Department of Political Science

College of the Sciences and Mathematics

205 Ruby Jones Hall
610-436-2743
Department of Political Science
Linda Stevenson, Interim Chairperson

The department offers a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with four concentrations. The objective is to provide programs tailored to each student's career goals and still to allow a wide range of options after graduation. All four B.A. programs are intended for students with an interest in government and public service, journalism, business, education, and the law.

The department offers qualified students the opportunity to do an internship and earn academic credits for it. The main goal is for students to complement their classroom learning with experiential learning through their work in an organizational setting. To start the process, students should speak with the department chair.

Programs of Study

  • B.A. in Political Science: Government and Politics is a liberal arts program exposing students to specific areas of political science, which include the study of "institutions" (government) and "behaviors" (politics).
  • B.A. in Political Science: Applied Public Policy is for students who are interested in the practical application of political science in a variety of professional settings.
  • B.A. in Political Science: International Relations is for students with a primary interest in international affairs and includes relevant cognates in several disciplines.
  • B.A. in Political Science: Elective Social Studies Teacher Certification is designed for students with an interest in earning a political science degree and becoming certified to teach at the secondary education level.

The department also sponsors Pre-Law advising, the Law Society, and the Political Science Club.

Mission Statement

Department Mission

The mission of the Department of Political Science is to promote scholarship and civic engagement among students at West Chester University. The department provides a comprehensive curriculum that exposes students to the principle subfields and knowledge of the discipline and encourages critical analysis, information literacy, and communication skills. As globalization increases the interdependence of nations, the department also envisions part of its mission as educating students to view politics from diverse global perspectives. The department prepares students for careers in government/public service, law, teaching, business and international affairs, and admission to various advanced-degree programs. Through internship programs, service learning, simulations, and other curricular and co-curricular activities, the department offers students experience in politics, government, and the law. Actively involved in research, teaching, and applied scholarship, the political science faulty serve as mentors to students seeking academic challenge and civic involvement in an environment that values diversity. Overall, the department provides students with an excellent foundation for a broad range of career and professional goals.

Learning Goals and Outcomes

The Department of Political Science strives to provide students with the following:

  1. Knowledge: Students will demonstrate knowledge of the discipline of political science and its subfields in terms of content, purpose, and methods and will be able to transfer and apply this knowledge in applied settings inside and outside the classroom.
  2. Information literacy: Students will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to identify the information needed for a task, critically evaluate the sources and content of information, and use that information efficiently and effectively within appropriate ethical and legal limits.
  3. Critical and analytical thinking: Students will develop and master critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills. This includes the ability to apply major methodological tools in political science to effectively describe, explain, and predict political phenomena.
  4. Oral and written communication skills: Majors will demonstrate the necessary oral and written skills to convey their knowledge about political science to others.
  5. Global perspectives: Students will develop the ability to view politics from diverse global perspectives and will understand the interconnectedness of political processes, cultures, and institutions.

All undergraduate students are held to the academic policies and procedures outlined in the undergraduate catalog.  Students are encouraged to review departmental handbooks for program tips, suggested course sequences, and explanations of procedures. When applicable, additional policies for specific department program(s) may be listed below.

Rules Applying to All B.A. Students in Political Science

  1. Students must complete the last 15 hours of their political science program at West Chester University, including PSC 401. Exceptions may only be granted by the chair of the department for compelling personal reasons. (Examples: A student's family has moved a great distance, and he or she needs to complete only one or two courses; the student and/or the student's spouse has been relocated to another state by his/her employer.)
  2. Students must have a C average or better in all political science courses, and no more than two grades below C in political science courses. A grade of C- is considered a grade below C.
  3. Internal transfers must have an overall cumulative average of 2.0 to enter any political science programs.

Additional Requirements for Student Teaching and Certification

To apply for formal admission to the Department of Educational Foundations and Policy Studies and to register for the last three semesters of education methods and student teaching courses, students must

  1. complete at least 48 credits, including the academic foundation requirements of writing, literature, and two math courses;
  2. attain an overall GPA of 2.80 or better;
  3. successfully pass the reading, math, and writing sections on the Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessments (PAPA).

