Political Science Courses

The Department of Political Science changed the majority of courses from 4 to 3 credits effective Fall 2020.

 

Courses in American Political Systems

Pos 509 (Pad 603) Citizen Participation and Public Policy (3)
The historic origins of the increasingly used statutory mandate for “citizen participation” as a requisite test of legitimacy, both in the formulation and implementation of public policy; a survey of applications in federal and state law and impact on the subjects and objects of public policy.

Pos 509R Readings in Citizen Participation and Public Policy (2)
Same as Pos 509. (Readings course)

Pos 521 Field Seminar in the American Political System (3)
The basic substantive, methodological, and normative concerns of the contemporary scholars of the American political system. Offered jointly by the faculty in American politics.

Pos 523 (Pad 561, Pln 523) Urban Community Development (3)
Examination of policies and programs designed to reduce social and economic distress in U.S. communities. Focuses on local and neighborhood-based efforts to address problems of inadequate housing, unemployment, lack of community services and facilities, crime etc. Considers role of government, private sector, and nonprofit organizations in community revitalization.

Pos 530 Founding the American National Government (3)
The core of the course will focus on the records of the Federal Convention (with an emphasis on the roles of national and state governments, Congress, and the Presidency), as well as on the ratification debates between Federalists and Anti-Federalists. To fill out the course, we shall also look briefly at the political theory of the American Revolution, government under the Articles of Confederation, the Bill of Rights, and the implementation of the Constitution during the government's early years.

Pos 530R Founding the American National Government (2)
Same as Pos 530. (Readings course)

Pos 531 The Legislative Process (3)
This is basically a reading seminar about the U.S. Congress with some forays into state and local legislative politics. Topics will vary, but typically will include theories of representation, congressional history, elections, careers, committees, leadership, House-Senate differences and a review of the major approaches to studying and evaluating the legislative process.

Pos 531R Readings in Legislative Process (2)
Same as Pos 531. (Readings course)

Pos 532 The Chief Executive (3)
The increasing importance of the chief executive in American governments at all levels. The roles, responsibilities, and powers of chief executives are analyzed and the centrality of the executive in the political process is stressed.

Pos 532R Readings in the Chief Executive (2)
Same as Pos 532. (Readings course)

Pos 533 Women and Politics (3)
Examines women as participants and citizens in the American political system. Topics include 1) women's political involvement at the elite level; 2) gender and mass politics (e.g., voting, public opinion); and 3) public policy areas of particular concern to women.

Pos 533R Women and Politics (2)
Same as Pos 533. (Readings course)

Pos 534 American Political Parties (3)
Intensive study of political parties and party systems in the United States. Attention is devoted to both state and national politics, and parties are analyzed in terms of their structure, functions, and roles in the political system.

Pos 534R American Political Parties (2)
Same a Pos 534. (Readings course)

Pos 535 Congress and the Presidency (3)
Specific topics may vary from year to year, but typical ones would include: the President's legislative role; Congress' role in foreign and national security policy; the budget as a vehicle for interbranch conflict; and proposals for institutional reform. Short, theme papers and a longer research paper will be required.

Pos 539 Seminar on Campaign and Elections (3)
Election campaigns can be studied from the perspective of candidates, potential candidates, parties, consultants, advocacy organizations, the media, voters, and many others. Each affects the others. All function in a context shaped by election rules, as well as by larger structural considerations (governmental, constitutional, economic, technological and social.) This seminar will change from year to year, but the potential breadth of the subject does not. Ultimately, we want to consider how campaigning might matter - - not only to election outcomes, but to the relationship between citizens, elected officials and governing.

Pos 539R Readings on Seminar on Campaign and Elections (2)
Same as Pos 539. (Readings course)

Pos 540 (Pad 566, Pln 540, Soc 540) Urban Policy in the United States (3)
Characteristics of political behavior that are peculiar to, or more strongly pronounced in, urban settings including factions and bossism, city-town-county tensions, politics of planning, zoning, and other decisions, ward and precinct organization activity, and voting behavior. Cities in the Capital District are used for laboratory work.

Pos 540R Readings in Urban Policy in the United States (2)
Characteristics of political behavior that are peculiar to, or more strongly pronounced in, urban settings including factions and bossism, city-town-county tensions, politics of planning, zoning, and other decisions, ward and precinct organization activity, and voting behavior. Cities in the Capital District are used for laboratory work.

