Political Science (POL)

POL 550  American Government and Politics  (4 Credits)  

This course introduces the learner to the historical background, the institutions, and the political processes in American national government. The focus is on process, but the appropriate attention is given to the institutions of government in which the political processes occur. The course employs a systems model of politics to identify how politics works in America on the national scene. Both process and institutions are studied from a systems perspective so that critical functions and decision points can be identified, described, and judged as they influence system outputs: public law and policy.

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  1. Describe the historical and philosophical premises underlying the constitutional basis of American politics and government.
  2. Describe and analyze the purpose of separation of powers and checks and balances.
  3. Explain how federalism accommodates the politics of states and a continental nation.
  4. Identify the essential values contained in the Bill of Rights and their relationship to personal liberty and civil rights in constitutional government.
  5. Describe the electoral processes for staffing public offices and appraise the influence of the New Hampshire Presidential primary on the national presidential election.
  6. Explain and assess the role of interest groups and Political Action Committees in elections and in national policy-making.
  7. Apply systems modeling to the policy-making process and translate such a model to other decision-making settings in and out of politics.

POL 554  Law and Society  (4 Credits)  

This course is designed to provide an interdisciplinary approach to study of the law, incorporating history, philosophy, economics, political science, sociology, and psychology. Students are introduced to law in society by focusing on social and legal theory analysis from a critical perspective. Beginning with a historical overview of the law, learners explore the variety of forces that shape the law as well as its impact on society at large. In addition, the course provides a basic introduction to legal reasoning and the law in the context of society. Landmark United States Supreme Court criminal and civil cases will also be examined.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Describe the history and development of modern law.
  2. Discuss the need for the social contract: lost freedoms in exchange for governmental protection.
  3. Analyze the interrelationship between law and society and the impact of social change on legislation.
  4. Explore the Bill of Rights, the relativity of constitutional rights, and the balancing of the government's interests against individual rights.
  5. Outline the organization and structure of the law including U.S. federal and state governments, courts and administrative agencies.
  6. Analyze the effects of such categories as gender, race, culture, socioeconomic status, and religion on law and litigation.
  7. Describe the law-making process and the forces that influence law-making.
  8. Compare and contrast three primary functions of law: dispute resolution, social control, and social change.

POL 600  The U.S. in World Affairs  (4 Credits)  

This course examines the conduct of the foreign affairs of the United States in a volatile environment marked by fundamental changes in the international system of states since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Students trace the transformation in international relations since 1991 leading to the creation of institutions to liberalize world trade and investment, the proliferation of regional ethnic and religious conflicts, and most challenging of all, the emergence of transnational terrorism. Students form an understanding of the international system, develop competence in defining both transient and enduring national interests, and build confidence in appraising the policy responses of national actors to those challenges.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Describe the international political, military, economic, social, and other contexts that affect U. S. foreign relations.
  2. Identify and describe the purposes of the major national and international governmental institutions in the conduct of international relations.
  3. Distinguish and evaluate roles and interests of non-governmental organizations, national and international, in the conduct of foreign affairs.
  4. Assess the challenges to the stability of the international system from trans-national terrorism.
  5. Distinguish the enduring as well as transient national interests that U. S. foreign policy leaders must address, showing how different theoretical frames for defining interests shape policy alternatives.
  6. Examine the influence that leaders representing diverse interests - traditional (defense, diplomatic, congressional) and non-traditional (labor, environmental, gender) exercise in foreign affairs decisions.
  7. Analyze how policy options are shaped by considerations of competing and conflicting interests: past, present, and future, and available resources of the various players.
  8. Contrast the various common power arrangements available to carry out policy, from unilateralism, to alliances, to collective security arrangements.