Professor: Gregory S. Sanjian

Associate Professors: Michael R. James, Tansa G. Massoud, Amy R. McCready, Scott R. Meinke, David M. Mitchell, Andrea Stevenson Sanjian (Chair), Atiya Kai Stokes-Brown, Zhiqun Zhu (MacArthur Chair, East Asian Politics)

Assistant Professors: John Doces, Christopher Ellis, Richard Douglas Hecock

Political Science is the systematic study of all aspects of collective decision making in human society. This includes questions of right and wrong, law, power, and justice. Political scientists explore and analyze politics in the United States (American politics and policy), politics in other societies around the world (comparative politics), interactions and processes at the global level (international politics), and questions of political fairness (political theory).

For undergraduates, the study of Political Science, like other programs for the Bachelor of Arts degree, is intended to contribute to the acquisition of skills and knowledge that form the foundation of a liberal arts education. The study of Political Science provides a background for careers in public service, law, journalism, international organizations, political consulting, teaching, or business.

A major in Political Science consists of a minimum of eight courses. A core of four courses is required to provide a grounding in the traditional subfields of the discipline, and so should be taken at the outset of study in the major: American Politics (POLS 140); International Politics (POLS 170); Comparative Politics (POLS 205); and Political Theory (POLS 210). Majors also take at least three electives and a 300-level seminar, which is normally taken during the senior year. Note that POLS 395, POLS 396, and POLS 397 are not seminars and do not fulfill the 300-level seminar requirement for the major.

Upon declaration of a major in Political Science, during the sophomore year, students consult with the chair to determine assignment of an appropriate faculty adviser.

In putting together their academic program, students intending to major in Political Science should plan to complete the core courses in each subfield before electing other 200-level courses within the same subfield. A core course may be prerequisite for some courses. Successful completion of the appropriate core course is also a prerequisite for all seminars. In addition, permission of the seminar instructor may be required at the time of registration. The Political Science Department encourages study abroad and participation in other approved off-campus programs. Up to two course credits earned off-campus may be used to meet the major's elective requirements. (This limit does not apply to courses offered by Bucknell-administered programs.) Students planning to undertake off-campus or nontraditional study should consult closely with their adviser. Students seeking transfer credit towards the major for off-campus internship or other nontraditional programs must get departmental approval in advance. On-line courses will not count towards the major.

Qualified juniors are invited to pursue Honors in Political Science by writing and defending an honors thesis in their senior year. Interested juniors should consult with their adviser, with the department chair, or with another member of the department no later than the spring of the junior year. The University Honors Council established the basic requirements and procedures for honors theses. Interested students also may pursue independent study (POLS 395 or POLS 396) under a plan worked out with a member of the department and approved by the department chair.

The College Core Curriculum requires that all students in the College of Arts and Sciences receive instruction in writing, speaking, and information literacy in their major discipline. Students majoring in Political Science receive instruction in these areas through the required core courses, electives, and/or a seminar. The College Core Curriculum also requires students to complete an approved Culminating Experience in the major. Political Science majors will meet this requirement by taking at least one 300-level seminar in the senior year or second semester of the junior year.

Subfield coursework is distributed as follows:

  • American Politics: POLS 140, POLS 230-249, POLS 330-339, POLS 370-379
  • Comparative Politics: POLS 205, POLS 211-229, POLS 300-309, POLS 350-359
  • International Politics: POLS 170, POLS 270-289, POLS 320-329, POLS 380-389
  • Political Theory: POLS 210, POLS 250-269, POLS 310-319, POLS 360-369
  • General and Cross-subfield: POLS 290-299, POLS 390-399

Five minors are available in Political Science:

  • American Politics: five courses in Political Science, including POLS 140 and at least two courses drawn from the American Politics subfield (see above)
  • Comparative Politics: five courses in Political Science, including POLS 205 and at least two courses drawn from the Comparative Politics subfield (see above)
  • International Politics: five courses in Political Science, including POLS 170 and at least two courses drawn from the International Politics subfield (see above)
  • Political Theory: five courses in Political Science, including POLS 210 and at least two courses drawn from the Political Theory subfield (see above)
  • General: five courses in Political Science, including one course from each of the four subfields (see above).

Open-topic courses (POLS 290) may be counted toward a minor where the topics are appropriate. Off-campus and nontraditional courses in Political Science may be used as one of the non-specified courses in a minor.


Core Courses (Required for Major)

140.  American Politics (I and II; 3, 0)
A critical examination of the principles, structures, and processes that shape American politics. An emphasis on political behavior and institutions with application to contemporary political issues.

