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Political Science

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

The Department of Political Science at New England College provides students with opportunities to investigate political phenomena ranging from the behavior of the individual citizen to relations among states in the international arena. The program seeks to develop awareness of the moral and ethical implications of political action as well as understanding of political institutions and processes from an empirical perspective. The study of political science emphasizes critical thinking in preparing students for roles as engaged citizens of their community, country, and the world.

The department maintains a strong commitment to the development of students’ writing abilities. Most courses in the department require one or more papers. The senior level seminars require a major paper based on significant independent student research. In addition, each political science major, under the guidance of a faculty member, writes and publicly defends a senior thesis or completes a substantive capstone project.

Requirements to Major in Political Science (120 Credits)

A. Core Courses (20 credits)

  • PO 1010 – Introduction to Political Science
  • PO 1110 – U.S. Politics
  • PO 1510 – International Politics
  • PO 2040 – Research Methods I (2cr)
  • PO 3040 – Research Methods II (2cr)
  • PO 4980 – Senior Thesis (Required of all majors)

B. Political Science Concentrations

American Politics/Pre-Law Concentration (36 credits)

  • PO 2410 – Political Economy or EC 2110 – Macroeconomics or EC 2120 – Microeconomics
  • HS 1130 – Evolution of American Democracy

28 credits from the following:

  • PO 2110 – State and Local Government and Politics
  • PO 2910 – Public Policy Analysis
  • PO 2980 – The New South
  • PO 3110 – The Presidency and the Executive Branch
  • PO 3120 – Congress and the Legislative Process
  • PO/CJ 3130 – Judicial Processes
  • PO 3140 – Campaigns and Elections
  • PO 3410 – Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
  • PO 3430 – Media in Politics (2-4cr)
  • PO 3990 – Topics in Political Science (2-4cr)
  • PO 3990-1 – The Urban Political Experience
  • PO 4310 – Constitutional Law
  • PO 4810 – Directed Study in Political Science (1-4cr)
  • PO 4830 – Independent Study in Politics (1-4cr)
  • PO 4910 – Internship or Experiential Learning (Variable Credit) 
  • International Relations Concentration (36 Credits)
  • HS 1110 – Western Civilization to 1500 or HS 1120 – Western Civilization since 1500
  • PO 2410 – Political Economy or EC 2120 – Microeconomics or  EC 2110 – Macroeconomics

28 credits from the following:

  • PO 2220 – Global Issues (2-4cr)
  • PO/HS 2420 – World Geography
  • PO 3450 – U.S. Foreign Policy (2-4cr)
  • PO 3610 – International Organizations (2-4cr)
  • PO 3580 – International Security (2-4cr)
  • PO 3910 – Terrorism (2-4cr)
  • PO 3990 – Topics in Political Science (2-4cr)
  • PO 4110 – Regional Politics: Africa (2-4cr)
  • PO 4120 – Regional Politics: Asia (2-4cr)
  • PO 4130 – Regional Politics: Europe (2-4cr)
  • PO 4140 – Regional Politics: Latin America (2-4cr)
  • PO 4150 – Regional Politics: Middle East (2-4cr)
  • PO 4510 – Comparative Politics
  • PO 4810 – Directed Study in Politics (1-4cr)
  • PO 4910 – Internship or Experiential Learning (1-4cr)

C. Distribution Courses and Electives

Requirements to Minor in Political Science

  • PO 1010 – Introduction to Political Science
  • PO 1110 – U.S. Politics
  • PO 1510 – International Politics
  • Plus 12 credits from either PO concentration 

Course Descriptions

**All undergraduate courses are 4 credits unless otherwise noted. 

PO 1010 Introduction to Political Science     

This course examines the basic concepts involved in the study of politics. The four classic areas of Political Science are stressed: International Relations, U.S. Politics, Comparative Government, and Political Theory and Methodology. Topics include nature of the state, purpose of government, justice, and the definition and use of power.

PO 1110 U.S. Politics 

Democracy in the U.S. is evaluated through analyses of the major institutions, processes, and policies of the national government. Power, inequality, political culture, social movements, the Constitution, elections, the role of the media, and the parts played by the President, the bureaucracy, the Congress, and the courts are all considered.

