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Political Science


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Course Descriptions

POS 100 – American Government

Introduces the major principles, structures, processes and policies of United States government. Covers the Constitution and its development, civil liberties, federalism, the role of political parties and interest groups, and the nature of the presidency, the bureaucracy, the Congress and the national courts.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions Requirement.

Credits: 3

 

POS 120 – Introduction to World Politics

A study of contemporary international politics focusing on the interaction of nation-states and including a review of the patterns of global politics from World War II to the present.

Satisfies the General Education Western Cultural Tradition and Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives Requirements.

Credits: 3

 

POS 201 – Introduction to Political Theory

An introduction to the fundamental questions of political philosophy–what is justice? how ought we to live our lives? what is the best regime?–through detailed study of a few central books in the history of political thought, such as Plato’s Republic and Machiavelli’s Prince.

Satisfies the General Education Western Cultural Tradition and Ethics Requirements.

Credits: 3

 

POS 203 – American State and Local Government

Examines the structure and activities of sub-national governments, with particular attention to state modernization, intergovernmental relations, and comparisons between Maine and other states.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions Requirement.

Credits: 3

 

POS 241 – Introduction to Comparative Politics

Provides an introduction to the major themes of comparative politics, including: comparative political legacies, processes of modernization, comparative governmental institutions, modern political parties and interest groups, comparative policymaking processes, and problems of establishing and maintaining democratic government.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions and Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives Requirements.

Credits: 3

 

POS 243 – Canadian Government and Politics

Provides a historical background to the development of the Canadian political system. Introduces the institutions and processes of Canadian government, federalism, political parties, and interest groups. Considers major public policy issues in contemporary Canada.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions and Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives Requirements.

Credits: 3

 

POS 273 – International Relations

Issues and structures that shape contemporary international relations. Topics include philosophical schools of thought in international relations, instruments of national power, the role of international organizations and international political economy.

Satisfies the General Education Western Cultural Tradition and Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives Requirements.

Prerequisites

Sophomore Standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 282 – Introduction to American Law

Examines the nature and function of law in America, emphasizing its evolution and incorporation as a dynamic social instrument.

Prerequisites

Sophomore standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 301 – Classical Political Thought

A survey of ancient political philosophy through detailed study of selected writings of Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle, Thucydides and others.

Satisfies the General Education Ethics, Western Cultural Tradition and Writing Intensive Requirements.

Prerequisites

POS 201 or permission or junior or senior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 302 – Medieval Political Thought

A survey of medieval political thought during the European middle ages (5th to 15th centuries) through detailed study of selected writings of Augustine, John of Salisbury, Aquinas, Marsilius, Dante and others.

Satisfies the General Education Western Cultural Tradition, Social Contexts and Institutions and Writing Intensive Requirements.

Prerequisites

junior or senior standing or permission.

Credits: 3

 

POS 303 – Early Modern Political Thought

A survey of early modern political philosophy from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment through detailed study of selected writings of Machiavelli, Descartes, F. Bacon, Hobbes, Locke and others.

Satisfies the General Education Ethics, Western Cultural Tradition and Writing Intensive Requirements.

Prerequisites

POS 201 or junior or senior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 304 – American Political Thought

The development of political ideas in America from the founding period to the present as expounded in the writings of American statesmen and political theorists, and foreign commentators such as Tocqueville.

Satisfies the General Education Western Cultural Tradition and Writing Intensive Requirement.

Prerequisites

Junior or senior standing or permission.

Credits: 3

 

POS 305 – Late Modern Political Thought

A survey of modern political philosophy from the French Revolution to the twentieth century through detailed study of selected writings of Rousseau, Hegel, Marx, Mill, Nietzsche, and contemporary authors.

Satisfies the General Education Ethics, Western Cultural Tradition and Writing Intensive Requirements.

Prerequisites

POS 201 or junior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 306 – Crafting the American Constitution

This course will engage students in a substantive, detailed, and critical examination of the debates surrounding the drafting, ratification, and early implementation of the Constitution of the United States.  It will begin with an examination of the important thinkers who influenced the American Founders, move to a detailed analysis of the critical issues at the Constitutional Convention and in the state ratification debates, and conclude with a look at some early government actions and Supreme Court decisions that put flesh on the bones of the Constitution.  During the entirety of this course, students will be asked to reflect on the degree to which the founding debates are still relevant to contemporary American politics and government.

Prerequisites

POS 100.

Credits: 3

 

POS 307 – Democratic Theory

Surveys the major theoretical perspectives of democracy, emphasizing core positions such as liberalism and civic republicanism.  Examines competing articulations of more participatory and engaged democratic political systems.  Also considers critical perspectives which analyze democracy’s exclusions with regard to race, class, gender, and power.

