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  • Undergraduate Political Science Courses

    Undergraduate Courses

    PLS 111 Introduction to International Relations (A,O)

    Cross-listed with INS111.

    Studies the macro international political system, traditional power politics and theories, emerging global interdependence, and the challenge represented by terrorism and globalization. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    PLS 112 Introducton to Comparative Politics (A,S,W)

    Cross-listed with INS112.

    Examines the government and politics of selected foreign countries. Both industrialized and developing countries will be studied. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    PLS 113 American Politics (A,V)

    Assesses and describes the organization and interaction of the components of American national government. Covers topics such as elections, Congress, the presidency, courts and the US Constitution. 3 Cr.

    PLS 203 Political Thought (A,S)

    Crosslisted with PHL 203. Studies the works of major political philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, and J.S. Mill. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    PLS 303 Political Science Research Methods (A)

    Has a prerequisite which requires students to complete an elementary statistics class prior to taking this course. Introduces students to the research methods and techniques used in the discipline of political science. Covers elementary statistics and other approaches to political analysis including content analysis, experiments and survey research techniques. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    PLS 304 International Relations Simulation (A)

    Consists of student preparation for and participation in simulations of parts of the decision making process of various Great Powers. 3 Cr.

    PLS 305 Politics of European Integration (A)

    Cross-listed with INS305.

    An examination of the largest transnational regional experiment in European and world history. Prepares students for participation in simulation of decision-making process of the European Union. Simulation alternates annually between SUNY campuses and a European university. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    PLS 306 The Theatre of Politics (A,I)

    We combine two different disciplines to gain a unique understanding of many of the current issues that face all of us. The texts used for this course are contemporary plays and additional readings from political science texts. The course will be broken into 5 units, all dealing with modern issues in American politics such as race, gender, and medical ethics. There are multiple presentations throughout the semester. Students from all disciplines are strongly encouraged to take this course- the issues studied are relevant to all. 3 Cr.

    PLS 309 Campaigns and Elections (A)

    This course explores the election campaigns in the United States, with some attention to campaigns overseas. While campaigns at all levels (federal, state and local) will be discussed, the focus will be on federal elections. Topics include campaign financing, voting behavior, campaign strategies and the use of media in elections. 3 Cr.

    PLS 312 Introduction to Public Administration (A)

    Covers public management, inter-governmental relations, budgeting and finance, public personnel, program evaluation, and research. 3 Cr.

    PLS 313 Gender Politics (A,W,Y)

    Explores, from a feminist perspective, the socio-political barriers that have made women the "majority minority" or "silenced majority." Includes barriers such as discriminatory legislation, political folkways, sex gender roles, and myths that have created and perpetuated a male-dominated society. Cross-listed as HON & WMS 313. 3 Cr.

    PLS 314 Issues in American Politics and Government (A)

    Covers a selection of contemporary issues of concern to our nation. May include topics such as lobbying and democracy, the power of the president, the death penalty and school prayer. 3 Cr.

    PLS 315 Perspectives on Citizenship (A,I)

    Citizenship is a concept central to democratic society yet is one that citizens infrequently reflect upon. Throughout the semester we will take an integrative approach drawing from the humanities and social sciences to explore different facets of citizenship and deliberate about what it takes to be a “good citizen”, what kinds of citizens (if any) do good regimes need/ What practices and institutional structures promote the right kinds of citizenship? 3 Cr.

    PLS 316 Congressional Politics (A)

    Analyzes elections to and decision making in Congress. Emphasizes factors influencing legislative behavior and the interaction of Congress with other governmental and non-governmental units, such as the media and interest groups. 3 Cr.

    PLS 317 American Presidency (A)

    Explores the historical roots of the modern presidency. Emphasizes interaction of the presidency with other governmental and non-governmental units such as Congress, the media, the bureaucracy and public opinion. Explores the evolution of the modern presidential campaign. 3 Cr.

    PLS 318 State and Local Government (A)

    This course introduces students to the study of state and local government and politics by examining the social, economic, and cultural context in which the politics occur. Topics include the study of federalism, the role of the media and the effects of public opinion on state and local politics. 3 Cr.

    PLS 320 Introduction to Law and Legal Process (A)

    Covers the judicial process, including its structure and organization, and the political dimensions of judicial decision making. 3 Cr.

    PLS 323 Development & Globalization (A,I)

    Examines transnational and international processes shaping the economic, political, and cultural dimensions of social life. Attention is paid to economic and financial globalization, the place of the state in globalized world, and global struggles over health, the environment, and human rights. Students will explore factors influencing cross-cultural communication and cooperation. Course requires a minimum grade of D- (for General Education/Major/Minor/Certification). Cross listed with INS 323 and SOC 323. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    PLS 324 Constitutional Law I (A)

    Covers the practices, customs and traditions of the Supreme Court. Focuses on the founding of the Constitution and the early cases decided by the Court. Includes topics such as judicial review, federalism, presidential and congressional power, the Commerce Clause, and nationalization of the Bill of Rights. 3 Cr.