PO 1510 International Politics

The international political system and the forces affecting it are evaluated, with emphasis on the role of the nation-state. This course introduces the components of national power: political, economic, social, geographic, and population; and analyses of the aims, purposes, and objectives underlying the foreign policies of the states and the tools, techniques, and strategies used in the promotion of these goals in the international arena.

PO 2040 Research Methods I

This course will be taken by all political science majors in the fall semester of their sophomore year. This class will provide an overview of researching in political science. Students will learn about the scientific method, using the library to do research, citation and bibliography styles, and how to write a book review, an outline, then a literature review. This course will provide all political science students the tools to do research in their upper division political science classes. (2cr)

PO 2110 State and Local Government and Politics     

The organization, structure, and functions of state governments and of municipal, county, town, and other local governments of the United States is examined.

PO 2220 Global Issues

This course will look at the major issues facing the countries of the world today. The issues that will be discussed in detail will include globalization, development, human rights, the environment, weapons proliferation, terrorism, WMD, sweatshops and ethnic conflict. In addition, specific, current examples from every region in the world will be used to understand these issues much better.

PO 2410 Political Economy

This course will discuss the intricate relationship between politics and the economy. The major theories of political economy will be discussed first followed by a discussion of domestic governments and the role they play in the economy. Finally, there will be a discussion of the international economic system and the role states play in trade. 

PO 2420 (HS 2420) World Geography

This course begins with a broad overview of certain physical aspects of geography (world landforms, climates and ecosystems) and of map and globe skills. The course then moves to an examination of the different regions of the world. Attention will be given to customs of the people, urban and rural patterns of settlement, regional economic activities, and political units. Throughout the course relationships between people and their environment will be stressed. A variety of visual aids will be used.

PO 2910 Public Policy Analysis

This course provides an analytical survey of policy formulation and implementation in the United States, together with an examination of the impact of policy upon individuals and groups in American society. Students will examine current public policy issues.

PO 2980 The New South

This course is about the history, politics, culture and economics of the New South. Growing out of the ashes of the Civil War, the New South has evolved from poverty and institutionalized White supremacy through the end of World War II to a civil rights movement which has changed the South forever.

PO 3040 Research Methods II

This course will be taken by all political science majors in the spring semester of their junior year. This course will look at advanced techniques in research as the students start to prepare for their senior thesis course, which they will take in the fall of their senior year. Emphasis will be put on choosing an appropriate topic, advanced research methods (both library and internet research), development of a thesis statement, and methodology in the field of political science. These assignments will be arranged around the students work on their senior thesis. (2cr) 

PO 3110 The Presidency and the Executive Branch

A study of how we select the president; of presidential powers and limitations; the role the chief executive should play in a democracy; and of relations between the presidency and the departments and agencies of the executive branch.  

PO 3120 Congress and the Legislative Process

This course examines the role Congress plays in the government of the United States. How do members of Congress get elected? What work do they do in office, and how do they organize themselves to do it? What role do political parties play? How well or how poorly does Congress represent the will of the people? 

PO 3130 (CJ 3130) Judicial Processes: Courts, Law, and Politics in the U.S.

This course is designed to study the judicial process as an instrument of government and public policy. The role of the judiciary in the administration of justice and the resolution of social and legal conflicts is considered. The political impact of legal cases and court decisions is emphasized. Using a traditional lecture and discussion approach, in-class debates, and analysis of legal cases, the class will explore political jurisprudence; judicial organization; the role of courts; judicial power, decision making, and interpretation; and judicial activism and restraint. State and federal courts will be studied, with focus on the decisions of the United States Supreme Court. 

PO 3140 Campaigns and Elections

This course examines the election process. Students will manage a hypothetical campaign from its inception to a mock election day. The course will focus on relevant electoral issues such as candidates, the media, campaign finance, party politics, and voter turnout.

PO 3410 Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

This course provides an overview of the development, nature, and scope of constitutional protections, and the struggles to apply these protections to groups historically subject to discrimination. The course begins with an examination of the theoretical underpinnings of the American system of civil rights and liberties. This course then examines the role and significance of the Bill of Rights and other civil liberties in the U.S. and traces the efforts of groups to achieve equality.

PO 3430 Media and Politics

The purpose of this course is to examine the influence of the mass media on political discourse, particularly in how media structures, media routines, and the professional practices of journalists and politicians interact to shape political and public decision-making. Additionally, we will examine the influence of political forces and structures upon mass media institutions and discuss the nature of the political audience and public opinion. The course will extend the discussion of mass media and political discourse by examining the topics of the media and political crisis (exemplified by the Persian Gulf War of 1991) and the matter of art and politics.

