Political Science  
 

Degrees / Courses

 

Download (pdf): Political Science Major Checklist || Political Science Minor Checklist

Two Year Rotation of Courses (pdf)

 
Political Science Majors must complete 33 semester hours in political science.  Download (pdf) the Degree Checklist, used to track the Political Science major at Aquinas College. Students may print out this form to maintain a record of their progress thereof.  The following 24 credits required:
  • PS 101 American Government and Politics;
  • PS 150 The World in Crisis;
  • PS 203 Urban Government and Politics or PS 205 State Government and Politics;
  • PS 210 The Presidency and Congress;
  • PS 218 History of Political Thought or PS 321 American Political Thought or PS/WS 325 Feminist Theory and Activism

  • One of the Following Comparative Politics Courses: PS 331 Comparative Government: Europe or PS 332 Politics of Developing Countries or PS 333 Latin American Politics or PS 334 Middle East Politics or PS 335 Politics of Africa

  • PS 350 Methods and Inquiry in Political Science
  • PS 387 International Relations
At least 18 credit hours towards the major must be earned at Aquinas College. Students must obtain a grade of “C” or higher if they want to count the class towards a political science major.
 
Political Science Minors must complete 24 semester hours in political science with the following 18 credits required:
  • PS 101 American Government and Politics;
  • PS 150 The World in Crisis;
  • PS 203 Urban Government and Politics or PS 205 State Government and Politics;
  • PS 210 The Presidency and Congress;
  • PS 218 History of Political thought or PS 321 American Political Thought or PS 325 Feminist Theory and Activism or any other political theory / philosophy course approved by the department;
  • PS 331 Comparative Government: Europe or PS 332 Politics of Developing Countries or PS 333 Latin American Politics or PS 334 Middle East Politics or PS 335 African Politics;
The recommended sequence for teaching minors is PS 101, PS 203 or 205, PS 321 and PS 331. The other course offerings are best viewed in the Course Offerings and Descriptions section. At least 12 credit hours to-wards the minor must be earned at Aquinas College. Students must obtain a grade of “C” or higher if they want to count the class towards a political science minor.
 
Minor Requirements for Those Seeking Teacher Certification in Social Studies must complete twenty-four (24) semester hours, which include:
  • PS 101 American Government and Politics;
  • PS 150 The World in Crisis;
  • PS 203 Urban Government and Politics or PS 205 State Government and Politics;
  • PS 210 The Presidency and Congress;
  • PS 331 Comparative Government: Europe or PS 332 Politics of Developing Countries or PS 333 Latin American Politics or PS 334 Middle East Politics or PS 335 African Politics
 

Courses

PS 101 American Government & Politics PS 314 Constitutional Law PS 387 International Relations
PS 150 The World in Crisis PS 316 Moot Court PS 388 American Foreign Policy
PS 203 Urban Government & Politics PS 321 American Political Thought PS 389 National Security Policy
PS 205 State Government & Politics PS 325 Feminist Theory and Activism PS 390 International Law
PS 210 The Presidency & Congress PS 331 Comparative Government: Europe
PS 391 International Organizations
PS/CN/BS212 Parliamentary Procedure
PS 332 Politics of Developing Countries PS 392 Model United Nations I / II / III
PS/PH 218 History of Political Thought PS 333 Latin American Politics PS 393 Model Arab League I / II / III
PS 220 Politics & Elections
PS 334 Mid East Politics PS 397 Field Experience in Political Science
PS/PH 250 Legal Issues for Women PS 335 Politics of Africa PS 398 Readings in Political Science
PS 260 Politics & the News Media PS/BS 340 Public Administration PS 399 Independent Project
PS 305 Judiciary & the Political Process PS/CL 345 Public Policy PS 401 Health Care Policy
PS 310 Modern Political Problems Seminar PS 350 Methods and Inquiry in Political Science PS 402 Education Policy
 
PS 101 American Government and Politics (3)

This course is an introduction to the power, structures and functions of the American Government and Political System. Fundamental is a critical examination of the institutions and players who interact in the processes of American politics.

Professor: Patterson, Barkan

Course offered: Every semester and usually every summer

 
PS 150 The World In Crisis (3)

Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Haiti, Bosnia, 9-11, Chiapas, PRC troops in Hong Kong, Somalia, Arab Spring, Tokyo subways, North and South Korea, Arab-Israeli relations, human rights violations, armed conflict, poverty, environmental degradation, economic activity, international law, religious confrontation, diplomacy, nationalism versus transnational integration - all and others are discussed in this introduction to the dynamics of global interaction.  This is AQ's introductory course on international relations.

 
PS 203 Urban Government and Politics (3)

The governance and problems of cities is the focus of this course. Planning, decision- making, issues and solutions are developed in this introduction to the politics and power structures in America's Urban settings.

