Why Study Political Science at IU Southeast?

Political science is the study of governments and how they function. Political science majors enjoy small classes with faculty members who are both teachers and scholars. Students can sharpen their intellectual powers and increase their knowledge through extensive interaction with faculty and fellow students.

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What is Political Science?


Political science is the study of governments and how they function. The discipline encompasses:

  • National and international governmental organizations
  • Groups within countries
  • Formal and informal aspects of governmental activity

The formal aspects of government include such things as constitutions, the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government and the distribution of power and procedures within a government. Aside from analyzing how a government should work, political scientists also study the informal and behavioral aspects of government, looking at such phenomena as public opinion and voting behavior, political parties and interest groups and the political socialization process.

Courses in the department introduce the student to fundamental issues in the governmental process, social conditions that create a need for government, structure and procedures of governments, control of governments and enforcement of responsibility, and relationships among governments.

The goals of the program are to foster in our students an appreciation of government and politics and to prepare them to assume the duties of citizenship; to provide special knowledge and skills useful to those who plan to pursue public service; and to lay the foundations for the scholarly study of government, politics, and the law for those who plan to pursue graduate study or a legal education.

We offer a B.A. degree in Political Science with the following tracks or concentrations: a public service track and a traditional track.

The public service track allows students to gain the necessary skills to work as administrators in local government agencies. It involves a public service internship and courses such as public bureaucracy, public budgeting, public personnel management.

The traditional track provides students with a strong liberal arts background in the study of politics and is a proven preparation for graduate and professional schools. Regardless of the track or concentration that is selected, students must complete 30 hours of Political Science courses including the following: Introduction to American Politics (Y103), Elements of Political Analysis (Y205) and the Senior Seminar in Political Science (Y490).

Political Science Students at IU Southeast

Our students have always been leaders on the campus at IU Southeast. Whether serving as President of the Student Government Association; participating in the University Model United Nations, Model Arab League and Model European Union Programs, coordinating the IU Southeast Model UN Security Council Conference for High School Students, running the College Democrats and Republicans or the IU Southeast Chapter of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, serving as Interns in the Indiana State Legislature and the British House of Commons or participating in the IU Overseas Study Program, Political Science students at IU Southeast are very active.

Special Features

Political science majors enjoy small classes with faculty members who are both teachers and scholars. Students can sharpen their intellectual powers and increase their knowledge through extensive interaction with faculty and fellow students.

Many of our majors are involved in these student organizations that stimulate discussions of contemporary issues:

  • College Democrats
  • College Republicans
  • The IU Southeast Chapter of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union

Some participate in the college level Model United Nations and Arab League programs. Others participate in the Student Government Association and help coordinate the IU Southeast Model U.N. Conference for High School Students.

In the final two years of degree work, students are able to put their classroom knowledge to work as interns or in the professional practice program. Our students have served as interns with local law firms, the Indiana State Legislature and Governor's Office, the local courts, the U.S. Congress and the British House of Commons. Others have participated in the overseas study program in Spain, Mexico, France and England.

Sample Four Year Plan

Courses in the department introduce the student to fundamental issues in the governmental process, social conditions that create a need for government, structures and procedures of governments, and relationships among governments. The goals of the program are to foster in our students an appreciation of government and politics and to prepare them to assume the duties of citizenship; to provide special knowledge and skills useful to those who plan to pursue public service; and to lay the foundations for the scholarly study of government, politics, and the law for those who plan to pursue graduate study or a legal education. The political science degree program consists of a traditional track and a public service track. Both require 30 credit hours in political science.

Download a degree checksheet: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (beginning Fall 2009)

Student Learning Goals

  1. Foster in our students an appreciation of government and politics and prepare them to assume the duties of citizenship.
  2. Provide special knowledge and skills useful to those who plan to pursue public service.
  3. Lay the foundations for the scholarly study of government, politics, and the law for those who plan to pursue graduate study or a legal education.
  4. The primary objective of the public service track is to prepare students with the background and skills to pursue positions in the public service, in both governmental and non-governmental (not for profit) organizations.

Minor in Political Science

Minimum of 15 credit hours, including:

  • POLS-Y 103 Introduction to American Politics (3 cr.)
  • One course in comparative politics
  • One course in international politics

(At least 9 credit hours of the minor must be taken on this campus.)

Advising information may be obtained from Advisor Dana Gohmann or Misti Whitaker.

Dana Gohmann
Academic Advisor
School of Social Sciences
Phone: (812) 941-2391
Office: Crestview 137
Email: dgohmann@ius.edu

Misti Whitaker
Academic Advisor
School of Social Sciences
Phone: (812) 941-2391
Office: Crestview 135
Email: mdwhitak@ius.edu

Please call the main Social Sciences office at (812) 941-2391 for an appointment.

