Class Information

UNDERGRADUATE COURSES

POLS 2311: American Government and Politics

This course provides an introduction to the politics of the American system of government. The class will employ methods that are both traditional (lecture-based) and non-traditional (such as simulations and projects) to enable students to explore and analyze institutions and interactions between individuals throughout the American political system.

Syllabus: POLS 2311 American Government and Politics

POLS 3315: Judicial Process

This course is a general introduction to the American judicial process. The course will cover the major institutions, actors, and processes that comprise the American legal system from a social science perspective. Areas covered include: the judicial decision making processes and behavior, participant processes, state and federal court structures, recruitment and selection of judges, and impact of judicial decisions.

Syllabus:  Judicial Process

POLS 3320: Constitutional Law

This course is designed to familiarize students with the development of constitutional law in the United States. Specifically we will examine cases rendered by the Supreme Court in areas involving governmental authority, separation of powers, federalism, commerce, contracts, and takings.

Syllabus: Constitutional Law

POLS 3321: Civil Liberties

This course is designed to familiarize students with the development of constitutional law in the United States. Specifically we will examine cases rendered by the Supreme Court in areas involving civil rights, civil liberties, criminal rights, and political rights.

Syllabus: Civil Liberties

POLS 3323: Comparative Courts

This course provides an introduction to the major legal systems of the world and compares high courts cross-nationally. It will include the study of legal systems, courts, judicial process, judicial behavior, the rule of law, and the role of courts across political spectrums and regimes. This class is styled as a seminar, but it will also employ student-led discussions, lectures, papers, and research projects to enable students to explore and analyze judicial institutions and behavior cross-nationally. Students will be expected to write a major, original research design paper on comparative courts in addition to several short papers evaluating and synthesizing the readings for selected weeks.

Syllabus: Comparative Courts

POLS 3362: International Law and Politics

This course provides an introduction to the politics of international law. The class will employ methods that are both traditional (lecture-based) and non-traditional (such as simulations, group work, and projects) to enable students to explore and analyze institutions and interactions between law, states, international institutions, and legal systems. This course will survey a broad array of international treaty and customary laws, international legal concepts and sources, current debates within political science concerning international law, international adjudication, compliance, international institutions, the relationship between domestic and international law, and the relationship between politics and law.

Syllabus: International Law and Politics

POLS 3600: Research Methods in Political Science

This course will help students learn how to carry out research and write papers in political science. Topics include the scientific method, research design, data sources, data manipulation, statistics, and quantitative and qualitative research. The course introduces appropriate formats for papers in the discipline and reinforces writing skills. The purpose of this class is to make students familiar with the basic research techniques employed by political scientists as well as many other social science disciplines. In this class, students will learn how to analyze a variety of quantitative data, prepare graphs and tables to summarize data, and how to utilize and interpret basic statistical techniques, including ordinary least squares regression. Students will be expected to complete an original, professional research paper including quantitative analysis.

Syllabus: POLS 3600 Research Methods

POLS 4300: Advanced Research Methods

This course will help students learn how to carry out research and write papers in political science. Topics include quantitative methods, including ordinary least squares and maximum likelihood estimators. The course introduces appropriate formats for papers in the discipline and reinforces writing skills. The purpose of this class is to make students familiar with the basic research techniques employed by political scientists as well as many other social science disciplines. In this class, students will learn how to analyze a variety of quantitative data and are expected to complete an original, conference-worthy research paper.

Syllabus: Advanced Research Methods

POLS 4325: Indigenous Law and Politics

This course offers an interdisciplinary approach to historical and contemporary indigenous affairs and law in North America. The course discusses indigeneity, (de)colonization, and sovereignty as well as offers a legal history of indigenous policies within the United States, Canada, and Mexico–as well as across international law. This course thus offers comparative analyses to address the possibilities of First Nation sovereignty and legal pluralism across legal systems, emphasize contemporary advocacy and engagement, and highlight diversity across First Nations and their experiences. This course employs antiracist and intersectional approaches to introduce students to indigenous law and politics as lived experience through the voices and art of Indigenous Peoples.

Syllabus: POLS 4325 Indigenous Law and Politics

POLS 4326: International Law and the United States

This course discusses the role of international law within the United States and how it has changed over time through various political climates. It will include American case law related to international law as well as the role of the United States as a litigant in international dispute settlement. This class will employ methods that are both traditional (lecture-based) and non-traditional (such as projects, papers, and simulations) to enable students to explore and analyze judicial institutions and behavior.

