Political Science is the study of power, justice, liberty, and order, whether locally, nationally, or internationally. How can we best organize our common life together? What systems allow us to flourish? Americans are still working out the answers to such questions, whether in terms of the president’s latest foreign policy, a decision by the local board of education to close a neighborhood school, efforts to alleviate world hunger, or the deeper questions of political philosophy.
Political science courses are concerned with such topics as Christian political values; the place of the individual in relation to larger organizations; the ways governments make and administer policies; comparative government, foreign policy, and international relations; and contemporary political ideologies.
The Political Science department offers three majors and two minors. The Political Science major equips students to answer the questions above. Business and Political Science adds the tools of economics and the business world. International Relations adds a multidisciplinary focus on the international system. Our minor in Sociology allows students to delve more deeply into human interactions in systems and community. Our Political Science minor complements other majors throughout the university.
The aim throughout is to enable students to function more effectively within the complexities of the modern world by providing a broad competence in terms of knowledge and how to use it, and by giving careful attention to the spiritual values implicit in most political choices. Political science and sociology courses stress developing the operational, analytic, and imaginative skills required for success in virtually all areas of modern society, including business, law, government, education, and ministry, and for responsible Christian citizenship in today’s world.
Special Study Opportunities
All students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of at least one special study opportunity as part of their major or minor, such as:
- American Studies Program in Washington, D.C.
- Guatemala Term
- Latin American Studies Program
- Spain Term
- Other off-campus study opportunities (interim, fall or spring semester, or full year)
- Internships (Minnesota State Legislature, local government, political campaigns, or interest groups)
Majors in Political Science
ANT 200U • Introduction to Anthropology 3 Credits.
Study of humankind with an emphasis on human social and cultural systems. Focus on one non-Western culture in anthropological perspective. Study of the discipline, methods, and theories of anthropology.
Prerequisites: GES 130 or GES 244 (may be taken concurrently). Offered: Fall.
POS 100 • American Politics and Government 3 Credits.
Structure and workings of major parts of the United States national government, such as the Constitution, the presidency, Congress, the courts, the electoral process, and others. How these institutions help Americans deal with significant current issues.
Offered: Fall, Spring.
POS 202U • Introduction to International Relations 3 Credits.
How governments interact to further their different political, military, and economic interests; basic factors affecting international cooperation and conflict; topics such as summit meetings, terrorism, arms control, and food and energy resources distribution; one or more international crisis simulation exercises.
Prerequisites: Second-semester freshman standing or higher; GES 130 (may be taken concurrently) or GES 244 (may be taken concurrently). Offered: Fall, Spring.
POS 205 • Introduction to Comparative Politics 3 Credits.
An introduction to the subfield of Comparative Politics with special emphasis on the nature, history, and development of political regimes. Systems to be covered include Western democracies, communist and post-communist states, military dictatorships, and politically developing states.
POS 211 • The Political Quest 3 Credits.
Major problems of politics and international relations, such as the proper goals of political life, the nature of justice, and the role of the state. Methods of inquiry. Development of the student’s personal political stance and its relation to his or her maturing faith.
Prerequisites: One political science course. Offered: Fall, odd # years, Spring.
POS 216L • American Constitutional History 3 Credits.
Examination of the origins and development of American constitutional ideas and institutions from the colonial period to the present. Particular attention paid to the historical connections between major constitutional cases and broader social, political, economic, and cultural trends.
Prerequisites: GES 130; GES 160 (may be taken concurrently) or GES 244 (may be taken concurrently). Offered: Interim or Spring. Special Notes: Carries cross-credit in history.
POS 219L • Public Leadership 3 Credits.
Principles of public leadership and challenges for leaders to meet in the modern age; American experiences with leaders in various roles.
Prerequisites: GES 130; GES 160 (may be taken concurrently) or GES 244 (may be taken concurrently). Offered: Occasionally.
POS 221L • American Political Ideologies 3 Credits.
Major modern American ideologies. Anarchism, conservatism, democratic liberalism, fascism, gender and ethnic, liberation theology, and socialism politics. Christian interfaces with various political theories.
Prerequisites: GES 130; GES 160 (may be taken concurrently) or GES 244 (may be taken concurrently). Offered: Occasionally Interim, Spring.
