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The Major in Political Science

The major in Political Science leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree. Political scientists study the origins, growth, evolution, and decline of governments; how they solve societal conflicts; and how governments ought to function. The specific subfields of the discipline include the study of American government and politics, comparative government and politics, international relations, political theory, public law, and public administration. Students majoring in the program have traditionally pursued careers in law, business, teaching, journalism, and government. The study of Political Science is of value in that all persons need an understanding of the political system which governs their lives. More than minimal knowledge of political systems, however, is required of those who would be employed by them. The law and public administration, for example, are creatures of government and politics. The thirty-hour course requirement in the major program permits students the flexibility to obtain a second major or a minor in other areas of personal and professional interest.

Students majoring in Political Science and Legal Assistant Studies (see below) are able to gain work experience related to their major through the VSU Co-op Program. Such experience may prove valuable in terms of career exploration, acquisition of new skills, and career development. Students seeking more information should contact their academic advisors or the Office of Cooperative Education, 229-333-7172.

The Major in Legal Assistant Studies

The major in Legal Assistant Studies has the central objective of training persons who are anticipating a career in support of the legal profession. The formal coursework will lead to an understanding of the fundamental constitutional context of the American legal system. The student will also have the flexibility of choosing from several specific substantive legal subject matters. The completion of the other requirements of the B.A. degree will ensure the broad education expected of the liberal arts. The requirement of a formal minor will ensure additional exposure to a related field. The capstone experience for the major is an internship which will allow the student to explore the practical aspects of a career in the legal profession. Successful completion of the degree will ensure that the student is qualified to take the national certification test for legal assistants.

Requirements for the Honors Track for Political Science Majors

The Honors Track in Political Science allows students to add a unique and more challenging dimension to their degree. Students must have a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) to enter the Honors Track. They must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 and a 3.0 in their Honors courses.

Within the major in Political Science, Honors Track students must complete three 4000-level courses from among the following options, with a grade of “B” or higher:

POLS 4820HHonors Special Topics in US Government and Politics3
POLS 4830HHonors Special Topics in Comparative Politics3
POLS 4840HHonors Special Topics in International Politics3
POLS 4850HHonors Special Topics in Political Theory3
POLS 4860HHonors Special Topics in Public Administration3

Honors Track students are also required to present their work in a suitable forum, such as the Student Brown Bag series, the VSU Symposium on Undergraduate Research, or an academic conference. An Honors Thesis is also an option, provided there is a departmental faculty member with sufficient expertise in the thesis area and willing to serve as thesis director. Credit for the Honors Thesis will be earned by the student’s taking POLS 4700H. The Honors Thesis must comply with Honors Program guidelines. Students completing the Honors Track in Political Science major will have this option noted on their transcript.

Legal Assistant Studies

LEAS 1100. Introduction to Paralegalism. 3 Hours.

An introduction to the field of paralegalism. The course will include the role of paralegal in the legal system, the regulation and ethics of practice and the skills necessary for successful practice.

LEAS 3200. Legal Research I. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: LEAS 1100. A study of legal research methods utilizing state and federal sources. Students will develop professional skills as they read and analyze appellate court opinions, legislation and pleadings.

LEAS 3201. Legal Research II. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: LEAS 1100 and LEAS 3200. A continuation of Legal Research I. This course will emphasize computer assisted legal research skills as well as the preparation of legal documents.

LEAS 3210. Pre-Trial Preparation and Procedures. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: LEAS 1100. The study of pre-trial procedures and tactics in civil and criminal cases. The course will include methods of investigation, interviewing clients, preparation of clients and witnesses for testifying, competency of evidence, preparation of interrogatories, other discovery methods, and pleadings.

LEAS 3220. Business Entities. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: LEAS 1100. The study of corporate, partnership and agency law. This course will examine the applicable law as well as the formation and dissolution of various types of business entities.

LEAS 3230. Criminal Law and Procedure for the Paralegal. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: LEAS 1100. The study of procedural and substantive criminal law. The application, interpretation, and enforcement of criminal law will be addressed. The role of the paralegal in the criminal justice system will be emphasized.

