Political Science

Degrees and Certificates

Classes

POL 101 : U.S. Government and Politics

An introduction to national politics and government in the U.S. system. Students monitor current issues and study how the U.S. Constitution, citizens, media, interest groups affect those issues, and the functioning of the national government, including the Congress, the presidency, and the courts. Recommended as a first course for majors. 

 

Credits

3

POL 115 : Introduction to International Relations

This is a study of the nature and functions of international law, diplomacy, power, politics, human rights and international organizations, with special emphasis upon their worldwide operation since 1945. The relationship of these phenomena to social and natural geography is examined. 

Credits

1

POL 205 : Research in Law and Government

There is a wealth of reliable information for social science research available online and in the law library. There is an even larger amount of unreliable information online, which is sometimes hard to distinguish from the accurate information. This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the credible resources and the ability to locate and utilize them. After the introduction of basic concepts, students will use the law library, specialized databases, and the internet to complete a series of research assignments. This course is required of all students pursuing a minor in pre-law studies and is recommended for students in all majors who use the Internet for research in their social science or education coursework.

Credits

3

POL 208 : Community Politics

A study of local governments and their history as seen through the lens of the political process. The biases and extent of influence of ethnic, racial, civic, public employee, and neighborhood groups upon urban political parties, elections, and governmental bodies are examined, along with factors underlying the emergence and effectiveness of such institutional forms as the mayor-council, council-manager, and neighborhood government. (Equivalent to HST 208).

Credits

3

POL 209 : The Enduring Constitution

Americans were a constitutional people before they became a constitutional nation. This course examines the traditions and principles of the American Constitution, how they were formed in colonial times, framed in revolution and expounded in classic court cases.

Credits

3

POL 210 : The Courts

This course covers the structure, organization, and administration of local, state, and federal courts: the ways in which case first come into court; judicial review; and appellate court decisions. Problem areas to be discussed include over-crowded calendars, the probate causes of inefficient administration and possible remedies for it, and the moral and legal dilemma of equal justice for all defendants regardless of race or economic background. An understanding of these areas will illuminate the current crisis in the court system.

Credits

3

POL 218 : Public Policy: Obama v. Trump

How do issues and problems get placed on the public agenda? Why do some issues never make it to the agenda stage? How are agenda issues formulated into public policies? How are those policies shepherded through the political process? Why are some adopted into law while others are tabled or die? What happens to policies after they are adopted? This course will examine how public policy is made with special emphasis on agenda setting, policy formulation, the legislature process, and the budget process. Students monitor public policies and prepare their own. Special attention will be devoted throughout the course to comparing the public policy processes, politics, and policies during the times of Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

 

Credits

3

POL 219 : Law and Legal Process

In this course students will learn about the U.S. legal system, including the civil, criminal, and juvenile systems. Legal professions will also be discussed. What law is and how laws are created are studied. Students conduct court observations. (Equivalent to CRM 219 and SOC 219).

Credits

3

POL 221 : The Modern Middle East

A history of the Arabs during the Islamic ear, the Ottoman Turks, Western imperialism, the growth of nationalism.  Contemporary geographic, economic, political and social conditions will be discussed. 

Credits

3

POL 225 : Politics in Film & Lit

Literature and film bring political themes to life. They explore themes -- of honor vs. duty, civic heroism and the pursuit of juistice, the folly of pride and the corruption of power, the individual vs. the state -- that are timeless yet intimate. Literature and film invite us to suspend believe and exercise our imagination. They also pull us in two opposite directions -- escape and engagement. In this course, we will explore these themes in pairs of great literary and cinematic works such as Antigone and Hunger Games, Casablanca and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Citizen Kane and All the King's Men, Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies, and selections from the Victorian novelist George Eliot and Anthony Trollope and the Russian hedgehog and fox, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.

Credits

3

POL 226 : The Media and Politics

Media and politics is a two-way relationship: politicians supply journalists with news and journalists provide politicians with an outlet for their stories and spins. Thanks to social media, the people are more involved than ever in those relationships as producers, transmitters and consumers of the news. This introductory course explores these relationships and the evolving roles of the people in them as well as technological, social, economic, and political changes in the mass media and social media.

Credits

3

POL 228 : State Government in the U.S.

An introduction to politics and government in U.S. states. Our Capital Region location provides students with an ideal laboratory for studying the inner workings of New York State government and the larger cultural, constitutional, and political forces affecting it. Students also compare New York State with political patterns and trends in other states.

Credits

3

POL 229 : Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

A course examining the history and policies of protection of the individual from governmental intrusions. Freedom of expression, rights to privacy, rights of the defendant, and issues of equal rights are all considered. (Equivalent to HST 229).

Credits

3

POL 230 : Liberty vs. Security

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, democratic notions of freedom, privacy, justice, and liberty have been increasingly challenged by the necessity to ensure domestic security and wage war. The tension between liberty and security has come to the forefront in public policy debates. Students in this course will discuss the meaning of liberty as it has emerged in our nation. They will explore the current security threats to our nation. Then, using readings selected for the course, students will evaluate the public policies being promulgated, using a liberty lens. The inquiry will include examples from history, legal and political analysis, as well as current critiques.

