Political Science

The study of governments and human beings as decision makers is at once an ancient discipline and one of the most recently developed social sciences. Political inquiry reaches back to the recorded beginnings of human society, for individuals have always been curious about the nature of governments, the bases of authority and personality of leaders, the obligations of followers, and consequences of public policies. ­Although interest persists in these matters, inquiry has broadened to include scientific observations about politics which utilize relatively new techniques of analysis that are common to many of the social sciences. The newer emphasis is upon systematic procedures of investigation, rigorous standards of proof, comparative analysis and interdisciplinary studies.

Both of these approaches—the traditional and the behavioral—are offered in the undergraduate and graduate levels of study. The curriculum provides background in the theory and practice of politics and techniques of methodological inquiry for the student with general interests. It offers training of a general and specific nature that is useful for persons planning to seek careers in education, the legal profession, state and local government, urban and regional planning, the federal bureaucracy and ­journalism, or in any of the proliferating quasi-public organizations which seek to monitor the political processes or to influence the content of public policy.

The Department of Political Science offers programs leading to Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Public Administration, and Doctor of Arts degrees. Within the framework of the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science ­programs, students may pursue a major in political science or they may choose an emphasis in pre-law. There is no required or specified curriculum which students who emphasize pre-law are expected to follow. An advisory committee has been created to assist such students in developing a curriculum that reflects their individual needs.

Outcome objectives are related to both student and program development. Student-related outcome objectives are listed below:

  1. To gain a well-rounded knowledge of the basic fields of the discipline.
  2. To develop an understanding of how political scientists think, gather evidence, process data, and reach tentative conclusions.
  3. To think critically about political phenomena and thought.
  4. To develop effective oral and written communication skills.
  5. To engage in problem solving.
  6. To be exposed to a rich variety of perspectives and ideas.
  7. To prepare for a career or profession after graduation that is related to the political science major. This includes graduate school.


Admission Requirements

  1. Completion of a minimum of 24 credit hours with at least a 2.25 GPA.
  2. Satisfactory completion of General Education Objectives 1 (English Composition), 2 (Principles of Speech), and 3 (Mathematics).
  3. Completion of both POLS 1101, Introduction to American Government, and POLS 2202, Introduction to Politics, (or their equivalents) with at least a C grade in each.
  4. A signed agreement between the student and a member of the faculty agreeing to academic advising.

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Political Science

Requirements for the B.A. and B.S. Degrees:

In addition to 8 of the 9 General Education Objectives (a minimum of 36 credits--see the General Education Requirements in the Academic Information section of this catalog), political science majors are required to take the following courses from the “core curriculum”:

POLS 1101Intro to American Government (partially satisfies General Education Objective 6)3
POLS 2202Introduction to Politics3
POLS 2221International Relations3
POLS 3313Intro to Political Philosophy3
POLS 3331Comparative Politics3
POLS 4401Pol Parties Interest Groups3
or POLS 4427 Voting and Public Opinion
POLS 4403The Presidency3
or POLS 4404 The Legislative Process
POLS 4442Constitutional Law3
or POLS 4443 Constitutional Law
POLS 4460Senior Seminar3

In addition to the 27 credits from the core curriculum, majors are required to earn a minimum of 12 elective credits selected from any of the courses in the political science curriculum (excluding POLS 4459).

Emphasis in Pre-law

Students who desire to complete this emphasis should consult with a pre-law advisor in the Department of Political Science.

Minor in Political Science

Students seeking a minor in political science must complete the following: POLS 1101, POLS 2202, six credits of core curriculum courses (excluding POLS 4460) and six elective political science credits (excluding POLS 4459).