POS 230L • Politics and Religion in the United States 3 Credits.
Examines the historical and contemporary relationship between religion and politics in the United States. Divisions and political affiliations of various religious communities are considered alongside discussion of secularism, pluralism, and civil religion in America.
Prerequisites: [GES 130; GES 160] or GES 244 (may be taken concurrently). Offered: Interim, Occasionally spring. Special Notes: Carries cross-credit in religious studies.
POS 241L • Revolution and Political Development 3 Credits.
Theory and process of modernization, with special emphasis on the Anglo-American historical experience; examinations of U.S. efforts to promote democracy internationally in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East since World War II.
Prerequisites: GES 130; GES 160 (may be taken concurrently) or GES 244 (may be taken concurrently). Offered: Occasionally interim. Special Notes: Carries cross-credit in history.
POS 250 • Political Science Practicum 1 Credit.
In consultation with the Political Science department, students select an off campus program of academic study. Students create a presentation to share their experiences in a colloquium with other International Relations, Political Science, and Business and Political Science majors. Integrates off campus experiences with curricular learning experiences..
Prerequisites: One POS course; consent of the Political Science department; Major in International Relations, Business and Political Sciences, Political Science, or minor in Political Science. Special Notes: Graded on an S/U basis. Offered: Spring.
POS 252L • History and Politics of Sports 3 Credits.
The history of sports in the modern era, with particular attention paid to sports' connections to international politics and public policy and to sports as a mirror for the history of race, gender, education, business, labor, and religion in the United States.
Prerequisites: GES 130; GES 160 or GES 244. Offered: Spring, even # years. Special Notes: This course carries cross-credit in history.
POS 304 • Political Parties 3 Credits.
Examines the role of political parties and elections in democratic political systems, focusing on the electoral process, political parties, and citizen participation. Uses the American case as the first large-scale democratic system to examine a number of other electoral systems from the developed and developing worlds.
Prerequisites: Open to sophomores with consent of instructor; POS 100 recommended. Offered: Fall, even # years.
POS 305G • The Cold War 3 Credits.
The Cold War as an event in international history, studied from the perspective of the United States, the Soviet Union, China, Europe, and the Third World. Introduces students to ongoing historical debates and to the sources historians use in those debates (including declassified documents available online).
Prerequisites: [GES 130; GES 160; Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L) course; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 244; World Cultures (U) course]. Offered: Spring, odd # years. Special Notes: Carries cross-credit in history.
POS 306 • Public Administration 3 Credits.
How public policy is put into effect through the administrative agencies of government and the problems in management of such agencies and their relations with the public.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing. Offered: Spring. Special Notes: Carries cross-credit in business. Special Notes: POS 100 is a recommended prerequisite.
POS 310 • American Foreign Relations 3 Credits.
Development of United States foreign policy since the Nixon administration, with particular attention paid to contemporary issues, long-range historical trends, and the ways in which foreign policy is formulated and carried out.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing with consent of instructor. Offered: Fall, even # years. Special Notes: POS 100 and POS 202U are recommended prerequisites.
POS 313G • Globalization and International Institutions 3 Credits.
Examination of the processes, institutions, relationships, and dynamic trends in the international system. Attention is given to the creation or maintenance of international economic systems and international organizations as they address emerging or enduring problems of world politics. Key international institutions.
Prerequisites: [GES 130; GES 160; Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L) course; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 244; World Cultures (U) course]. Offered: Spring, even # years. Special Notes: Recommended prerequisite POS 202U.
POS 315 • The Politics of Terrorism and Counterterrorism 3 Credits.
Analysis of terror and terrorism, both historically and contemporaneously, through study of the political psychology of terrorists and terrorist groups, the tactics of terror, and the complex relationship between terror and states. Special attention paid to the motivations for terror and the effect of religion on terrorism as a political strategy.
Prerequisites: POS 202U. Offered: Spring, odd # years.
POS 317 • Political Psychology 3 Credits.
Political psychology is concerned with the causes, dynamics, and consequences of human thinking and action in the context of politics. This field survey covers the psychology of decision making, political attitude formation, public opinion, personality and emotions, intergroup relations, ideology, and the role of mass media in politics.
Prerequisites: One political science course. Offered: Fall, odd # years. Special Notes: Carries cross-credit in psychology.