 

Credits

3

POL 232 : Science, Technology, and the Law

Students in this course will gain a better understanding of the challenges we face from the explosion of scientific and technological advances and how the law should respond to them. Discussion of this subject invites debate with elements of politics, culture, religion, morality, philosophy, sociology, and the proper role of governmental authority.  Students will explore the influence of culture, context, and morality on scientific advancement and the legal issues they create.  The class will consider the transnational nature of scientific progress and responses thereto.

Credits

3

POL 233 : Modern China

An intensive study of the rise of modern China since the Opium Wars of the 1840s, this course emphasizes the decline of the Qing Dynasty and the pressures of Western imperialism. A considerable portion of the course deals with the rise of the Chinese Nationalists and Communists, and developments since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. The geographic context will be examined.

Credits

3

POL 238 : Russia and East Europe

A survey of major devleopments in modern Russia and her East European neighbors, this one-semester course concentrates on the recent upheavals in the Soviet and East European socialist bloc.  The geographic context will be examined and different types of Marxism will be analyzed.

Credits

3

POL 245 : African/American History & Politics

A study of the African-American people from African origins to the present. African cultural heritage, the Atlantic slave trade, resistance to slavery and its condition, reconstruction and segregation, urban migration, and the post-slavery freedom struggle are studied. Emphasis is placed on the development of African-American culture through social struggle, and the impact on political U.S. institutions. 

Credits

3

POL 248 : Public Policy:Selected Topics

An in-depth investigation of a specific area of governmental policy. Topics include the environment, social welfare, women's rights, and alcohol and other drug policies.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

POL 307 : Internship in Law, Government, and Politics

Internships may be taken in local, state, national and international government and political institutions. Possible placements include the New York State Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Emphasis is placed, however, on suiting the student's individual needs and interests. The experience provides an opportunity to learn by participation in the political process. (May be taken for up to 15 credits).

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Students with Junior standing, six or more hours of political science courses, or permission of instructor

POL 310 : Comparative Political Economy

This course engages students in the study of the political and economic history, culture, institutions, and policies of various national political economies. The course uses the comparative method, the cross-cultural approach, and the concept of political culture to probe the subject matter in both western and nonwestern countries. An important theme of the course is democratization from ancient times to the present. Countries studied include the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, India, and Nigeria.  Prerequisite: ENG 101, WLD 101 OR HUM 112

Credits

3

Prerequisites

ENG 101, WLD 101 OR HUM 112

POL 313 : Lobbying and Interest Groups

This course addresses how the needs and wants of citizens are expressed through informal and formal interest groups. It also covers how both unpaid and paid lobbyists try to influence government and their effect on policy.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

POL-101 or POL-203

POL 314 : Health Policy

This course will explore the socially and politically vital issue of health care policy and its formation. Health care is one of the most complex, controversial and costly fields of public policy in the United States. Health care policy issues range widely from natural health issues involving detection and treatment of communicable diseases. Health care is widely regulated by federal, state and local governments. Health policy issues of one kind or another are always before Congress and the New York State Legislature. Frequently under debate and reform, health policy is an essential field for the health care professional to monitor. This course provides students with the understandings and skills needed to research and analyze the formation, implementation and impact of health care policies.

Credits

3

POL 319 : Women and the Law

The relationship of women to the law is explored from many vantage points, including: how law has been used to limit/expand women's place in society; the differential enforcement of law by sex; and women's role in the legal system. (Also: CRJ-319, SOC-319, WST-319) 

 

Credits

3

POL 334 : American Political Thought

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton modeled the Declaration of Sentiments exactly on Thomas Jefferson's famous Declaration of l776. Why? What are the main currents and crosscurrents of political thought in America? How have ideas like freedom and equality been used and misused in American politics? How have these ideas shaped the actions of statesmen like Jefferson and Madison, abolitionists like Frederick Douglas, feminists like Anthony and Stanton, presidents like Lincoln and Wilson, and recent thinkers since Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X? Students answer these questions by reading and interpreting the writings and speeches of these and other famous thinkers.

Credits

3

POL 335 : Social Movements

This course examines the processes by which social movements emerge, develop, and decline. Particular focus will be on social change theory; the history of selected movements; political strategies for change; individual versus collective approaches; and the relationship of institutions and ideologies to the success and failure of social change. (Equivalent to POL 335, HST 335, and WST 335).

Credits

3

Prerequisites

SOC 101

POL 336 : U.S. Foreign Policy

American isolationism is a myth. Lean how the United States has engaged in the world from the Declaration of Independence to today. Explore the international challenges the U.S. has faced, the tools (diplomatic, economic, and military) it has used, and the approaches and strategies it has followed. Assess the partial successes U.S. foreign policy has achieved, and the partial failures it has endured. Investigate how American foreign policy is made in terms of the roles of the president, Congress, and other players. As a cross-cultural course, we will focus on American negotiating behavior in cultural perspective.