PO 3450 U.S. Foreign Policy

This course provides student with an opportunity to analyze American foreign policy from the perspectives of both domestic American politics and international relations. Policy with reference to the Soviet Union, the Third World, political and military allies, nuclear and conventional weapons, international organizations and human rights are considered. 

PO 3580 International Security

This course examines international security in a broad context. Beginning with notions of national security and domestic sources of foreign policy, it will expand to include analysis of timely security issues such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missile defense, arms control and disarmament, arms sales, and the military industrial complex.

PO 3610 International Organizations

The emphasis is on the development of international organizations and their proliferation. Entities such as the United Nations and the European Union are included along with other regional organizations, NGO’s, and PVO. 

PO 3910 Terrorism

This course is designed to introduce students to the study of terrorism and its challenges for national security. Students will explore numerous features of the subject including, but not limited to, definitional dilemmas, the origins and evolution of terrorism, tactical and targeting innovation, the psychology and characteristics of terrorist actors, including women, case studies (e.g. Palestine, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Ireland, North America), and counter-terrorism strategies. Both international and domestic terrorist actors will be explored.

PO 3990 Topics in Political Science

Special topics in the study of international or American politics at the advanced level. 

PO 3990-1 The Urban Political Experience

This course will examine the politics and public policy challenges of the urban environment in the U.S. Students will explore urban electoral machines and reform movements; and efforts in urban America to address poverty, economic development and land use planning. 

PO 4110 Regional Politics: Africa     

This course will introduce the student to the basic outlines of government and politics in Africa. The course will consider such topics as colonialism, elites and nationalism, and modernization strategies. Using the comparative approach, the course will primarily focus on Central, East, West, and Southern Africa.

PO 4120 Regional Politics: Asia

This course will introduce students to the historical development of government and politics in Asia. The course will consider such topics as colonialism, nationalism, international economics, and international security. Using the comparative approach, the governments of the major states of Asia will be discussed
as well.

PO 4130 Regional Politics: Europe

This course provides a comparative study of the political systems of selected Western and Eastern European countries. Particular emphasis is placed on European economic and defense institutions as well the European Union.

PO 4140 Regional Politics: Latin America      

This course provides a survey of political characteristics of Latin American systems, including democratic reformism, military authoritarianism, and revolutionary socialism. The course also examines the contemporary problems of fledgling democracies as they cope with economic and debt crises.

PO 4150 Regional Politics: Middle East

A comparative analysis of political systems in the Middle East including the study of contemporary aspects of traditionalism, the political nature of transition, the instruments of political modernization, and evolution and revolution in Middle Eastern States. The course will explore the primary bases of cleavage and confluence and the principal forces that shape the policies and political dynamics of the region.

PO 4310 Constitutional Law

This course is designed to study the Constitution of the United States, including the history of the document, the incorporation of the Bill of Rights, judicial methods and theories of interpretation.

PO 4510 Comparative Politics

The disintegration of the USSR and the end of the Cold War has resulted in a flurry of political activity throughout the world. While some have spoken of the end of history and a possible clash of civilizations, others have marked the Cold War’s end as the beginning of a long peace. This course examines a number of key players in the international arena with an eye to their political institutions, processes and ideologies, and culture and international ambitions.

PO 4810 Directed Study in Politics

Course of study to be arranged between faculty and student in the field of Political Science. Contract required. Variable credit (1-4). 

PO 4830 Independent Study in Politics

Advanced, independent study of a specific topic. Course of study to be arranged with a faculty member. Contract required. Variable credit (1-4). 

PO 4910 Internship/Experiential Learning

An internship program in state, local, national or international government, when available, may be taken by qualified students on a semester, year, or summer basis. Approval of the faculty is required. Contract required. Variable credit.

PO 4980 Senior Thesis

Students have two options in the undertaking of the senior capstone course. Option 1 includes the planning and execution of a major research project demonstrating a thorough understanding and use of research techniques in political analysis, knowledge of relevant literature, sophisticated writing, and research ability under the direction of a political science faculty member. Option 2 includes the planning and execution of a major civic engagement project the scope of which is to be developed in consultation with the instructor of the course. In both cases, students will present their work in a public forum.