    PLS 328 Politics of Energy Policy (A)

    Provides students with an opportunity to apply political science methods from the study of policy analysis and political economy to issues surrounding energy policy. 3 Cr.

    PLS 333 American Foreign Policy (A)

    Prerequisites - PLS 111. Cross-listed with INS333.

    Examines contemporary challenges confronting American foreign policy, including such topics as historic approaches and debates in U.S. foreign policy, the process by which U.S. foreign policy is made (and the various institutional and political factors shaping that policy), and the U.S.’s role in the world 3 Cr.

    PLS 336 Politics and Food: "The Political Feast" (A)

    Studies the role and influence of food production in the development and advancement of early political states. Moreover, it explores the relationship of man’s nature to food and its revelation regarding the balance of the soul. 3 Cr.

    PLS 338 Global Issues (A,I,Y)

    Cross-listed with INS338.

    Covers a selection of issues such as military weapons growth, problems of world order, gender issues, terrorism, globalization, international politics of energy, food, population growth and natural resources. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    PLS 340 European Political Systems (A)

    Provides an intensive, in-depth study of the politics and governments of selected western European countries, especially Great Britain, France and Germany. 3 Cr.

    PLS 342 Latin American Politics (A)

    This course provides an overview of the domestic and international politics of Latin American states. It examines the causes and consequences of these states' political institutions and economic development. It also explores these states' relationships with global great powers like the US and China and key transnational challenges like narco-trafficking and migration. 3 Cr.

    PLS 345 African Politics (A)

    Cross-listed as AAS 345.

    The course seeks to explore the contrast between the promise of the continent's potential and the shortcoming of its reality. To achieve this goal, the course examines briefly the political history of the continent and its encounter with the external world. The course discusses the transformation that ensued, and concretely addresses the consequence of it all, in the functioning of contemporary African politics, economics, society, and culture. Finally, the course discusses the improvements observed in the continent, since the 1990s. 3 Cr.

    PLS 346 Democratization in Eastern Europe (A)

    What lessons are learned from the forced and failed communist experiments across Eastern Europe during the Cold War, the Iron Curtain collapse during the 1989 revolutions, and regime transformations afterward? We pay particular attention to the causes of either democratic backsliding or democratic consolidation. Specifically, we compare and contrast the political systems in Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltics, and the Balkans. 3 Cr.

    PLS 347 The Global South (A)

    Retraces the historical journey of the developing nations/world, since the second half of the 20th century until today. The economies of the nations have been incorporated to the rest of the world economy since the modern era. They become politically independent since the 1950s. Their journey has been tumultuous and recently, in the era of globalizations successful. This course sheds light at that journey to understand today’s globalized world. 3 Cr.

    PLS 348 The Politics of East Asia (A)

    Prerequisite: PLS 112.

    Examines some of the important theoretical and historical questions and events challenging those who study Asian politics as the world enters a new millennium. China and Japan will be the two primary nations under examination although examples will be taken from all over Asia and the world. 3 Cr.

    PLS 353 American Political Thought (A)

    Explores the founding roots of Federalism and Anti-Federalism via early puritan writings, the founding documents, Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers and the personal writings of several Founding Fathers. 3 Cr.

    PLS 354 Politics and Literature (A)

    This course examines political themes through various means and literary genres. Ten works of history and fiction will be read, spanning from the ancient Greek world to the 21st century. 3 Cr.

    PLS 362 Women in Western Political Thought (A,I,W)

    Cross-listed as WMS 362 & PHL 362.

    Covers major theories of sexual politics, which include Freud's theory of femininity, reform liberalism, socialist theory, and the theory of radical feminism. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    PLS 374 Sociology of Human Rights (A,D,I)

    Examines the history, theories, and institutions of the modern human rights regime to understand key issues such as universality, the right to life, free speech, humanitarian intervention, war, genocide, human rights activism, globalization, and states of emergency. In addition, it examines how human rights norms change and analyzes some of the challenges of contemporary human rights advocacy. Elective course in SOC & PLS. Cross listed with SOC 374. 3 Cr.

    PLS 383 Mid-East in World Politics (A)

    Studies political conflict of global issues and international politics. Covers the Arab-Israeli conflict. 3 Cr.

    PLS 385 Mock Trial (A)

    Introduces the student to the theory and process of the American trial. Students will learn all facets of the trial, from pre-trial motions, to opening statements, through the direct and cross examination of witnesses, and summations. Students will also learn the preparation that is required in order to successfully try a case. At the end of the class, students will engage in an entire mock trial. 3 Cr.

    PLS 392 Topics in Political Science (A)

    Covers selected topics focusing on contemporary political issues and problems. May be repeated as topics change. 3 Cr.

