Carroll College, Helena Montana

Course Descriptions

Courses in Political Science

Department of Political Science

PO 100 Justice and the Just Society: 3 Cr
Introduction to Politics
This course constitutes an introduction to the fundamental questions of political inquiry—What is justice? How ought we to live our lives? What is the best regime?—through a detailed study of books written by thinkers who offer very different answers to these questions. This course is required for all political science majors and minors. Fall semester.

PO 102 Introduction to Comparative Politics 3 Cr (GD)
This course introduces students to government and politics outside the United States. The workings of different forms of government will be studied in a variety of countries each year. This course is required of all political science majors and minors. Spring semester.

PO 104 American National Government 3 Cr
An introduction to the institutions of American national government. The focus will be on the presidency, congress, courts, and the system of federalism. The class will also probe national elections, political parties, interest groups, and concepts of “checks and balances” and “separation of powers.” This course is required for all political science majors and minors. Fall semester.

PO 115 International Relations 3 Cr (GD)
An introduction to world politics covering the problems of war and peace, power politics, global economic issues, human rights, diplomacy, and recent crises. A prime objective is to develop students’ capacity to critically analyze international behavior. This course is required for all political science majors and minors. Spring semester.

PO 119 City Politics 3 Cr (ND)
A study of urban problems and municipal government in the U.S. The class will involve historical analysis of cities and a contemporary examination of urban politics and the urban problems of race and economic development. Fall semester, even-numbered years.

PO 201 Introduction to the Legal Profession 1 Cr
This course is an introduction to various aspects of the legal profession combined with LSAT preparation. The course features lectures by attorneys, law clerks, and judges, supplemented by films and field trips. PO 201 is recommended for those with sophomore standing, at minimum. Pass/fail only. Spring semester.

PO 205 Early Modern Political Thought 3 Cr (WI)
This course is an examination of the political thinkers from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment through detailed study of selected writings of Machiavelli, Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, and selected writings of the American Founders. The goal of this course is to gain a better understanding of the intellectual roots of modern politics and to examine early modern opinions concerning human nature, good governance, and justice within and among nations. Particular attention will be devoted to the dominant ideology of the modern world, liberalism. Fall semester, odd-numbered years.

PO 210 Introduction to Constitutional Law 3 Cr
This general survey course is an introduction to some of the key Supreme Court decisions in the development of constitutional law in the United States. Through analysis and briefing of cases, students will be able to develop their thinking and writing skills while they learn how constitutional doctrine emerges and changes in areas such as separation of powers, federalism and civil liberties as the ongoing struggle to interpret the meaning of our Constitution continues. Spring semester, even-numbered years.

PO 216 American Political Thought 3 Cr
This introductory course surveys the central issues of American political thought from the founding of the Republic to the present. The focus will be on selected critical periods in American history characterized by heightened conflict over America’s operative ideals, including revolutionary America and the struggle over the Constitution, the Civil War, Depression and New Deal, and the Vietnam era. Fall semester, even-numbered years.

PO 222 U.S. Foreign Policy 3 Cr
An examination of the changing international perspectives, policy instruments, and processes of decision making underlying American foreign policy since 1945. Major objectives of the course include an appreciation of the complexity of interests that shape foreign policy and the development of an analytical capacity to evaluate the ways in which U.S. power has been projected abroad. Fall semester.

PO 225 Politics and Film 3 Cr
This course examines the portrayal of American politics and culture in film. We will evaluate how films address themes in American politics, comparative politics and international relations. We will also evaluate how films depict American culture and values, and how American culture can be influenced by film. Students will be expected to demonstrate their understanding of the role of film in politics and culture through examinations, written assignments and active participation in classroom discussions. Summer session, only as scheduled.

PO 230 Montana State Politics 3 Cr
An introductory analysis of Montana state politics and political institutions. The course will explore federalism, Montana political history, and contemporary policy issues. Spring semester, odd-numbered years.

PO 244 Contemporary Global Issues 3 Cr
Contemporary global problems affecting people’s identity and dignity, the global marketplace, ecopolitics, and violent conflict will be critically examined. Developing an ability to understand and apply differing perspectives on global issues will be an underlying objective throughout this course. Fall semester, odd-numbered years.

PO 250 Topics in American Politics 3 Cr
An introduction to the major public policy issues in American politics. Course examines the creation and definition of public issues as well as the formulation of public policy solutions. The problems and issues examined will reflect dominant national concerns. Spring semester.

PO 306 Political Research Methods 3 Cr
This course is about how we study politics by various methods of gathering information and analyzing it. Course material is designed particularly for students of political science,international relations, and public administration who wish to develop basic research and policy analysis skills. Much of the course will deal with the use of quantitative methods for analyzing political problems. Recommended prerequisite: MA 207. Recommended for juniors. Fall semester, odd-numbered years.

PO 310 Selected Topics in Public Policy 3 Cr
This course explores substantive policy issues challenging the American electorate. Students will analyze and evaluate the political implications of debates concerning major issues such as social welfare, taxation, cultural, defense, and trade policies. After an overview of the study of public policy including issues and themes such as agenda setting, the boundaries between the government and private sector, implementation, a discussion of institutional actors, and the role of race, class, and gender the course will then have students apply these analytic frameworks to a selected substantive policy area. Fall semester, odd-numbered years.

PO 312 Elections, Political Parties, and Public Opinion 3 Cr
An exploration of U.S. elections, political parties, and public opinion and their contribution to the democratic process. The course will specifically examine the origins of individual political opinions. Fall semester, even-numbered years.