To receive the social studies teaching certificate, students must

  1. complete all of the required education courses listed above with a "C" or better;
  2. complete the required courses for the political science major;
  3. attain an overall GPA of 3.0 or better;
  4. successfully pass the Praxis II social studies major content exam.

See the Educator Preparation Programs section of this catalog for an explanation of related requirements.

Professors

Peter H. Loedel (1996)

B.A., B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara

Yury Polsky (1989)

B.A., M.A., University of Moscow; Ph.D., University of Michigan

Frauke I. Schnell (1992)

B.A., University of Tuebingen (Germany); M.A., Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook

Linda S. Stevenson (2002)

Chairperson, Political Science

B.A., College of Wooster; M.A., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh

Associate Professors

Ashlie B. Delshad (2011)

B.A., Austin College; M.A., Ph.D., Purdue University

John J. Kennedy (2001)

B.S., M.P.A., Kutztown University; Ph.D., Temple University

Duane D. Milne (1999)

B.A., College of William and Mary; Ph.D., University of Delaware

Chris Stangl (2006)

B.S., Drake University; M.A., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Assistant Professor

Jenna Becker Kane (2016)

B.S., Arizona State University; M.A., East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania; Ph.D., Temple University

HBI

HBI 400. Harrisburg Internship Seminar (THIS). 9 Credits.

A full-semester internship in Pennsylvania state government. Student intern is placed in cabinet-level or legislative office. Placement (9 cr.); Policy Research Project (E CR.); Policy Seminar (3 cr.). The internship is open to any junior or senior student, regardless of major, who has a minimum GPA of 3.5. Stipend involved.

HBI 401. Intern Project (THIS). 3 Credits.

A full-semester internship in Pennsylvania state government. Student intern is placed in cabinet-level or legislative office. Placement (9 cr.); Policy Research Project (E CR.); Policy Seminar (3 cr.). The internship is open to any junior or senior student, regardless of major, who has a minimum GPA of 3.5. Stipend involved.

HBI 402. Intern Seminar (THIS). 3 Credits.

A full-semester internship in Pennsylvania state government. Student intern is placed in cabinet-level or legislative office. Placement (9 cr.); Policy Research Project (E CR.); Policy Seminar (3 cr.). The internship is open to any junior or senior student, regardless of major, who has a minimum GPA of 3.5. Stipend involved.

PSC

PSC 100. U.S. Government and Politics. 3 Credits.

Devoted to understanding how the system works: political action, elections, interest groups, civil liberties, Congress, the presidency, and the courts are among the topics considered. Seeks to provide a framework in terms of which process and current issues become meaningful.
Gen Ed Attribute: Behavioral and Social Science Distributive.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring & Summer.

PSC 101. Politics of Diversity in the U.S.. 3 Credits.

Uses the issues of our time as vehicles to an understanding of the political process. Emphasis is on American politics but in a world-wide perspective. Topics considered may include economic, race, gender, and civil liberty issues among others.
Gen Ed Attribute: Behavioral and Social Science Distributive, Diversity Requirement.
Distance education offering may be available.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring & Summer.

PSC 200. Political Analysis. 3 Credits.

Incorporates techniques for analyzing political questions logically and systematically, and introduces basic research design and methodological and library usage skills appropriate to the political science discipline.
Pre / Co requisites: PSC 200 requires prerequisite of PSC 100.
Gen Ed Attribute: Writing Emphasis.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring & Summer.

PSC 202. Elements of Public Administration. 3 Credits.

Considers public administration in the United States as a process of implementing public policy. Uses case studies and projects with texts focusing on organizational theory, human behavior and motivation, budgeting, personnel, and administrative responsibility.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.

PSC 213. International Relations. 3 Credits.

Politics among nations, including politics carried on through international organizations. Examines power politics, techniques of diplomacy, and methods of current international organizations. Special attention to U.S. interests and policies. Offered each semester.
Gen Ed Attribute: Behavioral and Social Science Distributive.

PSC 230. Introduction to Political Thought. 3 Credits.

