Political Science Minor - 18 crs.

Click on title to see course description

Required (9 crs.)

  • PLS100 U.S. Government & Politics 3 crs.
    • Provides a foundation for understanding the philosophical heritage, constitutional principles, civil rights and liberties, and the formal and informal institutions that form the U.S. government. Focuses on the political factors and dynamics of democracy, the Constitution, political parties, interest groups, the media, elections, and the branches of U.S. government.
  • PLS141 Introduction to International Politics 3 crs.
    • Examines the philosophy behind the discipline of political science and the different fields within political science. Introduces students to political science theories and theory building. Examines political behavior, political structures, decision making, and the foundations of political systems. Provides students the tools to conduct literature reviews, access information, assess political developments, and develop and critique theories and research.
  • PLS300 Advanced U.S. Government: Institutions & Public Policy 3 crs.
    • In-depth description of the structure, functions, and public policy making involvement of U.S. governmental institutions. Focuses on the legislative, executive, administrative, and judicial institutions and process, the impact of interest groups, political parties, public opinion, and federalism. Examines the policy-making process, both in general and with reference to specific types of public policies. Prerequisite: PLS100.

Electives (9 crs.)

Students must select courses from the following list. Students must take two courses at the 300-level or above.

Students may take either course below as one elective

  • PLS291 Contemporary Issues
    • Focuses on political or policy issues. Covers background of the issues, current developments, and prospects for change. Topics vary from semester to semester. Prerequisite: PLS100 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS391 Selected Topics in Political Science
    • Provides the opportunity for the department to offer courses in areas of departmental major interest not covered by the regular courses.

