Department of Government

Chair:   Wendy Gunther-Canada, Ph.D.

The Department of Government offers programs of study leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and the Master of Public Administration degree.

Political science is concerned with the observation and comprehension of government in human society.  The curriculum in political science provides selective opportunities to study systematically and critically American government and politics, to compare various national political systems, to investigate conflict and cooperation among nation-states, to explore the historical development of political theory, analyze the organization and management of public affairs, and to master the methods of political research.

The political science major is an appropriate background for careers in law; social science teaching; state, local, and federal government; foreign diplomacy and international affairs; journalism; campaigns and electioneering; non-profit advocacy; and political research.

Major  in Political Science

A grade of C or better is required in all Political Science courses. In fulfilling the requirements below, students must have 17 hours at the 300-level or above, 9 of which must be at the 400 level.

Major Requirements for Political Science

RequirementsHours
Political Science 2
PSC 101Introduction to American Government 13
PSC 102Introduction to Comparative Politics 13
PSC 103Introduction to International Relations 13
PSC 104Introduction to Political Theory3
PSC 400Research in Political Science3
Capstone
Select one course from the following:3
Seminar in American Government (capstone)
Seminar in Comparative Politics
Seminar in International Relations
Seminar in Political Theory
Specializations
Select 9 credit hours from one of the groups below: 9
American Government and Political Theory
Introduction to American Public Policy
Urban Politics
Contemporary Political Issues
American State and Local Government
Introduction to Public Administration
Social and Political Philosophy
Contemporary Political Issues
Special Topics in Political Science
Human Rights
Religion and Politics
Politics and Race in America
Political Participation
Public Opinion in American Politics
Women and Politics
The American Judicial Process
The U.S. Congress
The American Presidency
Political Parties and Interest Groups
American Political Thought
Classical Political Thought
Modern Political Theory
Politics and the Media
The Politics of Constitutional Law
The Bill of Rights
Directed Research in Political Science
Independent Studies and Special Projects
Comparative Politics and International Relations
Contemporary Political Issues
Contemporary Political Issues
American Foreign Policy
The United Nations
Model Arab League
African Politics
European Political Systems
Latin/South American Political Systems
Asian Political Systems
Politics of Development
International Security
North/South International Relations
Diplomacy
Nationalism in World Politics
Political Networks
International Political Economy
International Law
The United Nations
Political Science Electives
Select 9 credit hours in Political Science (PSC)9
Total Hours36
1

Completing PSC 101, PSC 102, and PSC 103 will automatically satisfy nine hours of Core Curriculum Area IV.

2

Students must complete 9 hours of the major classes at the 400 level.


 

Additional Requirements

A minor is required for this degree.

Students must take general electives to reach the 120 semester hours requirement.

Proposed Program of Study for a Major in Political Science

Freshman
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
EH 1013EH 1023
MA 1103PSC 1023
PSC 1013PSC 1033
Core Curriculum Area IV: History13Core Curriculum Area II: Humnaities3
Core Curriculum Area II: Fine Art23Core Curriculum Area IV: History Sequence13
 15 15
Sophomore
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
PSC 1043Core Curriculum Area III: Natural Science with Laboratory4
Core Curriculum Area II: Literature33Core Curriculum Area II: Humanities3
Core Curriculum Area III: Natural Science with Laboratory4Political Science Elective3
Minor3Minor3
General Elective3General Elective3
 16 16
Junior
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
PSC 4003Political Science (300 level or above)3
Political Science (300 level or above)3Political Science (400 level)3
Minor3Political Science Elective3
General Elective 3Minor3
General Elective3General Elective3
 15 15
Senior
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
Political Science (400 level) 3Political Science (400 level)3
Political Science (300 level or above)3Political Science Elective3
Capstone Course3Minor3
Minor3General Elective3
General Elective3General Elective1-3
 15 13-15
Total credit hours: 120-122

 

1

Select one course from HY 101, HY 102, HY 104, HY 105, HY 120 or HY 121.

2

 Select one fine art from ARH 101, ARH 203, ARH 204, ARH 206, MU 120, THR 100, THR 105 or THR 200.

3

 Select one from EH 216, EH 217, EH 218, EH 221, EH 222, EH 223 or EH 224.


Minor in Political Science

A C or better is required in all courses applied to the minor. At least six hours of the minor must be completed at UAB, including three hours at the 300-level or above.

 Minor Requirements for Political Science 

RequirementsHours
PSC 101Introduction to American Government 13
Introductory Political Science courses6
Select two of the following:
Introduction to Comparative Politics 2
Introduction to International Relations 2
Introduction to Political Theory
Political Science Electives 39
Select 9 credit hours from Political Science courses, including two at the 300-level or above.
Total Hours18
1

PSC 101 may also be eligible to count toward Core Curriculum Area IV; check the Core Curriculum for your particular major.

2

PSC 102 and PSC 103 may also be eligible to count toward Core Curriculum Area IV; check the Core Curriculum for your particular major.