Pos 544 American Political Development (3)
A study of the historical shaping of American politics. Encompassing institutions, public policies, political culture, and political economy, American Political Development uncovers patterns of political stability and change. It explores critical episodes in American political history in a theoretically-informed fashion. The issues at the center of scholarship in American Political Development are important not only to students of American Politics but also to students of Comparative Politics and Political Theory.

Pos 554 (Pad 554, Int 543, Ehc 554) Political Violence, Insurgency and Terrorism (3)
This course examines the relationships among, and differences between the following activities in the international political system: political violence, insurgency, and terrorism. The course will include a consideration of the causes of these activities, their effects on national and international politics, and an evaluation of governmental responses to them.

Pos 555 (Pad 555/Ehc 555) Disaster, Crisis and Emergency Management and Policy (4)
This course studies the policies, statutes, and priorities established by federal, state, and local governments to plan and prepare for emergencies, disasters, and catastrophic events caused by nature, technology, or humans. The course’s scope will include all mission areas established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and prioritized by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services as an example of State policies. The course will rely heavily upon primary source documents, and will involve simulations.

Pos 588 (Pad 588) The Science and Art of Political Campaigns (3)
If 2016 taught us anything it's that political campaigns can't be run on science alone. There is an art to running a campaign and to being a candidate. There's also a great deal of technology (science) that goes into campaigns as well. This course will be a hands-on, real life/real time course on managing campaigns, candidates and credibility. From campaign planning to message development to field operations to cutting-edge technology to Get Out the Vote, this course will cover how to run a campaign and what a candidate can expect.

Pos 631 Legislative Internship (1-4)
Active participation in the legislative process through work in a staff position in the New York State Legislature. Students also attend a series of occasional seminars to discuss the legislative process and their work experiences, prepare an annotated bibliography indicating a substantial knowledge of the academic literature related to the legislative process, and write a research paper dealing with the legislative process or some aspect of substantive policy development.

Pos 734 Campaign Internship (1-4)

Designed for students who wish to work in election campaigns and relate their experience to the academic study of political parties, campaigns, and elections. Students are expected to do substantial reading of the academic literature in the field and to write a research paper which relates the campaign work experience to selected theoretical frameworks discussed by scholars in the field. Pos 734 is open only to graduate students. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Pos 784 Selected Topics in American Politics (3)
Selected topics in American Politics.

Courses in Comparative Political Systems

Pos 550 Field Seminar in Comparative Political Systems (3)
Survey of the basic substantive, methodological, and normative concerns of contemporary scholars of comparative political systems. Offered jointly by the faculty in comparative politics.

Pos 552 Comparative Communist and Post-Communist Systems (3)
Examination of the literature on the comparative study of communism and the disintegration of communist systems: to identify common and distinctive characteristics of the ruling-party systems in the Soviet Union, China, East Europe, Yugoslavia, and Cuba; to assess different approaches to the comparative analysis of communist countries; and to evaluate hypotheses that purport to describe and explain political behavior within these nations, including their transformation to post-communist orders.

Pos 552R Readings in Comparative Communist and Post-Communist Systems (2)
Same as 552. (Readings course)

Pos 554 (Pad 554, Int 543) Political Violence, Insurgency, and Terrorism (4)
This course examines the relationships among, and differences between the following activities in the international political system: political violence, insurgency, and terrorism. The course will include a consideration of the causes of these activities, their effects on national and international politics, and an evaluation of governmental responses to them.

Pos 554R Readings in Political Violence, Insurgency, and Terrorism (2)
Same as Pos 554. (Readings course)

Pos 557 Politics of Southeast Asia (3)
This class will explore the politics and societies of Southeast Asia through the lens of significant texts on the region.  We will begin with a brief overview of the region as a whole, prevailing theoretical lenses, and (especially qualitative) research methods, then move on to a series of classic works covering a range of themes central both to the study of comparative politics as a whole and of Southeast Asia specifically. These themes include, for instance, state formation, regime dynamics, economic development, social mobilization, and ethnic and religious politics. Each student should be prepared to read and discuss one book per week (to be read in full) and to write a substantial, comparative paper on one dimension of Southeast Asian politics. The course is designed for those interested in comparative politics broadly. Prior knowledge of Southeast Asia is helpful, but not required.

Pos 557R Readings in Politics of Southeast Asia (2)
Same as Pos 557. (Readings course)

Pos 561 Nationalism and Nation-Building (3)
Classical and recent scholarly debates regarding nationalism and nation-building; theoretical and historical evolution of nationalism, nationalist movements, and nation-building; some of the most salient contemporary issues related to the national question, including the effects of globalization and the resurgence of nationalist movements in the post-Cold War era.