Political Science Courses

Topics into which courses are grouped:

American Indian Studies
American Politics
Comparative Government
General Courses 
International Politics
Introductory Courses 
Political Analysis 
Political Theory 
Public Administration
Public Law

Courses in numerical order, showing title and the topic group where course description appears:

POLS 1101Intro to American Government (Introductory Courses)3
POLS 2202Introduction to Politics (Introductory Courses)3
POLS 2221International Relations (International Politics)3
POLS 2248Politics and Justice (Public Law)3
POLS 2249Introduction to Criminal Law (Public Law)3
POLS 2250Idaho Politics (American Politics)3
POLS 3308State and Local Government (American Politics)3
POLS 3313Intro to Political Philosophy (Political Theory)3
POLS 3326Recent American Foreign Policy (International Politics)3
POLS 3331Comparative Politics (Comparative Government)3
POLS 3350Special Topics Political Sci (General Courses)3
POLS 4401Pol Parties Interest Groups (American Politics)3
POLS 4403The Presidency (American Politics)3
POLS 4404The Legislative Process (American Politics)3
POLS 4405The Administrative Process (American Politics)3
POLS 4406Intergovernmental Relations (American Politics)3
POLS 4408Metropolitan and Urban Studies (American Politics)3
POLS 4409Community Regional Planning (American Politics)3
POLS 4411American Political Theory (Political Theory)3
POLS 4412Modern Political Analysis (Political Analysis)3
POLS 4418Topics in Political Theory (Political Theory)3
POLS 4419
  & 4419L
Political Research Methods
   and Political Research Methods Lab (Political Analysis)
POLS 4420Contemporary Political Theory (Political Theory)3
POLS 4421Democratic Political Thoughts (Political Theory)3
POLS 4425Topics International Politics (International Politics)3
POLS 4427Voting and Public Opinion (American Politics)3
POLS 4432Comparative Politics (Comparative Government)3
POLS 4433Politics of Developing Nations (Comnparitive Government)3
POLS 4434Terrorism Political Violence (International Politics)3
POLS 4435National and Regional Studies (Comparative Government)3
POLS 4436Elite Deviance and Crime (American Politics)3
POLS 4441Administrative Law (Public Administration)3
POLS 4442Constitutional Law (Public Law)3
POLS 4443Constitutional Law (Public Law)3
POLS 4445Jurisprudence (Public Law)3
POLS 4450Special Topics in Law (Public Law)3
POLS 4451Org Theory Bureaucratic Struc (Public Administration)3
POLS 4452Fin Admin and Budgeting (Public Administration)3
POLS 4453Public Policy Analysis (American Politics)3
POLS 4454Public Personnel Admin (Public Administration)3
POLS 4455Environ Politics and Policy (American Politics)3
POLS 4456Labor Organization (Public Administration)3
POLS 4457Grantwriting (Public Administration)3
POLS 4458Public Administration Ethics (Public Administration)3
POLS 4459Government Internship (General Courses)1-9
POLS 4460Senior Seminar (General Courses)3
POLS 4465US Political History (American Politics)3
POLS 4466Public Lands Policy (American Politics)3
POLS 4467State and Local Administration (Public Administration)3
POLS 4471Historical Geography of Idaho (General Courses)3
POLS 4478Federal Indian Law (American Indian Studies)3
POLS 4479Tribal Governments (American Indian Studies)3
POLS 4491Seminar (General Courses)1-3
POLS 4492Seminar (General Courses)1-3

How to Read Course Descriptions


POLS 1101 Intro to American Government: 3 semester hours.

Constitutional basis, structure, and administrative organization of the national government. Partially satisfies Objective 6 of the General Education Requirements. F, S, Su

POLS 2202 Introduction to Politics: 3 semester hours.

Introduction to critical thinking about politics. Students learn to comprehend and critically analyze discourse and writings on political and social issues, to identify errors in the logical or presentation of facts in political discourse, to be able to demonstrate independent political judgment by formulating logically valid and factually sound arguments. Required for all students majoring in political science. Satisfies Objective 7 of the General Education Requirements. F, S, Su

POLS 2221 International Relations: 3 semester hours.