Recommended Preparation

Prospective political science majors should complete the college preparatory curriculum in high school. In addition to the standard requirements of math, history, science and English, students should take courses in government, economics and world history. Political science students usually have an interest in community activities, a sense of responsibility about government programs and policies and a desire to make our community, country and the world a better place to live.

Course topics:

  • American Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Politics
  • Political Theory
  • Public Administration

Political Science

POLS-Y 103 Introduction to American Politics (3 cr.)
Introduction to the nature of government and the dynamics of American politics. Origin and nature of the American federal system, its political party base, public policy, and law.

POLS-Y 105 Introduction to Political Theory (3 cr.)
Perennial problems of political philosophy, including relationships between rulers and ruled, nature of authority, social conflict, law and morality, economic issues, and democracy.

POLS-Y 107 Introduction to Comparative Politics (3 cr.)
Explores similarities and differences between political institutions and processes in political systems around the world. Usually covers Britain, Germany, Russia, China, Mexico, Nigeria, and Egypt.

POLS-Y 109 Introduction to International Politics (3 cr.)
Causes of war, nature and attributes of the state, imperialism, international law, national sovereignty, arbitration, adjudication, international organizations, major international issues.

Political Science Advanced

POLS-Y 200 Contemporary Political Problems (1-6  cr.)
Topics vary from semester to semester and are listed in the Schedule of Classes. May be repeated once for credit, up to maximum of 12 units.

POLS-Y 205 Elements of Political Analysis (3 cr.)
An analysis of the major approaches to and techniques of the systematic study of political science. Professionally oriented.

POLS-Y 301 Political Parties and Interest Groups (3 cr.)
P: POLS-Y 103. Examination and evaluation of the behavior of political parties, voters, and interest groups and of other institutions and procedures by which Americans try to control their government.

POLS-Y 302 Public Bureaucracy in Modern Society (3 cr.)
Examines public bureaucracy as a political phenomenon engaging in policy making and in defining the terms of policy issues; places special emphasis on the United States. Considers the role of bureaucratic instruments in promoting social change, and in responding to it.

POLS-Y 303 Formation of Public Policy in the United States (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 103. Processes and institutions involved in formation of public policy in a democratic society, with emphasis on American experience.

POLS-Y 304 Constitutional Law (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 103. Nature and function of law and the American court system; selected Supreme Court decisions interpreting American constitutional system.

POLS-Y 305 Constitutional Rights and Liberties (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 103. Nature and function of law and the American court system; selected Supreme Court decisions interpreting the American constitutional system.

POLS-Y 306 State Politics in the United States (3 cr.)
Comparative study of politics in the American states. Special emphasis on the impact of political culture, party systems, legislatures, and bureaucracies on public policies.

POLS-Y 308 Urban Politics (3 cr.)
Political behavior in modern American communities; emphasizing the impact of municipal organizations, city officials and bureaucracies, social and economic notables, political parties, interest groups, the general public, and protest organizations on urban policy outcomes.

POLS-Y 316 Public Opinion and Political Participation (3 cr.)
The nature of public opinion on major domestic and foreign policy issues; mass political ideology; voting behavior and other forms of political participation; political culture; the impact of public opinion on political systems. Credit not given for this and SOC-S 436 or JOUR-J 423.

POLS-Y 319 The United States Congress (3 cr.)
Evaluation and development of the contemporary Congress. Examines such topics as electoral process, organizational structures and procedures of the Senate and House of Representatives, involvement of Congress with other policy-making centers, law-making and oversight activities of the national legislature.

POLS-Y 322 The American Presidency (3 cr.)
Examination of the office of the chief executive, including recruitment powers, cabinet relations, and congressional relations.

POLS-Y 324 Women and Politics (3 cr.)
Analysis of women in contemporary political systems, domestic or foreign, with emphasis on political roles, participation, and public policy. Normative and/or empirical examination of how political systems affect women and the impact women have on the system(s).

POLS-Y 331 British Politics (3 cr.)
Governmental structure and political behavior of contemporary Britain, with emphasis on process and policies.

POLS-Y 334 Japanese Politics (3 cr.)
Political development of Japan, with emphasis on changing attitudes toward modernization; cultural and sociological factors affecting the functioning of contemporary political institutions; and the implication of Japanese experience in modernization of other developing societies.

POLS-Y 335 West European Politics (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 107 Examines different political systems in Europe. Highlights democratic alternatives in institutions and processes of liberal democracies.