Pos 561R Nationalism and Nation-Building (2)
Same as Pos 561. (Readings course)

Pos 563 Government and Politics in the People's Republic of China (3)
Deals with the relationship between ideology, institutions, and political leadership in the People's Republic of China since its founding in 1949; and with the implications of that relationship for public policy in China under Communist rule. These matters are examined against the backdrop of the end of dynastic rule in China in 1911 and the republican interregnum, 1911-1949.

Pos 563R Government and Politics n the People's Republic of China (2)
Same as Pos 563. (Readings course)

Pos 787 Seminar in Comparative Political Systems (3)
Selected topics in comparative political systems.

Pos 787R Readings in Comparative Political Systems (2)
Same as Pos 787. (Readings course)

Courses in International Relations

Pos 570 Field Seminar in International Political Systems (3)
A survey of the substantive, methodological, and normative concerns of contemporary scholars of international relations. Offered jointly by the faculty in international relations as the basic foundation course.

Pos 571 International Political Economy (3)
An introduction to competing theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of international political economy. The course will examine the utility of these different theoretical approaches and attend to major current issues in the field. Prerequisite(s): As specified for M.A. or Ph.D. students.

Pos 571R Readings in International Political Economy (2)
Same as Pos 571. (Readings course)

Pos 582 Global Security (3)
An introduction to competing theoretical approaches to the study of international security that considers alternative conceptual approaches, such as societal security and human security.  Reviews the evolution of nuclear deterrence and explores issues of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons proliferation, asymmetric warfare and homeland security. Prerequisite(s): As specified for M.A. and Ph.D. students.

Pos 582R Global Security (2)
Same as Pos 582. (Readings course) 

Pos 584 (Int 584) American Foreign Policy Formulation and Implementation (3)
A study of the foreign policy making and diplomacy of the United States, the objectives and formulation of policy goals and procedures and the domestic constraints on U.S. statecraft. Prerequisite(s): As specified for M.A. or Ph.D. students.

Pos 584R Readings in American Foreign Policy Formulation and Implementation (2)
Same as Pos 584. (Readings course)

Pos 666 (Pad 666/Int 513) Global Environment: Politics and Policy (3)
This course examines the theory and practice of international environmental politics to better understand why the international community has been successful at solving some international environmental problems but not others. It considers policies that aim to address transnational issues such as climate change, ozone depletion, overfishing, deforestation, and species extinction. Theoretical approaches applied to these problems will consider not only the central role of states, but also the ways in which non-state actors, such as non-governmental organizations, multinational corporations, and transnational networks of cities, are becoming important players in managing these problems.

Pos 666R Global Environment: Politics and Policy (2)
Same as Pos 666. (Readings course)

Courses in Public Policy and Administration

Pos 513 (Pad 526) Field Seminar in Public Policy (3)
A survey of the substantive, methodological, and normative concerns found in the study of public policy. Offered jointly by the faculty in public policy.

Pos 525Q (A Wss 525, Pad 525, E Epl 525) Feminist Thought and Public Policy (3)
Examination of the implications of public policy research and implementation from a feminist perspective; the coherence or lack of it amongst different models of public policy formation, different perspectives on specific public policy issues, and different orientations within the women's movement.

Pos 546 Comparative Public Policy (3)
Why do countries differ in their policy choices? Why do some countries provide health care and education through the public sector, while in others the provision is mostly private? Why do some countries borrow extensively while others keep their budgets in balance? Why do some countries pay unemployment benefits indefinitely, while others barely pay such benefits at all? This course answers such questions by exploring the nature of social conflicts surrounding policy-making, the differences in national policy-making institutions, changing ideas about the desirable goals and best types of policies and the influence of the international economic and political environment on national policy-making.

Pos 546R Readings in Comparative Public Policy (2)
Same as Pos 546. (Readings course)

Pos 568 (Pad 562, Int 512) Human Rights (3)
This course examines the legal, political, and social dimensions of the modern human rights movement and its implications for international affairs.  It provides both an introduction to basic human rights philosophy, principles, instruments, and institutions, and an overview of several current issues and debates in the field.  The course also seeks to analyze the ways in which allegations of human rights violations are dealt with and to expose some of the limitations in the architecture of the international system.  Case studies will be used to illustrate contemporary debates regarding hierarchy among rights, conflicts between individual rights and societal priorities, human rights in single-party states, rights and transitions to democracy, amnesty for human rights violations, and the linkage between human rights and other national interests.

