Politics affect virtually all aspects of our cultural, economic, religious and social lives, and almost all public decisions are made through collective political activity.

Political Science Course Offerings

POLI 130 / AMER 130 United States Politics and Government – GS6 C-IS
A survey of the U.S. political system at the national, state and local levels including examination of constitutions, social and political ideology, mass political behavior, parties and interest groups, the Congress, the presidency, the courts, and the development of national public policy. Focuses on the problems of policy making in a pluralistic democratic system. Fall and spring semesters.

POLI 150 / INTL 150 Introduction to International Studies – GS3 C-BB
The objective of this course is to promote an awareness of global interdependence, with its challenges and opportunities. The course is interdisciplinary, examining issues from several relevant and related points of view: political, ecological, cultural, economic and ethical. The content may vary from semester to semester. Examples of issues the course might examine are nationalism vs. the concept of an international community; U.S. foreign policy and human rights; foreign policy of communist countries; cultural diversity and international cooperation. Fall and spring semesters.

POLI 160 / INTL 160 Introduction to Comparative Politics
The purpose of this course is to provide students with the comparative insights and methodological tools needed to understand the importance of political culture, governmental structures and political behavior in a variety of political systems. This course will also address the development of the state under different historical conditions and in different socio- economic environments. Students will be exposed to a variety of political issues including political legitimacy, political institutionalization, the politics of identity and political violence. Spring semester alternate years.

POLI 200 Research Methodology and Techniques
Examines the fundamental methods and techniques used in political science research. Emphasis on concept formation and measurement, hypothesis development, research design, data collection, hypothesis testing, statistical association, theory construction and ethics in political science research. Prerequisite: POLI 130 or POLI 150 or POLI 160. Fall and spring semesters.

POLI 231 State and Local Politics
An examination of state and local politics focusing on the legal and theoretical bases of state and local government, including intergovernmental relations, government institutions and comparative public policy. Emphasis is placed on understanding state and local politics within a framework of competition among state and local governments. Prerequisite: POLI 130. Fall semester, alternate years.

POLI 248 Trial Advocacy (two credits)
This course provides an introduction to civil and criminal litigation in the context of the American judicial system with a focus on courtroom procedures, evidence, witness preparation and examination, and the art of advocacy. Although intended for the training of students who hope to compete with the St. Norbert mock trial team, the course is open to any student interested in learning more about the courts and the legal process. Prerequisites: POLI 130 or instructor’s consent and sophomore standing. Fall semester each year.

POLI 249 Mock Trial (two credits)
This course exposes students to the process of presenting a criminal or civil case in the context of an intercollegiate competition. Students will adopt roles as attorneys and witnesses for both the prosecution/plaintiff and defense. Prerequisites: POLI 248 or instructor’s consent and sophomore standing. Spring semester each year.

POLI 310 Western Ideologies – GS10, GS12 C-IS
This course examines the political ideologies which have influenced the Western world and been extended to the Non-Western world as well. Ideology means a body of political thought or belief which motivates groups to take political action. The course begins with an overview of the philosophical roots of political ideology in Western political thought and comes to focus on the development of political ideas and movements in the 19th and 20th centuries. The course includes studies of nationalism, liberal democracy, democratic socialism, Marxism, Soviet and Chinese communism, fascism, national socialism, anarchism and various radical and traditionalist movements.

POLI 314 / PHIL 314 / CLAS 314 Classical and Medieval Political Thought
An examination of the political theories of major ancient and medieval thinkers. Issues such as the origin, purpose, nature and types of political societies, the meaning of citizenship, the relation of the individual to society, and the meaning of authority and rulership will be investigated in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas. Fall semester, alternate years.

POLI 316 / PHIL 316 Modern Political Thought
An examination of the political theories of major thinkers of the modern period (16th-19th centuries). Issues such as the nature of political power, the origin and purpose of political societies, social contract, authority, law, liberty, sovereignty and revolution will be investigated through the writings of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hegel and Marx. Fall semester, alternate years.