POLS-Y 337 Latin American Politics (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 107 and POLS-Y 109. Analysis of political change in major Latin American countries, emphasizing alternative explanations of national development; brief historical overview with examination of the impact of political culture, the military, labor, political parties, peasant movements, the Catholic Church, multinational corporations, and the United States on politics and the study of public policy processes in democratic and authoritarian regimes.

POLS-Y 343 Developmental Problems in the Third World (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 107 and POLS-Y 109. Study of economic, political, and social change in the developing countries. Emphasis placed on the relationship between economic growth/ development and political development, the causes of political instability, and the problems of democracy in the developing countries.

POLS-Y 349 Comparative Public Policy (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 107 Investigates public policies and policy making among advanced industrial democracies from a comparative perspective. Usually covers policy areas such as immigration, health care, education, and taxation.

POLS-Y 350 Politics of the European Union (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 107. Explores the politics, policies, and processes of European integration; the forces that are creating the “New Europe” of the European Union.

POLS-Y 351 Political Simulations (1-3 cr.)
P: Permission of instructor. A course tied to simulations of international organizations such as the United Nations, the League of Arab States, or the European Union. May be taken alone or in conjunction with related political science courses. Repeatable for credit up to 3 units.

POLS-Y 354 Ethnicity and Nationalism in Contemporary Europe (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 107 and/or POLS-Y 109. Examines the politics surrounding ethnicity, ethnic minorities, and nationalism in Europe. Covers both indigenous and immigrant groups.

POLS-Y 360 United States Foreign Policy (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 103 and POLS-Y 109. Study of the foreign policy decision making process in the United States. Focus on the application of decision making models to foreign policy making, international economic policy of the United States; and the role of ethics and morals in foreign policy.

POLS-Y 366 Current Foreign Policy Problems (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 103 and POLS-Y 109. Study of current problems or topics in United States foreign policy. Possible topics include U.S.-Latin American relations, U.S.-Russian relations, and international terrorism. See schedule of classes for topic.

POLS-Y 369 Introduction to Asian Politics (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 107. This course examines the political diversity in Asia, a region of growing global importance, by exploring governing structures and processes, political culture and ideologies, and the forces shaping them. Case studies may include China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and India.

POLS-Y 374 International Organization (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 109. Study of the historical roots of international organizations. Major topics include the League of Nations, the United Nations, and the European Union.

POLS-Y 376 International Political Economy (3 cr.)
ECON-E 200 and POLS-Y 107 or POLS-Y 109. Study of how the international political system determines the nature of international economic relations. Focus is on the following: (1) trade and monetary regimes, (2) the role of multinational corporations; (3) global action, (4) relations between wealthy countries, and (5) relations between wealthy and poor countries.

POLS-Y 379 Ethics and Public Policy (3 cr.)
This course examines the ethical responsibilities of public officials in democratic societies. It explores such topics as the meaning of moral leadership, the appeal to personal conscience in public decision making, the management of conflicts of values, and the ethics of loyalty and dissent in administrative agencies. A special concern is the way institutional arrangements promote or inhibit moral choices.

POLS-Y 384 American Political Ideas (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 105. Study of the development of American political thought from colonial times to the contemporary period. This course will explore such topics as the nature and evolution of American liberalism, capitalism, and egalitarianism.

POLS-Y 392 Problems of Contemporary Political Philosophy (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 105. An extensive study of one or more great philosophical thinkers, movements, or problems. Subject will vary with instructor and year. Current information may be obtained from the Department of Political Science. Repeatable for credit up to 6 units.

POLS-Y 401 Studies in Political Science (2-3 cr.)
Topic varies with the instructor and year. Consult the Schedule of Classes for current information. Repeatable for credit up to 6 units.

POLS-Y 402 Politics of the Budgetary Process (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 302. Examines the interactions among the legislative, executive, and administrative aspects of the budgetary process in national, state, and local governments. Emphasis placed on the politics of the budgetary process.

POLS-Y 403 Legal Issues in Public Bureaucracy (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 302. Examines the legal framework of public bureaucracies, their powers, functions and roles. Analysis of relevant cases in which basic principles are identified and synthesized along with other elements of public law.

POLS-Y 404 Political Issues in Public Personnel Administration (3 cr.)
R: POLS-Y 302. Examines the political framework in which public agencies hire, train, motivate, promote, and discipline their employees. Also examines the historical legal development of public personnel management.