Satisfies the General Education Western Cultural Tradition Requirement and the Ethics Requirements

Prerequisites

POS 201

Credits: 3

 

POS 309 – Topics in Political Theory

Offers a detailed examination of a selected topic in political theory. May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisites

POS 201.

Credits: 3

 

POS 335 – Major Governments of Western Europe

The political traditions, parties, governmental structures, and special political problems of Great Britain, France and Germany.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions Requirement.

Prerequisites

POS 100. Junior or senior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 336 – Government and Politics in Russia

Examines the historical Russian political legacy, the experience of Soviet rule from 1917 until 1991, and explores in-depth current domestic and foreign politics in the Russian Federation. Focuses primarily on the development of the post-Soviet Russian political system.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions and Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives Requirements.

Prerequisites

POS 100. Junior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 337 – Government and Politics in Eurasia

Examines contemporary government and politics in Eurasia, the general region from Central Asia to the Balkan peninsula of Europe. Major themes will include the formation of independent nation-states in Central Asia, the Caucasus mountain region and Ukraine following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991; and government and politics in Turkey. Also considers patterns of international relations within Eurasia and relations between these countries and the larger world.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions and Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives Requirements.

Prerequisites

Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.

Credits: 3

 

POS 344 – Public Policy in Canada

An analysis of policy making structures with emphasis on the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Cabinet, the Privy Council Office, and other central agents. Relations between the federal and provincial executives are also discussed. Policy making in specific issues of current interest considered.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions and Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives Requirements.

Prerequisites

Six hours of political science.

Credits: 3

 

POS 349 – Topics in Comparative Politics

Offers a detailed examination of a selected topic in comparative politics. May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisites

POS 241.

Credits: 3

 

POS 350 – Mass Media in U.S. Politics

Analyzes the performance of the mass media in the United States in informing the public about politics. Topics include the factors influencing the content of news, the causes and effects of any systematic biases or deficiencies in the political information made available to the public and freedom of the press issues. Special attention given to current political news coverage in the media.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions Requirement.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or junior or senior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 352 – American Public Opinion

Covers the role of public opinion in shaping the American political system. It focuses on defining and measuring citizen opinion, the way citizens develop their political views and the linkages between public opinion and public policy.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions Requirement.

Prerequisites
POS 100 or junior or senior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 353 – The U.S. Congress

Examines the legislative process and its components, with special attention to congressional elections, the committee structure, the impact of institutional reform and the influence of bicameralism.

Satisfies the General Education Ethics and Social Contexts and Institutions Requirements.

Prerequisites

POS 100. Junior or senior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 354 – The U.S. Presidency

Examines presidential leadership in contemporary American politics. Devotes special attention to institutional, constitutional, and historical influences on the presidency. Other topics include: presidential decision-making, psychological aspects of the presidency, and the sources of cooperation and conflict between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. Analysis of the president’s role in foreign and domestic policy.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions Requirement.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or junior or senior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 355 – Music and Politics in the American Context

Examines the intersections and interactions of music and politics in the United States.  Topics of investigation and discussion include (but are not limited to): the role of music in society, why the state might be interested in music, how music contributes to identity, and the political messages and activism produced by music.

Satisfies the General Education Artistic and Creative Expression Requirement.

Prerequisites
POS 100 or permission of instructor.

Credits: 3

 

POS 359 – Topics in American Government

Offers a detailed examination of a selected topic in American politics. May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisites

POS 100.

Credits: 3

 

POS 362-Maine Government

Analyzes changes in the institutions and policies of the state of Maine in recent times. Covers the roles of Maine in the federal system, the impact of institutional and organizational reform, and state policymaking.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or Junior or Senior Standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 363 – Urban Government and Politics

Examines the politics and government of urban areas in the United States, in both historical and contemporary contexts. Topics of investigation and discussion include (but are not limited to): the functions and roles of American cities, the responsibilities of urban governments, the issue of power in the metropolis, the American federal system and urban governance, race, ethnicity, and class in urban America, and the challenges facing contemporary urban society.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions Requirement.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or permission of instructor.

Credits: 3

 

POS 368 – China

Examines contemporary China; its recent history, political system, economic and social development, and China’s relations with its Asian neighbors and the United States.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions and Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives Requirements.

Prerequisites
One HTY or POS course at the 200 level or above.

Credits: 3

 

POS 369 – Topics in International Relations

Offers a detailed examination of a selected topic in International Relations.  May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisites

POS 273.

