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Academics: Courses

Political Science Courses

100 Level

101 Ideas and Institutions in American Politics (3) (Formerly: American Politics)
Core: Societal Structures in North America
A study of American national politics. Emphasis is on the social context, constitutional foundations, processes, and functions of American politics. Different faculty employ a wide variety of teaching methods, from lectures to small groups to simulations.

110 Persons in Political Community (3)
Core: Persons in Community
This course examines how different conceptions of identity relate to different understandings of political community, and therefore, to the question of who and what a citizen is. Students analyze a variety of conceptions of citizens, drawn from a variety of philosophical traditions and empirical models. They then explore how a Reformed understanding of citizenship affects the way we think of ourselves as members of different political communities.

200 Level

202 State Politics and American Federalism (3) (Formerly: American State and Local Politics)
This course provides a comparative study of American politics at the state level. Attention is given to the historical development of state governments, their structural characteristics, and policy-making in important areas such as education, social welfare, land-use, criminal justice, and transportation.

207 International Cooperation and Conflict (3) (Formerly: Introduction to International Politics)
Core: Global and Historical Studies
This course explores different theoretical approaches to the study of international cooperation and conflict. Students are introduced to a variety of explanatory frameworks for phenomena such as war, ethnic conflict, economic inequalities, environmental degradation, international trade, and globalization.

208 Urban Politics (3)
This course examines urban politics, giving attention to the historical development of urban government, power and politics in contemporary cities, and metropolitics and metropolitan reform.

209 Public and Non-Profit Administration (3)
An introduction to public administration, focusing on political management (political environment, intergovernmental relations, administrative ethics), program management (planning, decision-making, organizing, leading, implementing) and resources management (personnel management, budgeting, information management). The course examines the politics of public agencies and non-profit organizations.

212 American Public Policy (3)
Core: Societal Structures in North America
American public policy is studied, focusing on 1) the ways in which social, economic, and political institutions influence policy formation, 2) methods of evaluating public policy, and 3) the historical development and current content of American public policy in key areas such as defense, social welfare, criminal justice, and education.

214 Governments and Globalization (3)
This course introduces students to a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches used in the study of comparative politics.  Students will explore political institutions, intrastate conflict, human rights, environmental protection, and social welfare policies from a comparative perspective.  Special attention is given to thinking about how states fit within broader regional communities that collaboratively address these issues

218 American Foreign Policy (3) (Formerly POLS 308 Principles of American Foreign Policy)
This is an analytical view of American foreign policy, including its domestic sources, the process of formulating policy, the instruments of American diplomacy, the nature of U.S. relations with hostile powers, allies, emerging powers, and the United Nations, and the limitations and potential of American foreign policy.

228 Global Politics of Human Rights (3) (Formerly POLS 328 The Global Politics of Human Rights)
This course examines the emergence and institutionalization of human rights in the international arena during the 20th century. It analyzes the idea of human rights and examines the place of this idea in particular areas of concern, such as race, gender, religion, and the meeting of basic material needs. It questions the assertion and defense of human rights, by examining issues such as genocide, displaced persons, humanitarian intervention, and the role of international organizations.

234 The President and Congress (3) (Formerly POLS 314)
The course analyzes the powers and processes of these two institutions of American government and the changing relationship between them.

237 Parties and Interest Groups (3) (Formerly POLS 317)
The course investigates the nature and importance of political parties and interest groups for American politics. Topics include party development, interest group mobilization, and party organization. In election years, students enrolled in the course are encouraged to participate in the political campaign of the party or candidate of their choice.

240 Freedom, Justice, and Political Authority (3) (Formerly Political Ideas in Historical Perspective)
This course provides an introduction to the history of political thought. By examining such concepts as freedom, authority, and justice, as they are understood by representative modern and pre-modern political thinkers, the course attempts to uncover the major strands of historical development in Western political thinking.

251 Foundations of Political Science Research (3) (Formerly Methods in Political Analysis)
This course examines the philosophical assumptions, theoretical issues, methodological approaches, and analytical tools used in analyzing American, comparative, and international politics. Not recommended for first-year students. As a supplement to this course, Mathematics 143 is strongly encouraged.

271 Religion and Politics in Comparative Perspective (3) (Changed to POLS 321)

272 Global Democratization (3) (Changed to POLS 322)

276 Latin American Politics (3)
Core: Global and Historical Studies
The course provides an analysis of modern Latin American politics with special emphasis on historical patterns, democratic transitions, economic development, and human rights.

277 Asian Politics (3)
Core: Global and Historical Studies
A study of the government and politics of China, Japan, and selected Asian states such as the Philippines and South Korea.

279 African Politics (3)
Core: Global and Historical Studies
This course is a study of the politics and governments of African states. It questions why some states make better progress towards the goals of stability, democratization and socioeconomic development than others. Specific issues examined are military rule, corruption, ethnic and religious strife, poverty, human rights, and health.