Professor: Barkan

Course offered: Usually every spring

 
PS 205 State Government and Politics (3)

How does Michigan's political system work? Find out in this introductory course on the institutions and politics of state governments.
Professor: Patterson, Barkan

Course offered: Every fall

 
PS 210 The Presidency and Congress (3)

How do Presidents get impeached? Can Congress really control the budget? This course is an in-depth look at the legislative and executive branches of the US national government. Examined are the relationships to each other and to other parts of the political community.

Professor: Patterson, Barkan

Course offered: Every fall

 
PS/CN/BS212 Parliamentary Procedure (1)
This one credit course in parliamentary procedure is designed to familiarize the student with fundamental practices in the process and procedures of rules of order as practiced in organizations and businesses.
 
PS/PH 218 History of Political Thought (3)

The first half of this course involves taking a critical perspective on some of the classic readings in Political Thought: Plato's Republic, Aquinas' Treatise on Law, Hobbes' Leviathan, Locke's Two Treatises on Government, and Mill's On Liberty. This is followed by the second component covering key issues in political theory (democracy, justice, equality, rights) from a variety of contemporary philosophical perspectives, including: 1) the feminist perspective (e.g. Susan Okin) on both the classic texts as well as the current debate over justice, i.e. how women's interests, values, and self-understandings have been ignored and/or compromised in these readings; 2) the communitarian and Marxist perspectives (e.g. John Rawls); 3) the dialog approach to democracy as developed by Jurgen Habermas; and 4) the post-structuralist approach to power as understood by philosopher Michel Foucault.

Professor: Kelly

Course offered: Alternate spring (even years)

 
PS 220 Politics and Elections (3)
This course is an exciting introduction to the machinations of modern political campaigns and electoral processes. Professor: Barkan
 
PS/PH 250 Legal Issues for Women (3)

The course involves analyzing and critically evaluating the legal reasoning of significant Supreme Court decisions regarding gender issues. The topics covered include: the law of sex discrimination in employment; sexual harassment; rape law; child custody and divorce law; reproductive rights; pornography; and domestic violence. Students will be provided with a variety of theoretical frameworks from which to interpret and critically evaluate the Court's holdings and reasoning in recent cases, including 1) Liberal and radical feminist legal theory (e.g. Catherine MacKinnon); 2) Critical race theory (e.g. Patricia Williams); and 3) Marxist and critical legal theory.

Professor: Kelly

 
PS 260 Politics and the News Media (3)

Professor Barkan, a noted expert on the relationship between the media and politics, brings his experience to the classroom. This course introduces students to such fundamental issues as freedom of press and the impact of media on democratic processes, as well as the impact of corporate America on media.

Professor: Barkan

 
PS 305 Judiciary and the Political Process (3)

Does the court system have a political bias? Does the court system favor certain groups over others? This class examines the impact of federal courts and the judiciary system on the American political system. Prerequisite: Approval of the chairperson.

Professor: Clapp, Barkan

 
PS310 Modern Political Problems Seminar (3)
Topics vary on vogue and interesting topics.
 
PS 314 Constitutional Law (3)

One of the most popular and important courses for those considering Law School, this class examines the theory and application of case law based upon the principles of the Constitution. Issues at question include: gender, religion, reproduction, speech and expression, economic rights and racial policies. Prerequisites: PS 101 and junior or senior status.

Professor: Clapp, Barkan

Course offered: Every fall

 
PS316 Moot Court (3)

This course is designed to provide undergraduate students an experience closely comparable to actual appellate practice by attorneys. The course is divided into two sections. In Part I of the course, students will prepare a draft and final version of an appellate brief. In Part II of the course, students will present a practice and then a final oral argument. Finally, teams will compete against other undergraduate teams at a regional competition to be held at the end of the semester. Winners of this regional tournament will be invited to participate in the national tournament. Professor: Winkler

Course offered: Every fall

 
PS 321 American Political Thought (3)

This political philosophy course introduces the fundamental principles derived from the Constitution and the Federalist Papers and applies them to modern problems and issues. Prerequisite: PS 101 or HY 101 or 102.

Professor: Patterson, Barkan

Course offered: Every fall

 
PS/WS325 Feminist Theory and Activism (3)

WS325/PS325 Feminist Theory and Activism is designed to explore different ways of thinking about sex/gender, power, and justice, and examines how different theories of gender, power and justice shape political activism. By comparing a variety of theoretical perspectives (such as liberal, Marxist and radical feminism), we look at different possibilities for analyzing core feminist concepts and the practical implications of theory. Professor: Patterson

Course offered: Every other spring

 
PS 331 Comparative Government: Europe (3)

From the EU and integration to the collapse of the Soviet Union to the brutal war in the Balkans to German reunification... This course is designed as an introduction and in-depth examination of politics and governments in Europe. We begin by probing various theories and approaches through which nations are compared. We then look at political development, culture, structures and functions, and locus of power in selected European nation-states. Prerequisite: PS 150 or instructor permission.