3

PSC 221 will count toward this requirement and may also be eligible to count toward Core Curriculum Area IV; check the Core Curriculum for your particular major.

 

 

 

Honors Program in Political Science

Purpose

The Political Science Honors Program is designed to provide outstanding political science majors with the opportunity for advanced study of the political process. Honors students have the opportunity to complete an independent research project while working closely with a faculty member. The advanced study provided by the honors program accelerates a student’s preparation for graduate or professional training.

Eligibility

Criteria for entering freshmen are:

  • A 3.25 high school GPA and ACT composite score of 20 (or equivalent SAT score).
  • Declaration of political science as the student’s major.
  • A letter of intent.

Criteria for students already enrolled at UAB or transfer students are:

  • Completion of nine semester hours of political science.
  • A 3.0 cumulative GPA and a 3.25 GPA in political science (and maintenance of these minima).
  • Declaration of political science as the student’s major.
  • A letter of intent.

OR

  • Junior standing.
  • Completion of nine semester hours of political science.
  • A 3.0 cumulative GPA and a 3.25 GPA in political science courses in the last 30 percent of coursework attempted (and maintenance of these minima).
  • Declaration of political science as the student’s major.
  • Letter of intent.
  • Faculty approval.

Requirements

Students in the Political Science Honors Program are required to do the following:

  • Enroll in the Honors Program (replaces the requirement for a specialization).
  • Complete one of the following advanced seminars:
  • RequirementsHours
    PSC 401Seminar in American Government3
    PSC 402Seminar in Comparative Politics3
    PSC 403Seminar in International Relations3
    PSC 404Seminar in Political Theory3
  • Enroll in three semester hours of PSC 497 after completion of the advanced seminar for advanced research in the selected subfield.
  • Prepare an advanced research project (after completion of PSC 497), which will lead to the development of a substantial research paper and, in some cases, a senior thesis.
  • Present research project findings to a colloquium of other PSC 497 students and department faculty.
  • Participate in Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society.

Benefits

Honors students will benefit from one-on-one mentoring with faculty in the department, which will lead to a more thorough understanding of the field and practice of political science. This is particularly useful as students choose career goals, such as graduate school, law school, public service, the foreign service, or other opportunities. Additionally, students who complete the program will receive a certificate at the annual UAB Honors Convocation and will graduate “With Honors in Political Science.”

Contact

For more information and/or admission to the Political Science Honors Program, contact the Political Science Program Director, 414 Heritage Hall, Birmingham, AL 35294-1152; Telephone (205) 934-9680.

Courses

PSC 101. Introduction to American Government. 3 Hours.

This course will cover basic information about American government and how it works. It is designed to give you a broad familiarity with a variety of institutions and process in American government. Each section provides you with an introduction to that area of the political process and should provide a foundation for future study of the topic. Ethics and Civic Responsibility are significant components of this course (QEP).

PSC 102. Introduction to Comparative Politics. 3 Hours.

Compares the political cultures and institutions of various political systems around the world. Special emphasis upon the Communist and post-Communist states, religiously-based states, and countries in transition to democracy. (CP).

PSC 103. Introduction to International Relations. 3 Hours.

The introductory course in international relations is designed to be a survey of the problems and practice of global cooperation and conflict. Quantitative Literacy and Ethics and Civic Responsibility are signficant components of this course (QEP).

PSC 104. Introduction to Political Theory. 3 Hours.

This course surveys the intellectual origins and historical development of political theory from the ancient Athenian experiment in direct democracy to the contemporary American challenge of diversity in a representative government. We will explore citizenship as a philosophical conversation about rights and duties, equality and liberty, and the ethical responsibility of the individual to the community. This course is specifically designed to meet the requirements for Writing and Ethics and Civic Responsibility learning outcomes. Writing and Ethics and Civic Responsibility are significant components of this course (QEP).

PSC 110. Introduction to American Public Policy. 3 Hours.

Policy process at local, state, and federal levels of government. Problem identification and definition; policy formulation and enactment; implementation and evaluation; policy termination. (AG/PT).

PSC 120. Urban Politics. 3 Hours.

Structures of urban governments, focusing on intergovernmental relations, official decision makers, and group and electoral politics in metropolitan environments. (AG/PT).

PSC 170. Contemporary Political Issues. 1-3 Hour.

Selected topics of current political importance and interest. Interests identified in current schedule of classes. May be repeated with permission of department chair.

PSC 221. American State and Local Government. 3 Hours.

Institutions, functions, and political processes at state and local levels of American government. (AG/PT).

PSC 222. Introduction to Public Administration. 3 Hours.

Principles and practices of governmental administration, including organization, procedures, personnel management, budgeting, and control. (AG/PT).

PSC 240. Social and Political Philosophy. 3 Hours.

Contemporary debate concerning fundamental principles of political life. Justification of political authority, proper role of government in society, economic justice, freedom and rights, and free enterprise system. (AG/PT).

