For generations, an education in political science at Stetson has prepared graduates for distinguished careers in law and public service and in fields as diverse as journalism and business. A distinctive feature of Stetson’s program is its emphasis on opportunities for learning beyond the classroom--through study abroad, internships, participation in the Washington Semester and the Model Senate, and small-group conversations with visiting lecturers. Divided into four subdisciplines--American government, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory and methodology--political science examines the institutions, social structures, and ideas that shape local communities, state and national governments, and the international order. A major or minor in political science gives students a broad education in public affairs and social science methodology while encouraging critical thinking and a mastery of oral and written expression.
More information can be found online at https://www.stetson.edu/other/academics/undergraduate/political-science.php.
Student learning outcomes describe what students know, understand and are able to do as a result of completing a degree program. The learning outcomes for this program are:
- Apply social science methodological tools to explain political processes and outcomes and/or to critique existing explanations
- Analyze and appraise political regimes using structural, institutional, historical, cultural and/or ethical theoretical frameworks found in the literature.
- Propose, produce, and defend an independently researched paper that demonstrates an original interpretation of a political problem through the use of primary and secondary sources
- Construct and defend valid and dispassionate arguments and relate them to long-standing and contemporary debates and controversies in the field of political science
Major in Political Science
Minor in Political Science - 5 units
|Introduction to Political Science
|Two of the following three courses:
|Two additional POLI units
Advising Course Plans
Plans for Transfer Students and Students Changing Their Major
Professor of Political Science
Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, 2021
B.A., Stetson University
M.A., Ph.D., University of Florida
Nylen, William R.
Professor and Chair of Political Science, 1992
B.A., University of California at Berkeley
M.A., Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Columbia University
Assistant Professor of Political Science, 2016
B.A., American University, Washington DC
M.A., University of Toronto
Ph.D., Michigan State University
Smith, Kelly B.
Assistant Professor of Political Science, 2018
B.A., Providence College
M.A., Ph.D., Brown University
Assistant Professor of Political Science, 2020
B.A., Wesleyan University
M.A., Indiana University
M.A., Ph.D., Cornell University
POLI 100. Introduction to Political Science. 1 Unit.
This introductory course will expose students to the variety of topics, theories, and methodological approaches to the study of political science. The course will examine topics including representation, power, inequality, justice, elections, institutions, partisanship, and socialization. The ultimate goal of the course to help students learn to think like political scientists and to understand the role of political science in the larger society.
POLI 101S. American National Government. 1 Unit.
Focuses on tools for understanding and evaluating the major policy choices in the American political system. Specific topics treated include principles of American democracy and the United States Constitution, political culture, interest groups, political parties, elections, and the major policy-making institutions (Congress, the President, the Bureaucracy, and the Courts).
POLI 102S. Florida Politics. 1 Unit.
Studies the federal system and the role of the states and communities in the American political system. Contemporary politics and public policies in the state of Florida are examined and discussed.
POLI 105B. Political Ideologies. 1 Unit.
Explores the differing value bases for major ideological/ philosophical streams of political thought and orientations such as classical liberalism and socialism, modern neoliberalism, social democracy and the “third way,” additional options could include “greenism,” multiculturalism and/or Islamicism. The concepts of “human nature” and “natural rights” are stressed, including the debate over “human rights” as exclusively inhering to the individual, or including group/community rights as well.
POLI 145S. Politics of the Developing World. 1 Unit.
Looks at the interactions between the pursuit of economic development and the social and political systems of Third World nations since 1945. After reviewing basic notions and theories of development, the course deals with central development issues and broader development-related problems associated with social disorder, corruption, poverty, and violence. Issues of democratization and institutional change are also prominently featured.
POLI 180. Political Science Elective. 0.75 to 1 Units.
POLI 190. Special Topics in Political Science. 0.5 or 1 Units.
POLI 200. American Politics. 1 Unit.