LEAS 3250. Law Office Management. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: LEAS 1100. The study of the business aspects of the practice of law. Topics include appropriate business structure, office systems, marketing and development issues, staffing and personnel issues, liability insurance, managing time, technology, and billing. Ethics and professionalism in dealing with clients and the general public will also be addressed.

LEAS 4200. Family Law. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: LEAS 1100. The study of the applicable law surrounding family relationships. The issues of adoption, marriage, divorce, alimony, child custody and support, and property division will be addressed.

LEAS 4210. Consumer Law. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: LEAS 1100. The study of the laws that govern consumer practices. The law surrounding commercial paper, contracts, sales, and secured transactions will be emphasized.

LEAS 4220. Administrative Law. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: LEAS 1100. The study of laws governing administrative agencies of government. Special emphasis will be placed on the role of the paralegal in dealing with various administrative agencies.

LEAS 4230. The Law of Real Property Transactions. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: LEAS 1100. The study of laws that control real property transactions. Topics covered include the conveyancing of real property, title search methods and landlord-tenant issues.

LEAS 4240. Elder Law. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: LEAS 1100. The study of the legal problems associated with the elderly and issues of aging. Topics of discussion will include social, psychological, legal, and financial aspects of planning for the elderly. Issues will include Medicare and Medicaid benefits, nursing home institutionalization, Social Security, and probate and estate planning.

LEAS 4250. Trial Advocacy. 3 Hours.

An examination of all aspects of presenting a case in trial. Students develop effective methods for analyzing and preparing cases for presentation in trial. Students will learn and use basic technical skills necessary as members of the University's Mock Trial Team at tournaments sponsored by the American Mock Trial Association.

LEAS 4251. Trial Advocacy II. 3 Hours.

Also offered as POLS 4251. Supervised study of all aspects of presenting a case in trial with practice of trial skills in a mock setting. Students will compete in one or more mock trial competitions within the region and will write a research paper. The course may be taken three times for credit.

LEAS 4260. Alternative Dispute Resolution. 3 Hours.

Also offered as POLS 4260. Prerequisite: LEAS 1100. The study of various methods of alternative dispute resolution. Topics include preparation for and techniques used in mediation, arbitration, and alternative dispute resolution. Also addressed will be ethics and professionalism in dealing with represented and unrepresented individuals.

LEAS 4270. Immigration Law. 3 Hours.

An overview of U.S. immigration law with an emphasis on the paralegal's role. Topics include preparation of visa applications, the admission and removal of immigrants and non-immigrants, and citizenship and naturalization.

LEAS 4280. Health Care Law. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: LEAS 1100. A basic study of the U.S. legal system and the issues involving the management and delivery of health care services. Emphasis is placed on law as it pertains to negligence, contracts, informed consent, confidentiality, labor relations, patient care, and reimbursement issues. Current medical, legal, and ethical questions are examined.

LEAS 429. Tort Law. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: LEAS 1100. A basic study of the development of tort law in the United States. Emphasis is placed on law as it pertains to negligence, strict liability, and intentional torts. Current legal and ethical questions are examined.

LEAS 4700. Directed Study in Legal Assistant Studies. 1-3 Hours.

Prerequisites: Legal Assistant Studies major and LEAS 1100. Directed reading and research in selected areas of legal assistant studies. Topics examined will include those not normally found in established legal assistant studies courses. Regular conferences between instructor and student will be required. Permission of the advisor, in- structor and department head must be obtained prior to registration.

LEAS 4800. Legal Assistant Studies Capstone. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: LEAS 1100, LEAS 3200. An integration of concepts and tools from previous curriculum in the degree program. The course also provides students with the tools to evaluate critically and discuss ethics of the legal profession.

LEAS 4802. Special Topics in Legal Assistant Studies. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: LEAS 1100. Selected topics of interest in legal assistant studies. The course may be repeated for credit if the topics are different.

LEAS 4900. Internship in Legal Assistant Studies. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: Legal Assistant Studies major, LEAS 1100 and LEAS 3200. Supervised, practical experience in an appropriate legal setting. Permission of the advisor, instructor, and department head must be obtained prior to registration.

