Courses in Political Science

PLSC 1000 Introduction to American Government (4 sem. hours).

A systems analysis of the American political environment and decision-making agencies, including study of federalism, state and local government, political parties, Congress, the presidency, and the judiciary. Offered every year in the fall semester. Also offered occasionally in the spring semester.

PLSC 2000 Comparative Government (4 sem. hours).

General comparative theory applied to developed and developing nations. Offered every year in the fall semester.

PLSC 2200 State and Local Politics (4 sem. hours).

This course is a survey of the processes of government and politics within and across the states. This is not a course on Mississippi politics, though special consideration will be given to historical examples and current events in our state. The primary focus of the course is a comparative examination of the institutions and politics of state government. Significant time is also devoted to studying the structures and practices of local government. Students gain a special appreciation for the complex relationships between state, local, and national levels of governance. Offered occasionally.

PLSC 2220 Urban/Metro Politics (4 sem. hours).

The nature of urban, suburban, and metropolitan governance is examined. Questions of urban policy, the future of cities, and quality of urban/ metropolitan management are explored. Policy questions such as community and economic development, housing, growth management and planning, etc., are analyzed. Offered occasionally.

PLSC 2250 Civic Engagement and Political Activism: All Politics is Local (4 sem. hours).

This course is designed to help students understand and appreciate the importance of active participation of citizens in a pluralistic, democratic society while examining the relationship between politics and the community. Topics will include trends of civic life in American society, the history of civic engagement in communities, community activism, political action, consensus building to achieve measurable results, and public service leadership. Offered occasionally.

PLSC 2300: Politics of the American South (4 sem. hours).

This course examines the governmental, electoral, historical, economic, social, and cultural variables in the American South as well as the vast changes that have occurred in southern politics in the past century. Course readings, lectures, and discussions will focus on governing institutions, individual politicians, and party structures in what is perhaps the nation’s most politically unique region. Offered occasionally.

PLSC 2350 Politics of Identity (4 sem. hours).

This course investigates the role of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation in American politics and public policy. Students will examine how Americans think about others and themselves as members of different groups and what consequences it has for how we treat one another. The historical and psychological origins of this power dynamic are also explored. Offered occasionally.

PLSC 2400 International Relations (4 sem. hours).

Consideration of issues, strategies, and theories of international politics, including the concepts of national interest, national defense, imperialism, balance of power, economics, and international cooperation and law. Offered every year in the spring semester.

PLSC 2500 The U. S. Congress (4 sem. hours).

This course examines the roles and functions of Congress in American governance. Recruitment is analyzed, as are formal and informal structures and processes, interbranch relations, and legislative reform. Offered every three years.

PLSC 2520 The U.S. Presidency (4 sem. hours).

This course analyzes the institutional nature, roles, and functions of the American presidency. Questions of selection, the nature of leadership and executive power, formal and informal duties of office, evolution of the presidency, and performance evaluation are also explored. Offered every three years.

PLSC 2550 The U.S. Judiciary (4 sem. hours).

The nature and functioning of the judicial branch of American government is examined. This course analyzes judicial recruitment and selection, decision making, court organization, and management in courts from the U.S. Supreme Court to the municipal magistrate. Offered every three years.

PLSC 2600 Peace, Conflict Resolution, and International Security (4 sem. hours).

This course will focus on issues of peace and international security. The course will seek to stimulate a wider awareness and appreciation of the search for peaceful resolution to strife in all its forms. Offered every other year.

PLSC 2750–2753 Special Topics in Political Science (1, 2, 3, and 4 sem. hours).

Areas of interest not covered in regular courses; unusual opportunities to study subjects of special interest. Offered occasionally.

PLSC 2800 Political Theory (4 sem. hours).

An inquiry into the basic principles of social and political organization, with special emphasis on concepts of government, justice, liberty, equality, punishment, family, property, work, and peace. This course is the same as PHIL 2010. Offered every year in fall semester.

PLSC 2900 American Political Thought (4 sem. hours).

This seminar-style course examines the individuals and concepts that have helped shape the philosophical and political evolution of the United States. Students will explore the philosophical ideas, doctrines, and theories that have permeated American political life beginning from the formation of the U.S. Constitution through the development of 20th century liberalism and conservatism. Offered occasionally.

PLSC 3000 Campaigns and Elections (4 sem. hours).

This course focuses on the fundamentals of electoral strategy and campaign management and is commonly offered during the fall semester of gubernatorial and/or presidential election years. Combining the traditional academic study of American elections with an applied approach, students are required to engage directly with a political campaign, party organization, or interest group that is working to affect the outcome of the electoral process as a major component of their semester grades. Prerequisite: PLSC 1000 or by petitioning the instructor. Offered in rotation.

PLSC 3100 Political Parties and Interest Groups (4 sem. hours).

