Government and Politics Courses

Courses in government and politics (designated GVPT) may be applied as appropriate (according to individual program requirements) toward

  • the general education requirement in the behavioral and social sciences
  • a major in political science
  • a minor in political science
  • electives

Introduction to Political Science (3 Credits, GVPT 100)

A survey of the basic principles of political science. The objective is to define the main features of primary systems of political economy to understand differing methods of governance and articulate consequences of government actions in a globally interdependent system. Topics include the relationship of political science to the other social sciences; modern democracy, political ideology, and political socialization; the function of public opinion, mass media, interest groups, and political parties; the basic institutions of government and the separation of powers; and the role of international relations and globalization.

Introduction to Political Theory (3 Credits, GVPT 101)

An overview of the main schools of political theory, including democracy, authoritarianism, and alternative theories. The aim is to demonstrate familiarity with important thinkers and major works in the history of political theory; use theoretical language to analyze and critique political behavior and events; identify strengths and weaknesses of different forms of government; and demonstrate knowledge of crucial concepts (justice, power, authority, the state, social contract, etc.) and their history. Topics include the philosophical foundations of liberalism, socialism, and conservatism, and the core political concepts of justice, power, and authority.

American Government (3 Credits, GVPT 170)

A comprehensive study of government in the United States, including the basic principles of American government and political culture. The aim is to explain the vertical and horizontal structure of the American government and the roles of the three federal branches, bureaucracies, and the state governments; describe the development of the American political system and its impact on the political landscape; and explain the processes of the electoral system, political parties, and interest groups to persuade and influence. Institutions, processes, and public policies are examined from a cross-cultural perspective.

International Political Relations (3 Credits, GVPT 200)

A study of the major factors underlying international relations, the methods of conducting foreign relations, and the means of avoiding or alleviating international conflicts. The objective is to interact with global communities, contribute to policy formation, analyze differing world views, and apply historical and cultural contexts to identify probable outcomes of disputes. Students may receive credit for only one of the following courses: GVPT 200 or GVPT 300.

Political Ideologies (3 Credits, GVPT 240)

A survey and an analysis of the leading ideologies of the modern world. Topics include anarchism, communism, socialism, fascism, nationalism, and democracy.

Comparative Politics and Government (3 Credits, GVPT 280)

An introductory study of institutional patterns and trends in a variety of countries with dissimilar governmental styles. The goal is to compare the stages of political development in the modern state system on a spectrum ranging from liberal democracies to authoritarian regimes. Discussion covers ethnic conflict and economic inequality in relation to the success and failure of governmental approaches in solving compelling issues.

Law, Morality, and War (3 Credits, GVPT 403)

Prerequisite: WRTG 101 or WRTG 101S. A study of just war traditions. The objective is to make informed decisions and analyze conflict. Discussions cover the theoretical and practical connections between law, war, and morality.

Global Terrorism (3 Credits, GVPT 406)

Prerequisite: WRTG 101 or WRTG 101S. An examination of the development of global terrorism and its impact on the international community. The goal is to participate in strategy and policy formulation and implementation, evaluate threats, and assess infrastructures that support global terrorist organizations. Students may receive credit for only one of the following courses: GVPT 401A or GVPT 406.

State Terrorism (3 Credits, GVPT 407)

(Formerly GVPT 401B and GVPT 401C. Not open to students who have completed GVPT 401B or GVPT 401C.) An examination of the use of force and power (terrorism) by states against various populations to advance the interests of their civilization or state. The objective is to apply knowledge of culture, tradition, ideology, and methodology to comprehend state terrorism; analyze risk to national security; and explain how domestic climates and international relationships interact to support state terrorism. Topics include state behavior and norms; state interests, power, and force; application of power and force; and coercion within and among civilizations.

Counterterrorism (3 Credits, GVPT 408)

An investigation of counterterrorism (including its historical context), focusing on the evaluation of threats and the formulation of defeat strategies. The aim is to evaluate response strategies, help improve offensive and defensive planning, and construct a defeat strategy for a terrorist threat. Students may receive credit for only one of the following courses: GVPT 399H or GVPT 408.

Terrorism, Antiterrorism, and Homeland Security (3 Credits, GVPT 409)

An advanced examination of the impact of terrorism on the homeland security of the United States since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The objective is to more fully understand the concepts of homeland security within a federal system. Topics include the National Strategy for Homeland Security and the Patriot Act, their effect on civil liberties and civil rights, the changing face of terrorism in the United States, intelligence systems, and critical infrastructure protection. Students may receive credit for only one of the following courses: GVPT 409 or GVPT 498X.