Examination of key ideas that animated the great thinkers of Western thought. Special emphasis will be placed both on specific historical context and possibility of continuing relevance of considered ideas. Class will conclude with in-depth "case study" of contemporary dilemma that forces student to examine to what extent past ideas can aid our understanding of our present political landscape.
Gen Ed Attribute: Writing Emphasis.
Distance education offering may be available.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring & Summer.

PSC 240. Introduction to Comparative Politics. 3 Credits.

An introduction to the comparative study of political systems at various stages of cultural, social, economic, and political development.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring & Summer.

PSC 250. The Politics of the Judicial Process. 3 Credits.

The courts are the least democratic of the major American political institutions. Yet, the role of the courts is also essential to maintaining not only the rule of law, but the basic rights necessary to maintain a functioning democratic republic. In this course, we will critically analyze the American legal system in terms of its democratic nature and its essential functions for society. Topics explored include, the role of law in society, the structure and functioning of judicial institutions, the selection and behavior of judges, the function and role of lawyers and interest groups in the legal process, and the role of judges in the policy making process. We will examine both state and federal courts and both trial and appellate courts, including the United State Supreme Court. Our focus in this course will be on legal actors and institutions rather than legal doctrine or specific court decisions.
Typically offered in Fall.

PSC 301. Women and Politics. 3 Credits.

The role of women in politics is surveyed. Considerations include the relationship between the sexes as it impacts politics.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement.

PSC 304. Urban Politics. 3 Credits.

This course examines the politics of governing American urban areas. In doing so, a number of social science perspectives are explored. Particular attention is paid to theories of urban power and democracy and the politics of urban development.
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement.

PSC 310. The United States and Latin America. 3 Credits.

This course examines U.S. relations with the nations of Latin America. Emphasis is on understanding the goals of U.S. policies and the real impact of those policies. U.S. views of Latin America, both contemporary and historical, are explored as are Latin American attitudes and views toward the United States. The extent to which the United States has been motivated in its dealing by great power hegemonic concerns, economic self interests (dollar diplomacy), cultural imperialism, human rights, and desire to champion democratic governance are all examined. Contemporary concerns with promoting market economics, narcotic trafficking, and immigration are also considered.

PSC 311. Russian Foreign Policy. 3 Credits.

Emphasis on Soviet-American relations since 1945 and a comparison of the two societies. Topics treated include the influence of Marxism, Great Russian nationalism, and historical experience on Soviet foreign relations.

PSC 315. The European Union. 3 Credits.

This course examines the politics, policies, and institutional processes of the European Union. Theoretical and analytical approaches will be employed to understand the historical and institutional development of the EU as well as current EU-US relations. Experiential learning via a simulation will be part of the course.
Typically offered in Fall.

PSC 317. Contemporary International Relations. 3 Credits.

Recent issues and problems with special emphasis on superpower behavior around the world. Also, third world revolutions, international terrorism, human rights, international law and the United Nations, and the changing international economic order.

PSC 318. International Political Economy. 3 Credits.

The focus is the politics of international economic relations. Alternative analytical and theoretical perspectives will be examined for their value in helping to understand and evaluate the historical developments and current operation of the global economy. Special attention is given to system governance (international regimes such as the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund) and the ability of the nations of the world to provide stability to the international political economy. The primary objective of this course is to develop analytical and theoretical skills in the application of various international political economy perspectives (liberalism, mercantilism, Marxism/structuralism) which examine the interrelationship between states and markets.
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement.

PSC 319. Middle Eastern Politics. 3 Credits.

Topics include the Arab-Israeli conflict, the politics of the Persian Gulf, the role of OPEC, and the superpower conflict in the region.

PSC 320. U.S. Foreign Policy. 3 Credits.

Principles of U.S. Foreign policy; processes of policy formulation; roles and influences of the President, Congress, the State Department (and other government agencies), media, and interest groups. Topics include national security and intelligence analysis, terrorism, Cold War, economics/trade, and international organizations.
Gen Ed Attribute: Writing Emphasis.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring & Summer.

PSC 322. Public Opinion, Media and Politics. 3 Credits.

This course examines the dynamics of public opinion and public policy. It also closely examines the nature of public opinion measurement and the vital role the national and international media are playing in forming and changing public opinion. Various theories about media effects are analyzed.

