Political Science Curriculum
Offered by the Department of Political Science (DFPS)

Soc Sci 412. Geopolitics. 3(1). This integrated interdisciplinary course provides the primary experience to facilitate senior cadet understanding of the global environment into which they will be depoloyed. The global environment includes international relations, comparative politics, global gender roles, culture, and physical process, and examines how these factors influence global and national politics. Cadets will describe, interpret, and evaluate global political relations and formulate stragegies for interacting in Western and nonWestern cultures. Final exam. Prereq: Pol Sci 211. Administered by DFPS and DFEG. Sem hrs: 3 fall or spring.

In addition, this course/program is a primary contributor to the development and assessment of the following USAFA outcomes:
- Responsibilities: Intercultural Competence
- Knowledge: Civic, Cultural, and International Environments; National
- Security & Full Spectrum of Joint and Coalition Warfare

Pol Sci 211. Politics, American Government and National Security. 3(1). This course introduces students to the study of politics and government and examines the basic ideological, structural, and procedural choices faced by any political system. Special emphasis is given to an understanding of the foundations and traditions of American democracy and the structure, decision processes and policy outcomes, especially defense policy outputs, of the American political system. Students will examine current policy issues that affect the military. Final exam. Sem hrs: 3 fall or spring.

Pol Sci 300. Introduction to Political Science: Overview and Methods. 3(1). Provides an introduction to the discipline. The course introduces students to the methods used in the political science, placing emphasis on the process of research design-from coming up with a hypothesis, to determining how to test that hypothesis, to how to present the conclusions of the research. The research approaches presented in this class are essential to the political science major, and of great benefit to cadets in other majors that require the systematic examination of research questions. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Pol Sci 211. Sem hrs: 3 fall.

Pol Sci 301. Political Theory. 3(1). Provides in overview of political thought from the ancient Greeks to the present. Philosophers studied include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Marx and Nietzsche. The course's examination of the debates about human nature, the best regime, justice, equality, freedom, community, natural rights and between religion and comparative and national security politics provide an essential foundation for the political science major and are invaluable for any airman-scholar. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Pol Sci 211. Sem hrs: 3 fall.

In addition, this course/program is a primary contributor to the development and assessment of the following USAFA outcomes:
- Responsibilities: Respect for Human Dignity
- Skills: Decision Making
- Knowledge: National Security, Full Spectrum of Joint and Coalition Warfare

Pol Sci 302. Politics of National Security. 3(1). Explores concepts formulated by great thinkers in response to security challenges, from the wars of Ancient Greece through the Cold War to September 11 th , to shape our assessment of the way in which the United States employs its power. Applies all the subfields and methods of political science to the study of nationl security. Prepares for advanced electives in international relations, American and comparative politics, and complements professionally oriented courses on contemporary security problems in the context of American grand strategy. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Soc Sci 112. Sem hrs: 3 spring.

Pol Sci 390. International relations Theory. 3(1). Introduces the basic concepts of international relations. Major theoretical approaches to the analysis of international politics (realism, liberalism, and global ism) will be used to explore the nature of the international system and various aspects of state behavior in their historical and contemporary settings. Among the various aspects of state behavior in their historical and contemporary settings. Among the subjects examined within this frame work: the formulation of foreign policy, mechanisms of conflict and cooperation, the origins of war, issues of international interdependence, international political economy and questions of international ethics. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Sol Sci 112. Sem Hrs: 3 spring.

Pol Sci 392. American Political System and Theory. 3(1). Explores the origin and development of American political ideas and institutions. This course examines the notion of American exceptional ism and the design and operation of the American system. Topics include: American constitutional design and its consequences; the expression of preferences; the analysis of institutional behavior; and the policy process. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Pol Sci 211. Sem hrs: 3 spring.

Pol Sci 394. Comparative government and Politics. 3(1). Introduces major theoretical approaches to the comparative study of politics. Applies these approaches to topics like government institutions, political participation and social change as they relate to various state and non state actors. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Sol Sci 112. Sem hrs: 3 spring.