Pos 604 (Pad 604, Wss 604) Inequality and Public Policy (3)
This course addresses the formulation and implementation of public policies that seek to end inequalities based on gender, race, class, sexual identity and/or other categories of marginalization.  Theoretical and case study readings focus on the challenges, paradoxes and successes of a variety of social change initiatives.  Prerequisite: Wss 525 (Feminist Thought and Public Policy) recommended.

Pos 605 (Pad 605, Int 605) Politics of Migration and Membership (3)
Surveys dilemmas faced by local, national and international policymaking bodies addressing population movement.  Attention on the political and policy dimensions, including debates about national identity, immigration policy, political rights of immigrants, and integration (assimilation) policies.  U.S., international and comparative contexts examined.

Pos 605R Readings in Politics of Migration and Membership (2)
Same as Pos 605 and Pad 605. (Readings course)

Pos 783 Selected Topics in Public Policy (3)
Selected topics in Public Policy.

Pos 783R Readings in Selected Topics in Public Policy (2)
Same as Pos 783. (Readings course)

Courses in Political Theory

Pos 500 Political Philosophy (3)
A topical inquiry into political concepts and normative discourse. The course may be repeated up to three times provided permission of student’s advisor is obtained and the subject matter is different each time it is repeated.

Pos 500R Readings in Political Philosophy (2)
Same as Pos 500. (Readings course)

Pos 501 Field Seminar in Political Theory (3)
The basis substantive, methodological, and normative concerns of contemporary scholars of political theory. Offered jointly by the faculty in political theory.

Pos 515 American Political Theory (3)
This seminar will examine the history of American political theory from the founding to the contemporary period. It will study major thinkers and movements, and trace the origins and transformation of central concepts in the American experience. Texts will be presented from such figures as Paine, John Adams, Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson, the Antifederalists, the Jacksonians, Emerson, Thoreau, Calhoun, Lincoln, Sumner, Bellamy, Veblen, Henry Adams, Croly, Dewey, Mills, and the Pluralists. Attention will also be given to leading contemporary commentaries (e.g., Louis Hartz, Gordon Wood, and John Patrick Diggins.)

Pos 515R Readings in American Political Theory (2)
Same as Pos 515. (Readings course)

Pos 567 Contentious Politics: Theory and Research (3)
Contentious politics focuses on politics outside of the normal boundaries of institutionalized politics. From protests to riots and revolutions, contentious politics have often led to major shifts in domestic political orders. This course will explore key theories and methods in the study of contentious politics.

Pos 567R Contentious Politics: Theory and Research (2)
Same as Pos 567. (Readings Course)

Pos 603 Contemporary Political Theory (3)
A critical exposition of political and social thought from the mid-nineteenth century to the present with emphasis on the socialist and radical tradition, existentialism, the foundations of modern social science, pluralism, liberalism, bureaucracy and elites, and the problems of mass society, community, and alienation.

Pos 603R Readings in Contemporary Political Theory (2)
Same as Pos 603. (Readings course)

Pos 701 Tutorial in Political Theory (3)
Tutorial organized around specialized topics reflecting a particular faculty member's current research interest.

Pos 701R Readings in Political Theory (2)
Same as Pos 701. (Readings course)

Pos 785 Selected Topics in Political Theory (3)
Selected topics in Political Theory.

Pos 785R Readings in Selected Topics in Political Theory (2)
Same as Pos 785. (Readings course)

Courses in Public Law

Pos 526 American Constitutional Law: Federalism and Separation of Powers (3)
Supreme Court cases analyzed in terms of constitutional issues, judicial doctrines, and theoretical principles. Cases on issues of judicial review, federal-state relationships, and separation of powers.

Pos 526R Federalism and Separation of Powers (2)
Same as Pos 526. (Readings course)

Pos 527 American Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights (3)
Supreme Court cases analyzed in terms of constitutional issues, judicial doctrines, and theoretical principles. Cases on issues of equal protection, political rights, civil liberties, and unenumerated rights like abortion.

Pos 527R Readings in American Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights (2)
Same as Pos 527. (Readings course)

Pos 529 (Pad 529) Law and Policy (3)
Examination of the role of the courts in the public policy process and in substantive policy fields; integrates the literature of law and policy and applies it to such areas as mental health care, corrections, human resources, education, and housing policy.

Pos 537 The Legal Process (3)
Central aspects of the legal process, the meaning of law and law's functions, legal education and practice, and basic procedural matters.

Pos 541 Field Seminar in Public Law (3)
The basic substantive, methodological, and normative concerns of contemporary scholars of public law. Offered jointly by the faculty in public law.
  