Credits: 3

 

POS 370 – International Terrorism: The Challenges for America

Analyzes the impact of international terrorism on U.S. national security and the ethical dilemmas arising from counter-terrorism.  Topics include the evolution of terrorism, especially in Afghanistan and the Middle East; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and the formulation of U.S. national security strategy.

Satisfies the General Education Ethics and Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives Requirements.

Prerequisites
POS 100 or POS 120 or permission.

Credits: 3

 

POS 372 – Canadian Foreign Policy

Canadian theory and practice of foreign policy, with emphasis on the major international problems which Canada faces today. Special attention is directed to Canada’s relations with the United States and other Western Hemisphere countries.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions and Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives Requirements.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or POS 120 or permission of instructor.

Credits: 3

 

POS 374 – American Foreign Policy

American foreign policy and the major international problems facing the United States today. Special focus will be on United States relations with Europe, Russia, Japan and the Third World.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions and Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives Requirements.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or POS 120.

Credits: 3

 

POS 375 – United States and the Middle East

Survey of factors and forces that influence American foreign policy in the Middle East, with special emphasis on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, relations with Iran and U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf. Policies of various American presidents from Truman to present will be discussed and analyzed.

Credits: 3

 

POS 380 – Interest Groups and American Politics

Every day millions of Americans act politically to defend their interests, yet Americans as a whole overwhelmingly have a negative opinion of interest groups and their involvement in the political process. How can this be? This course will examine the purposes, roles, and ultimately the results produced by interest groups in the American political process. Students will finish with a much more complete understanding of the place that interest groups occupy in the American political universe.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions Requirement.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or permission of instructor.

Credits: 3

 

POS 381 – Political Parties and Elections

Analyzes the development of, and current theories regarding, political parties and elections in American politics. Topics include theories of party realignment, voting behavior, party composition and behavior, and the relationship between parties, elections and democracy. Covers both presidential and congressional elections.

Satisifies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions Requirement.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or junior or senior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 383 – American Constitutional Law

Examines the evolving nature of the U.S. Constitution through consideration of major Supreme Court decisions in areas such as federalism, legislative power, executive authority and judicial autonomy.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions Requirement.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or junior or senior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 384 – American Civil Liberties

Examines the tension between individual rights and the social order through consideration of major Supreme Court decisions involving the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment.

Satisfies the General Education Ethics and Social Contexts and Institutions Requirements.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or junior or senior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 385 – Women and Politics

Examines women as citizens and leaders and also examines movements to increase women’s public role in U.S. politics. Considers racial, ethnic, partisan and class dimensions of those movements and political activities and the influence of government policies on gender relations.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions and Writing Intensive Requirement.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or junior or senior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 386 – Religion and Politics in the United States

Religion has historically played a substantial role in the government and politics of the United States, and continues to do so in contemporary American society. Focuses on the intersections and interactions between religion and politics in the United States. Areas of examination include, (but are not limited to): religion and American culture, religion and the Constitution, religion and public policy, religion and individual political behavior, and religion and violence in the United States.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions Requirement.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or permission of instructor.

Credits: 3

 

POS 401 – Seminar in Political Theory

Detailed examination of the text(s) of a classic thinker in the history of political theory. May be repeated for credit.

Satisfies the General Education Ethics, Western Cultural Tradition and Writing Intensive Requirements.

Prerequisites

One course in political theory or permission of instructor.

Credits: 3

 

POS 467 – African Politics

Analysis of the transition from colonialism to independence in selected countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. Discussion of nation-building, the one-party system, military intervention in politics, and neo-colonialism.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions, Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives and Writing Intensive Requirements.

Prerequisites

6 hours of Political Science.

Credits: 3

 

POS 469 – Politics of the Middle East

The politics of the Middle East from World War I to the present. Special attention to problems of Palestine and the creation of Israel, the interplay between the politics of the great powers and Middle East conflicts, and problems of nationalism, modernization, and revolution.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or POS 120 and junior or senior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 474 – Conduct of Foreign Policy 

Examines the formulation and implementation of American foreign policy. Special focus will be placed on American Political culture; Presidential and congressional powers in foreign policy; government bureaucracies, such as the Departments of State, Defense and Treasury; and conceptual and theoretical approaches to policy making.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions Requirements.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or POS 120 and junior or senior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 475 – International Security

Examines national and international factors affecting the survival and security of states. Topics include components and use of military power, arms control and proliferation, the cause and resolution of conflict, negotiation and decision-making processes and structures.