POLS 4327: International and Regional Courts

This course provides an introduction to regional and international courts of the world. It will include the examination of institutional structure and process, judicial behavior, and their hierarchical interactions with states and their domestic institutions. It will include the study of legal systems, courts, judicial process, judicial behavior, the rule of law, and the role of courts across political spectrums and regimes. This class will be online using asynchronous and synchronous methods, including virtual synchronous office hours and class discussion, asynchronous learning modules and online assignments. This class prioritizes critical reflection, analytical thinking, application, and research while seeking to decolonize the learning environment and address inequities in student resources.

Syllabus:  International and Regional Courts

POLS 4370: Independent Study in Public Law

This course provides advanced undergraduate students a survey of the literature in judicial politics. The class focuses on judge decision-making and will survey the U.S. Supreme Court, lower federal courts, and state supreme courts. This class is reading intensive and formatted as a seminar to enable students to explore and analyze judicial institutions and behavior through discussion and dialogue. Students will be expected to write an original research paper on judicial politics in addition to several short papers evaluating and synthesizing the readings for selected weeks.

Syllabus: Public Law

POLS 4370: Independent Study in American Political Thought and the Founders’ Constitution

This course provides advanced undergraduate students a survey of the historical, political, legal, and theoretical debates leading to the generation of the American Constitution. The class focuses on historical documents, political theory, legal texts, and political literature of early America so as to understand the socio-political and historical context of the constitutional ratification as well as original meanings and intentions. This class is reading intensive and formatted as a seminar to enable students to explore and analyze class themes through discussion and dialogue. Students will be expected to write an original research paper in addition to several short papers evaluating and synthesizing the readings for selected weeks.

Syllabus: American Political Thought and the Founders’ Constitution


GRADUATE COURSES

POLS 5300: Seminar in Quantitative Research I

This course introduces methods of quantitative analysis and hypothesis testing, including data management, regression estimation methods, diagnostic techniques, and professional research writing. In this class, students will learn how to analyze a variety of quantitative data and are expected to complete an original, conference-worthy research paper.We will focus upon OLS regression, Gauss-Markov assumptions, and appropriate diagnostic tools.  We will be working primarily with STATA, although students may use R upon personal preference.

Syllabus: POLS 5300 Graduate Methods

POLS 5302: Seminar in Quantitative Research II

This course further explores methods of quantitative analysis and hypothesis testing, including data management, various regression estimation methods, diagnostic techniques, and other topics. In this class, students will learn how to analyze a variety of quantitative data and are expected to complete an original, conference-worthy research paper.We will focus upon OLS regression, Gauss-Markov assumptions, maximum likelihood estimation techniques, and appropriate diagnostic tools.  We will be working primarily with STATA, although students may use R upon personal preference.

Syllabus:  Quantitative II Spring 2021

POLS 5380: Seminar in Public Law

This course provides graduate students a survey of the literature in judicial politics. The class will focus on judge decision-making, the role of institutions, strategic behavior, the implementation and impact of judicial policies, the relationship between the judiciary and other institutions, and comparative judicial politics. As such, this course will survey the U.S. Supreme Court, lower federal courts, state supreme courts, and domestic judiciaries in other countries. This class is reading intensive and formatted as a seminar to enable students to explore and analyze judicial institutions and behavior through discussion and dialogue.

This is not a course on constitutional law, and the focus will not be on the development of legal doctrines or close readings of important cases. Instead, we will evaluate law and courts as political institutions and judges as political actors and policy-makers.

Syllabus: Public Law

POLS 5380: Comparative Courts

This course provides an introduction to the major legal systems of the world and compares high courts cross-nationally. It will include the study of legal systems, courts, judicial process, judicial behavior, the rule of law, and the role of courts across political spectrums and regimes. This class is formatted as a seminar to enable students to explore and analyze judicial institutions and behavior cross-nationally through discussion and dialogue. Students will be expected to write a major, original research design paper on comparative courts in addition to several short papers evaluating the readings for each week.

Syllabus: Comparative Courts

POLS 5380: Legal Interpretation: Philosophy and Judicial Behavior

This course will help students understand legal interpretation and hermeneutics for the federal judiciary by engaging in a dialogue between legal philosophy and empirical political science examining judicial decision making. Students will become familiar with leading models of legal interpretation across constitutional and statutory texts within the United States federal judiciary, focusing on the Supreme Court. This course thus takes an interdisciplinary approach to legal interpretation, the philosophy of law, judicial decision making, and the rule of law.

Syllabus: Legal Interpretation