Political Science

POLS 1101. American Government. 3 Hours.

An examination of the fundamental institutions and political processes of the American system of government. Students are also given an overview of Georgia's Constitution, state politics, and state government institutions. POLS 1101 satisfies legislative requirements for U.S./Georgia Constitutions.

POLS 1101H. Honors American Government. 3 Hours.

A survey course to provide honors students with an under- standing of the institutions and political processes of the American system of government, taught in an enriched en- vironment. Students are also given an overview of Georgia's Constitution, state politics, and state government institu- tions. POLS 1101H satisfies legislative requirements for U.S./Georgia Constitutions.

POLS 2101. Introduction to Political Science. 3 Hours.

An introduction to Political Science as a field of inquiry. Surveys the subfields of the discipline of Political Science, including American, comparative, and international politics; political theory, public law, and public administration.

POLS 2401. Introduction to Global Issues. 3 Hours.

A survey of contemporary political issues arising both in- ternationally and in the United States. Discussion will fo- cus upon a number of controversial political topics current- ly being debated in the United States such as electoral re- form, social and welfare issues, and role of the U.S. in the world. The course will also examine issues of a more inter- national nature such as global security, international trade and economics, human rights, and the moral responsibilities of nation-states.

POLS 2401H. Honors Introduction to Global Issues. 3 Hours.

A survey of contemporary political issues arising both in- ternationally and in the United States for honors students, taught in an enriched environment. Discussion will focus upon a number of controversial political topics currently being debated in the United States such as electoral reform, social and welfare issues, and the role of the U.S. in the world. The course will also examine global issues such as international trade and economics, human rights, and the moral responsibilities of nation-states.

POLS 2501. Current Issues in American Politics. 3 Hours.

A discussion of current political issues in America as well as their roots in the American social, economic, and political environments.

POLS 3100. Scope and Methods of Political Science. 3 Hours.

An introduction to the foundations of politics as a science by examining what political scientists (and other social scientists) do and study. The course examines the basic concepts and approaches to understanding the political world and all it embodies, from analyzing a public policy to examining electoral behavior. It is designed to: introduce students to political science research; prepare students to evaluate research critically; interpret social scientific research; and provide students with the requisite skills to initiate and conduct research. POLS 3100 is taught in an electronic classroom using appropriate software packages.

POLS 3200. American State and Local Government and Politics. 3 Hours.

A study of American subnational governments and politics with special emphasis upon intergovernmental relations.

POLS 3210. The American Legislative Process. 3 Hours.

A study of the legislative process in the United States, focusing primarily on Congress and the state legislatures. Course topics will include elections for legislative offices and the interaction between the legislative and the execu- tive branch. The roles of parties and leaders in the legis- lative process will be examined.

POLS 3220. The American Political Process: Campaigns, Elections, and Voters. 3 Hours.

A general overview of the American political process. Special emphasis is placed on the role of money and the media in modern campaigns. The course examines the rise of "candidate-centered" elections. The study of the American voter focuses on the decline in voter turnout, the rise of the independent voter, and the influence of race on voting.

POLS 3230. Political Parties, Interest Groups and the Media. 3 Hours.

A study of the mediating institutions in society which connect citizens to their government. The course examines the historical evolution of American political parties and their special contribution to our democracy. After an examination of the decline of political parties in the twentieth century, this course explores the ascendance of interest groups and the mass media. Topics of particular include the explosion of political action committees, the rise of issue networks, media bias and the influence of the media on political learning.

POLS 3240. American Judicial Process and Behavior. 3 Hours.

A comprehensive examination of the workings of the American judiciary, its impact and compliance at both the state and the federal levels and the complex environment within which the courts function. Critical to the examination of both criminal and civil courts is the assumption that decisions made by judges play a powerful role in shaping public policy and that courts themselves are strongly influenced by other institutions and forces in the society.

POLS 3270. Public Opinion and Political Socialization. 3 Hours.