Professor: Durham

Course offered: PS 331, 332, 333, 334, 335 - one rotated every semester

 
PS 332 Politics of Developing Countries (3)

Poverty is still the chief obstacle to social progress. It continues to breed malnutrition and disease, interferes with education, encourages the destruction of the environment and foments wars. In a world of plenty, 1,300,000,000 people live in deep poverty.

This course is designed as an introduction to the issues, problems and possibilities of Third World countries. We introduce a comparative examination of the changing nature of politics and power structures within developing countries and between the Third World and the global international system. We also introduce the politics of selected nation-states and governments of the South such as: China, South Korea, Mexico, Cuba, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and India. Prerequisite: PS 150 or instructor permission.

Professor: Durham

Course offered: PS 331, 332, 333, 334, 335 - one rotated every semester

 
PS 333 Latin American Politics (3)

This course is designed as an in-depth examination of politics and governments in Latin America. We examine the internal politics and policy making, the structures and functions of political institutions, political cultures and participation in "newly industrialized states", socialist states, less developed states, and developing states of Latin America. We will look at the history, development, and locus of power in selected Latin American countries. Prerequisite: PS 150 or instructor permission.

Professor: Durham

Course offered: PS 331, 332, 333, 334, 335 - one rotated every semester

 
PS 334 Mid East Politics (3)

This course is designed as an introduction to Middle East Politics through a comparative framework. By utilizing established techniques of comparative analysis and comparative concepts we will focus on the internal political, social and economic processes and actors in the Middle East. This will be an in-depth examination of politics and foreign policy in the Middle East. Therefore, we will also examine Middle East politics as it relates to international organizations. For example, we will examine issues such as the very important Arab-Israeli-Palestinian relationship, specific interstate rivalries in the Middle East (Iran v. Iraq), the role of super-power politics, ongoing Middle East Peace negotiations, the political economy of oil, and the effect of religious diversity on politics, among others. We will look at the history, development, and locus of power in Middle East politics. Prerequisite: PS 150 or instructor permission.

Professor: Durham

Course offered: PS 331, 332, 333, 334, 335 - one rotated every semester

 
PS 335 Politics of Africa (3)

This course introduces students to the political, social and economic diversity represented in the African political scene. Through a comparative framework, Professor Chaffee discusses various African nations and states with an emphasis on power and development issues. Prerequisite: PS 150 or instructor permission.

Professor: Chaffee, Durham

Course offered: PS 331, 332, 333, 334, 335 - one rotated every semester

 
PS/BS 340 Public Administration (3)
Have you ever wondered about the inner-workings of public programs? This course introduces the theory and practical skills involved in working with public agencies and implementing public policy. Issues of democratic participation and bureaucratic inertia are fundamental to this critical examination of the administration of public policy.
 
PS/CL 345 Public Policy (3)
A study of the contexts in which public policy is made and implemented; includes analysis of how people’s lives are affected differently by specific public policies.
 
PS350 Methods and Inquiry in Political Science (3)

This course is designed as a critical inquiry into social scientific research practices. While the course is primarily concerned with practical problems of how to conduct research, it also addresses philosophical problems that lead people to approach research in different ways. Professor: Patterson

Course offered: Every spring

 
PS 387 International Relations (3)

"The first condition of nonviolence is justice all round in every department of life. Perhaps, it is too much to expect of human nature. I do not, however, think so." - Mahatma Gandhi

"... yet in all times kings and persons of sovereign authority, because of their independency, are in continual jealousies and in the state and posture of gladiators, having their weapons pointing and their eyes fixed on one another - that is, their forts, garrisons, and guns upon the frontiers of their kingdoms, and continual spies upon their neighbors - which is a posture of war... The passions that incline men to peace are fear of death..." - Thomas Hobbes

International relations is the culmination of foreign policies and the interaction of various international actors. This course is designed as an introduction to international relations and is concerned with developing a basic understanding of the international system, the interdependence of numerous international actors, issues such as gender concerns, international political economy, the management of a nuclear world, the limitations and capacities of the environment, the disparity of development among nation-states (from absolute hunger to opulent waste), and efforts to organize, control and resolve the many issues and conflicts in the international community. Prerequisite: PS 150 or instructor permission. Professor: Durham

Course offered: Every fall

 
PS 388 American Foreign Policy (3)

This course is designed as a critical examination and in-depth evaluation of American Foreign Policy and policy making in the contemporary world. The actors and processes involved in making and executing foreign policy are examined, along with policy perspectives of the major nation-states and international organizations with which the US interacts.

