Political Science


American Politics

PSC 102 – American Politics
PSC 103 – Contemporary Issues in Public Policy
PSC 208 – Introduction to the Law
PSC 335W – Presidency
PSC 336W – Judicial Behavior and Politics
PSC 337 – Legislative Politics and Political Parties
PSC 355S – Constitutional Law and Politics
PSC 356 – Civil Rights and Liberties

Comparative & International Politics

PSC 110 – Introduction to Comparative Politics
PSC 111 – Global Politics
PSC 112 – Historical Perspectives on the Middle East (also Hist 112)
PSC 312 – Foreign Policy and War
PSC 324S – International Law and Justice
PSC 325 – European Politics
PSC 331 – Democracy and Ethnic Conflict
PSC 395 – Special Topics - Comparative Capitalism

General Courses

PSC 202 - Games People Play (May term, even years)
PSC 258 - Political Analysis
PSC 473 - Seminar in Political Science (Senior Seminar)

Course Descriptions

PSC 102: An introductory course on American politics including topics such as the foundations of the Constitution, federalism, government institutions, public opinion, elections, and the media. Offered every semester.

PSC 103: This course covers the process of policy analysis and change in America. Topics covered include education, criminal justice, social welfare, health care, and the environment. Offered every Fall semester.

PSC 110: This course is an introduction to the analysis and comparison of politics in foreign countries, with an emphasis on topics such as variations in democratic constitutions, democratic stability, political violence, and economic development. Foundations/Social Sciences. Offered every Fall.

PSC 111: An introduction to the political, economic, and security issues that have influenced the development and power of states in the international system. Topics include wars, trade, international organizations, intervention, globalization, human rights, and terrorism. Foundations/Social Sciences. Offered every Spring.

PSC 112: An overview of the historical context of, and current patterns of conflict and cooperation in the Middle East. The class provides essential preparation for participation in the Model Arab League conference every spring, and therefore focuses on the Middle eastern country Centenary students have chosen to represent that year. Combines historical and political material with training in the rules and procedures that govern the Model Arab League. Offered every Spring.

PSC 202: An active and intensive introduction to game theory in the social sciences and the use of games to analyze political, social, and economic interactions. This immersive course includes class meetings and daily "labs" in which games are played, analyzed, and applied to real world events. Challenge/Social Science/Expanding our Circle. Offered in May term of even years.

PSC 208: An interdisciplinary examination of the law, legal change, criminal justice, the roles of lawyers and juries, and the American judicial system. Special attention is also given to conducting legal research. This course satisfies the career component of Trek. Offered Fall semesters of odd years.

PSC 312: This class surveys the origins and consequences of US policy toward other countries and the international system, focusing on patterns of inter-state war, military intervention, terrorism, peacemaking, and conflict prevention. It covers the options and tools available to political leaders, the influence of domestic politics on foreign policy decisions, and successes and failures of US policy. Prerequisite: PSC 111 or professor’s permission. Challenge/Social Science/Expanding our Circle. Offered Fall of odd years.

PSC 324S: An introduction to the basic principles of public international law and the functions of international organizations such as the United Nations and the International Criminal Court. After an overview of the main areas and functions of international law, the course examines the possibilities, obstacles, and politics of international law by focusing intensively on international tools of human rights enforcement and transitional justice. Specific topics include transnational organizations, international NGOs, international criminal tribunals, truth commissions, universal jurisdiction, and state sovereignty. Offered Spring of odd years.

PSC 325: This class approaches European politics from two perspectives. First is the analysis and comparison of European political systems, patterns, and conflicts, such as parliamentary systems, political economy, varieties of democracy, citizenship, and immigration. Second is the European Union, including its supranational structures, political and economic consequences of the Euro, and tensions with member states. Prerequisite: PSC 110, PSC 111, or professor’s permission. Foundations/Social Sciences. Offered Spring of even years.

PSC 331: An investigation two of the most important sources of collective identity and conflict in the world today: nationalism and ethnicity. What is the connection between nationalism and democracy? What are nations and why can nationalism be a significant political problem, particularly for democracies? What are ethnic groups, what is ethnic conflict, and what causes it to become violent? Topics include theories of nationalism and ethnicity, links between nationalism, ethnicity, and democratic success, and political mechanisms for managing or resolving these conflicts. Examples come from Europe, India, Africa, and the Middle East. Challenge/Social Sciences/Expanding Our Circle. Offered Fall of even years.

PSC 335W: This course focuses on the role of the presidency in the American political system, the evolution of the presidency, relationships between the president and Congress, and the president’s involvement in crafting public policy. Offered Fall semesters of even years.

PSC 336W: How do judges make their decisions? What impact do these decisions have? What is the role of the judiciary in the American political system? These questions are addressed with special attention on the Supreme Court in addition to lower federal courts. Offered Fall semesters of even years.

PSC 337: The influences of political parties and legislative institutions on the American political system are examined throughout the nation’s history. Special attention is given to the development and evolution of political parties, partisanship in elections, party leadership in Congress, and legislative coalition building. Offered Spring semesters of odd years.

PSC 355S: A reading of Supreme Court decisions sheds light on the Constitutional arrangement of the American government. Topics include federalism, separation of powers, the commerce clause, and taxing and spending powers. Offered Fall semesters of odd years.

PSC 356: The Constitutional protections of civil liberties and civil rights are analyzed through an examination of Supreme Court decisions. Topics include freedoms of speech, religion and the press, racial and gender equality, the right to privacy, and the rights of criminal defendants. Offered Spring semesters of even years.

PSC 395 - Comparative Capitalism: This new course covers different forms of political economy, or patterns of relationships between states and the economy. It concentrates on differences among democratic, capitalist countries in Europe, Japan, and the United States, and also covers capitalist systems in poorer, developing countries. Topics covered include welfare systems, government coordination with and regulation of businesses and workers, and different strategies to bring about growth, stability, and equality. Offered Fall of even years.