Satisfies the General Education Social Contexts and Institutions and Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives Requirements.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or POS 120 and junior or senior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 476 – Seminar in World Politics

A topical survey of conceptual and theoretical developments in the field of world politics. Examination of these developments in the context of contemporary issues and controversies will be emphasized. May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or POS 120 and junior or senior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 484 – The American Constitution and Criminal Due Process

Examines the development of supreme Court doctrines governing the jurisprudence of constitutional rights afforded the criminally accused. Areas examined include the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th amendments to the Constituition and their applicability to the states via the 14th amendment.

Satisfies the General Education Ethics and Social Contexts and Institutions Requirements.

Prerequisites

POS 100 or junior standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 486-Religious Thought, The American Identity, and U.S. Public Policy

This course examines the place of religion in early American society, and how religion affected the debates surrounding and eventual shaping of the American governing system. The role of religion in individual and collective identities is also explored. Particular attention is devoted to the ways in which religion affects American public policy.

Satisfies the General Education Social Context and Institutions Requirement and Writing Intensive Requirement.

Prerequisites

POS 100 and Junior or Senior Standing.

Credits: 3

 

POS 487-Practicum in Engaged Policy Studies I

Focuses upon the critical application of analytical research skills to a community policy issue.  Examines different conceptions of community engagement and the university’s role in serving the community. Culminates with design of an engaged research project, with a community-based organization or policy outlet serving as a research partner. Designed to be taken as the initial course in a two-course sequence prior to POS 486, Practicum in Engaged Policy Studies II, which will be offered the following semester.

Satisfies the “Writing Intensive” General Education Requirement. Successful completion of both POS 487 and 488 satisfies the “Capstone Experience” Requirement.

Prerequisites

Junior or Senior Standing OR instructor permission.

Credits: 3

 

POS 488-Practicum in Engaged Policy Studies II

Focuses upon the critical application of analytical research skills to a community policy issue.  Examines different conceptions of community engagement and the university’s role in serving the community. Involves conducting research and analysis in collaboration with a community partner, and crafting an original policy report on a community issue. Designed to be taken sequentially after POS 487, “Practicum in Engaged Policy Studies I,” which is offered in the immediately preceding semester.

Satisfies the “Writing Intensive” General Education Requirement. Successful completion of both POS 487 and 488 satisfies the “Capstone Experience” Requirement.

Prerequisites

Successful completion of POS 487, “Practicum in Engaged Policy Studies II” with a grade of B or better.

Credits: 3

 

POS 493 – American Politics Internship

Provides students with the opportunity to gain experience in a department or agency at the national, state, or local level, or to conduct a major research project. Reports and a research paper are normally required for an agency internship.

Prerequisites

permission.

Credits: 3, 6 or 9

 

POS 495 – Congressional Internship

Assignment to the Washington, D.C. office of a member of Congress, normally from the Maine delegation, during the spring semester. Readings and reports are required in addition to performing staff work in a congressional office. The internship is open to juniors and seniors on a competitive basis; applications and interviews are conducted each fall to fill the spring internship positions.

Prerequisites

permission.

Credits: 6 or 9

 

POS 496 – International Affairs Internship

Provides students the opportunity to gain experience in a department or agency, either in the United States or abroad, that deals with international affairs. Students may not receive more than 9 credit hours for this internship.

Credits: 6 or 9

 

POS 498 – Independent Study in Political Science

Provides students the opportunity to work closely with an individual member of the faculty, either as a research assistant or as the author of a major independent study paper. May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisites

permission.

Credits: 3

 

POS 499 – Senior Seminar in Political Science

Examines selected theoretical and empirical topics in Political Science. Assumes a knowledge of, and builds upon, a body of knowledge developed by students in the major and represents the culmination of majors’ concentration of study within the major. Students can write an Honors thesis instead of taking the capstone course.

Satisfies the General Education Writing Intensive and Capstone Experience Requirements.

Prerequisites

Senior standing and Political Science major or International Affairs major with a concentration in Political Science.

Credits: 3

 

POS 531 – Topics in Comparative Politics

Examines various issues in comparative politics such as comparative democratization, regime types and conflict management, with emphasis on readings in the theoretical literature in the discipline of comparative politics through class discussions and individual research. May be repeated for credit.

Credits: 3

 

POS 549 – Seminar in American Politics

Examines theoretical and practical issues in American politics in a small group setting, with emphasis on individual research and class participation.

Credits: 3

 

POS 596 – Directed Research in Political Science

An individualized research course for graduate students seeking to explore an advanced research topic in political science. May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisites

graduate standing or permission of instructor.

Credits: 3


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Contact Information

Political Science
5754 North Stevens Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5754
Phone: (207) 581-1871
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1110
A Member of the University of Maine System