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 programs offer three majors and one minor. 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 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 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.
- 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
Minor 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 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: 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: Occasionally. 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: 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, or political science, or minor in political science. Special Notes: Graded on an S/U basis. Offered: Fall, 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 and 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: Sophomores with consent of instructor. Offered: Occasionally. Special Notes: POS 100 is a recommended prerequisite.
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: Fall, even # 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. 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: POS 202U is a recommended prerequisite.
POS 315 • The Politics of Terrorism and Counterterrorism 3 Credits
Analyzes 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: Spring, 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: Fall, odd # years.
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, 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, even # years. Special Notes: Carries cross-credit in history, POS 202U and POS 205 are recommended prerequisites.
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: Spring, odd # 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
In-depth examination of selected political thinkers such as Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Nietzsche, Kuyper, Rawls, and Taylor. Concentrates on primary sources.
Prerequisites: One course in political science, philosophy, Western history, or Consent of instructor. Offered: Fall, even # years. Special Notes: Carries cross credit in history and philosophy.
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 • Classical Political Thought 3 Credits
In-depth examination of selected political thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Marcus Aurelius, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Machiavelli, and Hobbes. Concentrates on primary sources.
Prerequisites: One course in political science, philosophy, or 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 and 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 491 • Applied Humanities Seminar 4 Credits
An interdisciplinary, experiential capstone course in which students draw on their studies in history, philosophy, political science, or the digital humanities in order to study a major challenge in contemporary society, analyzing causes, effects, and exisiting responses, and then work together to propose new responses to it.
Prerequisites: Senior standing and Major in one of the following programs: history, philosophy, political science, digital humanities, international relations, business political science, or social studies education 5-12. 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.