170.  International Politics (I and II; 3, 0)
Introduction to major dynamics of international politics; the international system, decision making, perceptions, cooperation, conflict, and policy instruments, such as diplomacy and war. Analysis is linked to specific international events and issues.

205.  Comparative Politics (I and II; 3, 0)
Politics and policy outside the United States; concepts for the comparison of political systems. Democracy, Third World politics, revolution, political stability and change, international effects on political processes.

210.  Political Theory (I and II; 3, 0)
Examination of the moral dimensions of politics. Authors include Plato, Aristotle, Milton, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Marx. Major concepts include justice, freedom, rights, and authority.



211.  Third World Politics (I or II; 3, 0)
Politics in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The Third World in the modern world system. Politics and economic development. Instability, militarism, and democracy.

219.  Latin American Politics (II; 3, 0)
The dynamics of politics in Latin American social, economic, and cultural context, with use of general comparative concepts of politics.

221.  Political Economy of European Integration (I or II; 3, 0)
Introduction to core issues and theories related to the economic and political processes of European integration. Offered through Bucknell in London.

222.  Russian Politics (I; 3, 0)
The politics of transition in Russia, from authoritarianism toward democracy with a market economy.

223.  European Politics (AII; 3, 0)
Comparative analysis of institutions and policy-making in European political systems, including the European Union.

224.  Government and Politics of the Middle East (I or II; 3, 0)
This course provides the student with an understanding of the internal political process of the area. Topics include political institutions/groups, the state, culture, Islam, and revolution.

225.  Chinese Politics (I or II; 3, 0)
This course examines China's rich political history, its dynamic economic and social changes, its lasting political culture, its enduring struggle for modernization, and its evolving relations with the rest of the world. Crosslisted as EAST 269 and IREL 225.

226.  East Asian Politics (II; 3, 0)
This course surveys political history, political institutions, economy, and society of major countries in East Asia, with focus on the continuity and changes in politics and policies in China, Japan, and Korea. Crosslisted as EAST 226 and IREL 226.



231.  American Public Policy (I; 3, 0)
Course introduces students to theories of the policy-making process in America, and also provides an overview of the major policy areas in American politics.

234.  State and Local Internship Program (II; 3, 0)
Participants explore politics and policy at the state and local level through integrated class work, independent research, and real world work experiences. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

235.  Media and Politics (I or II; 3, 0)
This course explores the role of the news media in American politics. Ideas to be discussed include: the relationship between elected officials and the media, campaign advertising and media coverage of elections, and the role of the media in shaping public opinion and public policy.

236.  Campaigns and Elections (I or II; 3, 0)
This course will describe, explain, and evaluate the impact of elections on American politics. It is focused on three central objectives: to improve the student's understanding of the American electoral process; to familiarize each student with the current electoral cycle; and to improve each student's ability to analyze the role of elections in American politics.

238.  Women and Politics (AII; 3, 0)
An analysis of women and politics generally with specific focus on feminism and its relationship to political discourse and political action. Crosslisted as POLS 229 and WMST 238.

239.  Latino Politics in the United States (I; 3, 0)
This course focuses on the electoral and non-electoral political participation and behavior of Latinos, as well as to some key policy issues of relevance to Latinos at all levels.

240.  The American Congress (I or II; 3, 0)
Examination and evaluation of representative government in America. Detailed investigation of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Prerequisite: POLS 140 or permission of the instructor.

241.  Constitutional Law: Civil Rights (I or II; 3, 0)
An introduction to civil rights under the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, focusing on discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, class and alien status.

242.  Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties (I or II; 3, 0)
Examination of civil liberties policies in the U.S. through a study of U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

243.  The American Presidency (I; 3, 0)
Origins and development of the presidency and an analysis of the sources and nature of executive power in American national government.

244.  American Judicial Politics (II; 3, 0)
Survey of the process and substance of policymaking in the Federal court system, with an emphasis on Supreme Court decision making and the policy impact of court decisions.

246.  Race Ethnicity and American Politics (I or II; 3, 0)
Looks at the connections between race, ethnicity and power through various forms of political behavior including electoral, policymaking, and citizen participation. Explores the mutually constitutive relationship between politics and race.

248.  Political Behavior (I or II; 3, 0)
Analysis of the ways in which citizens form, update, and act on political preferences. Topics include: political psychology, voting, civic participation, and social movements.


Political Theory

254.  Sex and Social Order (AI or AII; 3, 0)
Analysis of connections between sex and social structure to determine how our understanding of sexuality is implicated in our political system, economy, and cultural ideology. Crosslisted as WMST 254.

256.  Topics in Social and Political Ethics (I or II; R; 3, 0)
Study of the types of argument and analysis used in social and political ethics, in part through an examination of contemporary social issues.

