Political Science (PSCI)
George Xuezhi Guo, Lincoln Financial Professor, Chair
Maria Rosales, Provost and Professor
Kenneth E. Gilmore, Professor
The Department of Political Science prepares students for engaged citizenship. “Engaged citizenship” in this context means not merely to understand or to manage the effects of political events and governmental actions on society, but also to evaluate and seek to shape them. We do this by providing our students with the knowledge, intellectual and practical skills, values and experiences necessary to fulfill their responsibilities as members of an effective and diverse civil society. More specifically, the department sets the following goals for the A.B. degree in political science: to provide a skills-based education for citizenship, government employment and public service; to provide politically literate students the tools with which to influence their communities through public service and socially beneficial work; to train future governmental leaders and employees; and to prepare students for successful graduate work.
The Bachelor of Arts degree is offered in political science.
Departmental Honors in Political Science
Majors must enroll in PSCI 465 Senior Independent Project or PSCI 470 Senior Thesis. Upon completion of PSCI 470, students may petition the department to grant Departmental Honors (PSCI 490). Requirements for Departmental Honors include: a grade-point average of 3.5 or better in the discipline and a 3.0 or higher cumulative grade point average. Departmental Honors requires extensive reading in a selected area of the discipline and submission of a 50-60 page thesis that includes: a) substantial scholarly literature review; b) proposed research methodology; c) type of analysis; d) schedule; and e) an explanation of how this project will contribute to the body of knowledge. The honors program culminates in an oral examination evaluated by three members of the faculty, two of whom must be from the department, and an outside examiner. Students interested in pursuing Departmental Honors must consult with the department in the student’s junior year in order to develop an approved proposal (generally spring semester, junior year). Students pursuing a Senior Thesis or Departmental Honors may then successfully complete a PSCI 460 Independent Study in the fall semester of the student’s senior year, which will serve as a research semester in preparation for writing a senior thesis or honors thesis in spring semester of the student’s senior year.
Internships and Independent Study
Students may apply only up to two courses (6-8 credits) from any internship, independent study or teaching assistantship toward the major. These credits may not fulfill the two 300-level course requirements for the major. Many students elect to do an internship or independent study related to their political science studies. Students may participate in internships located in Greensboro, such as private law offices and local government agencies. Students may also elect to participate in The Washington Center or The Capitol Experience internship programs in Washington, D.C., or state- based internship programs such as the Institute of Government and the North Carolina Government programs. We strongly encourage students to engage in internships. Students interested in pursuing an internship or independent study must obtain approval of a full-time faculty member of the department to serve as a sponsor. Approval of internships or independent studies is at the discretion of the departmental faculty.
In order to qualify for an internship, students must have: a) completed at least two of the five core courses; b) a 3.0 or better grade-point average within the department, and c) submitted a one-page proposal for the instructor’s approval to include: 1) learning objectives, 2) check points, 3) evaluation criteria and 4) schedule. Requirements for completing an internship include: five-20 pages of writing (depending upon the number of credits) of the internship that address the learning objectives listed in the proposal and that conform to the standards and conventions of the discipline. Students are responsible for meeting all deadlines and submitting all paperwork for an internship on time; failure to do so will result in a failing grade for the internship.
Independent Study Requirements
In order to qualify for an independent study (including teaching and research assistant positions), students must have at a minimum: a) completed five core courses; b) a 3.0 or better grade-point average within the department. Requirements for completing an independent study include: five-20 pages of writing (depending upon the number of credits allowed) that conform to the standards and conventions of the discipline or appropriate alternative work as determined by the professor. Students are responsible for meeting all deadlines and submitting all paperwork for an independent study on time; failure to do so will result in a failing grade for the independent study.
Accepting AP Credits
Incoming political science majors who have a score of 4 or higher on the Advanced Placement Test for American Government or Comparative Government & Politics are given credit for having taken PSCI 101 The American Political System or PSCI 105 Comparative Politics, respectively.
An introductory course designed to explain the basic processes and issues of the American political system. A particular emphasis will be placed on citizenship and public participation within a democracy. Fulfills social science requirement (1998). Social/behavioral science (2019).
An introductory course designed to provide the basic theoretical tools and frameworks of analysis for understanding the behavior of states and other actors in the international system. Topics include the use of force,U.S. foreign policy, the causes of war and peace, the global political economy and resource and environmental issues. Fulfills social science requirement (1998). Social/behavioral science (2019).
An introductory course designed to introduce students to the methods and approaches to comparative analysis and apply them to the study of ideologies, political behaviors, social movements and revolutions, political economy and political regimes that have played a role in the formation of the contemporary world. Fulfills social science and intercultural requirements (1998). Social/behavioral science and sociocultural engagement requirements (2019).