POS 321 • Contemporary Democracies 3 Credits.
The meaning of democracy in theory and practice throughout history and in the modern political systems of Great Britain, Japan, and Mexico. Independent research in other democratic systems.
Offered: Fall, odd # years. Special Notes: POS 100 or POS 211 are recommended prerequisites.
POS 324G • Human Rights in International History 3 Credits.
International and comparative exploration of how human rights have been defined, violated, and protected. Historical topics (e.g., abolition of the slave trade, social reform and Christian missions, genocides of the 20th century) as well as contemporary issues. Includes a service-learning project.
Prerequisites: [GES 130; GES 160; Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L) course; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 244; World Cultures (U) course]. Special Notes: Carries cross-credit in history. Offered: Occasionally.
POS 325 • Political Communication 3 Credits.
Analysis of the theoretical background behind political communication from a public speaking and media perspective. Attention to decision-making skills required in political campaigns. Discussion of advanced persuasive campaign theory.
Prerequisites: COM 110 or POS 100, or Consent of instructor. Offered: Occasionally interim. Special Notes: Carries cross-credit in communication studies.
POS 329 • African Politics 3 Credits.
Consideration of political development in Africa from the pre-colonial era through the present, focusing on changes in political regimes through time, the nature of economic struggles, and sources of violent conflict.
Offered: Spring. Special Notes: POS 202U or POS 205 recommended. Carries cross-credit in history.
POS 330K • Science, Values, and the Making of Environmental Policy 3 Credits.
What role do citizens and experts play in the public policy process? Do people approach scientific evidence with competing value perspectives? These questions are examined in order to understand the interplay among key people, institutions, values, and power that is present in a series of environmental policy case studies.
Prerequisites: Laboratory Science (D) course; Mathematics (M) course. Offered: Fall, even # years. Special Notes: Carries cross-credit in environmental science.
POS 340 • American Political Institutions 3 Credits.
Examination of the U.S. Congress, Supreme Court, and presidency, with attention to the effects of institutions on the democratic and policy processes. Consideration of political science research on political institutions and contemporary issues facing them.
Prerequisites: POS 100 or consent of instructor. Offered: Fall, even # years.
POS 342 • American Public Policy 3 Credits.
Examination of public policy-the result of government action-through consideration of the policy process, policy design, and current status of American public policy. Special attention devoted to social policy with student investigation and research in public policy.
Prerequisites: POS 100 or consent of instructor. Offered: Spring, even # years.
POS 345 • Modern Political Thought 3 Credits.
Examination and consideration of selected political thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Arendt, Berlin, Foucault, Freud, Kuyper, Mouw, Nietzsche, Rawls, Yoder, and others. Concentrates on primary sources and Christian responses to the “end of political theory” in the 20th century.
Prerequisites: One course in political science, philosophy, Western history, or consent of instructor. Offered: Spring, odd # years.
POS 356 • Modern Middle East 4 Credits.
Political, social, religious, economic, and cultural history of the Middle East since 1800. Particular attention is paid to colonialism, globalization, war, gender roles, revolution, and reform. Controversies such as the Arab/Israeli conflict, the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and the U.S. war on terror are discussed.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing. Offered: Fall. Special Notes: Carries cross-credit in history.
POS 360 • Classics in Western Political Philosophy 4 Credits.
Selected political theorists. Such writers as Aristotle, Calvin, early Christian writers, Locke, Luther, Machiavelli, Marx, Niebuhr, and Plato. Concentrates on primary sources.
Prerequisites: One course in political science, philosophy, or European history. Offered: Fall, odd # years. Special Notes: Carries cross-credit in philosophy and history.
POS 410 • Topics in Political Science 3 Credits.
Intensive study of a specialized topic in political science. The topic to be studied and the subfield of the course are announced prior to the relevant registration period.
Prerequisites: Junior standing; two courses in political science. Repeatable course Students may repeat the course for credit provided a different topic is covered. Offered: Occasionally.
POS 481 • Internship in Political Science 1-4 Credits.
An off-campus working experience in a government agency or political organization under appropriate supervision. Placement is individually arranged with the Political Science department.
Prerequisites: Consent of department chairperson. Offered: Fall, Spring.
POS 499 • Senior Seminar 4 Credits.