POLS-Y 471 Terrorism (3 cr.)
This course will focus on the problems in defining terrorism; the causes of terrorism; the nature of terrorist organizations (resources, structure, methods, goals); the media and terrorism; and policies and policy responses to terrorism. The course will focus on both domestic (within the United States) and international case studies of terrorism.

POLS-Y 480 Undergraduate Readings in Political Science (1-6 cr.)
P: Written consent of Instructor. Individual readings and research. Repeatable for credit up to 6 units.

POLS-Y 481 Field Experience in Political Science (1-6 cr.)
P: Junior or senior standing, 15 credit hours of political science, and project approved by instructor. Faculty-directed study of aspects of the political process based on field experience. Directed readings, field research, and research papers. Certain internship experiences may require research skills. Repeatable for credit up to 6 units.

POLS-Y 490 Senior Seminar in Political Science (1-6 cr.)
P: Senior standing, POLS-Y 103, and POLS-Y 205. Readings and discussion of selected problems; research paper usually required. Seminar divided into sections to allow students to select an area of study. Repeatable for credit up to 6 units.

POLS-Y 498 Honors Readings in Political Science (1-6 cr.)
P: Authorization of Instructor. To be taken in conjunction with advanced political science courses to meet the requirement of Political Science Honors Program. Repeatable for credit up to 6 units.

POLS-Y 499 Reading for Honors (1-12 cr.)
P: Approval of instructor. Individual readings and research for students admitted to the Political Science Honors Program. Repeatable for credit up to 12 units.

Graduates of our program at Indiana University Southeast have been very successful. Since 1990, nearly 60% of our graduates are either currently attending graduate or professional schools or they have received degrees from graduate or professional schools.

Many of our graduates work for the state of Indiana in various capacities - several work as legislative assistants and others are lobbyists. Some work for non-profit agencies and public relations firms, while others are officers in the U.S. military. Others serve as campaign managers or staff members for many candidates for political office locally and nationally.

Political science majors can become:

  • Attorneys
  • Journalists
  • Campaign advisers
  • Lobbyists
  • Public relations specialists
  • U.S. Military officers
  • International marketing representatives
  • Business people
  • Specialists for federal, state or local government

A political science degree provides these career skills and abilities:

  • Effective communication
  • Problem analyzing and solving
  • A desire for life-long learning and self-teaching
  • Empathy or understanding of motives and choices of people different from ourselves.
 

Resident

Faculty Bio Thumbnail
Jean E. Abshire
Associate Professor of Political Science
Program Coordinator of Political Science
jeabshir@ius.edu
Phone: (812) 941-2514
Office Location: CV 017
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Faculty Bio Thumbnail
Cliff Staten
Professor of Political Science and International Studies
Coordinator of International Studies
cstaten@ius.edu
Phone: (812) 941-2691
Office Location: CV 020
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Faculty Bio Thumbnail
Joe Wert
Associate Professor of Political Science
Dean, School of Social Sciences
jwert@ius.edu
Phone: (812) 941-2160
Office Location: CV 140B
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Faculty Bio Thumbnail
Rhonda Wrzenski
Assistant Professor of Political Science
rwrzensk@ius.edu
Phone: (812) 941-2023
Office Location: CV 005
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Visiting

Faculty Bio Thumbnail
Margot Morgan
Visiting Assistant Professor
mm3@indiana.edu
Phone: (812) 941-2294
Office Location: CV 010
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Adjunct

Faculty Bio Thumbnail
Peggy Cummins
pacummin@ius.edu
Phone: (812) 941-2391
Office Location: CV 140
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Political Science Honors Program Admission Requirements

Admission to the Political Science Honors Program requires the following:

  • The student must be a political science major with junior standing
  • The student must have at least a 3.3 GPA in all courses and at least a 3.5 GPA in political science courses
  • The student must have completed 15 hours of political science courses including Y205

Honors Program Requirements

In addition to meeting the requirements for the political science major, the honors student must complete:

  • Y498 (one hour) taken in conjunction with three advanced political science courses
  • Y498 (one hour) taken in conjunction with Y490
  • The honors student must present a research paper at an undergraduate or professional conference or have the paper published in a journal
  • Honors students must maintain the 3.3 GPA in all courses and the 3.5 GPA in political science courses

Our students have always been leaders on the campus at IU Southeast. Whether serving as President of the Student Government Association; participating in the University Model United Nations, Model Arab League and Model European Union Programs, coordinating the IU Southeast Model UN Security Council Conference for High School Students, running the College Democrats and Republicans or the IU Southeast Chapter of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, serving as Interns in the Indiana State Legislature and the British House of Commons or participating in the IU Overseas Study Program, Political Science students at IU Southeast are very active.


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