Conceptual introduction to international relations, with emphasis on sovereignty, national interest, power, and balance of power. F, S

POLS 2248 Politics and Justice: 3 semester hours.

The criminal justice system in the United States will be examined by investigating its component parts: police, court, and correction. In addition, the problem of coordination among these agencies will be explored as will the relationship of the criminal justice network to the larger society. D

POLS 2249 Introduction to Criminal Law: 3 semester hours.

The major categories of criminal liability are studied within the context of American criminal justice. These include crimes against individuals, property, and society. Defenses available to those accused of criminal activity are also discussed. D

POLS 2250 Idaho Politics: 3 semester hours.

Historical development and political analysis of Idaho politics from the first settlers to the present. D

POLS 3308 State and Local Government: 3 semester hours.

Study of the institutions of state and local government in a behavioral context. D

POLS 3313 Intro to Political Philosophy: 3 semester hours.

Examination of selected writings in political philosophy from the classical, Christian and early modern eras. F, S

POLS 3326 Recent American Foreign Policy: 3 semester hours.

Study of recent American foreign policy focused on the interrelationship of domestic and foreign policies and the problems of formulating foreign policy in a democratic state. D

POLS 3331 Comparative Politics: 3 semester hours.

Introduction to various theoretical approaches to comparative analyses of different cultures and nations, and to other courses in this area of emphasis. F, S, Su

POLS 3350 Special Topics Political Sci: 3 semester hours.

Examine and analyze selected topics in politics. May be repeated for up to 6 credits. D

POLS 4401 Pol Parties Interest Groups: 3 semester hours.

The nature and development of political parties and pressure groups as exemplified in the United States. S, Su

POLS 4403 The Presidency: 3 semester hours.

Evolution and development of the office of the President; its major responsibilities in domestic and foreign affairs, with emphasis on particular power problems that confront the President. F, Su

POLS 4404 The Legislative Process: 3 semester hours.

Nature and functions of the U.S. Congress. Topics covered: legislative campaigns, the politics of lawmaking, congressional investigations, and major problems facing the Congress. S, Su

POLS 4405 The Administrative Process: 3 semester hours.

Analysis of the principles of public administration with an introduction to theories of organization and administration. D

POLS 4406 Intergovernmental Relations: 3 semester hours.

Analysis of patterns of intergovernmental relations including changing patterns of program and fiscal responsibility in the federal system. The emerging role of new federal structures, state and substate regional organizations will be reviewed in the context of "new" federalism and its implications for intergovernmental relationships. D

POLS 4408 Metropolitan and Urban Studies: 3 semester hours.

Analysis of metropolitan and smaller urban systems with emphasis on relationships among general groups, political organizations and institutions. Federal, state and interlocal programs will serve as a focus for analyzing particular problems of metropolitan and urban systems in the 20th century. D

POLS 4409 Community Regional Planning: 3 semester hours.

Steps involved in planning will be analyzed in the context of community and regional decision-making processes. Two perspectives will be stressed -- that of the decision-maker, the social structure within which the decision-maker operates and strategies for implementing decision; and that of the citizen or group interest which lies outside the power structure of the community. Each perspective will be used as a framework for analyzing power configurations, techniques of identifying patterns of decision making, and various forms of citizen participation. D

POLS 4411 American Political Theory: 3 semester hours.

Political ideas in the United States from Colonial and Revolutionary times through the controversies of the Civil War to the present. D

POLS 4412 Modern Political Analysis: 3 semester hours.

Methods of political inquiry and theories and doctrines of politics, with emphasis on modern developments. D

POLS 4418 Topics in Political Theory: 3 semester hours.

This course requires examination, analysis and investigation of selected texts and topics in political philosophy. May be repeated for up to 6 credits. D

POLS 4419 Political Research Methods: 3 semester hours.