295 Special Topics in Political Science (3)
Content for this course varies.

300 Level

301 Institutions, Civil Society, and Revolution (3)
This course introduces students to the political institutions of different types of states and focuses on how these institutions impact the citizens of those states.  Students are trained to analyze how political institutions shape legal protection, conflict, political and economic development, and states’ ability to interact regionally and internationally.  The course has a special emphasis on contestation within political systems and how this contestation can induce peaceful change or foster conflict. Recommended: Political Science 214.

304 International Peace and Security (3)
An examination of the theory and practice of international peace and security since the end of the Cold War; causes of war and war termination; military strategy; proliferation, nonproliferation, and counterproliferation; civil wars and ethnic conflict; peacekeeping and peace enforcement; human security; international order.

306 Political Liberalism and Its Critics (3) (Formerly History of Modern Political Thought)
The course focuses on representative political theorists from the sixteenth through the twentieth century, with special attention to modern conceptions of and reactions to liberalism. Recommended: Political Science 240

307 Civil War, Ethnic Conflict, and Terrorism (3) (Formerly Terrorism)
This course addresses how states use domestic policies to manage intrastate and transnational conflict in different forms.  Topics include the causes and consequences of domestic conflict and the ways that conflict is perpetuated through the domestic institutions of states.  Special attention is paid to the way that conflict within states can spillover into regional conflict and the ways that states differently respond to the interference of other states and international institutions in their domestic affairs. Recommended: Political Science 214.

308 Principles of American Foreign Policy (changed to POLS 218)

309 International Organizations and Law (3)
An examination of international organizations and international law; their function and processes, their limits and possibilities, and their relationship to the international system.

310 American Constitutional Foundations (3) (Formerly Constitutional Law and Judicial Processes)
The course is a comprehensive study of the role of the courts in the American political system, focusing on the Supreme Court’s role in constitutional interpretation. Recommended: Political Science 101.

314 The President and Congress (3) (changed to POLS 234)

317 Parties and Elections (3) (changed to POLS 237)

318 American Elections and Mass Media (3) (Formerly American Politics and Mass Media)
The course provides a survey of the relationship between American politics and the mass communications media. The course covers the way the federal government, through its regulations and its dissemination of information, affects the operations of the media, campaigning and elections, and how the media influence the social and political values of Americans and the functioning of the political system. Recommended: Political Science 101

319 International Political Economy (3)
This course examines how competing political philosophies and ideologies explain different economic practices of states, how political forces and institutions affect the operation of international markets, and
how global economic institutions operate. The course investigates the political controversies that surround the actions of central global economic institutions as well as the domestic political issues that result from international economic forces. Recommended: Political Science 207, 309, Economics 222.

321 Religion and Politics in Comparative Perspective (3) (Formerly POLS 271)
Core: Global and Historical Studies
This course examines religion as an agent of political mobilization and change across different cultural contexts in terms of its historical development, cultural manifestation, and its effects on the political system. Recommended: Political Science 214.

322 Global Democratization (3) (Formerly POLS 272)
This course examines the factors that have contributed to and hindered the recent emergence of democratic governance in Southern Europe, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Russia, and Africa. Attention is given to the relationship among democracy, development, and political culture. Recommended: Political Science 214.

328 The Global Politics of Human Rights (3) (Changed to POLS 228)

342-344 Study in Washington, D.C.
See off-campus programs.

380 Internship in Politics and Government (4-6) (Formerly Internship in State or Local Government)
These internships, which require students to apply the tools of political science in state or local government settings, involve sixteen hours of work a week under the direction of an agency supervisor and Calvin instructor. Each intern keeps an analytical journal, submits a final summary paper, and participates in a weekly seminar. Prerequisites: sophomore, junior, or senior status, appropriate course background in political science or related fields, and permission of the Calvin instructor.

390 Independent Study (1-6)
Reading or directed projects for majors. Open with the permission of the chair and the instructor under whom the work will be done.

399 Senior Seminar in Political Science (3) (Formerly The Christian Faith and Public Life)
Core: Integrative Studies
A study of the worldview foundations of political ideologies, political science theories, and research methods. Emphasis is on reading and discussion of significant texts within both the discipline and Reformed thought. The second half of the course allows students to engage in a major research project applying social scientific methods to addressing a well-defined research question in political science. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing, completion of biblical or theological foundations, philosophical foundations, Political Science 251, and two additional courses in the Department.


Off-Campus Programs

STDC 241, 342, 343, and 344 Study in Washington, D.C. (15)
POLS 241 is a one-hour course offered each fall as an orientation and preparation course for the spring semester in Washington, D.C.. Students going on Calvin's Semester in Washington, D.C. (STDC) program are offered a comprehensive program of work and study in the nation's capital. Fourteen total hours of credit are given for courses in field research, integrating Christian faith and public life, and a four-days-per-week internship. (A maximum of 9 hours may be applied to the major; 6 hours to the minor.) For further details look at the Henry Institute website or the Study in Washington DC on Calvin's Off-Campus Programs website.

Course Level: 100 | 200 | 300