An examination of the origins, content, and impact of public opinion. Special emphasis is placed on the advantages and limitations of public opinion polling. The course also exam- ines the main agents of political socialization. Topics of particular interest include the role of the family in poli- tical learning, racial differences in political socializa- tion, and the influence of television on the formation of pre-adult political opinions.

POLS 3280. Race, Ethnicity, and Politics. 3 Hours.

A study of the interaction of race, ethnicity, and politics in the U.S.; the conceptualizations of race and ethnicity; the relevant issues that arise in a pluralistic society; and the role of politics in addressing these issues.

POLS 3290. The American Presidency. 3 Hours.

The study of the role, powers, and responsibilities of the President of the United States within the constitutional system and the changing nature of the presidency.

POLS 3300. Comparative Politics. 3 Hours.

A study of key concepts and theories of comparative poli- tics. Examines case studies from different types of politi- cal systems and regions of the world.

POLS 3400. International Politics. 3 Hours.

A study of key concepts of international relations. The course examines the evolution of the contemporary international system and conflict and cooperation among nation-states.

POLS 3520. Modern Political Ideologies. 3 Hours.

An exploration of the dominant political ideologies that shape decisions about and understandings of political events, including but not limited to capitalism, socialism, communism, patriarchy, feminism, environmentalism, liber- theology, liberalism, populism, and nationalism.

POLS 3530. American Political Thought. 3 Hours.

A study of the foundations of American political thought from the Puritan era to contemporary times.

POLS 3600. Introduction to Public Administration. 3 Hours.

A focus on the study of public administration processes and underlying theories within American government structures. Emphasis is on the pragmatic aspects of current government leadership and public agency management.

POLS 3610. Public Administration and Public Policy Formation. 3 Hours.

An examination of the basic problems involved in the development of public policy by government actors and institutions, with emphasis on public decision making, organizational theory, and political and administrative influences on the policy making process.

POLS 4100. Political Science Capstone Course. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: POLS 3100. An application of political science research skills to the study of specialized topics that reflect the expertise of the instructor. Students will prepare and present a formal research paper.

POLS 4200. American Constitutional Law I. 3 Hours.

A comprehensive study of American constitutional law dealing with the structure and powers of the national government outlined in the first four Articles of the Constitution. The primary focus is on the Supreme Court's decisions and the doctrinal impact of those decisions on the structure and relationships of the three branches of the government (separation of powers) and between the national government and state governments (federalism).

POLS 4202. American Constitutional Law II. 3 Hours.

A comprehensive study of American constitutional law with emphasis on property rights and economic liberties, substantive and procedural due process, obtaining evidence, and rights to privacy. The primary focus is on the Supreme Court's decisions and the doctrinal impact of those decisions on the relationships among the national government, state governments, and citizens of the United States.

POLS 4203. American Constitutional Law III. 3 Hours.

A comprehensive study of American constitutional law focusing on civil rights, civil liberties, and equal protection. Constitutional claims examined include denial of rights under the Bill of Rights, the equal protection of laws under the 14th Amendment, and civil rights legislation enacted by Congress since the Civil War.

POLS 4210. Separation of Powers in the American Political System. 3 Hours.

An exploration of the political theory behind a separation of powers. Primary emphasis is placed on the relations between Congress and the President. Topics of particular interest include the origins and impact of divided government, the role of the Supreme Court in arbitrating disputes between the branches of government, and reform proposals to bridge the separation of powers.

POLS 4220. Administrative Law and Government. 3 Hours.

An overview of the administrative law process with the focus upon protecting the interests of all parties involved in the complex process of administrative law, policy formation and implementation.

POLS 4240. Politics and the Supreme Court. 3 Hours.

A review of landmark decisions of the Supreme Court. This course addresses issues related to the political climate surrounding such decisions. The political ramifications of Supreme Court cases are emphasized.

POLS 4250. Trial Advocacy. 3 Hours.

An examination of all aspects of presenting a case in trial. Students develop effective methods for analyzing and preparing cases for presentation in trial. Students will learn and use basic technical skills necessary as members of the University's Mock Trial Team at tournaments sponsored by the American Mock Trial Association. May be repeated for credit up to 9 hours for political science majors, with no more than 3 credit hours applicable to the major.