In this course, we explore the systematic study of American politics. Particular topics include a thorough examination of American public opinion, a robust institutional analysis of the American federalist system, and an in-depth understanding of the historical and theoretical explanations for the peculiarities of American politics. This course will expose students to the academic literature, research methods, and contemporary debates in the subfield of American politics. Prerequisite: POLI 100 or department chair approval.
POLI 201. Comparative Politics. 1 Unit.
Political institutions and behavior in selected European, Communist, and developing countries are examined in their cultural contexts and in relation to the general theories of comparative politics. The course is designed to expose the student to the tools of comparative political analysis as well as to the varied structures and functions of modern political systems. Prerequisite: POLI 100 or permission of instructor.
POLI 203. International Relations. 1 Unit.
A survey of the diplomatic, legal, economic, military, and organizational relations of nations and the major contemporary problems of world politics. The forces of change in the international system and the impact of sovereignty, nationalism, and power politics are given special attention. Prerequisite: POLI 100.
POLI 204. Introduction to Political Theory. 1 Unit.
What does it mean to think philosophically about politics, and how might this shape our engagement with political life? This course introduces students to the fundamentals of political theory. First, we read and analyze major political thinkers, including Plato, Machiavelli, Locke, Marx, Fanon, and Okin, among others. We then investigate the major questions raised across the history of political thought. These include the following: What are the different sources of legitimacy that keep political communities together, and should we accept them? What makes a community democratic? What is the relationship between freedom, justice, power, and resistance?.
POLI 210H. American Political Development. 1 Unit.
This course applies historical analysis to understanding American government since the founding period. Complementing the Introduction to American Government course, this class will examine many of the same topics, like the Presidency, political parties, and political participation, but go a step further in asking how these subjects have changed and evolved over time.
POLI 211. Politics of Public Policy. 1 Unit.
Policymaking is seen as a methodical process of identifying a problem, weighing costs and benefits of policy alternatives, and implementing the ideal solution. In reality, politics makes this process far messier. Students in this course will be the policymakers and explore how every step, from developing, passing and implementing policy solutions, is complicated by the United States’ complex political system.
POLI 285. Independent Study. 0.5 or 1 Units.
POLI 290. Special Topics in Political Science. 1 Unit.
POLI 304. Russian Foreign Policy. 1 Unit.
An examination of Russia’s role in world affairs. After a brief introduction to the history of Russian foreign policy, the course addresses three major topics: the development of the Soviet Union as the leader of the Communist movement; the behavior of the Soviet Union as a superpower; and Russia’s descent from power in the Gorbachev and Yeltsin eras and beyond. Considerable attention is given to Russia’s current attempt to define for itself a new world role.
POLI 306V. Law and Society. 1 Unit.
This course focuses on Stetson's Social Justice Value. The issues of American civil liberties and civil rights are viewed within the framework of decisions of the United States Supreme Court.
POLI 310V. Biographies of the Charismatic: Populist Movements from the Farmers Alliance to the Tea Party. 1 Unit.
This course focuses on Stetson's Social Justice Value. An assessment of the eruption of populist movements on the American political scene from the 1890’s to the present. The course examines biographies of leading populist figures to illustrate how social movements challenged the existing political, social, and economic order, at times using the language of social justice to advance injustice. Junior Seminar.
POLI 311. Political Opinion and Voting Behavior. 1 Unit.
Public opinion is critical for the success of a representative democracy, but it is not clear citizens possess the political sophistication to effectively meet normative ideals. To assess whether this is the case, this course introduces students to many facets of public opinion in the United States. Some of the topics we will examine are: citizens’ political knowledge and attitudes, the role of elites and groups in opinion formation, and the extent to which elites respond to public opinion.
POLI 314. Public Administration. 1 Unit.
An introduction to public bureaucracies in the United States that covers conceptual topics, such as organizational theory and principal-agent relations, as well as practical subjects like public budgeting and personnel management. Examining issues that lie at the nexus of politics and administration, the course prepares students for careers in government service or private businesses that deal regularly with government agencies.
POLI 315. American Health Care Policy. 1 Unit.