This class investigates the theory and application of various research methods and statistical techniques common to the social sciences, with particular reference to their use in political inquiry. COREQ: POLS 4419L. D

POLS 4419L Political Research Methods Lab: 1 semester hour.

Application of, and practice in research methods. COREQ: POLS 4419. D

POLS 4420 Contemporary Political Theory: 3 semester hours.

Recent 20th century political philosophies and theories ranging from democratic, Marxist, and existentialist thought to Critical Theory and post-modernism. D

POLS 4421 Democratic Political Thoughts: 3 semester hours.

Historical and contemporary models of democracy as well as contemporary debates in democratic thought. Democracy is treated as a contested idea. D

POLS 4425 Topics International Politics: 3 semester hours.

This course requires examination, analysis and evaluation of selected topics in international politics. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits. D

POLS 4427 Voting and Public Opinion: 3 semester hours.

Analysis of the way citizens and government communicate with each other. Elections, public opinion, and media influence are studied. F

POLS 4432 Comparative Politics: 3 semester hours.

An examination of political change, political order, political culture and the role of revolutionary violence. Change and order in the context of globalization is emphasized. D

POLS 4433 Politics of Developing Nations: 3 semester hours.

Study of problems in the political analysis of rapidly changing and unstable "developing" nation states with an emphasis on problems of the political, economic, and social development of selected states. D

POLS 4434 Terrorism Political Violence: 3 semester hours.

A survey of forms of domestic and transnational terrorism, other forms of political violence, and problems of counter-terrorism. D

POLS 4435 National and Regional Studies: 3 semester hours.

Surveys the political, economic, and social issues of a nation or region. May be repeated for up to 6 credits with different content. D

POLS 4436 Elite Deviance and Crime: 3 semester hours.

Explores the types of criminal behaviors engaged in by the American socioeconomic and corporate elite. The course first explores and identifies who this elite is and then examines their ideological and economic history in American society. Specific examples of elite and corporate crime are presented and discussed in class. Equivalent to SOC 4436 and SOWK 4436. F

POLS 4441 Administrative Law: 3 semester hours.

Introductory survey of the legal principles defining governmental administrative processes. Topics include judicial review, tort liability of governments and offices, rules and rule-making, due process, and the limits of administrative discretion. D

POLS 4442 Constitutional Law: 3 semester hours.

Analysis of opinions of the United States Supreme Court concerning the distribution of authority between the national government and the states and the relationship among the branches of the national government. F

POLS 4443 Constitutional Law: 3 semester hours.

Analysis of opinions of the United States Supreme Court with a special emphasis on criminal cases and civil liberties. S

POLS 4445 Jurisprudence: 3 semester hours.

Nature, source, and theories of law; the role of law in modern society; and the application of legal philosophy to the political system. D

POLS 4450 Special Topics in Law: 3 semester hours.

Examine and analyze selected topics in constitutional law and legal philosophy. Topics may include the constitution and foreign affairs, women and the law, law and literature, and law and film. May be repeated for up to 6 credits. D

POLS 4451 Org Theory Bureaucratic Struc: 3 semester hours.

Introduction to the study of complex organizations and organizational behavior in the administration of public policy. Emphasis on public institutions. POLS 4405 recommended. D

POLS 4452 Fin Admin and Budgeting: 3 semester hours.

Emphasis on different approaches to financial administration, ranging from incremental and short-term planning to more recent and comprehensive emphases on management by objectives and zero based budgeting. The development of the Office of Management and Budget and its relationship with the President, Congress and the Federal Bureaucracy will be considered as well as political, organizational and behavioral constraints on budgetary decision-making. D

POLS 4453 Public Policy Analysis: 3 semester hours.

Theoretical and practical analyses of public policies, including theories of policy formation and their political implementation through governmental institutions. Case studies will provide the means of analyzing specific policy problems. D

POLS 4454 Public Personnel Admin: 3 semester hours.

