Political Science Courses
POL 203 Human Geography (GE) (3)
An introductory survey of the central ideas in human geography, including spatial analysis of agricultural and industrial location; modernization and development; geography of language; urban geography, political geography, and humanistic approaches place and geographical space. Lessons and assignments also introduce students to economic, demographic, and social indicators and to descriptive statistics. No pre-requisite.
POL 210 Western Political Heritage I (GE) (3)
An introduction to ancient political thought in the West through a study of Plato’s Republic and its historical and intellectual context. Readings include other texts by Hesiod, Sophocles, Aristotle, and Thucydides. No prerequisite.
POL 215 Western Political Heritage II (GE) (3)
An introduction to modern political thought, through a study of the history and intellectual influences on the French Revolution. Texts include readings by Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Rousseau, as well as primary and secondary sources on the French Revolution. No prerequisite.
POL 223 American Government and Politics (GE) (3)
An introduction to the political history and political institutions of the United States of America, as well as the most important normative and social-scientific questions concerning the American regime. Readings include classic texts in American politics and American political thought, as well as an introductory text in American politics. No prerequisite.
POL 233 Comparative Politics (GE) (3)
An introduction to some of the most important concepts and theoretical approaches in political science, along with a comparative examination of the historical and contemporary politics of several countries. Examples are drawn from Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia, with emphasis on the structure, functions, and operations of the political systems in each selected country. Pre-requisite: POL 203.
POL 243 International Politics (GE) (3)
An introduction to some of the most important concepts and theories in international relations, including theories of war and conflict, the practice of diplomacy, and the study of international law, international organizations, and international political economy. This course also includes a survey of the history of international relations in the past two centuries. Pre-requisite: POL 203 or POL 233.
POL 275R Topics in Politics (1)
POL 315R Topics in Political Theory (3)
A course in political theory designed for junior and senior politics majors, or other students who have completed the core offerings in philosophy or politics. Likely subjects include American political thought, the idea of freedom, Christian political theology, political ideology, and contemporary political theory. Prerequisite: LIB 110, POL 210, or POL 215.
POL 321 Public Policy Process and Analysis (3)
A course that examines the process of policy formation, including agenda setting, policy advocacy, and interaction between elected officials and government bureaucracies. The course also introduces students to the principles and methods of public policy analysis. Prerequisites: POL 223 American Government and Politics, ECN 210 Microeconomics, and MAT 221 Statistics/BUS 221 Business Statistics.
POL 322R Practicum in Public Policy Process and Analysis (1)
A collaborative practicum in public policy, which applies the methods of public policy analysis to contemporary policy questions. May be taken up to two times. Prerequisite: POL 321.
POL 325R Topics in American Politics (3)
A 300-level course in American politics, designed for junior and senior politics majors, or other students who have completed POL 223. Likely topics include Congress, the Presidency, state and local politics, Virginia politics, and American federalism. Prerequisite: POL 223.
POL 334 Theory and Practice of Democracy (3)
A study in democratic theory, from the perspective of political theory and comparative politics. Topics include the concept of democratic rule, citizenship, deliberative democracy, democratization, and democratic decay. Prerequisite: POL 233.
POL 335R Topics in Comparative Politics (3)
POL 336 Political Economy (3)
A study of contemporary politics using a variety of economic factors—economic development, inequality, sectoral composition of the economy, and class structure—as independent variables. Readings include classic texts by Tocqueville, Marx, Pareto, and Polanyi, as well as contemporary research. Pre-requisite: POL 203.
POL 337 Social Movements (3)
A comparative study of social movements. Readings and assignments will: explore the role of social movements in democratic politics; explain the success and failure of revolutionary movements; and describe the impact of ideas, resources, organizations, and leadership on social movement success. Pre-requisite: POL 203.
POL 338 Religion and Politics (3)
A comparative study of religious organizations, movements, identities, and ideas in contemporary politics. Includes introductory readings in the social scientific study of religion, including theories of secularization and religious changes. Cases will be drawn from Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism, as well as other faith traditions. No pre-requisite.
POL 339 Civil Wars and Revolutions (3)
A study of violent conflicts that lead to state breakdown and regime change, which also examines less violent forms of regime change, focusing on contemporary cases and other examples from the past 100 years. Course topics include the causes and consequences of civil war; international causes of regime change; and transitions to and from democracy. Pre-requisite: POL 233.
POL 350 Political Philosophy (3)
POL 363 Constitutional Law (3)
An introduction to powers and rights in the United States Constitution, studying the Constitution’s history, development, and provisions. Course readings include the Supreme Court decisions, especially focused on contemporary issues. Prerequisite: POL 223.
POL 365R Topics in Law and the Judiciary (3)
A course designed for junior and senior politics majors, pre-law students, as well as other interested students who have completed core curriculum requirements, as well as POL 223. Likely topics include the American judiciary, civil rights law, comparative constitutional law, and constitutional law in historical perspective. Prerequisite: POL 223.
POL 366 Law and the Constitution: Pre-Law Seminar (2)
A survey of important questions in the study of U.S. law and the constitution, especially designed for students preparing for legal studies. The first in a two-semester sequence, followed by POL 368. No pre-requisite.
POL 368 Intro to the Study and Practice of Law (1)
A course introducing students to preparing for law school, applying to law school, legal studies, and practicing the law in the United States. The second in a two-semester sequence, preceded by POL 366. No pre-requisite.
POL 375R Topics in Politics (3)
Topics in politics. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
POL 385R Directed Study in Politics (3)
Directed study in politics. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
POL 399 Internship/Practicum in Politics (3)
Prerequisite: Consent of the Instructor
POL 475R Topics in Politics (3)
POL 498 Politics Senior Paper (1)
POL 499 Internship/Practicum in Politics (3)
Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor.