Political Science Major
Political Science Course Descriptions
POS 101 Introduction to American Government This course focuses on the political institutions, processes, behavior, and problems of government in the United States. The national government is emphasized. Key topics include: the Constitution, Supreme Court, Congress, Presidency, political parties, public opinion, and interest groups. Cr 3.
POS 102 People and Politics This course introduces the student to modern political analysis. It centers on basic questions in the study of political behavior: how people learn about politics, what kind of political system they adopt and support, who does and who does not participate in politics, how political conflict is expressed and resolved in various societies. The course aims at familiarizing the student with major approaches or methods that political scientists have found helpful for understanding real political behavior. Note: POS 101 is not a prerequisite for POS 102. Cr 3
POS 104 Introduction to International Relations Examination of the relationships of nations in their efforts to deal with each other from differing political, economic, and cultural bases. Cr 3.
POS 120 Government and Politics of Maine This course concerns Maine State Government, including legislative, executive and judicial programs and powers as exercised within the system of Maine values, political parties, and interest groups. Open to political science majors and as an elective to the student who has an interest in the programs and politics of the state of Maine. Cr 3.
POS 203 Introduction to Political Science Research An introduction to the way political scientists conduct research. Students will learn how to formulate ideas, conduct a literature review, test hypotheses, measure political phenomenon, perform statistical analyses, draw conclusions, and present written results. Cr 3.
POS 205 Introduction to Comparative Politics An introduction to the field of comparative politics with a focus on political systems and political participation. The course will examine political institutions, electoral laws, comparative methodologies, political culture, and the problem of establishing and maintaining democratic government. Case studies will be used to highlight major themes. Prerequisites: ENG 100 and POS 104. Cr 3.
POS 245 French Politics and Government This course centers on the political, economic, and social structure of France over the last five decades. Students will learn the essential components of the French governmental system, the most typical economic policies, France's position in the EU, and the ongoing struggle about the defense of the French culture. Prerequisite: ENG 100. Cr 3.
POS 256 Media and Politics The media play an increasingly powerful role in modern political systems. This course examines that power and explains how it came about, while noting those forces that restrict or restrain the media's influence. The symbiotic relationship between politicians and journalists is given special attention. Prerequisite: POS 101 or POS 102 or permission of the instructor. Cr 3.
POS 261 The American Congress The role of the national legislature in American politics is considered. The course undertakes a study of the men and women who reach Congress, the internal norms and procedures on national decision making. Among topics covered are the committee system, leadership patterns in the Senate and the House, the public's influence on Congress, Congress and the Presidency, and Congressional policy making in selected areas. Prerequisite: POS 101 or permission of the instructor. Cr 3.
POS 262 The American Presidency This course examines the development of the modern presidency; the scope and exercise of presidential decision making in domestic and foreign policy; and standards for assessing presidential performance. Prerequisite: POS 101 or permission of the instructor. Cr 3.
POS 280 Issues Before the United Nations An orientation to the activities of the United Nations. This course includes exposure to current events, exploration of pressing international issues, understanding the basics of international law, and mastery of the protocol and procedures of international diplomacy. Cr 3.
POS 290 Introduction to Political Theory A survey of political theory from ancient times to the present. Themes include the nature of democracy, freedom, equality, power, legitimacy, justice, and the use of lying in political life. Cr 3.
POS 310 Internet and Politics This course explores the politics of Internet communication. Topics include Internet development, communication techniques, access policy, citizenship, advocacy, government, journalism, and law. Cr 3.
POS 315 Media Law This course explores the legal context of communication through the mass media. Major issues include censorship, ownership regulation, remedies for people in the news, the right to receive and send communication in the media, and news media privilege. Prerequisite: POS 101 or CMS 103 or permission of the instructor. Cr 3.
POS 333 Theories of Democratization As a general overview of democratization studies, the course goes beyond theoretical discussions about what elements are needed to create a democracy. Students study specific examples of political institutions, economic systems, political cultures and values, as key variables across multiple geographic areas to assess the establishment of democracy. Prerequisite: POS 205 or equivalent or permission of the instructor. Cr 3.
POS 334 Race and Ethnicity in U.S. Politics Are American political institutions representative? This course provides students with the opportunity to examine this question by confronting the relationship between race, ethnicity, and representation in elections, court cases, urban politics, and political theory. Cr 3.
POS 335 European Politics This course examines political processes and governmental structures in Europe. It focuses especially on The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland as specific case studies. Among the topics covered are: political parties, elections, voting systems, interest groups, legislative-executive relations, constitutional principles, political elites, leadership behavior, and bureaucracies. Prerequisites: ENG 100 and POS 205; Junior or Senior standing. Cr 3.
POS 349 The Middle East in International Politics The crucial issues of international politics, war, revolution, superpower intervention, economic development and terrorism converge in the Middle East on a regional basis. This course will examine the nature of Mideast regional politics and the foreign policies of the major constituents of the area. The purpose will be to secure an understanding of the conflict between Arab and Israeli worlds, the foundations of tension among the Arab states themselves, and the role played by the superpowers in stabilizing or disrupting the uneasy relationships of the region. Prerequisite: POS 104 or permission of the instructor. Cr 3.
POS 352 Latino Politics This course examines Latino politics in the United States. The class will primarily focus on the three largest Latino national-origin groups, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cuban Americans, but other Latino national-origin subgroups will be discussed more briefly. Cr 3.