PSC 323. Racial/Ethnic Politics. 3 Credits.

This course examines the relationship between racial and ethnic groups' political behavior and the American political system's response to them in terms of its public policies.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement.

PSC 324. U.S. Political Parties. 3 Credits.

Patterns, functions, and history of the American political party system at national, state, and local levels. Theoretical and empirical studies of political interest groups, public opinion, and voting behavior.

PSC 325. Campaigns and Elections. 3 Credits.

This course analyzes American elections and voting behavior, with an emphasis on recent presidential elections. Course objectives include understanding American voting patters in elections.

PSC 329. Courts, Law and Policy. 3 Credits.

This course examines the judicial branch as an actor in law-making and policy-setting, not merely interpreting legal texts. It examines the advisability of the courts playing such a role and their potential effectiveness in doing so. Typically, this will include a focused case study on a policy area of contemporary relevance.
Pre / Co requisites: PSC 329 requires a prerequisite of PSC 250.
Typically offered in Spring.

PSC 330. Politics of the Holocaust and Genocide. 3 Credits.

This course examines the political causes of the Holocaust and genocide both in a historical and current context. Case studies include the Jews in Europe as well as the Americans and Cambodians.

PSC 338. U.S. Political Thought. 3 Credits.

Examination of animating ideas behind most influential dilemmas that affected the political development of the United States. Emphasis on historical context and continuing relevance.

PSC 339. Contemporary Political Thought. 3 Credits.

Consideration of the most influential political thinkers over roughly the last one hundred years. While emphasis will be placed on particular thinkers, course will be organized around key topics such as: What is justice and how much should the government do to ensure it? To what extent are human- and by extension, collections of humans that wield political power - capable of rational behavior? In what ways can competing values clash and how do we decide which ones to promote forcefully?.

PSC 340. Latin American Culture and Politics. 3 Credits.

Comparative analysis of contemporary Latin-American systems. Political cultures, decision making, ideologies, and political processes. Emphasis is on Mexico and Central America.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement, Foreign Language Culture Cluster, Spanish Culture Cluster.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring & Summer.

PSC 342. European Politics. 3 Credits.

Comparative analysis of political cultures, parties, and decision-making processes in principal European political systems. Strong focus on major European nation states: France, Germany, UK and Italy. Additional attention given to the European Union.
Gen Ed Attribute: Foreign Language Culture Cluster, France & Francophone Area Culture Cluster, Germany Culture Cluster, Italy (Italian) Culture Cluster.

PSC 343. Culture and Politics of Asia. 3 Credits.

Study of cultural, philosophical, and political systems of modern Asia with special emphasis on China, Japan, and India.
Gen Ed Attribute: Writing Emphasis.

PSC 346. Russian Government and Politics. 3 Credits.

Marxism-Leninism, the functioning of the political system, and its domination of all areas of Soviet life. Some brief attention to the conduct of Soviet foreign policy.
Gen Ed Attribute: Foreign Language Culture Cluster, Russia & Eastern Europe Culture Cluster.

PSC 348. African Politics and Society. 3 Credits.

The course explores African politics, economics, and society through the critical lens of structuralist analysis. A strong focus on the historical and colonial framework's impact on current African developments will be emphasized. Case studies, political analysis, and current events will be used to illustrate the common misperceptions of Africa today.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement.

PSC 350. Constitutional Law I: Government Institutions: Power and Constraints. 3 Credits.

Survey of power relationships among branches of government (checks and balances) and between levels of government (federalism). Course will be guided by focus on important constitutional provisions and historically critical Supreme Court decisions, but with time reserved for specific focus on areas of high contemporary interest (detainee treatment and the war on terror, globalization and the U.S. economy, takings of private property).

PSC 351. Energy and the Political Process. 3 Credits.

Stresses the process of policy making and implementation in the field of energy. Emphasis also is given to foreign policy and natural security implications.

PSC 352. Constitutional Law II: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights. 3 Credits.