Examination of history and current structure and functions of American political parties and interest groups in American politics. Offered occasionally.

PLSC 3200 Mass Media and Political Communication (4 sem. hours).

This course examines the influence of the media on political issues, public opinion, campaigns and elections, and political discourse in the United States. Topics will likely include the use of traditional and new media on political campaigns, the impact of media coverage on the policymaking process, case studies of successful and unsuccessful efforts by politicians to harness media coverage for political gain, and media bias and selective exposure. Students will also consider the role of talk radio, television, internet, and social media as mediums for political communication and political advertising strategies. Offered occasionally.

PLSC 3250 Politics in American Film and Popular Culture (4 sem. hours).

Popular culture is an influential disseminator of political messages and ideological themes in American society. Films—and other forms of pop culture such as sports, music, and television—can provide significant insights into the salient and latent political attitudes, beliefs, and values throughout various eras of American political history. This course will examine a variety of films and other forms of popular culture with political themes, requiring students to analyze and assess the messages contained within. Offered occasionally.

PLSC 3300 African Government and Politics (4 sem. hours).

Examination of politics and government in Africa by means of country studies and comparisons. Sections of the course will be devoted to the examination of issues of development and underdevelopment. Prerequisite: PLSC 2000 or by petitioning of the instructor. Offered every three years.

PLSC 3350 European Government and Politics (4 sem. hours).

Examination of politics and government in Western Europe by means of country studies and comparisons. Sections of the course will be devoted to the general topic of European integration and related concepts such as regionalism, functionalism, and integration theory. Offered every other year.

PLSC 3400 U.S. Foreign Policy (4 sem. hours).

Diplomatic, military, and economic aspects of foreign policy considered within the context of current issues. Offered every other year.

PLSC 3500 American Public Policy (4 sem. hours).

Analysis of civil liberties, civil rights, and fiscal, regulatory, social, defense, and foreign policies. Offered occasionally.

PLSC 3550 Public Administration (4 sem. hours).

Theory and application of planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting, and budgeting in public agencies. Offered occasionally.

PLSC 3610 International Organizations/Model United Nations (4 sem. hours).

Examination of recent trends in the globalization and regionalization of political, social, and economic issues. A substantial part of the course will focus on the United Nations system. Through research and role-play (including participation in model UN situations), the course will examine several different areas of the UN’s work. Offered every other year.

PLSC 3612 Model United Nations (2 sem. hours).

Through research and role-play (including participation in model UN situations), the course will examine several different areas of the UN’s work. Offered occasionally.

PLSC 3700 Constitutional Law (4 sem. hours).

An analysis, including historical background and philosophical evolution, of Supreme Court interpretations of constitutional provisions relating to the structure of the federal government and relationships between the different branches and with the states. Offered every year in the fall.

PLSC 3750 Civil Liberties and Civil Rights (4 sem. hours).

This course examines the individual constitutional rights provided by the Bill of Rights and by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Topics of study include guaranteed freedoms of speech, expression, association, and religion; the right to privacy, the right to bear arms, and the rights of the criminally accused; and the equal protection clause, which prohibits race-based, gender-based, and other forms of discrimination. Offered every year in the spring.

PLSC 3800–3802 Directed Readings in Political Science (1, 2, or 4 sem. hours).

Directed readings in political science. (No more than one directed reading course may be included in the list of courses for the major.) Offered occasionally.

PLSC 4000 Research Methods in Political Science (4 sem. hours).

This course examines the fundamental issues involved in conceiving and executing research projects in Political Science. Students are introduced to the concepts that underlie the evaluation of empirical evidence and will primarily focus on the design of research. Major themes covered in the course include: developing research questions and hypotheses, measurement, causality, uncertainty, the scientific method, and the methodological debates that animate political science research. Students will be introduced to the types of scholarship found in the various subfields of political science and will learn to analyze political writings and research. Offered every year in the fall semester.

PLSC 4750–4752 Special Topics in Political Science (1, 2, or 4 sem. hours).

Areas of interest not covered in regular courses; unusual opportunities to study subjects of special interest. Offered occasionally.

PLSC 4800–4803 Direct Studies (1–4 sem. hours).

Offered occasionally.

PLSC 4850–4852 Political Science Internship (1, 2, or 4 sem. hours).

Political Science internship. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Offered occasionally.

PLSC 4400 Developing Nations (4 sem. hours).

Comparative theory applied to developing nations. Offered every other year.

PLSC 4900 Senior Seminar (4 sem. hours).

Survey of historical development of the discipline, examination of contemporary issues in major subfields of the discipline, and examination of some examples of current uses of political science knowledge. Offered every year in the spring semester.

PLSC HI–HII Honors Project 1 and 2 (1–4 sem. hours).

Offered occasionally.