    PLS 395 Perspectives on Democracy (A)

    The idea of “democracy” is one with which we are all familiar. However it is one that if you pause for a minute to examine, is not only hard to define, but that raises a multitude of questions. Quite literally, “democracy” means rule by the people; but how can the people rule? Who are the people? What kinds of social conditions, institutions and organizations are needed for the people to rule? Why should the people rule, or who among the people should rule? These are just a few of the questions that we will take up during the semester. 3 Cr.

    PLS 399 Independent Study (A)

    Defined in consultation with the instructor-sponsor and the procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement prior to registration. 1-3 Cr.

    PLS 401 Local Government Internship (A)

    Enables students to serve as interns in town, city or county government, engaging in such activities as research, constituent service, and planning. Provides placements in administrative agencies, as well as local legislative bodies. 1-6 Cr.

    PLS 402 Legal Internship (A)

    Provides an experiential learning opportunity. Places student interns in either a public or private law office, undertaking paraprofessional responsibilities. 3-6 Cr. Summer.

    PLS 410 International Political Economy (A)

    Cross-listed with INS410. Prerequisite: PLS 111.

    Explores the political forces behind global economic relations. Includes key topics such as international trade and monetary relations, the impact of the international system on domestic politics, and the relationship between rich and poor countries. Also includes these specific issues: the importance of the World Trade Organization, regional trade blocs, and the political influence of multi-national corporations. 3 Cr.

    PLS 412 Public Policy (A)

    Public policy describes the process by which groups make act collectively - for social decisions as varied as going lo war, or creating bicycle lanes. How do we analyze which governmental actions should be taken for the collective good. That is the subject of Public Policy. 3 Cr.

    PLS 417 Political Science Capstone (A)

    This capstone is offered to students as they are nearing completing of the major. It will incorporate the foundational concepts of all four subfields of Political Science. Students will work on a semester long research paper that can be used as a writing sample for a prospective employer, graduate school and or law school. Capstone paper topics will be chose by each student and will reflect the student's interest in one of the subfields of the discipline. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    PLS 427 Environmental Politics (A)

    Investigates environmental politics and its emergence as a force in democratic systems over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Key issues include climate change; air, water, and land use; solid, hazardous, and chemical waste; international agreements; aesthetics and conservation; sustainability. 3 Cr.

    PLS 435 Legal Rights of the Disadvantaged (A,I,W)

    Cross-listed as AAS 435, WMS 435.

    An issue-oriented course. Provides an understanding of how the US legal system can improve the status of disadvantaged blacks, Hispanics, women, prisoners, the poor, students, Native Americans, homosexuals, and those with mental and physical disabilities. 3 Cr.

    PLS 444 National Security (A)

    Prerequisite: PLS 111.

    Examines post-World War II and post-Cold War changes in national security (military defense) policy perception, planning and implementation as a result of technological advances. In particular, focuses on military defense policies, including strategies and tactics of the Great Powers, and other powers of military consequence. Considers the challenger of asymmetrical conflict. 3 Cr.

    PLS 445 International Law and Organization (A)

    Introduction to modern public international law and to major international organizations such as the United Nations and associated bodies as well as major regional organizations. 3 Cr.

    PLS 447 Russia in Transition (A)

    The course will focus on current issues relevant to the transition of the former Soviet Union to a democratic form of government and a market economy. 3 Cr.

    PLS 475 Political Geography (A)

    Cross-listed as INS 475.

    Covers key aspects of geopolitics as it affects foreign policy and international politics in the post-World War II period. Examines topics such as resources, environment and human geography, as well as issues associated with the study of geography-politics relationships, gateway states, shatterbelts, heartland concept, and trade ties. 3 Cr.

    PLS 490 Moot Court Seminar (A)

    Students analyze and discuss the issues and problems of a specific case. They prepare a written brief and present an oral argument related to the case. 3 Cr.

    PLS 492 Appl Team Ldrshp (A)

    Enables selected students to serve as interns at the New York Assembly or Senate, or a state agency in Albany. Provides an experiential learning opportunity. 1-12 Cr. Every Semester.

    PLS 493 Public Service Internship II (A)

    Enables selected students to serve as interns at the New York State Assembly or Senate, or a state agency in Albany. Conducted on site in Albany. 1-12 Cr. Every Semester.

    PLS 495 496 Internship in National Politics I and II (Washington Semester Program) (A)

    Enables selected students to serve as interns in an executive branch, Congressional office/committee, judicial office, political party organization, or a politicized private organization in Washington. Requires a major research project. 6 Cr.

    PLS 497 Seminar: National Interns (Washington Semester Program) (A)

    Focuses on the evaluation of lessons learned from the internship experience. Requires oral presentations concerning research projects. 4 Cr. Every Semester.

    PLS 499 Independent Study (A)

    Defined in consultation with the instructor-sponsor and the procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement prior to registration. 1-6 Cr. Every Semester.