Courses & Requirements

Courses & Requirements

Politics

Overview

Politics involves the study of power, influence and ideas in public and private life, at the personal, local, state, national, and international levels. The mission of the department of Politics is to provide our students with an understanding of politics, government, and public policy to prepare them to become well informed, curious, and engaged leaders in their communities, in their societies, and in our increasingly complex, interdependent, and pluralistic world. Graduates of the department have found this major provides an excellent basis for careers in law, education, business, public service, international affairs, politics, and media.

The department emphasizes putting theory into practice (praxis), and strongly encourages each of its majors to pursue a variety of off-campus and community-based learning opportunities. The College has programs in Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., and overseas, as well as the Campaign Semester program through which students receive a full semester credit while working full-time on a political campaign. Politics majors regularly hold internships in government agencies, public interest organizations, media firms, businesses, and law firms around the country.

The Politics Department provides financial support for student research during the academic year and over the summer. The Reath/McKelvey and Anderson Fellowships support students working on a wide variety of projects in the United States and abroad. The Politics Department also encourages majors to pursue Undergraduate Research Fellowships for summer research in partnership with a faculty member and Research Abroad fellowships through the International Programs Office.

Major Requirements

In total, majors must complete at least 11 courses (44 units). ECON 101 is strongly recommended. No course will count toward the Politics major that the student takes CR/NC.

Fundamental Courses

POLS 101American Politics and Public Policy

4

POLS 300Research Methods in Politics and Public Policy

4

POLS 495Comprehensive Seminar

4

Subfields

Students must select one course in each of the following subfields: International Relations, Comparative Politics, American Politics, Political Theory, and Public Law.

For the subfield courses, DWA courses may count towards International Relations or Comparative Politics with department approval, and UEP courses may count for American Politics with department approval, but 

Political Theory and Public Law must be taken within the Politics Department.

International Relations

POLS 130Introduction to International Relations

4

POLS 232International Political Economy

4

POLS 233International Security

4

POLS 235United States Foreign Relations

4

Comparative Politics

POLS 120Introduction to Comparative Politics

4

POLS 218Russian Relations with the World

4

POLS 221Latin American Politics

4

POLS 223Dilemmas of Democracy

4

POLS 226Contemporary Chinese Politics

4

POLS 227East Asian Politics: China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan

4

POLS 320Advanced Theories of Comparative Politics

4

POLS 321Gender and Politics in the Developing World

4

POLS 325Politics and Security in New Europe

4

American Politics

POLS 201Work and Labor in America

4

POLS 202Leadership in the Public and Private Sphere

4

POLS 204Campaigns and Elections

4

POLS 205Latino/a Politics

4

POLS 206Race and American Politics

4

POLS 207Los Angeles Politics

4

POLS 208Movements for Social Justice

4

POLS 250American Intelligence and National Security

4

POLS 254American Political Thought

4

POLS 258Theoretical Accounts of Racism

4

POLS 262California Politics

4

POLS 264Disaster Politics: New Orleans in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

2

POLS 301Urban Policy and Politics

4

POLS 302The American Presidency

4

POLS 303Gender and American Politics

4

POLS 336National Security in Practice: How Washington Works

4

Political Theory

POLS 150Introduction to Political Theory

4

POLS 251European Political Thought: From Plato to Machiavelli

4

POLS 252European Political Thought: From Hobbes to Marx

4

POLS 253European Political Thought: From Nietzsche to the Present

4

POLS 256Ethics and Politics

4

POLS 257Conservative and Libertarian Political Philosophy

4

POLS 350HobbesPlato, Machiavelli, and Hobbes

2

POLS 351Tocqueville, Marx, and Nietzsche

4

POLS 352Black Political Thought

4

POLS 353Seminar: Advanced Study in Political Theory

2

POLS 354Seminar on How Tyrannies Work

4

Public Law

POLS 140Law and Society

4

POLS 234Juvenile Justice: Children in Conflict with the Law

4

POLS 244Constitutional Law

4

POLS 247Supreme Court Politics

2

POLS 340Rebellious Lawyering

4

POLS 342Human Rights in the United States

4

POLS 345The Fourth Amendment

4

POLS 346Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

4

POLS 347Race and Law

4

Additional Electives

Three required electives must be taken within the Politics Department.

WRITING REQUIREMENT

The Junior Writing Seminar is Politics 272 or any 300-level Politics, DWA, or UEP course (except Politics 300) that focuses on research and oral presentation skills.

COMPREHENSIVE REQUIREMENT

All politics majors must complete a Comprehensive Seminar in the spring of their senior year. Students will read and discuss political science journal articles that raise interesting questions for the field, combine theory with empirical data, and serve as models for their own senior thesis. Simultaneously, each student is asked to develop a senior thesis on a topic in one of the sub-fields of the major, demonstrating theoretical sophistication, an ability to find and evaluate sources of data, to develop and test hypotheses, and to argue a thesis. Papers are subjected to peer review and to a rigorous drafting process. All seniors are required to submit a proposal for their thesis by the end of September in their senior year. These proposals should state the research problem, demonstrate a significant command of the relevant bibliography, and include a tentative outline of major components in the study.

HONORS

We encourage highly motivated students to pursue Department Honors. They qualify for this program by achieving a 3.25 grade point average overall and a 3.5 grade point average in courses counting toward the Politics major. Only under extraordinary circumstances will the Politics faculty members approve a petition to have this 3.5 grade point average waived. Students interested in pursuing Honors should complete the courses required for the Politics major by the end of Fall Semester. They will be required to meet all of the obligations of the Comprehensive Seminar in the spring semester and complete a major research paper as a part of that experience.

Minor Requirements

At least five courses (20 units) within the department or courses accepted by the department in lieu of its own. Of these five courses, three (12 units) must be advanced courses (200-level and higher) taken from different sub-fields within Politics (American Politics, Political Theory, Public Law, Comparative Politics, and International Relations).

Courses

All Politics Courses

Subfields

American Politics and Public Policy

POLS 201Work and Labor in America

4

POLS 202Leadership in the Public and Private Sphere

4

POLS 204Campaigns and Elections

4

POLS 205Latino/a Politics

4

POLS 206Race and American Politics

4

POLS 207Los Angeles Politics

4

POLS 208Movements for Social Justice

4

POLS 250American Intelligence and National Security

4

POLS 254American Political Thought

4

POLS 258Theoretical Accounts of Racism

4

POLS 262California Politics

4

POLS 264Disaster Politics: New Orleans in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

2

POLS 295Topics in Politics

4

POLS 301Urban Policy and Politics

4

POLS 302The American Presidency

4

POLS 303Gender and American Politics

4

POLS 336National Security in Practice: How Washington Works

4