Courses in Empirical Methodology

Pos 516 Introduction to Political Inquiry (3)
This course is designed as an introduction to study design, strategies, data collection and measurement in empirical political science.  This course will introduce students to a wide range of methods of inquiry, including qualitative case studies, large-N statistical analysis, survey research, formal models, laboratory experiments, computer simulations, content analysis, and interviews.  This course will examine the strengths and weaknesses of individual approaches, as well as the benefits of multi-method designs.  Finally, the course will explore ethical considerations in research.

Pos 517 (Pad 517) Quantitative Research Methods (4)
Introduction to a variety of data-analysis techniques ranging in complexity from simple table construction and interpretation to causal analysis. Within this range are coding, scale and index construction, multidimensional scaling, levels of measurement, measures of association, correlation and regression, panel and cohort analysis, and Markov chains. Introduction to computer technology and functional software. Basic competence in statistics necessary. Prerequisite: One course in statistics or consent of instructor.

Pos 618 Qualitative Methods (3)
This course examines qualitative research and how it fits in the broader discipline of political science.  It covers the contributions and limitations of qualitative research; the nuts and bolts of conducting qualitative research; and how to analyze the results.  Prerequisites:  Pos 516, Pos 517 or equivalent.

Pos 695 Selected Problems in Political Science Research: Research and Writing Seminar Part I (3)
This course, which is taken in the fall of the third year of the PhD program, is designed to actively guide students toward the completion of their dissertation prospectus. During the semester, students will examine the elements of a persuasive argument, identify an important research question, conduct an extensive literature review, and develop a research design. This research design will be executed the following spring in Pos 696.

Pos 696 Selected Problems in Political Science Research: Research and Writing Seminar Part II (3)
This course will follow RPOS 695 and is a required course for all third-year doctoral students in political science. This course is designed to help graduate students develop their dissertation prospectuses and to facilitate students’ professionalization. Students will engage in preliminary data-gathering, theoretical construction, methodological design, develop a tentative research plan for their dissertation. The resulting prospectus drafts will then go through rounds of revisions before being presented to a departmental audience. By the end of the semester, each student is expected to have assembled a tentative dissertation committee and to have produced a full dissertation prospectus draft.

Courses in Internship, Research and Dissertation

Pos 599 Selected Topics in Political Science (3-4)
Investigation of selected topics in Political Science. Specific topics selected and announced by individual instructors when offered. May be repeated once if selected topic is substantively different.

Pos 599R Readings in Selected Topics in Political Science (2)
Same as Pos 599. (Readings course)

Pos 634 Political Science Graduate Internship (1-4)
Designed for students who wish to gain work experience in areas related to their academic interests. These might include, but are not limited to: the bureaucracy, public policy, urban or regional planning, interest groups, and the non-profit/philanthropic/voluntary sector. Students are expected to do write a summary of the activities undertaken during your internship and write a reflection paper that connects the internship experience with political science theory. Pos 634 is open only to graduate students. Prerequisite: Consent of advisor.

Pos 689 (Pad 689, Crj 689) Scholarly Writing (0)
This course is designed to help graduate students further develop their scholarly writing skills, with a particular focus on using and citing source material, synthesizing ideas and information from different sources, and finding one's own voice in scholarly writing.

Pos 697 Selected Problems in Political Science Research (2-6)
Introduces students to selected problems in research methodology. Each student will complete a research project.

Pos 698 Master's Capstone (3-4)
The master's capstone is either 1) a unified major research project resulting in a finished written product completed under the supervision of a faculty advisor., or 2) the compilation of a portfolio of shorter written works that taken together, demonstrate the capacity to conduct research and communicate the results effectively at the graduate level.

Pos 798 Readings in Political Science (2-8)
Individual directed reading program in selected topics and problems in political science.

Pos 897 Independent Research in Political Science (2-12)
Individual work in preparation for the qualifying examinations for the Ph.D. in political science. A student registering for Pos 897 indicates the portion of the total semester-load devoted to it by listing an appropriate number of "load equivalent units" instead of credits. Course grading is Load Only and does not earn credit. Prerequisite: Consent of department chair or departmental advisor to doctoral students.

Pos 899 Doctoral Dissertation (1)
Course grading is Load Only and does not earn credit. Appropriate for doctoral students engaged in research and writing of the dissertation.  Prerequisite: Admission to doctoral candidacy.

Courses in Teaching

Pos 797 Graduate Service Learning in Political Science (0-4)

 

This course provides academic structure and oversight to service-learning and community engagement components available as options in other Political Science offerings.