258.  States of Nature (AII; 3, 0)
Study of the conceptual connections between understandings of nature, society, and the good in historical and contemporary contexts.

261.  Twentieth-century American Legal Thought (I or II; 3, 0)
Analysis of dominant and critical trends through the century including legal realism, liberalism, law and morality, feminist legal theory, law and economics, and critical race theory.

263.  Race and Ethnicity in American Legal Thought (II; 3, 0)
An examination of legal theories on race and ethnicity, including race-based citizenship, affirmative action, school desegregation, busing, voting rights, racial gerrymandering, tribal sovereignty, and immigration.

266.  Nationalism East and West (I or II; 3, 0)
Examination of the theory and practice of nationalist movements in Europe, the United States, India, and the Middle East.

268.  Contemporary Democratic Theory (I or II; 3, 0)
Analysis of the moral foundations of democracy and the institutional means for achieving it, including voting systems, political parties, alternative representation, and workplace democracy.



271.  American Foreign Policy (I; 3, 0)
Analysis of American foreign policy institutions and decision-making processes; examination of the history and of current issues and problems of U.S. foreign policy.

272.  U.S. National Security Policy (II; 3, 0)
The evolution of U.S. national security policy since World War II. Topics include defense in the nuclear area, strategic doctrine, arms control, budgeting, WMDs, policy making.

273.  The Atlantic Alliance (I; 3, 0)
This course concerns North Atlantic political and security relations and uses the NATO alliance as its vehicle. The course examines binding and dividing intra-alliance issues during and after the Cold War.

274.  Race, Nation-state and International Relations (II; 3, 0)
The course examines the processes by which states as expressions of social relations that are embedded in political institutions have been used by social forces, nationally, and transnationally, to racialize nations, societies, and global politics. Crosslisted as HIST 260 and IREL 245.

275.  Global Governance (I; 3, 0)
This course explores the rationales, processes, and institutions of multilateral governance in a globalized world. We examine the U.N., nongovernmental organizations, conflict resolution, economic development, environment, human rights, and international law. Not open to first-year students. Crosslisted as IREL 275.

276.  Comparative Foreign Policy (I; 3, 0)
This course has two over-arching objectives: Introduce students to the various ways foreign policy can be explained, and acquaint students with the substantive foreign policies of specific international actors, notably the EU, Japan, India, Israel, United Kingdom, Brazil, China and others. Crosslisted as IREL 276.

277.  International Political Economy (I or II; 3, 0)
This course examines the politics of international economic relations including trade, finance, and development. Crosslisted as IREL 277.

278.  International Law (II; 3, 0)
The nature, historical development, and sources of international law; substantive and procedural international law and its role in international relations. Crosslisted as IREL 255.

279.  Government and the Economy (II; 3, 0)
This course studies the government and economy with special topics including history, analysis, and critique of capitalism and democracy.

280.  War (I; 3, 0)
This course focuses on the causes of wars. Theories from many disciplines are examined in relation to interstate and civil or internal wars. Applying these theories to different wars, through the use of case studies, will comprise a large part of the course.

281.  Peace Studies (AI or AII; 3, 0)
This course provides an introduction to the field of peace studies. A number of topics are examined including pacifism, conflict resolution techniques and approaches, and finally actual case studies to illustrate peacemaking in two contexts: interstate wars and internal or civil strife. Crosslisted as UNIV 219.

282.  European Security (AI or AII; 3, 0)
European security issues, including NATO enlargement, the military campaigns in the Balkans, the Iraq War, terrorism and ballistic missile defense. For Bucknell in London. Crosslisted as IREL 282.

283.  East Asian International Relations (I or II; 3, 0)
This course offers an overview of international relations in East Asia with focus on political, economic, and social interactions among major states in the region. Crosslisted as EAST 248 and IREL 283.

284.  International Relations of Europe (II; 3, 0)
This course will examine the foreign policies of European countries, individually and collectively through the European Union, toward each other, regional and global intergovernmental organizations, and other regions/countries. Crosslisted as IREL 218.

285.  The International Relations of Latin America in the 21st Century (II; 3, 0)
This course will examine the emergence of the New Left, the production of regional spaces, the impact of the BRICS and South-South cooperation in Latin America. Crosslisted as IREL 285.

286.  Nonstate Actors in International Relations (I; 3, 0)
This course explores the role nonstate actors (such as nongovernmental organizations, multinational corporations, violent nonstate actors, and individuals) can and do play in various substantive areas of international relations. Crosslisted as IREL 286.

287.  United States and the Middle East (AII; 3, 0)
This course examines U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East. The focus is on the economic, security, and political interests of the United States in the region.

