional provisions which directly protect individual rights, with some discussion of indirect protection through institutions.

PSC 3320. Global Conflict and Violence (3). Drawing from the expansive literatures in comparative politics, international relations, and political theory, this course explores the nature of historical and contemporary conflicts and how violence is used both by states and non-state actors to achieve political objectives.

PSC 3340. National Security Policy and Process (3). Prerequisite: PSC 2300 or instructor's permission. Examines the evolution of security policy and the primary institutions involved in decision-making related to issues of foreign policy and defense.

PSC 3410. Politics of Africa (3). This course focuses on the development of modern political and economic institutions in contemporary African states. The course centers on the issues of political development and democratization, considering the impacts which the legacies of slavery and colonialism, cultural diversity, and the integration of Africa into the modern world economy have produced for the evolution of the modern African state.

PSC 3420. Politics of Latin America (3). This course focuses on the issues of political development and democratization in Central and South American states, and the role of domestic and international institutions in those processes.

PSC 3430. Politics of Asia (3). This course examines political, economic, and cultural factors shaping governmental institutions and processes in the nations of modern Asia, with heaviest emphasis given to th emergence of China.

PSC 3450. Politics of Europe (3). This course focuses on the process of regional integration in Europe. It covers theoretical explanations of integration as well as the institutions of the European Union and the policies they produce.
Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

PSC 3480. Politics of the Middle East (3). This course examines the political, economic and cultural factors that contribute to conflict in the Middle East region. Special attention is given to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the relationship between religion and politics, competition for leadership in the Muslim world, and the role which the United States plays in managing the dynamics of Middle Eastern politics.

PSC 3510. Foundations of Democracy (3). This course examines one of the prerequisites for democracy, a civil society and institutions which support it. It focuses first on the theories which describe the role of civil society and its underpinnings, then on the application of these theories to current society.
Gen. Ed. Designation: EL (Experiential Learning).

PSC 3550. Modern Ideologies (3). This course is designed to introduce students to modern ideologies from a generally American perspective. Areas of study may include, among other topics, Classical and Modern Liberalism, Conservatism, Fascism, Libertarianism, Marxism, Socialism, and Feminism.

PSC 3610. Game Theory and Public Choice (3). This course presents an introduction to formal methodology of game theory and rational choice, including their use to analyze policy in the public choice approach. These methodologies are deductive, developing and applying abstract models to understand human action.

PSC 3710. International Political Economy (3). This course examines how two different forms of organizing human activity, states and markets, interact on a global scale.  Thus it focuses not only on international trade and the forces that drive it, but also the policies and institutions that attempt to control it; not only on the policies that attempt to control international trade, but on the forces that drive those policies.  Prior instruction in economics is not necessary but would be helpful.

PSC 3720. Environmental Political Economy (3). Prerequisite: PSC 1210 or permission of instructor. This course applies the tools of political economy, beginning with the rational actor model, to understand environmental problems and evaluate public policy responses to them.

PSC 4010. Capital Internship in Political Science (6). Co requisite: Permission of the Capital Internship liaison and enrollment in PSC 2010. Students who have been admitted to an approved internship program will complete a full-term internship in a government office or agency. Credit earned will be counted toward a political science major or minor. (Students participating in the Washington Center Program pay an alternate tuition during their semester in the capital equal to the Center's program fees plus additional Belmont University course fees. Students are fully responsible for all housing costs during the semester.)
Gen. Ed. Designation: EL (I – Internships, Clinicals, Practica).

PSC 4240. American Public Policy (3). Prerequisite: PSC 1210. An examination of the American policy process and environment, with additional emphasis on the broader theoretical issues that arise in the unique American political setting.

PSC 4290. Nature and Function of Law (3). Prerequisite: PSC 3280 or 3290, or instructors permission. This seminar investigates the purpose of legal systems in order to understand why they look the way they do and how they work, with particular focus on the common law system in the U.S.

PSC 4320. International Law (3). Prerequisite: PSC 2300 or instructor's consent. A survey of public international law, this course focuses the nature of international law, its origin and capabilities, and the actors involved. It then pursues these larger issues through specific topics in international law, such as laws of war, sea, or environment.

PSC 4490. Comparative Legal Systems (3). Prerequisite: PSC 3280 or 3290, or instructors permission. This seminar applies the tools of political and legal theory to understand other legal systems and their judicial decisions. This understanding should in turn increase our knowledge of our own system by comparison.

PSC 4600. Research Seminar in Political Science (3). Prerequisites: PSC 1210, 2300, and 2600 or permission of the instructor. (Taught each spring semester). A culminating research seminar designed for majors in their last year of matriculation. Students will examine the many sub-fields in the discipline and complete and present a major independent research thesis. Normally taken in concert with PSC 4980. Open to non-majors with instructor's permission.
Gen. Ed. Designation: EL (R – Undergraduate Research).