POLI 317 American Political Thought
This course provides students with an introduction to the writings of the American founding, including the Federalist Papers and the thinkers who helped develop the American political tradition. In addition, students will explore the transformation of American thought during the course of the nation’s history, reviewing authors who wrote at the time of the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution and the transformative periods of the 20th century. Spring semester, alternate years.

POLI 329 / COME 329 Political Communication – GS6 C-WT
This course uses rhetorical theory and criticism, as well as empirical evidence concerning the content and effects of political messages, to aid citizens in becoming better consumers and critics of political communication. Political speeches, political advertisements, political debates, and political media will be explored in the context of both primary and general election campaigns. Fall semester.

POLI 332 Political Parties and Elections
An examination of the role of political parties and elections at the state and national level in the U.S. Focuses on elections as a linkage mechanism between the citizens and the institutions of government in a democracy. Emphasis on issues such as nomination processes, the role of the media, campaign advertising, campaign strategy, citizen participation and voting behavior. Prerequisite: POLI 130. Fall semester, alternate years.

POLI 335 / AMER 335 Congress and Legislatures
An examination of the power, structure and functions of legislative bodies with a focus on the United States Congress. Focuses on the various factors that influence the performance of these bodies. Prerequisite: POLI 130. Spring semester, alternate years.

POLI 336 / LEAD 336 Executive Leadership
An examination of executive leadership at the national, state and local levels in the U.S. Focuses on leadership development, leadership styles and the impact of leadership in governing. Prerequisite: POLI 130 or LEAD 200. Spring semester, alternate years.

POLI 337 Judicial Process and Behavior
An examination of the functions, structure, participants and decision-making in the U.S. judicial system. Focuses on the political nature and the public policy-making role of the judicial system. Prerequisite: POLI 130. Fall semester, alternate years.

POLI 338 Introduction to Public Administration
An examination of the growth of the public sector in the U.S. and the consequences and challenges resulting from that growth. Emphasis is placed on the politics of bureaucracy, the relative roles of the public and private sectors in providing goods and services, and past and present controversies over the appropriate method of organizing the public sector. Prerequisite: POLI 130. Spring semester, alternate years.

POLI 341 Constitutional Law: Institutional Powers
An examination of the constitutional evolution of the doctrines of judicial power, federalism and separation of powers with emphasis on the historical circumstances in which the developments took place, and the impact of the judicial decisions on the U.S. social, economic and political systems. Prerequisites: POLI 130 and sophomore standing. Fall semester, alternate years.

POLI 342 Constitutional Law: Civil Rights/Liberties
An examination of major judicial decisions in the areas of civil rights and civil liberties and their impact on U.S. society. Prerequisites: POLI 130 and sophomore standing. Spring semester, alternate years.

POLI 343 Administrative Law & Politics
Administrative law and politics is the investigation of the relationship of government agencies to legislative and legal institutions and the manner in which government regulates through the bureaucracy. The course also makes students aware of the impact agencies have on citizens, businesses, industry, and interest groups through the development and enforcement of legal rules. The course evaluates the political, social, and economic impact of bureaucracies on the operation of various institutions that regulate and influence American life. Prerequisite: POLI 130 recommended but not required.

POLI 346 Policy Analysis
This course consists of two parts. The first part examines the policy process in American government, the content of contemporary policy and the impact of policy on society. Case studies will illustrate the nature of policy-making and problems of implementing public policy. The second part of the course will introduce various tools and methods which will enable students to analyze public policy. Prerequisites: POLI 130, SSCI 224 and POLI 200, sophomore standing. Spring semester, alternate years.

POLI 348 Environmental Politics
Examines the social and political trends that have contributed to the environmental hazards we now face. Various theoretical approaches that discuss human relations with the environment will be examined in the context of critical issues such as global warming, setting of toxic waste facilities and the pollution of the Fox River. Prerequisite: POLI 130. Fall semester, alternate years.