Operations and processes of personnel management in public institutions. Major topics include personnel processes, public employee rights and duties, employee motivation and morale, the political environment of public personnel administration, and the impact of professionalism, technology, and participatory democracy on public personnel practices. D

POLS 4455 Environ Politics and Policy: 3 semester hours.

Study of the political forces affecting environmental policy and investigation of several specific policies affecting the environment, such as: pollution control, energy production, hazardous chemicals, and the public lands. D

POLS 4456 Labor Organization: 3 semester hours.

Evolution of economic systems and labor's response to changing patterns of production is studied, and a counter perspective to traditional management views of "efficiency" is presented. Emphasis is on governmental employee unions. D

POLS 4457 Grantwriting: 3 semester hours.

Steps involved in the grantwriting process from strategic planning, research, and writing to finding appropriate grant sources. D

POLS 4458 Public Administration Ethics: 3 semester hours.

A course in applied ethics serving to educate students from a theoretical and a practical point of view. The course provides an historical and social perspective of ethics in public administration. D

POLS 4459 Government Internship: 1-9 semester hour.

Directed student internship in political science and organizations or associations related to public policy and the selection of public officials involving supervised work experience in research, staff management practices, or making and implementing public policies. The student will be placed in a supervised position commensurate with his/her abilities as determined and approved by faculty in the department. May be repeated for a total of 9 credits. Graded S/U. F, S, Su

POLS 4460 Senior Seminar: 3 semester hours.

This seminar is designed to integrate undergraduate academic experience in the major. Students will be required to do research and writing on topics encountered in their undergraduate curriculum. Required of, and open to, senior majors. F, S

POLS 4465 US Political History: 3 semester hours.

Study of the political history of the United States involving a discussion of theories of popular voting behavior, critical elections, and political party systems. Equivalent to HIST 4465. D

POLS 4466 Public Lands Policy: 3 semester hours.

Analysis of the historical and contemporary use and disposition of the federal public lands. The agencies that manage the public lands, major laws, and regulations and the political conflict that surrounds their use and conservation. D

POLS 4467 State and Local Administration: 3 semester hours.

Seminar in the practice and principles of state, municipal, and sub-state management. Emphasis on the evolution of interaction between different branches of sub-national government. S

POLS 4471 Historical Geography of Idaho: 3 semester hours.

Influences of geography and geology on Idaho's economic, political and cultural history. May be team taught and include field trips, discussion sections. Equivalent to GEOL 4471 and HIST 4471. D

POLS 4478 Federal Indian Law: 3 semester hours.

Examination of tribal governments; their relationship with the federal government; sovereignty, jurisdictional conflicts over land and resources; and economic development. Equivalent to ANTH 4478. D

POLS 4479 Tribal Governments: 3 semester hours.

Complex legal position of Indian tribes as self-governing entities; principles of inherent powers; governmental organization, lawmaking, justice, relation to state and federal government. Equivalent to ANTH 4479. D

POLS 4491 Seminar: 1-3 semester hour.

Research, reading, discussion, and the preparation of reports on selected topics. Ordinarily for seniors majoring in political science and having the instructor's consent. May be repeated for a total of 6 credits. F, S, Su

POLS 4492 Seminar: 1-3 semester hour.

Research, reading, discussion, and the preparation of reports on selected topics. Ordinarily for seniors majoring in political science and having the instructor's consent. May be repeated for a total of 6 credits. F, S, Su

POLS 4498P Prof Development Workshop: 3 semester hours.

New methods and opportunities to enhance and supplement skills. Subject to the approval of the Dean of the student's college, a maximum of eight credits earned in workshops may be applied toward a degree; students taking the courses only for personal development may choose the 0-credit option; those seeking professional development must choose a for-credit option

POLS 4499 Experimental Course: 1-6 semester hour.

This course is not described in the catalog. The course title and number of credits are announced in the class schedule by the scheduling department. Experimental courses may be offered no more than three times


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