Pol Sci 421. International Security:Political Violence and Terrorism. 3(1). Applies theories of international security to the roots and forms of political violence in a globalize era. Examines the sub-national and transnational sources of conflict as well as the impact of globalization on the character of collective violence. Investigates the emergence, motivations and strategies of violent non-state actors with the emphasis on ethno-political groups, militant religious movements, transnational criminal organizations, warlords and insurgencies. Focuses on the use of terrorism to achieve political objectives. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Sol Sci 211 and Pol Sci 211. Sem hrs: 3 spring

Pol Sci 423. War Crimes, Genocide, and Human Rights.3(1). This course explores historical, legal and political perspectives on the law of armed conflict and the development of human rights law. The Nuremberg Tribunal, the Holocaust, the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides, the My Lai incident, and experiences of prisoners of war are used as case studies within this framework. Resistance movements are also examined. The course is team taught by members of the Political Science, Law and History departments, and can be used as a social science elective or an elective in any of these three departments. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Sol Sci 112. Sem hrs: 3 fall.

Pol Sci 444. International Political Economy.3(1). This course will explore the theory and practice of how economic motives affect political decisions and how most political decisions have economic repercussions, both domestically and internationally. Specific topics will include the development of the international monetary system, international trade policy, the effects of multinational corporations, foreign direct investment, deployment of the Global South, and contemporary issues such as the recent Asian financial crisis. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: None. Sem hrs: 3 spring.

Pol Sci 445. International Organizations and Global Issues. 3(1). Examines the role and interrelationship of international organizations, nationstates, and nonstate actors in the global system. NorthSouth and East-West relations are discussed in terms of pertinent global issues: crisis management, conflict resolution, human rights, refugee problems, international finance, world trade and economic aid programs. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Soc Sci 112. Sem hrs: 3 fall.

Pol Sci 451 . American Political Thought. 3(1). A survey of basic themes in American political thought beginning with the 17th century European origins of American political thought and extending to modern attempts to strike a balance between individual rights and social needs. The focus is on the difficulties of translating principles into practice. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Pol Sci 211. Sem hrs: 3 fall of odd numbered years.

Pol Sci 460. Comparative Security Policy and Civil Relations. 3 (1). Studies the security policies and policy-making processes of various world regions as well as the national and regional implications of both traditional and nontraditional security issues. Examines the relationship between civilian authorities and military establishment and the implications for governance. Specific cases help develop individual skills in analyzing national security priorities in the post Cold War world. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Soc Sci 112. Sem hrs: 3 fall.

Pol Sci 462. Politics and Intelligence.3(1). Explores the character of secrecy in the American democratic system. This course investigates the role of intelligence in the development and implementation of US national security policy. Focuses on the key players in the intelligence community, the capabilities of intelligence systems, the trade craft of spying and the core intelligence functions of collection, analysis, covert action and counterintelligence. Includes examination of the roles and contributions of military intelligence and current issue in the intelligence field. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Pol Sci 211. Sem hrs: 3 fall.

Pol Sci 464. Democratization: The Theory and Practice of State Building. 3(1). The movement worldwide from authoritarianism to democracy has been the major political event of our generation. This trend to democratic governance is coupled with the US military’s increasing role in establishing and fostering not only the institutions of state, but the environment that ensures liberal governance. This course will explore democratization, the means and methods that the 70+ countries since the mid1970s have employed in their movement toward a democratic regime. Final paper. Prereq: Pol Sci 394. Sem hrs: 3 spring.

Pol Sci 465. US National Space Policy and Law. 3(1). Examines the evolution, major influences on, and consequences of US national space policy and space law. Focuses on the relationships among politics, policy-making processes, law and technology as they relate to the civil, military, commercial, and intelligence space sectors. Addresses the rights and responsibilities of states in the use of out space. Topics include NASA space strategies; military space missions; commercial space trends; intelligence function; international agreements; sovereignty over air, space and celestial bodies; and government liability. Final exam, research paper, or project. Coreq: Sol Sci 112. Administered by DFPS and DFL. Sem hrs: 3 fall.