POLS 4251. Trail Advocacy II. 3 Hours.

Also offered as LEAS 4251. Supervised study of all aspects of presenting a case in trial with practice of trial skills in a mock setting. Students will compete in one or more mock trial competitions within the region and will write a research paper. The course may be taken three times for credit.

POLS 4260. Alternative Dispute Resolution. 3 Hours.

Also offered as LEAS 4260. The study of various methods of alternative dispute resolution. Topics include preparation for and techniques used in mediation, arbitration, and alternative dispute resolution. Ethics and professionalism in dealing with represented and unrepresented individuals will also be addressed.

POLS 4270. Southern Politics. 3 Hours.

An exploration of the unique and colorful political history and political culture of the American South. After considering the defining characteristics of the "old" southern politics, the course examines the most important features of the "new" southern politics and analyzes the changing role of the South in national politics. This course will focus on the "three R's" of southern politics:race, republicanism, and realignment.

POLS 4300. European Politics. 3 Hours.

A study of the politics and government of Europe. The course focuses on key political institutions and issues in major European countries, and the impact of integration on the nation-state.

POLS 4301. The European Union. 3 Hours.

A study of European Union politics and policies. The course examines the nature of the EU as a political system, key EU policies, and the EU's evolving role as a global actor. It also examines major theoretical debates about European integration and EU governance, including the relationship between the EU and its member states.

POLS 4310. Politics in Russia. 3 Hours.

A comprehensive study of the Russian political system with careful attention to the Soviet communist era. Major topics include the role of political parties, institutional chan- ges, political culture, and leadership.

POLS 4320. Latin American Politics. 3 Hours.

A study of the politics and governments of the nation-states of Central and South America. The course focuses on key political institutions and issues in major Latin American countries.

POLS 4330. African Politics. 3 Hours.

A study of the domestic and international politics of Africa from the pre-colonial period to the present day.

POLS 4350. Politics in Developing Nations. 3 Hours.

The study of political institutions, processes and behavior within a comparative perspective.

POLS 4370. Comparative Constitutional Law and Judicial Politics. 3 Hours.

A cross-cultural examination of constitutional legal sys- tems. The course focuses on such topics as institutions, legal professionals, judicial selection, judicial decision- making, and methodological issues involved in the cross-cultural study of legal processes and behavior.

POLS 4390. Constitutional Law and Judicial Politics of the European Union. 3 Hours.

An examination of constitutional law and judicial politics with emphasis on the legal and political framework of the European Union. The focus is on the following topics: legal and political institutions of the European Union, legal an political elites, judicial selection/recruitment of judges, judicial/political decision making and relevant issues involved in cross-cultural study of legal and political systems, and how decisions of the Court of Justice impact the economic balance and political stability of the European Union.

POLS 4400. International Organization and Law. 3 Hours.

Readings, cases, lectures and research on the functioning of the legal structures in the international system with spe- cial emphasis on the relation between law and politics.

POLS 4410. American Foreign Policy. 3 Hours.

A study of the domestic and external pressures that guide American foreign policy planners. Specific policies toward Russia, West Europe, China, and Latin America will receive special attention.

POLS 4420. Global Security Policy. 3 Hours.

The study of the political efforts to deal with threats to world order arising from war, nuclear proliferation, inter- national terrorism, the environment, the economy, and related factors.

POLS 4430. National Security Administration and Policy. 3 Hours.

An examination of the organizational dynamics, political features, and policy outcomes of the national security decision-making process. Special attention will be placed on the changing role of the National Security Council.

POLS 4440. Model United Nations. 3 Hours.

A study of the role of the UN in the world today. Students will obtain experience in practicing diplomatic skills in a mock setting. Prepares students to represent accurately a member state of the UN in regional competition. The course may be taken three times for credit.

POLS 4442. Model UN II: Negotiation and Diplomacy. 3 Hours.

Prerequisite: POLS 4440. Supervised study of the UN, including all aspects of organizing a Model UN conference on campus and participating in the National Model UN Conference. The course may be taken three times for credit.