Advanced research and analysis in selected problems and value questions in political science.
Prerequisites: POS 211; Senior standing or consent of instructor. Offered: Fall, Spring.
SOC 101 • Introduction to Sociology 3 Credits.
Major concepts, theories, methodologies, findings, controversies, and history of sociology. Contributions of sociology to Christian life and thought.
Offered: Fall, Spring.
SOC 205 • Introduction to Global Social Problems 3 Credits.
Introduction to global awareness and citizenship. Analyzes social problems and challenges facing the world, including the United States, with a view to action. Emphasizes interaction between global and local issues, and how solutions require broad cooperation. Topics may include education, energy, gender, health, population, social class, technology, urbanization, and work.
Prerequisites: GES 130; GES 160 or GES 244. Offered: Interim 2020, 2021.
SOC 229U • Interaction with Urban Life and Systems 3 Credits.
Experientially based introduction to the religious, ethnic, and economic diversity of urban life. Formal and informal interrelationships in the urban environment and various models for approaching urban ministry. Intensive study of and interaction with a specific cultural group that lies outside the majority culture(s) found in North America.
Prerequisites: GES 130 (may be taken concurrently) or GES 244 (may be taken concurrently). Offered: Interim.
SOC 240 • Socioeconomic & Justice Issues in Market Economies 3 Credits.
Equips students with knowledge and skills for understanding and critically evaluating how market economies operate, their broad socioeconomic consequences, and their impact on the lives of socially disadvantaged people. Special Note: carries cross-credit in social work.
SOC 242U • Race, Ethnicity, and Peacemaking 3 Credits.
Exploration of the historical development of race and ethnicity as distinct but related social constructs. Analysis of the differential impact of race and ethnicity on groups and individuals. Appreciation of peacemakers from both majority and minority groups.
Prerequisites: [GES 130; Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L) course; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 246; World Cultures (U) course]. Offered: Spring 2019, 2020, 2021.
SOC 280 • Urbanization 3 Credits.
Cross-cultural and comparative study of urban development, form, and heterogeneity in advanced industrial societies and countries of the Global South, Central, and Eastern Europe, and Eurasia. Examines the rise of cities, their growth in the United States and worldwide, and their functions. Issues include housing, crime, gangs, and governance.
Offered: Fall 2019, 2020.
SOC 304G • Sociology of Crime and Deviance 3 Credits.
Introduction to comparative criminal justice systems, and the role of the police, the courts, and correction institutions in both developed and developing societies. Cross-cultural and comparative analysis of theories and data used to analyze criminal behavior and deviance. How the media and crime-control agencies shape understanding of crime.
Prerequisites: [GES 130; GES 160; Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L) course; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 244; World Cultures (U) course]. Special Notes: POS 202U recommended. Offered: Fall, even # years.
SOC 315 • Social Responsibility in the Marketplace 3 Credits.
Explores the reciprocal relationship between businesses and society from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Examines contrasting ethical arguments in historical contexts about the role of business in society. Discusses how healthy relationships can be promoted between business and society for the benefit of both.
Prerequisites: [GES 130; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 246; World Cultures (U) course]. Offered: Fall. Special Notes: Carries cross-credit in reconciliation studies.
SOC 318G • The Urban Church 3 Credits.
Taught on site in cities around the world (e.g., Amsterdam). Students research the challenges of urban communities and help local churches develop church-based responses to these challenges. Intensive interaction with urban communities and churches. Method for applied and experiential learning in response to social needs.
Prerequisites: [GES 130; GES 160; Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L) course; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 244; World Cultures (U) course]. Offered: Occasionally.
SOC 324 • Criminal Justice in American Society 3 Credits.
Grounded in the philosophy of criminal law, theories of deviance, and the nature and extent of crime in America, students are introduced to the American criminal justice system. Examination of the theory, structure, and operation of its principal components. Assessment of how well this system serves the aims of justice.
Offered: Spring 2021.
SOC 326 • Restorative Justice 3 Credits.
Examines the principles and practices of restorative justice in comparison to the retributive paradigm, including historical and biblical roots. Primary focus is on victim-offender-community dialogue models, but applications also include victim supports, offender reintegration, school harms, race relations, church conflicts, and international peacemaking. Student will learn basic facilitation skills.
