Political Science

POLS 330 Campaigns and Elections

This course examines the dynamics of contemporary American electoral politics. We investigate why candidates, voters, and other political actors and groups think and behave the way they do, the rules that govern their behavior, who wins elections and why. Analysis focuses on the ways in which factors within the candidate’s control (e.g. strategy, fundraising, advertising) interact with factors largely outside the candidate’s control (e.g. regulations, gender, race, partisanship), to assess what difference campaigns make in election outcomes. Not offered every year. 

POLS 340 The American Presidency

An exploration of the constitutional, historical and political aspects of the presidency. Specific topics include the selection of the President, presidential leadership, personality, relations with Congress and the Supreme Court, and the Vice Presidency.

Prerequisites: Methods of Political Inquiry and one other 200 level course, or permissions of the instructor.

POLS 360 Congress

The United States Congress is a rarity among representative assemblies in the rest of the world; it actually legislates, and individual members of the House and the Senate directly affect legislation and policy. Why then is it also the least respected branch of our national government? Is it failing to legislate effectively? To represent fairly? This entire course explores these questions.