Examination of relationship between government and its citizens, both in terms of restrictions on government interference with the individual freedom (civil liberties) and obligations on government to prevent discrimination and ensure equality (civil rights). Heaviest focus will be on the constituent clauses of both the First (free speech, free press, free assembly, and the religion clauses) and the Fourteenth Amendments (equal protection and due process).

PSC 353. Latino Politics. 3 Credits.

This is a "hands on" course for upper-level social science students as research methods are explored and put into practice in coordination with local organizations working with Latinos. Service learning projects with Latinos in the region are required. Content material included demographics of Hispanics in the United States, critical theories from Latino perspectives, interdisciplinary immigration studies, and Hispanic perspectives in relation to social welfare, education, employment, crimes and justice, and politics.
Consent: Permission of the Department required to add.

PSC 354. Environmental Politics and Policy. 3 Credits.

This course explores the politics of governing the environment both nationally and globally. During the semester students will investigate the policymaking process as it relates to current environmental challenges.

PSC 355. Congressional Politics. 3 Credits.

Deals with the internal and external factors that influence Congressional behavior, including the roles of constituents, pressure groups, parties, the committee system, rules, and the leadership. Their relationships to the president and court structure and their impact on electoral politics also are considered. Comparisons with state legislatures.

PSC 356. US Public Policy. 3 Credits.

Policy formation and execution. Policy areas considered vary from semester to semester. May include role-playing.

PSC 357. Advanced Political Analysis. 3 Credits.

Discussion and application of research design, conceptualization, measurement, operationalization, research models, sampling, and data analysis for political science.

PSC 358. Applied Public Policy Analysis. 3 Credits.

An examination of public policy issues of state or national concern. Both analysis of current policy and research resulting in new policy recommendations will be included.

PSC 359. Presidential Politics. 3 Credits.

In-depth analysis of the nature and significance of the American presidency, including constitutional development, presidential roles and customs, the recruitment process, the executive branch, and the politics of the presidency.

PSC 370. Pennsylvania Government & Politics. 3 Credits.

This class will explore Pennsylvania's political system from both a historical and contemporary perspective. It will include analysis and evaluation of the legislative, executive and the judicial branches of the state's government. The political history of Pennsylvania, particularly in regards to elections in the Commonwealth will be focused upon in detail as will contemporary events and policy.
Typically offered in Spring.

PSC 371. State and Local Government. 3 Credits.

Examination of the organization, functions, and politics of state and local government, including analysis of politics in states, counties, cities, and towns in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Intergovernmental relations in education, transportation, and welfare policy are examined.

PSC 372. Organization and Management. 3 Credits.

Introduction to public and nonprofit organization management. Broad coverage of key elements of organizational functions and structure for potential managers. Uses both macro sociological and micro psychological levels of analysis. Case studies integrated into conceptual frameworks.

PSC 373. Intergovernmental Relations. 3 Credits.

Designed to familiarize students with the complex network of conflict, cooperation, and interdependence among national, state, and local government units. Topic areas, among others, include an analysis of the continuing evolution of American federalism, an examination of this relationship from state to city government perspectives and a description of specific intergovernmental fiscal programs and policies.

PSC 398. PSC Upper Level Transfer Credit. 3 Credits.

transfer credit.
Repeatable for Credit.

PSC 399. Political Science Special Topics. 3 Credits.

This course will examine topics of temporal or special interest which are not normally part of the regular ongoing political science curriculum. Students will be provided an opportunity to pursue specialized research, study, or application of knowledge and skills in an applied setting.
Repeatable for Credit.

PSC 400. SENIOR SEMINAR IN POLITICAL SCIENCE. 3 Credits.

Research in political science. Methodology, bibliography, and presentation, both oral and written. The research paper for the seminar must be acceptable as a required departmental senior research paper.

PSC 401. Senior Project in Political Science. 3 Credits.

Execution of the research design constructed in PSC 399. Involves completion of a major senior paper under supervision of a staff member. Extensive independent effort.

PSC 410. Independent Studies in Political Science. 1-3 Credits.

Research projects, reports, and readings in political science. Open to seniors only.
Consent: Permission of the Department required to add.

PSC 412. Internship In Political Science. 3-15 Credits.

Contact department for more information about this course.
Repeatable for Credit.