Pol ScI 469. Politics of Russia and Newly Independent States. 3(1). Examines historic, cultural, economic, social and geographic traits that distinguish Russia and its neighbors and shape their domestic political processes and interstate relations. Critically compares the politics, governments and orientations of post-Soviet states. Surveys contemporary regional issues such as ethnic conflict, nationalism and political-economic reforms, with a particular emphasis on security concerns. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Sol Sci 112. Sem hrs: 3 fall.

Pol Sci 471. Politics of Europe. 3(1). Examines historic, cultural, economic, social and geographic traits that distinguish this region and shape its domestic political processes and interstate relations. Critically compares the politics, governments and orientations of European states and important regional powers. Surveys contemporary issues such as democratization, arms control and regional integration, with a particular emphasis on security concerns. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Soc Sci 112. Sem hrs: 3 fall.

Pol Sci 473. Politics of Asia.3(1). Examines historic, cultural, economic, social and geographic traits that distinguish this region and shape its domestic political processes and inter sate relations. Surveys the governments of selected countries. Examines in particular the influence of Japan and China on regional and global affairs. Includes a survey of contemporary multilateral issues salient in the region, with particular focus on regional security concerns. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Soc Sci 112. Sem hrs: 3 fall.

Pol Sci 475. Politics of Latin America. 3(1). Examines historic, cultural, economic, social and geographic traits that distinguish this region and shape its domestic political processes and interstate relations. Selected Latin American political systems are explored in detail. Issues such as political stability, civil-military relations and democratization are treated as well, along with politico-economic concerns such as developmental strategies, debt relief and trade relations. Includes a survey of contemporary multilateral issues salient in the region, with particular focus on regional security concerns. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Soc Sci 112. Sem hrs: 3 fall.

Pol Sci 477. Politics of the Middle East. 3(1). Examines historic, cultural, economic, social, religious, and geographic traits that distinguish this region extending from North Africa through Central Asia and shape its domestic political processes and interstate relations. Surveys the governments of selected countries, considering factors such as legitimacy and political development. Includes a survey of contemporary multilateral issues with particular focus on regional security concerns. Final exam or research paper.
Prereq: Soc Sci 112. Sem hrs: 3 fall.

Pol Sci 479. Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa. 3 (1). Examines historic, cultural, economic, social, religious and geographic traits that distinguish the states of sub-Saharan Africa and their domestic political processes and interstate relations. Critically compares the politics, governments, and orientations of selected African states. Surveys contemporary regional issues with a particular emphasis on security concerns. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Soc Sci 112. Sem 3 fall of even years.

Pol Sci 481. American Elections and Political Parties. 3(1) Examines the nature of the electoral process and the roles that candidates, political parties, public opinion, and interest groups play in the process. Focuses on the role of candidates' election organizations, political parties, professional campaign managers, public opinion pollsters, professional fund raisers, and media consultants in congressional and presidential campaigns. Special attention is given to the current presidential or congressional elections. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Pol Sci 211 Sem hrs: Sem 3 fall of even years.

Pol Sci 482. The U.S. Supreme Court. 3(1). The Supreme Court is extremely influential in American politics, sometimes even acting as a policy-making body, deciding the fate of such contentious matters as abortion, capital punishment, public expressions of religious belief, and even a presidential election. We will study the Court's rulings in these areas and many others focusing on the Court's written opinions, the thoughts of those who designed our government, and competing views about the Court's proper role in our system of separated powers. Final exam or final papers. Prereq: Pol Sci 211. Sem hrs: 3 spring.

Pol Sci 483. The US Congress. 3(1). Studies Congress as a political institution, with an emphasis on the unique natures of the House and the Sent ate, congressional norms and procedures, and the roles of committees and political parties. Topics include elections, member-constituent relations, national policy roles, leadership, the committee system, legislative procedures, legislative oversight of the executive branch, and the effects of public opinion and interest groups on the law making process. Final Exam or research paper. Prereq: Pol Sci 211. Sem hrs: 3 fall.