An introductory course designed to critically analyze great works that reflect the fundamental themes and assumptions of Western political thought. It focuses on the concepts, principles, and values used to explain and evaluate political life. Fulfills social science and social justice/environmental responsibility requirements (1998). Social/behavioral science and evaluating systems and environments requirements (2019).
A recent topic offered is Global Inequality, an interdisciplinary exploration of the relationship between economic development and income equality. This course examines the various explanations for the gap between rich and poor countries in the international system, as well as income inequality within specific developing countries. May also be offered at 250, 350 and 450 levels.
A 3-week simulation-based introductory-course that emphasizes active engagement, collaborative learning, and public presentation. This course examines the core concepts, theories, and issues in the field of comparative relations among countries. Topics include: comparative analysis of democracies and democratization, revolution, dictatorship, development, cultural and social movements, representation and accountability, institutions of governance, political economy, and ethnicity and ethnic conflict. Particular attention is paid to the thematic similarities and differences among the diverse set of countries around the world. Fulfills social science and intercultural requirements (1998). Social/behavioral science and sociocultural engagement requirements (2019).
An examination of the public policy process, including policy formulation, implementation and analysis. Attention will be paid to the issues of leadership, finance and personnel administration in government and nonprofit organizations. Fulfills social science requirement (1998). Social/behavioral science requirement (2019).
Examines issues and challenges relating to democracy and democratization in a variety of historical and contemporary settings across the world. The course uses the basic principles, theories, conceptual tools and comparative methods of political science to understand the underlying drivers of democratization and the various paths that countries go through on the road to democracy. Fulfills social science and intercultural requirements (1998). Social/behavioral science and sociocultural engagement requirements (2019).
This course examines the origins, evolution, and organizations of the U.S. Intelligence community, their success and failures, their impact on American society, and their importance to our national security. Prerequisite: ENGL 102. Fulfills historical perspectives and intercultural requirements (1998). Historical perspectives and sociocultural engagement requirements (2019).
An introduction to the political systems of East Asian countries. While examining a broad background of history and culture in comparative perspective about East Asian countries and its influence on shaping contemporary political systems, this course investigates political culture, political institutions and processes, and the impact of modernization, ideology, the role of political elites and social dynamics. Fulfills intercultural requirement (1998). Sociocultural engagement requirement (2019).
This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of African governments and their policies and of the relationship of Africa with the rest of the world. Fulfills intercultural requirement (1998). Sociocultural engagement requirement (2019).
An examination of the office of the presidency, including its constitutional and political underpinnings; the selection process; presidential policymaking; relationships to other branches of government and the public; and participation in foreign affairs.
An examination of a range of expositions of the moral foundations of American politics. This course uses these primary texts, along with writings about these texts and the political situations in which they were written, to think about the development of U.S. political cultures. Fulfills social science requirement (1998). Social/behavioral science requirement (2019).
Examines the relationships between local, state and federal governments,organization, and major institutional players, as well as the major issues facing municipal governments. Various state and local government officials will share their perspectives with the class.
May also be offered at 360 and 460 levels. Reading programs, tutorials or field projects arranged between a student and a faculty member; schedules and nature of the work to be accomplished at the discretion of the instructor. For a complete list of prerequisites, please see the detailed independent study description under major.
Examines terrorism committed by groups within the continental U.S. to include their organization, motivation, tactics and weapons – including weapons of mass destruction. Also examined are the government’s efforts to combat terrorism to include challenges to Constitutional rights and freedoms. Fulfills social justice/environmental responsibility requirement (1998). Evaluating systems and environments requirement (2019).
Examines political, religious, cultural, criminal and state-sponsored terrorism from a global perspective to include motivations, weapons and tactics as well as the response to terrorist violence by the international community and national governments. Fulfills social justice/environmental responsibility requirement (1998). Evaluating systems and environments requirement (2019).
An introduction to international relations among Asian countries. This course examines how domestic politics, political culture, history and social changes in these countries shape, and how they are shaped by, international politics in the region. Particular emphasis on the dynamics of great power relations and Cold War and post-Cold War competition in Asia. Fulfills intercultural requirement (1998). Sociocultural engagement requirement (2019)..
Recommended for all majors. Details to be arranged between a student and a faculty member; schedules and nature of the work to be accomplished at the discretion of the instructor. For a complete list of prerequisites, please see the detailed internship description under major.
This upper-level, writing-intensive course provides an opportunity to critically examine the role of gender in politics. Many still consider politics to be a gender-divided world. To be discussed are the ways that people use gendered categories to make political decisions, as well as the ways that gender intersects with other major political categories such as race, class and sexuality. Fulfills social justice/environmental responsibility requirement (1998). Evaluating systems and environments requirement (2019).
Examines Chinese political history, political ideology, political institutions, political processes as well as some key issues in Chinese politics, providing a comprehensive introduction to developments since the Communist revolution Fulfills intercultural requirement (1998). Sociocultural engagement requirement (2019).