We look at the history of US foreign policy with a special emphasis on 20th century interaction with a special eye toward possible 21st century developments. Specific topics include: US-Soviet/Russian relations, the rise and decline of US hegemony, US-Japanese and Sino relations, American policy toward West and East Europe, US policy in Central and Latin America, US policy toward Africa and American foreign economic policy.

Additionally, fundamental to this analysis is a careful examination of the decision- making process of US foreign policy - looking at the roles of the executive branch and bureaucracies, congress, the press, the public, and certain exogenous variables such as multinational corporations or foreign actors. Prerequisite: PS 150 or instructor permission.

Professor: Durham

Course offered: Every spring

 
PS389 National Security Policy (3)
This course provides an introduction to the legal issues surrounding national security and counterterrorism policy. this class will primarily focus on domestic legal issues. Students will have a final exam and develop a paper on a national security issue of their choosing.
 
PS 390 International Law (3)
This is a fascinating time to study International Law. The end of the cold war spawned new problems including a breakdown of state sovereignty. This course is an introduction to the history, application and effectiveness of International Law. Institutions, treaties, nation-states and power are major units of analysis. From the Treaty of Versailles to Law of the Sea to the International Court of Justice to the current Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunals, all will be presented. Prerequisite: PS 150 or instructor permission. Professor: Durham
 
PS 391 International Organizations (3)

This Post Cold War era presents humanity with a number of issues of great significance: human rights, ethnic and nationalistic confrontation, global security, economic and political development, environmental concerns and the future and durability of the nation-state itself. The role and influence of International Organizations (IGOs) upon these various issues is the focus of this course. This course is designed as an introduction to the structures, functions and influence of IGOs. We focus on: the United Nations; the International Court of Justice; regional integrative efforts such as the European Union, NAFTA and APEC; the IMF, GATT and the World Trade Organization and the IBRD to name a few.

Additionally students in this course will get credit for participation in either the Model Arab League or the Model United Nations conferences. AQ students learn first hand by role playing countries. Recent delegations have included AQ students representing Somalia and Libya! Lots of fun and substantive interaction. Prerequisite: PS 150 or instructor permission. Professor: Durham

 
PS 392 Model United Nations I / II / III (1)
Students practice all the skills of diplomacy including negotiation, problem solving, role-playing, and compromise while representing diplomats from the 192 members of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Security Council, or one of many other UN Agencies at the annual Model United Nations conference. Issues range from the US embargo on Cuba to nuclear weapons proliferation to AIDs and world hunger. PS 392 Model United Nations I / II or III credit does not count toward the Political Science Major or Political Science Minor. (PS 391 International Organizations counts toward the Political Science Major and Minor.)
 
PS 393 Model Arab League I / II / III (1)
Students practice all the skills of diplomacy including negotiation, problem solving, role-playing, and compromise while representing diplomats from the 22 members of the League of Arab States at the annual Model Arab League conference. Countries AQ students have represented include Libya, Palestine Authority, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq and Kuwait. Issues range from the creation of a Palestinian state to the environmental impact of oil. Potential participation in Washington, DC with the National Council of US-Arab Relations. Credit for PS 393 Model Arab League I / II or III does not count toward the Political Science Major or Political Science Minor. (PS 391 International Organizations counts toward the Political Science Major and Minor.)
 
PS 397 Field Experience in Political Science (Variable)
Intern with the Governor's office or the Mayor of Grand Rapids. Spend a semester in Washington D.C. or work for a political party or campaign. Up to three semester hours of internship or experience in a field directly related to Political Science can be earned. Gain some first hand knowledge of how the political system works. Credits are negotiated between the major advisor and the student. Prerequisite: Approval of the chairperson. Professor: Patterson, Barkan or Durham
 
PS 398 Readings in Political Science (Variable)
Individually negotiated program of readings on selected topics established by contract between the professor and student. Possibilities range from Domestic Political Economy to Political Methodology to Latin American Politics. Prerequisite: Approval of the chairperson. Professor: Patterson, Barkan or Durham
 
PS 399 Independent Project (Variable)
Individually negotiated projects of defined nature established by contract between the professor and student. Possibilities range from Special Research Projects to Public Opinion Polls. Prerequisite: Approval of the chairperson. Professor: Patterson, Barkan or Durham
 
PS 401 Health Care Policy (3)

This course in health care policy reviews current policy and proposed reforms in this area. Professor: Barkan

 
PS 402 Education Policy (3)

This course introduces the student to public policy analysis and the development of education policy. Professor: Barkan

 

Recent seminars include International Protection of Human Rights, Revolutions and Terrorism, Politics of the Sixties, and Politics and Motion Pictures. Prerequisite: Instructor approval.

Note: Additional courses will be offered subject to faculty availability and student need.