Political Science

FACULTY Professor Curtis, Jones; Associate Professors Dannehl, Gobeyn (chair) Reed; Assistant Professors Remmel, Schnurr.

The undergraduate major is designed to maximize students’ capacity to analyze and interpret the significance and dynamics of political events and governmental processes be they at the global level or at the local community level. Students build an excellent foundation for numerous careers by mastering the accumulated basic general knowledge of political science and developing the related analytical skills. Political science majors most frequently pursue careers in law, business, governmental service, private political organizations, journalism, and academic political science. Many students with yet other career aspirations major in political science so they can understand not only how government affects them, but also how they can affect government.

Major in Political Science

A major in political science consists of a minimum of ten political science courses and satisfaction of the requirements for either the B.A. or B.S. degree.

Political Science Course Requirements

The political science requirements are: (1) A core of four courses to provide a grounding in the traditional sub-fields of the discipline: PLS 105, American politics; PLS 205, comparative politics; PLS 207, political theory; and PLS 208, international relations; (2) PLS 209, scope and methods of political science; (3) four upper-level (300-400) courses from the following list of courses, with a minimum of one course in three separate sub-fields; and (4) a senior seminar (PLS 491, 492, 493, or 494) designed to be a culminating experience. Upper-division sub-field course work is distributed as follows:

  • American politics: PLS 301, 310, 311, 312, 314, 315, 360, 419, 420, 421, 422, 440, 459, 460, 494
  • Comparative politics: PLS 303, 304, 305, 306, 491
  • International relations: PLS 302, 317, 318, 319, 492; IS 312, IS 410
  • Political theory: PLS 300, 307, 308, 309, 407, 493

The Political Science Department maintains a policy of close supervision of its majors and urges them to consult regularly with their faculty advisor. In planning their academic program, students intending to major in political science are encouraged to complete the core courses (PLS 105, 205, 207, 208) as early as practicable. Students should complete PLS 209 prior to enrolling in a senior seminar.

Major Requirements

Required Courses - 15 hrs.

  • PLS 105: Introduction to American Government - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 205: Introduction to Comparative Politics - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 207: Introduction to Political Thought - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 208: Fundamentals of International Relations - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 209: Scope and Methods of Political Science - 3 hrs.

In addition to the above required courses, students must take four courses from the following list of elective courses, with a minimum of one course in each of three separate sub-fields.

American Politics

  • PLS 301: Topics in American Politics - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 310: Political Behavior - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 311: Political Parties Electorate and Politics - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 312: State and Local Government - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 314: The U.S. Congress - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 315: The U.S. Presidency - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 360: Judicial Politics - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 419: Introduction to Public Administration - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 420: Public Personnel Administration - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 421: The Politics of Regulation - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 422: Urban Politics - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 459: Constitutional Law - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 460: Constitutional Law - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 494: Seminar in American Politics - 3 hrs.

Comparative Politics 

  • PLS 303: Sub-Saharan African Politics - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 304: Governments of West Europe - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 305: Topics in Comparative Government - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 306: Comparative Public Policy - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 491: Seminar in Comparative Politics - 3 hrs.

International Relations

  • PLS 302: Topics in International Relations - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 317: International Law - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 318: International Organization - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 319: International Political Economy - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 492: Seminar in International Relations - 3 hrs.
  • IS 312: American Foreign Policy - 3 hrs.
  • IS 410: Globalization in World Affairs - 3 hrs.

Political Theory

  • PLS 300: Topics in Political Thought - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 307: Classical Political Philosophy - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 308: Modern Political Philosophy - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 309: Gender and Sexuality in Political Thought - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 407: American Political Thought - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 493: Seminar in Political Theory - 3 hrs.

Finally, students are required to take one senior seminar designed to be a capstone experience.

  • PLS 491: Seminar in Comparative Politics - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 492: Seminar in International Relations - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 493: Seminar in Political Theory - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 494: Seminar in American Politics - 3 hrs.

Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements

Two years or its equivalent of college-level foreign language. (This means that a student must complete 201 or higher, or a 300-level language course. Whenever that has been completed, the requirement has been met.)

Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements

Students must complete the university requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree. When selecting courses to satisfy the B.S. requirements, students are strongly encouraged to select from mathematics, computer science, statistics, or quantitative methods.

Minor In Political Science

The minor is to provide students with a flexible, coherent, and guided study of political science as it relates to their specific academic major or personal interests. The minor requires a minimum of 15 hours in political science of which 9 hours must be taken in junior-senior level courses. A maximum of 3 hours of junior-senior level courses may be used to satisfy the requirements of another major or minor. 