288.  French Foreign Policy Since 1945 (I or II; 3, 0)
Analysis of French foreign policy, institutions, and decision-making processes in the Fourth and Fifth Republics. Current issues and problems of French foreign policy. Offered through Bucknell en France.

289.  The Arab-Israeli Conflict (AI or AII; 3, 0)
This course examines the roots and transformation of the conflict, role of outside actors, and how it can be resolved.

290.  Topics in Politics (I or II; R; 3, 0)
Attention will focus on specific thinkers, problems, concepts, or issues of recurring and continuing significance in political analysis. Topics will vary.

291.  Environmental Policy and Politics (I; 3, 0)
An introduction to understanding the role of political institutions, stakeholders, and policy processes (in the U.S. and internationally) in addressing environmental problems. Crosslisted with ENST 245.

292.  Political Economy of Growth (II; 3, 0)
We will study how institutions affect the immediate determinants of economic growth. Topics include population growth, microfinance, democracy, geography, international trade, culture, and foreign aid.



350.  Seminar in Comparative Politics (I or II; R; 3, 0)
Selected topics. Prerequisite: POLS 205 or permission of the instructor.

351.  Social Policies in Rich Democracies (II; 3, 0)
Application of comparative analysis to social policies and policymaking in established democracies, on such issues as income supports, health care, education, reproductive rights, etc. Prerequisite: successful completion of POLS 205.

352.  Politics of Economic Development (II; 3, 0)
This course critically engages the tools, concepts, and theories that are used to examine the politics of economic development in poorer countries. Prerequisite: POLS 205 or permission of the instructor.

360.  Seminar in Political Theory (I or II; R; 3, 0)
Selected topics. Prerequisite: POLS 210 or permission of the instructor.

362.  American Constitutional Theory (I or II; 3, 0)
A careful analysis of theories of American constitutional democracy, focusing on the role and legitimacy of judicial review within the democratic political system. Prerequisite: POLS 210 or permission of the instructor. 

370.  Seminar in American Politics (I or II; R; 3, 0)
Selected topics. Prerequisite: POLS 140 or permission of the instructor.

371.  Minority Politics (II; 3, 0)
This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of how minority groups operate within the U.S. political system.

373.  Public Opinion (AI or AII; 3, 0)
Theoretical and quantitative approaches to the study of public attitudes in the United States. Prerequisite: POLS 140 or permission of the instructor. Not open to students who have taken POLS 332.

375.  Analyzing Legislatures (AI or AII; 3, 0)
An in-depth examination of American legislative politics through empirical social-science research methods. Prerequisite: POLS 140.

380.  Seminar in International Politics (I or II; R; 3, 0)
Selected topics. Prerequisite: POLS 170 or permission of the instructor. May be crosslisted as EAST 380 and/or IREL 380.

381.  Arab-Israeli Conflict, Peace Studies (I; 3, 0)
This course is devoted to examining the failures and successes of the peace process between Israel and the Arab States. Exploring the roots of the conflict dating back to the late 1800s and conclude with the Oslo peace process and the involvement of outside actors. Prerequisite: POLS 170 or permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as IREL 381.

382.  U.S.-China Relations (II; 3, 0)
Through tracing the evolution of U.S.-China relations from the 19th century to the 21st century, this course discusses major issues and challenges between the two countries today. Future trends of the bilateral relationship will also be explored. Prerequisite: POLS 170. Preference given to EAST, IREL, and POLS seniors. May be crosslisted as EAST 382 and/or IREL 482. Not open to students who have taken EAST 380, IREL 380 or IREL 382.

389.  Human Rights (I; 3, 0)
The seminar will study human rights, primarily from an international perspective, including self-determination, cultural rights, ethnic and racial rights, women's rights, religious rights, and gay and lesbian rights. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Preference given to international relations majors. Not open to students who have taken IREL 310. Crosslisted as IREL 415.

393.  International Environmental Aid (I or II; 3, 0)
This advanced seminar on international environmental politics focuses on applied examination of international and bilateral aid for solving environmental problems. It explores discussion topics including: theories of international environmental relations and development, roles of international organizations and non-governmental actors, and environmental problem-solving case studies. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ENST 393.


General and Cross-Subfield

295.  Internship (I or II; 3, 0)
Reserved for nontraditional study.

395.  396. Independent Study (I and II; R; 3, 0)
Open to qualified students who wish to pursue individual programs of advanced study in political science. Prerequisite: approval of a proposal submitted to the department, normally at least two weeks prior to registration.

397.  Honors Thesis (I and II; R; 3, 0)
Independent research on some topic approved as honors work by the department and Honors Council. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Courses offered occasionally
220 British Political System, 260 Topics in Legal Thought, 282 European Security



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