Reviews the history of health care in America, concentrating on the history of health care public policies (Medicaid, Medicare) and studies. We will study the parties involved in shaping health care policies. Course reading will be supplemented by speakers representing the health care industry, health care consumers and the government. We will also look at the ethical and political problems posed by health care issues such as AIDS and genetic testing.
POLI 316V. Environmental Politics. 1 Unit.
This course focuses on Stetson's Environmental Responsibility Value. Applies public policy analytic models to help explain why governments pursue the policies they do, and what the consequences of these policies are. Students will examine hopeful responses to dilemmas of climate change, deforestation, ozone depletion, over-fishing, and other global phenomena. Junior Seminar.
POLI 318. The American Presidency. 1 Unit.
Examines individual presidencies, as well as the presidential election process, and political science theories of the presidency. In a discussion format, students will examine changing criteria for a “successful” presidency and dilemmas of leadership for American presidents in the media age.
POLI 319. Voters, Campaigns and Elections. 1 Unit.
An in-depth examination of contemporary American electoral politics. After placing U.S. elections in comparative context, the course will focus on the factors that shape the nature of U.S. elections and their outcomes. Special attention will be given to campaign strategy and finance, the role of the media, the factors shaping citizens voting decisions, and the interpretation of election outcomes.
POLI 320. Congress. 1 Unit.
Examines the role of Congress in the process of making and overseeing public policy. The course will also focus on the politics of legislation and the dilemma of the "constant campaign." The course provides preparation for the Model Senate program held in spring.
POLI 322. The American Judicial Process. 1 Unit.
Examines the roles of American courts and judges in the processes of formulating public policy. Emphasis is placed on the interplay of politics and jurisprudence in the operation of the courts.
POLI 323V. Western Political Thought: Classical to Modern. 1 Unit.
This course focuses on Stetson's Ethical or Spiritual Inquiry Value. Through an analysis of such primary texts as Plato’s The Republic, Augustine’s City of God, and Machiavelli’s The Prince, this course traces the development of political thought from its ancient concerns with virtue and political community to the modern emphasis on freedom and statecraft. In learning how others thought about the role of politics in human society, students will better understand their own value preferences and philosophical orientations in politics.
POLI 324V. Western Political Thought: Modern to Contemporary. 1 Unit.
This course focuses on Stetson's Ethical or Spiritual Inquiry Value. Begins with texts that reveal the origins of modern American and European democratictheories. After an assessment of the conservative arguments against these theories, thecourse tackles the development of the two dominant political ideologies of the 19th and 20thcenturies, liberalism and Marxism. Texts to be studied include Leviathan by Hobbes, OnLiberty by Mill, and The Communist Manifesto by Marx.
POLI 325. Political Analysis. 1 Unit.
An introduction to key concepts in hypothesis formulation and the application of basic statistical techniques. The course covers descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, correlation and regression analysis, and their application in political analysis. Prerequisite: POLI 100, ECON 201H or INSU 201H or instructor approval.
POLI 326V. Politics, Policy, and Public Health. 1 Unit.
This course focuses on Stetson's Social Justice Value. Our nation faces multiple public health crises including a global COVID-19 pandemic, an opioid epidemic, a resurgence of diseases, and more. Solving these crises requires government intervention at every level in our federal system. How does politics affect public health in the United States? How do institutions and culture affect our public health decisions? How does public health affect subsequent politics? Who gets what in public health policy? This course will explore the relationship between politics and public health in the United States. Writing Enhanced course. Junior Seminar.
POLI 327. Russia, China, and the World. 1 Unit.
Over the past several years, Russia and China have drawn in closer cooperation on issues ranging from trade to energy to the military. But historical tensions in the political relations between the two regional powers continue to inform their relationship. This upper-level seminar examines Russia and China's parallel political development, their relations with one another, and their relations with the outside world from their communist revolutions to present day.
POLI 328V. Civic Engagement. 1 Unit.