All minors must take PLS 105. Minors must also take one of the following courses: PLS 205; PLS 207; or PLS 208. In addition, a senior seminar (PLS 491, 492, 493 or 494) is required. Minors must also take 6 hours of junior-senior level courses representing a coherent program of study and meeting the approval of a Political Science Department faculty advisor. It is the role of the student’s departmental advisor to help work out a specific program coinciding with the student’s interests and needs. The department’s policy is that coursework used to complete the minor must be drawn from its regularly scheduled, subfield-specific course offerings; use of internship, reading, or research courses (PLS 380, 480, 483, 484, 485) to complete the minor requires prior approval by both the Political Science Department faculty advisor and department chairperson. 

Minor Requirements

Required Course - 3 hrs.

  • PLS 105: Introduction to American Government - 3 hrs.

Elective Courses (choose one) - 3 hrs.

  • PLS 205: Introduction to Comparative Politics - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 207: Introduction to Political Thought - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 208: Fundamentals of International Relations - 3 hrs.

Senior Seminar (choose one) - 3 hrs.

  • PLS 491: Seminar in Comparative Politics - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 492: Seminar in International Relations - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 493: Seminar in Political Theory - 3 hrs.
  • PLS 494: Seminar in American Politics - 3 hrs.

Minors must also take 6 hours of junior senior-level courses representing a coherent program of study and meeting the approval of a political science department faculty advisor. Suggested programs of study:

  • Pre-Law
    • PLS 105: Introduction to American Government - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 300: Topics in Political Thought - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 360: Judicial Politics - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 419: Introduction to Public Administration - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 459: Constitutional Law - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 460: Constitutional Law - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 494: Seminar in American Politics - 3 hrs.
  • Public Administration
    • PLS 105: Introduction to American Government - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 312: State and Local Government - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 419: Introduction to Public Administration - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 420: Public Personnel Administration - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 422: Urban Politics - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 494: Seminar in American Politics - 3 hrs.
  • Communications and Politics
    • PLS 105: Introduction to American Government - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 301: Topics in American Politics - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 310: Political Behavior - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 314: The U.S. Congress - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 315: The U.S. Presidency - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 419: Introduction to Public Administration - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 494: Seminar in American Politics - 3 hrs.
  • Applied Politics
    • PLS 105: Introduction to American Government - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 301: Topics in American Politics - 3 hrs. 
    • PLS 310: Political Behavior - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 311: Political Parties Electorate and Politics - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 312: State and Local Government - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 314: The U.S. Congress - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 315: The U.S. Presidency - 3 hrs. 
    • PLS 494: Seminar in Politics - 3 hrs.
  • Behavioral Politics
    • PLS 105: Introduction to American Government - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 301: Topics in American Politics - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 310: Political Behavior - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 311: Political Parties Electorate and Politics - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 312: State and Local Government - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 360: Judicial Politics - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 422: Urban Politics - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 494: Seminar in American Politics - 3 hrs.
  • International and Comparative Politics
    • PLS 105: Introduction to American Government - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 205: Introduction to Comparative Politics - 3 hrs. or PLS 208: Fundamentals of International Relations - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 302: Topics in International Relations - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 303: Sub-Saharan African Politics - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 304: Governments of West Europe - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 305: Topics in Comparative Government - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 306: Comparative Public Policy - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 317: International Law - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 318: International Organization - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 319: International Political Economy - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 491: Seminar in Comparative Politics - 3 hrs. or PLS 492: Seminar in International Relations - 3 hrs.
    • IS 312: American Foreign Policy - 3 hrs. or IS 410: Globalization in World Affairs - 3 hrs.
  • Urban Politics
    • PLS 105: Introduction to American Government - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 312: State and Local Government - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 419: Introduction to Public Administration - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 420: Public Personnel Administration - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 422: Urban Politics - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 494: Seminar in American Politics - 3 hrs.
  • Political Philosophy
    • PLS 105: Introduction to American Government - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 207: Introduction to Political Thought - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 300: Topics in Political Thought - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 307: Classical Political Philosophy - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 308: Modern Political Philosophy - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 309: Gender and Sexuality in Political Thought - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 407: American Political Thought - 3 hrs.
    • PLS 493: Seminar in Political Theory - 3 hrs.

Off-Campus Programs

Political science majors are urged to consider the many off-campus programs available. Bradley annually sends students to the various Washington Semester programs (through American University in Washington, D.C.). The University also participates in many programs of study abroad. Students are also urged to consider participating in either the department’s internship program or in the University’s Cooperative Education/Internship Program (see the Cooperative Education/Internship section of this catalog). Bradley students are eligible to do internships through the Washington Center for Internships. The Center seeks to utilize the resources of the nation’s capital to provide participatory learning experiences in order to enhance students’ academic, civic, and professional development. All of these programs provide students with practical experience while they are pursuing academic goals.

Pre-Law

A statement on pre-law curricula is given at the beginning of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section of this catalog. The college also offers pre-law courses.