Select Page

Political Science Courses

PS 101
Introduction to Politics
Discussion of basic political concepts and values, explaining how governments make decisions and how individuals and groups affect those decisions. During the summer session, the course uses Boston as a “model” for understanding politics and political analysis. The class makes several field trips to historical, political, and community locations in the city. Summer. Group: II.

PS 111
American Government and Politics
Introductory description and analysis of the politics of American institutions, with special emphasis on current policy questions such as crime, abortion, welfare, and healthcare. Spring. Group: II.

PS 125
This course examines the contemporary interconnections of the human community – globalism – and the process of globalization. We trace these connections by focusing on three arenas: the movement of people, culture and ideas; the relationships of production and exchange; and the consequences for conflict and climate. On each of these we will explore the background and basic concepts, develop an understanding of the processes of globalization that are taking place now, and examine political actions on each topic. 4 credits. Group: II.  Social Systems Signature Course.

PS 145
Politics and Economics in America
Economic activity profoundly influences politics in the US – and vice versa. In this course, students gain an understanding of basic concepts, such as markets, supply and demand, and innovation. They also understand the role of government in regulating economic activity, such as through fiscal and monetary policies. The approach is both historical and contemporary – so students understand the evolving nature of the political economy and how that shapes contemporary issues. Social Systems Signature Course.

PS 131
International Relations
Introduction to conflict, competition, and cooperation among nations, discussing issues such as causes of war, the role of diplomacy in resolving international conflict, and the impact of economic competition in world politics. Offered selectively. Group: II.

PS 201
Comparative Politics
Students compare the political structures, political culture and performance of democratic and non-democratic political systems, through a focus on selected countries such as Great Britain, France, China, South Africa and others. Topics include the role of government in the economy, the role of women, religion and ethnic conflict, and the challenges of transitions to democracy. Offered selectively. Group: II.

PS 211
American Foreign Policy
A study of the main problems facing the US in its relations with other nations. A brief survey of US foreign relations, followed by current issues facing US policymakers, such as military intervention, relations with international organizations, international trade, human rights, and the environment. Offered Selectively. Group: II.

PS 220 / 320
Criminal Law
This course addresses the rules and principles of criminal law. The major topics of study include the purpose of punishment, the elements of crimes, defenses to crimes, criminal sanctions, and the policies and constitutional limitations on criminal law.  Prerequisite: SO103 or permission.

PS 231 / 331
Women in Politics
An examination of the changing role of women in the contemporary US and world politics, which includes a discussion of feminist political theory, women and the legal system, the Equal Rights Amendment, voting and representation. Encourages development of cross-cultural perspective on the politics of women by discussing the changes in the position of women in developing countries brought about by colonization, the “feminization” of global labor, religion, political mobilization, and war. Students may elect to take the course as either PS 231 or PS 331. Students selecting PS 331 will be expected to complete all work of PS 231, plus complete a substantial research paper (15-20 pages). Fall 2011 and alternate years. Prerequisite: PS 111, SPS 101, or permission. Group: II.

PS 232
The United Nations
This course examines the roles of international organizations in world politics, focusing on the United Nations system. We will explore the ways in which issues are brought to international bodies, how those organizations respond, as well as the motivations for governments to join IOs, to cooperate, or to defy collective action. We will come to think critically about the future directions of world politics through our analysis of international collaboration. An important aspect of our course is participation in the National Model United Nations conference in New York. Spring.
Prerequisite: PS 131 preferred; permission of the instructor is required. Group: II.

PS 241/341
The American Legal System
This course introduces students to legal concepts and procedures and basic principles of law. Students examine court decisions and their impact on law and justice, and explore the functions and institutions of the American legal system. Discussions focus on constitutional law and interpretation, development of the common law, and selected topics in criminal and civil proceedings. Students enrolled in PS341 will read more extensively in case law, undertake extesnive research, and make presentations. Spring, alternate years. Prerequisite: Sophomore status. Group: II.

PS/WS 245
Women and the Law
This course examines the law and its impact on the lives of American women. The course explores the principles and processes of legal decision making and considers how laws have been used to both expand and contract the rights of women. The effect of legal status on women’s daily experience is examined and critiqued. Readings from both legal and non-legal texts illustrate the relationship between law and culture and provide a basis for examining the law as an instrument of social policy. Spring, alternate years. Prerequisite: Sophomore status. Group: II or IDS

PS 248
Family Law and Children’s Justice
This course examines the legal system’s role in the regulation of families and intervention in the lives of children. Students explore the development of legal and social policy related to child abuse and neglect, parental rights, and the juvenile justice system. Students also consider how violence and sexual abuse affect children and their families. Class discussions focus on literary and autobiographical works, as well as current issues and events. Fall, alternate years. Prerequisite: Sophomore status. Group: II.

PS 252/352
Constitutional Criminal Procedure
This course examines criminal procedure, specifically the complex constitutional issues surrounding the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments. Students will analyze the methods and rules related to police investigation and questioning, arrest, search and seizure, identification,confession and admission, the consequences of police misconduct, as well as the constitutional safeguards/rights of the accused at trial. Students enrolling in the 300-level section will be expected to read additional materials, lead class discussions, and complete a substantial research project.  Prerequisites: SO101, SO252, PS241/341 or by permission

PS/CO 257/357
Media, Crime and Justice
Who determines our news? This course explores the complex relationship between media and crime, and how various media forms (television, newspapers, films, and the internet/YouTube/Facebook- hereinafter “the media”) portray deviance, crime, the police and the criminal justice system, and ultimately help shape social policy. The overall purpose of this course is to analyze crime and its images found in the media. Topics to be explored include the media’s decision to cover certain news stories and crimes, what underlying issues/biases (race, gender, age) affect this coverage, what responsibilities, if any, the media have in factually reporting crimes, and how coverage/images found in the media affect our perception of crime and justice. Students enrolling in the 300-level section will be expected to read additional materials, lead class discussions, and complete a substantial research project. Prerequisite: SO103 preferred, permission of instructor required for PS357. Group: II or IDS

PS 310
International Organizations
Surveys public and private institutions operating across the boundaries of the territorial nation-state. Reviews public international organizations, which include: the UN and its specialized agencies; regional organizations such as the European Community; and military alliances such as NATO. Studies nongovernmental organizations with major transnational operations, such as multinational business enterprises and worldwide political movements. Offered selectively. Prerequisite: PS 131 or PS 211, or permission. Group: II.

PS 313
Campaigns and Elections in the United States
The process by which Americans nominate and elect candidates to office, emphasizing presidential campaigns, but examining other federal and state elections as well. Topics include historical trends in US elections, contemporary influences on the process (parties, opinion polls, finances, mass media), characteristics of American voters, and proposals for campaign reform. Offered Selectively.  Prerequisite: Any of the following: SPS 101, PS 101, PS 111, or permission. Group: II.

PS 215/315
International Political Economy
This interdisciplinary course examines both the structures and evolution of the contemporary international political economy and explores selected problems, such as the application of international economic sanctions and the formulation of development strategies. The focus is on the political-power nexus of international economic issues. The course combines and integrates the tools and techniques of international economic analysis with political science attention to power, change, and the relationships among states and groups in the global system. Students enrolling in the 300-level section will be expected to read additional materials, lead class discussions, and complete a substantial research project.  Spring, alternate years.

Courses offered selectively:
PS 132 Model United Nations