This course focuses on Stetson's Social Justice Value. Begins with an analysis of the causes and consequences of contemporary civic disengagement and widespread cynicism about all things political. We then ask, "What can students do about it?" Students design and implement their own service learning or community-based research project and commit themselves to creating and/or significantly participating in a local action-oriented social and/or political organization. Junior Seminar.
POLI 329V. Global Nuclear Politics. 1 Unit.
This course focuses on Stetson's Social Justice Value. Nuclear politics dominates headlines in contemporary international relations. From the growing threat of nuclear proliferation to controversies over the safety and security of nuclear weapons stockpiles to the growth of local anti-nuclear activism around the world, the conflict over nuclear energy and weaponry continues to be a major site of contestation in global politics. How can we understand the development of nuclear technology and its international and domestic consequences? What is the relationship between this technological development and politics, both local and interstate? This course will explore both the historical development of and contemporary conflicts surrounding the growth of nuclear technology. Junior Seminar.
POLI 330V. Ethnicity and Politics. 1 Unit.
This course focuses on Stetson's Human Diversity Value. Examines the full range of issues in the politics of ethnicity, from the origins of ethnic consciousness to the varieties of ethnic conflict and the means that states and non-governmental organizations have used to manage this conflict. Case studies will focus on Central Asia, India, Eastern Europe, and the United States, although frequent reference will also be made to conditions in Southeast Asia and Africa.
POLI 337. Chinese Politics. 1 Unit.
This course examines contemporary Chinese politics in the postreform era as informed by an understanding of China’s modern political history. The first half of the course includes a brief overview of China’s geography and imperial history before examining the rise of the Chinese Communist Party, from the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the tumultuous Mao era up through China’s economic reform in the 1980s. The second half of the course focuses on contemporary issues in Chinese politics, such as civil society, media and censorship, political economy, and Chinese foreign policy. Junior or senior standing required.
POLI 340. Russian Politics. 1 Unit.
An examination of the domestic politics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and its successor states. The central concern of the course is the perennial dominance of authoritarianism over democracy in Russian political culture and behavior. Through a study of relations between ethnic groups, political institutions, citizen and the state, and the center and provinces, the course illustrates the tortuous path toward political change in Russia and the neighboring lands of Eurasia.
POLI 346. Latin American Politics. 1 Unit.
Introduces the student to the study of the political systems of Latin America. Presents some elements and characteristics common to most states of the region, examining subsequently the great political revolutions that Latin America has experienced in the 20th century, including the ongoing "democratic revolution.
POLI 348. Politics in Africa. 1 Unit.
This course will explore contemporary political regimes in Sub-Saharan Africa in the context of the continent’s complicated historical relationship with globalization, and its equally complicated mix of indigenous cultures, social systems, and political practices. Special emphasis will be placed on the experiences of, and prospects for, democratic governance in the region. Prerequisite: POLI 201S.
POLI 353V. International Law. 1 Unit.
This course focuses on Stetson's Social Justice. Focuses on the relationship between international law and international politics. It provides the students with insight into historical, cultural and theoretical aspects of law as well as basic information on traditional international law topics such as the law of the sea, laws on the use of force, and international human rights.
POLI 355V. International Environmental Activism. 1 Unit.
This course focuses on Stetson's Environmental Responsibility Value. Reviews the development of environmentalism as a social movement, both national and transnational, and as a pragmatic endeavor involving thousands of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Students delve into the theoretical literature on the subject, and examine a variety of small and large environmental NGOs. They also learn about the difficult and rewarding task of creating an environmental NGO and sustaining it over time. Junior Seminar.
POLI 385. Independent Study. 0.5 or 1 Units.
POLI 390. Special Topics in Political Science. 1 Unit.
POLI 395. Teaching Apprenticeship. 0.5 Units.
Pass/Fail only. Arranged by mutual agreement between faculty member and student, the teaching apprenticeship allows students to assist the professor in a course in which they have exceptional interest and ability. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. May be repeated once.
POLI 396. Research Apprenticeship. 0.5 or 1 Units.