POLI 350 International Relations
This course examines the main theories of international relations, including realism, neo-realism, liberalism, the English School, economic structuralism, IR feminist theories, critical theory, constructivist theories, normative theories, etc. Students will acquire the intellectual tools necessary to understand, criticize, and apply these theories and others of international relations. Prerequisite: POLI 150 / INTL 150.

POLI 353 United States Foreign Policy
This course examines the formulation, conduct and content of contemporary U.S. foreign policies during the 20th century and at the onset of the 21st century. Students will examine the role and impact of various governmental actors in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy. They will also examine theories of foreign policy decision-making and key aspects of U.S. regional foreign policies. Prerequisite: POLI 150 / INTL 150.

POLI 355 International Organizations
This course examines the role of international organizations in world politics. It focuses on the historical development of international organizations and their increasing impact on a wide range of global issues, including peacekeeping, human rights, the world economy and the environment. The course provides students with the theoretical tools and concepts they need to understand the dynamics of the institutional structures and political processes of international organizations in an increasingly interdependent world. Prerequisite: INTL 150 / POLI 150.

POLI 362 Globalization and the Developing World in the 21st Century  – GS11 C-BB
This course explores the impact of globalization on the political institutions of developing nations. The course addresses the complex political, economic and social challenges and opportunities that the Global South faces in an increasingly interdependent world. Students will focus on the political histories of developing nations, the make-up of their political structures and institutions, the proliferation of domestic and international political actors, and the emergence of diverse forms of democratic regimes. Students will be encouraged to explore the legitimacy and efficacy of national, subnational and supranational forms of governance in the 21st century.

POLI 365 European Politics
An examination of the political systems of a number of European countries. Attention will be given to their historical evolution, ideologies and political cultures as possible explanatory factors for the similarities and differences among the systems. Prerequisite: POLI 160.

POLI 368 Latin American Politics through Film, Art, Poetry and Music – C-BB
This course provides an overview of the governments and politics of Latin American countries from a comparative perspective. The course examines the structure, functioning and interaction of political institutions in Latin American countries. Students will be exposed to various topics including political and economic development, globalization and social movements, competing political ideologies, etc.

POLI 410 Global Political Extremism – GS11 and GS12
This course will focus on political extremism around the world. Different countries will be compared, allowing students to examine commonalities in the origins of political extremism between vastly different cultures. While the emphasis of the course will be on current manifestations of extremism, historical examples will also be used for comparison. Primary questions to be addressed in the course will be: What are the causes of extremism? What commonalities can be seen across different cultures and historical eras? What are the unique cultural and historical features that manifest in different forms of political extremism? How does political extremism affect different societies? How does political extremism affect current global political discourse and policy? What can be done about it to try to prevent violence caused by political extremism?

POLI 450 The United Nations Seminar
Students learn about world politics from scholars and practitioners during two weeks at UN headquarters in New York City, Geneva, and The Hague. Topics include peacekeeping, gendered development, human rights. Students see international relations in the making, visiting UN missions and meeting diplomats to discuss current world developments. Offered in summer.

POLI 489 Special Topics

This is a seminar course that is offered whenever a mutual interest in a more specialized topic in political science exists for a member of the faculty and a sufficient number of students. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent.

POLI 490 Independent Study
Individual study of an approved topic in Political Science under the direction of a Political Science faculty member. Permits faculty and students to explore together some subject of special or personal interest. Reading and tutorial discussion are required, written work is optional. Prerequisites: instructor’s consent and approval of Associate Dean of Social Sciences.

POLI 492 Directed Research
Qualified students may perform political science research projects under the supervision of a Political Science faculty member. Prerequisites: instructor’s consent and approval of Associate Dean of Social Sciences.

POLI 494 Internship
Appropriate work or active political experience with government agencies or partisan political groups may be undertaken for course credit when directly related to the educational goals of the student. Prerequisites: instructor's consent and approval of the Associate Dean of Social Sciences.