  • PLS231 State & Local Government
    • Study of the organization and functions of government at the state, county, township, and city levels. State-local and national-local relations are stressed. Prerequisite: PLS100 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS251 Introduction to Comparative Politics
    • cross-national study of the principles, forms, and functions of democratic, fascist, and communist governments. Such subjects as political parties and electoral systems, legislative representation, federalism, constitutional order, bureaucracy, and dictatorship are examined in the functional and comparative manner. Prerequisite:PLS100 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS271 Introduction to Public Administration
    • Basic introductory course in the field of management in governmental offices; includes organization of executive offices, controls over administration, budgeting and personnel procedures, and methods to achieve administrative objectives. Prerequisite: PLS100 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS291 Contemporary Issues
    • Focuses on political or policy issues. Covers background of the issues, current developments, and prospects for change. Topics vary from semester to semester. Prerequisite: PLS100 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS301 Political Science Research Methods
    • Evaluates the process of research in political science, focusing on research design; discusses ethical issues in research; trains students in techniques of data collection and processing; provides computer-based training in quantitative analysis and interpretation of statistics. Prerequisite:MAT170.
  • PLS302 Public Policy Analysis
    • Examines the policy making process(es) and the implications for the conduct of policy analysis. Reviews the policy implementation process(es)and the implications for the conduct of policy analysis. Focuses upon specific quantitative and qualitative policy analysis/program evaluation techniques. Prerequisite: PLS301.
  • PLS311 The Legislative Process
    • Analyzes the powers and rules of legislatures and legislators in modern democracies with special reference to the American Congress. Emphasis will be placed on the decision-making process, including internal and external pressures upon legislators. Prerequisite: PLS100 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS312 The American Presidency
    • Analyzes the structure and functions of the American institutionalized presidency, including an examination of the power and roles of the President and the decision-making process. Prerequisite:PLS100 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS313 The Judicial Process
    • Describes the operation of the federal and state court systems; evaluates the processing of cases; examines the mechanisms of judicial recruitment; discusses the impact of decisions on the political process.
  • PLS321 Public Opinion
    • Deals with the nature of public opinion and its role in the political process; myths and symbols in opinion formation; modern methods of opinion measurement (e.g., surveys, polls, samples); the nature and role of propaganda under democratic and totalitarian systems of government and the role of newspapers, radio, television, and other media of communication in opinion formation. Prerequisite: PLS100 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS322 Interest Groups in American Society
    • Studies the origins, organizations, opportunities, tactics of interest groups (pressure groups) and an assessment of the legitimacy of their role in democratic and quasi-democratic politics. Investigates problems connected with the existing incentive to join groups, the iron law of oligarchy, access points to government decision making functions to private interest pressure groups. Prerequisite: PLS100 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS323 Political Parties & Elections
    • Reviews the development and status of political parties in American society and its governing units. Functioning of the major parties is pursued in the real setting of practical politics as is feasible. Prerequisite: PLS100 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS324 Women in American Politics
    • Intended and designed for males and females, examines the changing political role of women in the United States and compares women across American subcultures. Investigates political attitudes and values, voting behavior, and recruitment of women for political leadership.
  • PLS325 African-American Politics
    • Examines the relationship between African-Americancitizens and the American political system in order to gain a broader perspective on the American political process. Representation and strategies for empowerment discussed.
  • PLS331 Municipal Government &Administration
    • Study of the development of city government in the United States; the governmental organization of several typical cities; the problems of law enforcement, health, housing, welfare, planning and zoning; and the future of cities. Prerequisite:PLS231 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS332 Federal-State-Local Relations
    • Fosters understanding of the continuity, current dimensions, and interrelated nature of the issues characterizing American governmental relations and the feasibility of various approaches offered for their assuagement. Prerequisite: PLS231 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS341 International Law & Organization
    • Analyzes the role and dynamics of international law and organizational political system. Includes the scope and nature of international law and organization, the concepts and procedures for maintaining international peace and security, substantive rules and international law, and the function of the United Nations and regional organizations. Prerequisite: PLS141 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS342 American Foreign Policy
    • Study of the principles of American foreign policy including process and policy formulation and execution. Roles of the president, Congress, and the State Department and other governmental agencies are investigated. Prerequisite:PLS100 or PLS141 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS356 Politics of Developing Regions
    • Examines the forces that shaped and continue to impact the governments and politics of the Third World. Emphasizes two lines of inquiry: colonialism and patterns of post-colonial relations between north and south; and the challenges faced by Third World nations in their efforts for political, economic, and social advancement in an increasingly integrated world. Prerequisites: PLS100 or PLS141.
  • PLS357 Group Mobilization & State Change
    • Comparative analysis of efforts by minority groups in the developing world to mobilize for state change. Analyzes separatist movements based on ethnic, linguistic, racial, religious, and caste identities and political movements whose goal is to change a government's policy agenda. Focuses on topics such as ethnonationalism, religious separatism, environmental justice, women's uplift, economic justice, global integration, and human rights. Prerequisite: PLS100.
  • PLS361 Political Theory from Ancient Times Through the 19th Century
    • Surveys the major political ideas of the world from ancient times to the present. Consists of critical appraisal of the ideas and thinkers and their impact on modern political institutions. Prerequisite: PLS101 or PLS102 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS362 20th Century Political Ideologies
    • Considers the major ideologies and -isms of the Western World that have arisen or have acquired political significance during the 20thcentury. Examines ideologies and -isms in terms of the root political concepts and theories they express and in terms of the interplay between the ideas and the political environment of major ideologies. Prerequisite: PLS101 or PLS102 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS363 American Political Thought
    • Critical study of the political ideas underlying and associated with personalities and institutions in the United States from colonial times.
  • PLS365 Constitutional Law --The Federal System
    • Analyzes leading American constitutional decisions relating to national legislative, executive, and judicial powers and to the position of the states. Prerequisite: PLS100 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS366 Constitutional Law --First Amendment Freedoms
    • Examines body of constitutional law associated with the First Amendment including: the establishment and free exercise of religion; the freedom of speech, press, and assembly. Discusses issues surrounding the freedom of expression and the right to privacy.
  • PLS367 Constitutional Law --Criminal Law & Equal Protection
    • Examines body of constitutional law associated with the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments and evaluates the protection of criminal defendants’ rights in the United States today. Discusses case law surrounding the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.
  • PLS374 Public Service Ethics
    • Explores the historical and specific contemporary issues concerning ethics in the public sector. Ethical problems and their relationship to politics will be surveyed. Course will emphasize ethical questions encountered by individuals who enter public service and will evaluate attempts to enforce ethical conduct among public servants by statutes and codes of conduct. Prerequisite: Nine hours in political science or permission of instructor.PHL105 and/orPHL210 recommended.
  • PLS391 Selected Topics in Political Science
    • Provides the opportunity for the department to offer courses in areas of departmental major interest not covered by the regular courses.
  • PLS431 Pennsylvania Local Government
    • Concerns the structure and administrative functions of local governments in Pennsylvania. Extensive emphasis will be on analyzing local government functions and problems emanating from the jurisdictions’ political, social, and economic environment. Prerequisite: PLS231and PLS271 or permission of instructor.

Contact Information

Political Science Department
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1718

Laurie Stader
Department Administrator