Prerequisites: SOC 324. Offered: Spring 2020. Special Note: Carries cross-credit with social work.
SOC 328 • Criminal Law and Procedure in America 3 Credits.
Examines the structure, function, and principles of criminal law, includes the acts, mental states, and circumstances that are necessary elements of the crime and criminal defenses. Explores procedures from arrest to final disposition, with focus on exclusionary rules for the relevant constitutional amendments.
Prerequisites: SOC 304G or SOC 324. Offered: Fall 2019.
SOC 330G • Sociology of Third World Development 3 Credits.
Critically examines economic development theories and sociological issues for developing Third World countries. Strategies for promoting economic development and cultural change internationally, regionally, nationally, and locally. Issues and processes involved in community development in a globalized society. Prerequisites: Must be enrolled in Bethel’s Guatemala Term program; .
Prerequisites: [GES 130; GES 160; Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L) course; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 244; World Cultures (U) course]. Offered: Spring.
SOC 350 • Qualitative Research Methods 4 Credits.
Qualitative methodologies in the social sciences, with a particular focus in ethnographic field technologies. Interview and observation skills through field work in the Twin Cities area.
Prerequisites: World Cultures (U) course. Offered: Spring
SOC 351 • Quantitative Research Methods 4 Credits.
Study of quantifying social life to answer research questions. Focus on structuring of inquiry (research design, conceptualization, measurement, sampling), modes of quantitative observation (experiments, survey research, content analysis, evaluation research), analysis of data (univariate, bivariate, and multivariate statistics), and research ethics.
SOC 361 • Sociocultural Theory 4 Credits.
Process of theory formation in the social sciences and concern with the relations between epistemology, analysis, and theory formation.
Prerequisites: One anthropology or sociology course. Offered: Fall.
SOC 372G • Religion in Society 3 Credits.
Comparative cross-cultural study of the social and cultural bases of religion in advanced industrial societies and non-Western cultures. Characteristic myths, beliefs, practices, and rituals of religious systems; the relationship between religious and other dimensions of social life; the factors underlying the development, persistence, manipulation, and change of religious organizations.
Prerequisites: [GES 130; GES 160; Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L) course; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 244; World Cultures (U) course]. Offered: Spring 2020, 2021.
SOC 381G • Urbanism: A Way of Life 3 Credits.
Comparative study of urban life and urban social and cultural forces. Ways in which humans construct community; develop distinct urban lifestyles; and interact across social, ethnic, and religious boundaries. Special attention given to implications for urban planning, community development, and urban ministry.
Prerequisites: [GES 130; GES 160; Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L) course; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 244; World Cultures (U) course]. Offered: Fall.
SOC 385 • Cross-Cultural Exp Guatemala 4 Credits.
An intensive experience of living and communicating in another culture for a minimum of two months in Guatemala. Student is fully immersed in the culture as much as possible and is guided by a mentor from the host culture.
Prerequisites: Must be enrolled in Bethel’s Guatemala Term program. Grade exceptions: Graded on an S/U basis. Offered: Guatemala Term, spring. Special Notes: Students may receive credit for only one of the following: SOC 385, SOC 387Z, or SOC389.
SOC 387Z • Cross Cultural Experience 4 Credits.
An intensive experience of living and communicating in another culture for a minimum of two months. Student is fully immersed in the culture as much as possible and guided by a mentor from the host culture.
Prerequisites: ANT 200U; Systems (G) course; application approved by the department prior to the experience. Grade exceptions: Graded on an S/U basis. Offered: Occasionally. Special Notes: Students may receive credit for only one of the following: SOC 385, SOC 387Z, or SOC389.
SOC 481 • Internship in Sociology 3-4 Credits.
A work-related, hands-on learning experience in an off-campus professional setting. Students are mentored by an experienced professional in the field, and overseen by a departmental faculty member.
Prerequisites: Major in sociology; Junior or senior standing. Offered: Spring 2019, 2020, 2021.
SOC 499 • Senior Seminar 4 Credits.
A culminating experience to put to use knowledge and skills gained during studies done in the department. A guided research project is completed.
Prerequisites: Major in sociology; two of the following courses: SOC 350, SOC 351, SOC 361; Senior standing. Offered: Spring 2019, 2020, 2021.