PO 315 Congress and the Presidency 3 Cr
An examination of the structure and the powers of the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, and the Presidency. Attention will be given to exploring the historical evolution of both institutions, changes in the power and function of the two branches, the role of public opinion and elections, and congressional-executive relations. Spring semester, even-numbered years.

PO 324 Topics in Comparative Politics of 3 Cr
Industrialized Countries
This course is an upper-division seminar in comparative politics. The course may be arranged thematically (e.g., a comparative study of constitutions, a survey of the development of the European Union, or a comparison of countries’ relations with indigenous peoples), or may be a detailed study of a country or countries (e.g., a study of Canadian politics or a comparison of the political development and institutions of China and Russia). Previous lower division study of politics is helpful, but not required. Fall semester, odd-numbered years.

PO 328 The Developing World 3 Cr (GD)
A critical examination of social, political, and economic problems associated with development in the Global South. Students will analyze various ideas and trends in the field and assess the strengths and weaknesses of competing models of development. Fall semester, even numbered years.

PO 330 Topics in Political Theory 3 Cr
This upper-division discussion seminar focuses on perennial, basic concepts in political theory, such as justice, democracy, liberty, or community as examined through the writings of selected ancient, modern, and contemporary theorists. The seminar has also been organized thematically (e.g., utopian political thought, green political thought, modernity and postmodernity). Previous lower division study of political ideas is helpful but not required. Fall semester, even-numbered years.

PO 331 Classical Political Thought 3 Cr
This course is a survey of ancient political philosophy through detailed study of selected writings of Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle, Thucydides and others. The goal of this course is to gain a better understanding of the classical alternatives to our way of thinking about politics, justice, and the proper ends of human life. Particular attention will be devoted to the thought of Plato and the character of Socrates. Previous lower division study of political ideas is helpful, but not required. Offered spring semester, even-numbered years.

PO 332 Late Modern Political Thought 3 Cr
This course is a survey of the political thinkers from the French Revolution to the twentieth century through detailed study of selected writings of Rousseau, Hegel, Marx, Mill, Nietzsche, and contemporary authors. The goal of this course is to gain a better understanding of the intellectual debates that have arisen among liberals, as well as the prominent alternatives to liberalism that exist. Previous lower division study of political ideas is helpful, but not required. Offered spring semester, odd-numbered years.

PO 342 War and Peace 3 Cr
Presents a critical examination of contending conceptions of international security, the policy making process as it relates to the formulation of national security priorities, and the role of weapons and force in foreign policy. In short, we will examine age-old questions pertaining to war and peace in the contemporary world. Spring semester, even numbered years.

PO 348 International Negotiation Simulation 3 Cr (GD)
The first part of this course prepares students for participation in an intercollegiate simulation involving negotiations on various international issues by studying how foreign policy is formulated in different countries, reviewing general principles of international relations, analyzing competing negotiation strategies, and researching contemporary issues of global concern. The last part of the course involves student participation in an international negotiation simulation with other collegiate teams via computer networks. Spring semester, odd-numbered years.

PO 380 Moot Court Team 1-3 Cr
The course will focus on the preparation of an appellate legal brief to a mock United States Supreme Court analyzing constitutional law. Students will be challenged to read and analyze key United States Supreme Court cases and trained to orally argue before a panel of judges while responding to the panel’s questions. Instructor permission required to enroll. Moot Court Team is strongly recommended for students who are interested in attending law school. Only 3 credits of Moot Court may be applied to the political science major. Fall semester.

PO 411 Political Internship Program Variable Cr
Students participate as interns at various levels of state and local government. They develop work and study details of this internship experience by close and continual consultation with their political science advisor. Only 6 internship credits may be applied to the political science major. PO 411 is recommended for students of sophomore standing, at minimum. This course may be taken more than once.

PO 417 Legal Internship Program Variable Cr
Practical work experience in a professional legal environment. Students keep a daily journal of their experiences and arrange further study and paper requirements with the pre-law advisor. Only 6 internship credits may be applied to the political science major. PO 417 is recommended for students of sophomore standing, at minimum. This course may be taken more than once.

PO 494/IR 495 Research Seminar in Political Science 3 Cr (WI)
A formal seminar in which students concentrate on researching, writing, and evaluating major papers in Political Science based on both primary and secondary source materials. Strongly recommended for Political Science majors who are writing an honors thesis or planning to attend graduate school. Fall semester.

PO 495 Senior Seminar 3 Cr (WI)
An informal seminar course with selected readings and student research and presentations. This course is required of all political science majors and minors. Senior standing required. Spring semester.

 

Alumni Spotlight

Jordan TiptonJordan Tipton
Class of 2010
Attending University of Wyoming Law School

"My ultimate goal after Carroll College was to attend law school.  The Political Science Department went above and beyond to prepare me for the rigors of my future.  I learned how to write concisely, think critically, and communicate my ideas into research papers and law school personal essays. Dr. Parsons was a positive influence in my success at Carroll and he tirelessly read through my college papers...until they were perfect.  I loved my experience at Carroll and now I will be attending the University of Wyoming College of Law in the fall of 2012."

Austin Lyle, Class of 2011

Austin Lyle

"I became involved in State and Federal Politics right out of high school, working on a U.S. Congressional Race in Nevada. When I came to Carroll College, the Political Science Department and Professors helped me develop the critical thinking and analysis skills that I now use almost everyday as I continue to work in Democratic politics across the nation. I have now worked in five states.  At Carroll, my Professors would challenge me, and force me to look not only at my values through the lens of a political science major but also helped me to develop the critical writing skills that I now use daily. Carroll College and the Political Science Department has given me the leg up that I have needed in a competitive work environment."