Pol Sci 484. The American Presidency. 3(1). Provides an in-depth study of the Presidency with emphasis on the post-World War II period. Examines the presidential selection process and the office and powers of the President as well as presidential administrative structures, styles, roles and personalities. Final exam or research paper. Prereq: Pol Sci 211. Sem hrs: 3 fall.

Pol Sci 485. Decision Making in Public Policy. 3(1). Examines the formulation and implementation of American public policy. Uses various theories and analytical models, including bureaucratic politics, process, group. Rational, incremental, and public choice models, to describe and explain the causes and consequences of several key domestic public policy areas. Depending on contemporary significance, these may include civil rights, economic policy, education, environment, health and welfare, science and technology, and national defense. Final exam or final research paper. Prereq: Pol Sci 211. Sem hrs: 3 fall of odd-numbered years.

Pol Sci 491. Capstone Seminar in Political Science. 3(2). This course is the culmination of the political science curriculum. We begin with selections from classic works relevant to today's politics and political science, such as Thycydides, The Federalist and Toque'sDemocracy in America. These works synthesize theoretical and empirical study and instruct in the political judgment needed by political scientists, political actors and members of the profession of arms. We then turn to recent works on democracy and the many questions about it raised by the sub fields of the department's curriculum--international relations, comparative politics, American politics, and national security. Students will be required to draw upon all the works in the seminar for a final presentation/paper related to a current issue. Final paper. Prereq: C1C Standing. Sem hrs: 3 spring.

Pol Sci 495. Comparative Political Theory3(1). This course compares selected texts in Western and non-Western political thought with a focus on the sources of political authority, the nature of law, the relationship between reason, religious faith, and custom. Also, the course will explore Western and non-Western views on the proper ends of political association, and the nature of political rule. Major non-Western traditions and texts will possibly include Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Taoism. Western texts on religion, philosophy, and sources of political authority will be interespersed with readings from classic texts and modern political writings by non-Western thinkers, as well as contemporary scholarship. Possible texts include, Islam, Ibn Khaldun, Al Farabi, Ibn Rushd, Ibn Sinna, Qutb,and Khomeini; from Hinduism, the Vedas and Gandhi; from the Chinese tradition, Confucius and Lao Tzu; from Western tradition, Plato, Locke, Hobbes, St. Augustine, and St. Aquinas. This is a seminar course, emphasizing discussion and written essays. Final Paper. Prereq: Soc Sci 112. Sem hrs: 3 fall or spring.

Pol Sci 496. The Politics of National Security Policy.3(1). This seminar examines the theory and practices associated with national security policy. The course will include in-depth investigation of contemporary issues in the formulation of nation security policy. e.g., budgeting, force planning, alliance relations and national security. Major models and theories of U.S. national security policymaking are analyzed so as to prepare students for a major research paper focusing on a significant national security issue. Research paper. Prereq: Soc Sci 112. Sem hrs: 3 spring.

Pol Sci 498. First-Class Thesis. 3(1). Cadets enrolled in this course will prepare a 50-75 page First-Class thesis under the guidance of the course director and other faculty members with particular expertise on the topic of research. This course combines the tutorial aspect of an independent study (Pol Sci 499) with seminar on applied research methods. Cadets will meet individually or in seminar in accordance with a schedule determined by the course director. Formulation of thesis and research normally will begin in Political Science 300 and other political science courses. When the thesis has been completed, a formal defense will be given to a faculty committee in April or May. In preparation for the formal defense, each thesis will be presented to fellow cadets in the seminar for critique and evaluation. Research paper. Prereq: C1C standing and department permission. Sem hrs: 3 spring.

Pol Sci 499. Independent Study in Political Science. 3(0). Individual study or research of a carefully selected topic conducted on a tutorial basis. Research paper or a directed reading. Prereq: Soc Sci 112 and department permission. Sem hrs: 3 fall or spring.

  • Pol Sci 499A. Independent Study. 2(0). Sem hrs: 2 fall or spring.
  • Pol Sci 499B. Independent Study 1.5(0). Sem hrs: 1.5 fall or spring.
  • Pol Sci 499C.Independent Study. 1(0). Sem hrs: 1 fall or spring.

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