Examines China’s contemporary international relations and the major military, political and economic elements of Chinese foreign policy in the context of their development since 1949. Fulfills intercultural requirement (1998). Sociocultural engagement requirement (2019).
Studies the way in which some of the most celebrated features of American government became either settled questions or continue to be debated today. Topics examined include the proper balance between governmental branches, the relationship between citizens and their representatives, the key role of elections in American politics and the contentious role of democracy in American political life. Fulfills social justice/environmental responsibility requirement (1998). Evaluating systems and environments requirement (2019).
This course examines the complex dialogue between nature and politics in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th century. It will focus on the complicated links between material circumstances, ideas and politics, which affected the physical context of the American environment and the changing experience of American life. Fulfills social justice/environmental responsibility requirement (1998). Evaluating systems and environments requirement (2019).
Examines the complex emergence of the American environmental movement as a response to the historical, political and socio-economic patterns following World War II. Students will analyze environmental policies in response to specific and varied problems such as pollution, species protection, urban sprawl and management of national parks. Fulfills social justice/environmental responsibility requirement (1998). Evaluating systems and environments requirement (2019).
Over the last three decades, Americans have grown increasingly unequal in terms of income and wealth. At the same time, it has become increasingly hard for less-well off American to "live the American Dream" by moving up the economic ladder. This course asks: What does economic inequality look like in the US? What are its causes and social consequences? How does it impact the quality of American democracy, and what can we do about it? Fulfills social justice/environmental responsibility requirement (1998). Evaluating systems and environments requirement (2019).
An exploration of competing explanations for the changing relationship between political and economic power in international relations. Substantively, the course focuses on trade, finance, investment and debt and development issues. Fulfills social science requirement (1998). Social/behavioral science requirement (2019).
4. Examines the historical context of U.S. foreign policy since World War II: the Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, collapse of the U.S.S.R., post-9/11; the individuals, institutions and processes involved in making and implementing foreign policy; and contemporary foreign policy issues and challenges – e.g., Middle East conflict, terrorism, WMD, nuclear proliferation, covert action, peacekeeping, democratization, human rights and globalization.
4. The aim of this course is to gain a better understanding of the conditions and processes that lead to international war and peace. This will be accomplished through a combination of theoretical and historical analysis.
4. Examines a series of political controversies in which at least one – and usually more than one – side makes a claim on the basis of rights. Controversies examined include property rights, First Amendment rights, rights in times of crisis, the rights of the accused and the right to vote as well as rights-based assertions on behalf of the disabled, women and the unborn. Fulfills social justice/environmental responsibility requirement.
4 Examines several theories about race and ethnicity. Among these theories are ideas about how race and ethnicity shape our political identities. The goal of the course is to use a variety of theories and methodologies in order to develop a critical understanding of the complexities of race and ethnicity, with an emphasis on race and ethnicity in the United States. Fulfills diversity in the U.S. requirement.
4. This writing-intensive, upper-level course is an exploration of the theoretical and actual connections between violence and politics. After a brief foray into political psychology, we will examine and critique the views of several political theorists. We will end the class by analyzing specific violent events in light of these theories. Fulfills social justice/environmental responsibility requirement.
4. An examination of the evolution of American homeland security policy especially since the end of the Cold War. Emphasis is on identification of threats and adversaries, major decision-makers and policy formulation, implementers of homeland security (intelligence agencies, Defense Department), policy evaluation, and strategies for the 21st century.
4. Analyzes the impact of trade, financial flows, technology and regional integration on the domestic politics of advanced and emerging countries. Case studies include the European Union and western European states, the United States, Japan and Brazil.
1-4. Reading and discussion of recent contributions to political science.
4. Reading programs, tutorials, or field projects arranged between a student and a faculty member; schedules and nature of the work to be accomplished at the discretion of the instructor. For a complete list of prerequisites, please see the detailed independent study description under major. Also offered at the 260 and 360 levels.
4. Serves as a departmental independent study pass/fail capstone course. Majors must complete a major independent project/research proposal on an agreed upon topic as directed by a faculty member. This course is intended to foster students’ integration and synthesis of the discipline, further develop and assess student competencies and problem-solving skills, and enhance students’ preparation for careers and postgraduate education. Prerequisite: PSCI 230 or PSCI 455.
4. Recommended for all students planning to enter graduate school. Proposal must be presented to and approved by the department chair in the semester prior to enrolling. Thesis must include: a) literature review; b) proposed methodology; c) schedule; d) an explanation of how this project will contribute to the existing body of political science knowledge. Course culminates in a pass/fail oral examination evaluated by three members of the faculty, two of whom must be from the department and one from outside the department.
4. For a complete list of prerequisites, please see the detailed departmental honors description under major. Prerequisite: PSCI 230 and a specific PSCI 460 the previous semester.