POS 354 African Americans and American Justice This course is an exploration and analysis of selected U.S. Supreme Court ruling on cases related to African American citizenship, civil rights and equal treatment during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This course also explores the changing boundaries and content of state and national citizenship, from the early national period (during the slavery era) to the mid twentieth century. Prerequisite: EYE and sophomore status, or permission of the instructor. Cr 3.
POS 355/HTY 347 Race and the Politics of Mass Incarceration This course examines the cultural, political and institutional dynamics that produced and sustain mass incarceration in the United States. The course takes a short-range historical approach to studying linkages between the intersection of mass incarceration, racism, sexism, and poverty, and how these forces impact individuals, families, and communities of color. Cr 3.
POS 361 Public Administration An examination of national, state, and local bureaucracies, including their processes of decision making, communications, leadership, internal and external political relationships. A continuing question will be, ``How can those institutions be made responsive to the public?'' Prerequisite: POS 101 or permission of the instructor. Cr 3.
POS 370 Political Controversies in American Politics This course will consider contemporary public policy issues that affect our lives and engage our values. Topics may include: Gun Control, Voter Suppression, Affirmative Action, Same Sex Marriage, Immigration, Free Speech on College Campus, Health Care. Cr 3.
POS 374 United States Foreign Policy A detailed evaluation of U.S. foreign policy focusing on such topics as: identification of U.S. policy; governmental agencies and personalities in the formulation and implementation of policy; and the role of non-governmental influences. The course is designed to evaluate current policy goals and practices within the context of long-range goals. Prerequisite: POS 101 or permission of the instructor. Cr 3.
POS 380 Topics Specially developed occasional courses exploring a variety of theoretical and substantive areas of political science. May be repeated for credit as topics vary. Cr 1-3.
POS 390 Ancient and Medieval Political Theory An intensive study of ancient and medieval political theory. Emphasis is on textual criticism of a variety of different works including those from philosophy, literature, and theology. Prerequisite: POS 290, or sophomore status, or permission of the instructor. Cr 3.
POS 392 American Political Thought I An examination of central concepts and debates in American political history from the Puritan Era to the Dred Scott decision, with particular attention to debates on authority, liberty, revolution, slavery, and emerging ideas of American individualism. Prerequisites: POS 290 or PHI 109 or HTY 121 or HTY 122 or permission of the instructor. Cr 3.
POS 393 American Political Thought II An examination of American political thought from the Civil War to the War on Terror, with particular attention to debates on authority, anarchism, race, and power. Cr 3.
POS 395 Independent Study I A concentrated program of research or study on a particular subject of the student's selection. The topic will be chosen with the advice and under the direction of a faculty member. Admission by permission of the political science faculty. Cr 3.
POS 396 Independent Study II A concentrated program of research or study on a particular subject of the student's selection. The topic will be chosen with the advice and under the direction of a faculty member. Admission by permission of the political science faculty. Cr 3.
POS 405 The European Union An examination of a unique example of political, economic, and cultural integration. The course will emphasize the evolution, enlargement, international positioning, and political organization of the European Union. Prerequisites: ENG 100 and POS 205; Junior or Senior standing. Cr 3.
POS 406 Research in the European Union Advanced course on the political, economic, and cultural aspects of the European Union, offered exclusively for students who enroll in the summer abroad program, "The European Union in Brussels." Participants will travel to Brussels and The Hague for presentations at the EU institutions, NATO, and the International Criminal Court. Prerequisite: recommended, but not required, POS 205 or any other course with an international content. Cr 3.
POS 410 Urban Outcomes and the City Politics of Portland This course focuses on the politics of metropolitan areas (with an emphasis on Portland) and analyzing a variety of local issues such as rent control, waterfront redevelopment, the homeless, diversity of new immigrant populations, and the city master plan. Cr 3.
POS 445 MeMUNC Conference Planners Students research international issues, produce a background guide for the Maine Model United Nations Conference (MeMUNC), organize the conference, and train in parliamentary procedure. University students lead a program that serves the local, state, and regional community by exposing high school students to the complexities of international relations. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Cr 3.
POS 446 Global Educators Students combine theory and practice, obtaining the skills to teach high/middle school students about global issues and peaceful conflict resolution through Model United Nations. Global Educators are placed in a school to lead weekly student preparation for the Maine Model United Nations Conference (MeMUNC) taking place every May. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Cr 3.
POS 463 Supreme Court and Constitutional Law The course examines how the Supreme Court interprets Constitutional provisions that affect the structure of government. Major topics include federalism, separation of powers, and economic rights. Both legal and extra-legal models of decision making are considered. Prerequisite: POS 101. Cr 3.
POS 464 American Civil Liberties An analysis of judicial interpretations of Bill of Rights guarantees and their effects on political processes in the United States. Topics include church and state, freedom of speech and press, the rights of the accused and the convicted. Prerequisite: POS 101 or permission of the instructor. Cr 3.
POS 475 Political Science Internship Provides academic framework for students who are working in the community in a politically-related position during the semester. Students meet for a series of seminars, for which readings and reports will be required. The seminars facilitate reflection that connects social science frameworks to work experience. Cr 6.
POS 476 Internship in Washington D.C. Provision may be made to gain professional experience in a congressional office, an agency of the national government, or with a private or semi-public organization in Washington, D.C. Readings and research reports are required. Prerequisite: open to selected students from any major. Cr 9.
POS 480 International Affairs Internship Provision may be made to gain professional experience in an organization oriented toward international politics, trade or other trans-boundary affairs. Students will meet for a series of internship seminars, for which readings and reports will be required. Prerequisite: open to selected students from any major. Cr 6.