 

Credits

3

POL 339 : Current Constitutional Issues

This course builds on previous courses to examine a range of current issues in the news from abortion rights to hate speech. Students will analyze constitutional issues and interpret court opinions. Issues include not only civil rights and civil liberties, but also federalism and separation of powers.

 

Credits

3

Prerequisites

POL-210

POL 340 : Leadership and Public Policy Skills

What are skills and mindset needed to lead in the world of public affairs? How do you organize a fund drive or an advocacy drive, run for political office or head a club, or sharpen your persuasive abilities? This course starts with the concept of smart leadership and applies it to different goals and circumstances of advocacy and campaigning, inspiring others, organizing and networking, persuasion and negotiaon, and more.

 

Credits

3

POL 344 : Constitutional Interpretation

There is so much that can be said about the United States Constitution.  Most simply, it is our country's foundational document that serves as the supreme law of the land.  Beyond this, there is controversy.  Is it a living document - the product of a particular historical situation to be reinterpreted in later historical contexts - or is it limited to its text and its meaning as intended when written?  What the true limits of central government's power?  How do checks and balances really work?  When is there sufficient government involvement to implicate individual rights under the Bill of Rights?  In fact, nothing is simple or static when it comes to constitutional interpretation and ultimately it is up to the Supreme Court to determine what it means.  This course will explore various provisions of the Constitution and the Court's interpretation thereof.  (This course is often cross-listed with ENG 344, HST 344 and PSC 209.)  Prerequisites: ENG 101 or HUM 112 or WLD 101

Prerequisites

ENG 101 or HUM 112 or WLD 101

POL 345 : Race, Law, and Society

This course focuses on African American Legal Studies.  The students study case law starting with 1609 through the present.  The course focuses on the development of the law and on questions concerning equality and fairness within the Black community.  The primary source of legal analysis will be Supreme Court decisions and the evolution of constitutional rights and civil rights.  The history of Blacks in America is studied to provide context for understanding legal decisions.  The history and impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 will also be analyzed.

Credits

3

POL 346 : Presidential Speeches

A presidential speech reveals a great deal about the President, the nation and the politics and issues of the day and the general historical context.  What the President chooses to speak about tells us what issues s/he believes are important and what the Executive branch wants us to think is important.  What s/he excludes is equally revealing.  The audience is not just the voting public.  Congress, the federal bureaucracy, state governments, foreign leaders, interest groups and big money contributors, among others, are intended to get overt or covert messages from a speech.  Great care is taken when writing and delivering presidential speeches so that the phrasing, word selection, and rhythm reflect the desired image of the speaker and achieve his/her public policy and political goals.  In this course, students will read, hear and watch Presidential speeches from George Washington to the present and engage in in-depth written analysis of them.  Prerequisite: ENG 101 or HUM 112 or WLD 101

Credits

3

Prerequisites

ENG 101 or HUM 112 or WLD 101

POL 358 : Legislative Process and Management

This course examines and compares state legislatures and Congress. It includes topics on legislatures such as institutions, the legislator, legislative organization, legislative process, house leadership, influence of outside actors, and policy making. The course investigates legislatures because they are at the heart of what it means to be a representative democracy, and they are the first branch of government in a republic based on laws. They are also studied because they are one of the least trusted institutions in America and students will probe the reasons why this is the case.

 

Credits

3

POL 365 : Civil Rights Movement

This course is designed to introduce the student to the historical development and maturation of the movement for civil rights in the United States. It will examine the development of resistance movements and the philosophies of those involved within the movements during ante-bellum, post-Civil War and contemporary times.

Credits

3

POL 401 : Practicum and Research Seminar I

Required of all political science majors, this course enables students to bring together and apply knowledge and research skill acquired in earlier courses. In consultation with their project advisor, students will select, design, research, and write senior thesis, step-by-step. Students practice what they have earned, and learn what they need to do political and policy research.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Senior status, political science or related major

POL 402 : Practicum and Research Seminar II

Required of all Political Science: Law and Government majors, this course is the second part of a two-part course. Together, Practicum and Research Seminars I & II enable students to bring together, apply and use knowledge and research skills acquired in earlier courses. In this second part of the course, students will continue work on their research projects by incorporating into them an experiential element in consultation with their professor.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

POL 402 : Practicum and Research Seminar II

Required of all Political Science: Law and Government majors, this course is the second part of a two-part course. Together, Practicum and Research Seminars I & II enable students to bring together, apply and use knowledge and research skills acquired in earlier courses. In this second part of the course, students will continue work on their research projects by incorporating into them an experiential element in consultation with their professor.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

POL 420 : Environmental Law and Policy

American law has changed in profound ways in response to environmental concerns. Environmental law is no longer dismissible as the fad of a disgruntled minority; it is now the stuff of presidential campaigns. Those entering the world of environmental management/administration (or any field, for that matter) will find themselves subject to numerous laws and government regulations. An acquaintance with these laws and regulations is essential.

 

Credits

3

Prerequisites

POL-218