POLS 4450. Comparative Environmental Politics and Policy. 3 Hours.

A comparative examination of environmental movements, parties, and policies in selected countries and regions of the world. The course will also focus on cross-national forces such as non-governmental and international regimes.

POLS 4600. Government Organization and Administrative Theory. 3 Hours.

A systematic analysis of theories of organization, management, and administration. Special consideration will be given to institutional, behavioral, and psychological factors.

POLS 4610. Public Personnel Administration. 3 Hours.

An examination of procedures and problems of governmental personnel administration. Studies of governmental agencies are encouraged to give students first-hand knowledge of governmental personnel administration.

POLS 4620. Public Finance Administration. 3 Hours.

A study of the activities involved in the collection, custody, and expenditure of public revenue, such as the assessment and collection of taxes, public borrowing and debt administration, the preparation and enactment of the budget, financial accountability and the audit.

POLS 4640. Urban Politics and Administration. 3 Hours.

An analysis of the governmental function in urban areas. Emphasis is placed on the management role in a political context.

POLS 4650. Intergovernmental Relations. 3 Hours.

A study of federal, state, and local governmental interactions, with an emphasis on the implications of these interactions for public management.

POLS 4670. Quality Management in Public Administration. 3 Hours.

An examination of key current issues in public administra- tion. The course explores the most current literature illum- inating the issues facing public administration in today's demanding environment.

POLS 4700. Directed Study in Political Science. 1-3 Hours.

Directed readings in selected areas of political science with regular conferences between instructor and students. The course may be repeated for up to 9 hours of credit if topics are different.

POLS 4700H. Honors Directed Study in Political Science (Thesis). 1-3 Hours.

Directed study in selected areas of political science, with regular conferences between instructor and students, leading to the writing of a thesis. For students in the Political Science Honors Track.

POLS 4820. Special Topics in U.S. Government and Politics. 3 Hours.

Selected topics of political and current interest in U.S. government and politics. The course may be repeated for credit if topics are different.

POLS 4820H. Honors Special Topics in US Government and Politics. 3 Hours.

Special topics in U.S. government and politics for Political Science Honors Track. May be repeated for credit.

POLS 4830. Special Topics in Comparative Politics. 3 Hours.

Selected topics of political and current interest in U.S. government and politics. The course may be repeated for credit if topics are different.

POLS 4830H. Honors Special Topics in Comparative Politics. 3 Hours.

Special topics in comparative politics for Political Science Honors Track. May be repeated for credit.

POLS 4831. Special Topics in EU Politics. 3 Hours.

A study of selected topics in EU politics. Topics can include EU law and legal systems, federalism and multi-level governance, EU environmental policy, EU social policy, EU science and technology policy, EU media and communications policy, and European economic and monetary union.

POLS 4840. Special Topics in International Politics. 3 Hours.

Selected topics of political and current interest in international politics. The course may be repeated for credit if topics are different.

POLS 4840H. Honors Special Topics in International Politics. 3 Hours.

Special topics in International politics for Political Science Honors Track. May be repeated for credit.

POLS 4850. Special Topics in Political Theory. 3 Hours.

Selected topics of political and current interest in political theory. The course may be repeated for credit if topics are different.

POLS 4850H. Honors Special Topics in Political Theory. 3 Hours.

Special topics in political theory for Political Science Honors Track. May be repeated for credit.

POLS 4860. Special Topics in Public Administration. 3 Hours.

Selected topics of political and current interest in public administration. The course may be repeated for credit if topics are different.

POLS 4860H. Honors Special Topics in Public Administration. 3 Hours.

Special topics in public administration for Political Science Honors Track. May be repeated for credit.

POLS 4900. Internship in Political Science. 3-12 Hours.

Supervised study in a structured governmental, political or other suitable environment, as approved by the department. Open to any student, regardless of major. The number of credit hours granted is dependent upon the particular program, academic work, requirements, and nature of participation. If a 6, 9, or 12 hour internship is taken, the student must use those additional hours as elective courses. The student may not use any additional hours above 3 in lieu of a political science course that is part of the major. Graded satisfactory and unsatisfactory.