POLI 397. Internship in Political Science. 0.5 or 1 Units.
Pass/Fail only. Students will be accepted into the course by permission only and must have at least second year standing, at least two course units in political science, and an overall 2.5 GPA. In addition to completing approximately 150 hours in the internship, students will be required to present a journal describing some aspects of that experience and a 10-12-page paper on a topic related to the internship. The field supervisor will also be asked for a letter of evaluation. No more than one internship course can be used to satisfy major requirements. Enrollment in an internship course requires students to attend an orientation prior to beginning work at their internship site. For more information regarding internship orientations, please contact Career & Professional Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or 386-822-7315.
POLI 415. American Constitutional Law. 1 Unit.
An analysis of cases and controversies arising from the constitutional principles of separation of powers and federalism. The case method will be used in studying issues such as federal-state and congressional-presidential conflict.
POLI 425V. Contemporary Political Thought. 1 Unit.
This course focuses on Stetson's Ethical or Spiritual Inquiry Value. Directed at current major theoretical statements concerning some of the most important ideas in political philosophy: justice, freedom, liberty, equality, self, community, individual rights, pluralism, and democracy. Current philosophers such as John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Michael Sandel, Seyla Benhabib, and Juergen Habermas will be studied. The goal is not to come up with the “correct interpretation,” given the controversy surrounding each philosopher, but to come to the best understanding we can of the ideas presented and, most importantly, how they fit with, and perhaps change, our ideas.
POLI 426. American Political Thought. 1 Unit.
The objectives of this course are (1) an inquiry into the politics of ideas in America and (2) an attempt to draw the connection between theories, religious values, and American institutions. Students will read selections by Jefferson and Hamilton, Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, Lincoln’s speeches, an intellectual biography of Jane Addams, among many other works.
POLI 427V. Democracy and Political Participation. 1 Unit.
This course focuses on Stetson's Social Justice Value. Examines theoretical and practical relationships between democracy and the political participation of groups and individual citizens. Contemporary issues of declining participation and interest in democratic politics (“civic disengagement”) throughout the world are discussed alongside efforts to address these problems through participatory and elite-restraining institutional reforms.
POLI 450. Wash Sem Intern Foreign Policy. 0.75 to 1 Units.
POLI 451. Politics of International Trade and Finance. 1 Unit.
Presents the theoretical framework for the study of the political aspects of international economic relations. The course concentrates on the evolution and deterioration of the post WW II Bretton Woods system, looking in particular at globalization, interdependence, North-South cooperation, and emerging patterns of conflict as well as emerging regimes of global and regional coordination and cooperation.
POLI 452. Global Politics. 0.75 to 1 Units.
POLI 453. Economic Policy. 0.75 to 1 Units.
POLI 485. Independent Study. 0.5 or 1 Units.
POLI 490. Special Topics in Political Science. 0.5 to 1.5 Units.
POLI 495. Independent Study. 0.5 or 1 Units.
POLI 496. Washington Semester. 4 Units.
POLI 497. Senior Research I: Proposal, Design & Literature Review. 0.5 Units.
This course is the preparatory portion -- Part One -- of the two-semester Senior Project. Students develop their research question, design, and initial literature review. Prerequisite: POLI 325 or Permission of Instructor. Junior standing or higher required.
POLI 498. Senior Research II: Research & Writing. 0.5 Units.
This course is the execution portion -- Part Two -- of the two-semester Senior Project. Students carry out their research project, write up their findings, relate them back to the theoretical debates articulated in their literature review from the previous semester, participate in an oral defense of their arguments and evidence, and conclude their Senior Project. Prerequisite: POLI 497 and POLI 497. Junior standing or higher required.
POLI 499. Senior Project. 1 Unit.
Senior standing (or permission of the Department). Provides students with an opportunity to do advanced research in a political science area of particular interest to them. Students write a senior thesis after a directed study of the research literature and the problems associated with it. The course is a “capstone” experience in research, writing, argumentation, and exploration of the field of Political Science.