PSC 260. American Foreign Policy. 3 Hours.

Creation and conduct of U.S. foreign policy. Evolution of American role in world affairs; problems, trends, and developments since World War II. (CP/IR).

PSC 266. The United Nations. 3 Hours.

Organization framework, evolving experiences and continuing problems of United Nations system for maintenance of international peace and security and for international economic and social cooperation. (IR/CP).

PSC 270. Political Power in American Film. 3 Hours.

Concept of political power in American society and its expression in American film. (AG/PT).

PSC 271. Contemporary Political Issues. 3 Hours.

Issues of current interest in political science.

PSC 272. Model Arab League. 1 Hour.

Preparation for participation in Model Arab League simulations around the country. Individual research on the Arab League and cooperative efforts to represent an assigned country and it's foreign policy on committees, such as political affairs, economics, social affairs, and others.

PSC 295. Special Topics in Political Science. 3 Hours.

Selected topics in Political Science.

PSC 316. Gays, Lesbians and the politics of Sexual Diversity. 3 Hours.

Examination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender politics in the US since the mid-twentieth century focusing on the regulation of sexuality and gender, the liberation and assimilationist approaches to political action, and contemporary issues, including discrimination in employment, in the military, and in education, domestic partnerships, HIV/AIDS, and family law. (AG/PT).

PSC 317. Religion and Politics. 3 Hours.

This course investigates the relationship between religion and the American political community. Topics examined will include: the influence of religion on Early Settlement thought; the role of religion in shaping the 1st Amendment; the political evolution of Christian, Jewish and Islamic sects in the US; the court and the issue of "church and state"; religion and political activism; faith-based organizations and the implementation of public policy. (AG/PT).

PSC 318. Politics and Race in America. 3 Hours.

Black politics in the United States at the national, state, and local levels of government. Introduces students to the nature of black political behavior. Topics examined will include black political philosophy, blacks and the Supreme Court, congress and the president, black leadership, black organizations, black electoral behavior, black public opinion, and public policy. This course is taught with an emphasis on Blacks who are descendants of slaves. (AG/PT).

PSC 319. Civil Liberties and Civil Rights. 3 Hours.

This course examines the role of the Supreme Court in defining the fundamental rights and liberties of citizens in the United States. We analyze the inherent tension in supporting individual rights when they conflict with the will of the democratic majority.

PSC 320. Political Participation. 3 Hours.

This course focuses on individual level public opinion, voting behavior, and all forms of participation in American national politics. It explores the causes and consequences of individual participation in campaigns and elections, parties and interest groups. Ethics and Civic Responsibility are significant components of this course (QEP). (AG/PT).
Prerequisites: PSC 101 [Min Grade: D]

PSC 321. Public Opinion in American Politics. 3 Hours.

Public opinion and the factors that shape it including the media, socialization, and group are covered in this course. It also includes a focus on its influence in elections and policy and the measurement of public opinion. (AG/PT).

PSC 322. Women and Politics. 3 Hours.

This course analyzes the history, theory and public policy of women as U.S. citizens from the colonial era through suffrage toward a woman in the White House. We examine the struggle for political rights, educational opportunity and economic equality, and gender roles in the family. We evaluate poll date, public policy debates, electoral strategies and leadership styles for women candidates for local, state. and federal office. (AG/PT).

PSC 330. The American Judicial Process. 3 Hours.

This course examines the purpose and structure of American courts; the selection of judges; the role of jurors; how federal courts set agendas, decide cases, and impact legal policy; the role of interest groups and public opinion on judicial behavior. This course is writing-intensive; students will produce a central research project that asks and answers an empirical question about the judicial system, broadly described. Writing is a significant component of this course (QEP).

PSC 331. The U.S. Congress. 3 Hours.

This course in an in-depth analysis of the U.S. Congress and the policy process in Congress. The roles of the president, the court, interest groups, and political parties in the legislative process are also addressed. (AG/PT).
Prerequisites: PSC 101 [Min Grade: D]

PSC 332. The American Presidency. 3 Hours.

Presidential leadership and democratic order; legal foundations of presidential authority; popular influences and presidential politics; democracy and presidential leadership today. (AG/PT).

PSC 333. Political Parties and Interest Groups. 3 Hours.

This course covers engagement and governing in American politics through the institutions of participation - political parties and interest groups. Topics include parties and political organizations in their varied forms - trade associations, membership groups, social movements and others, and the role of these organizations shaping outcomes. (AG/PT).

PSC 340. American Political Thought. 3 Hours.

This course focuses on the origins and evolution of American political theory from the colonial period to post-modernity. Investigates the philosophical legacy of the American founding and the civic republican tradition on contemporary theories of liberty, equality, and civic engagement in public life. Ethics and Civic Responsibility are signficant components of this course (QEP). (AG/PT).

PSC 341. Classical Political Thought. 3 Hours.

This course analyzes the development of Western political thought in classical period from Plato to Augustine. We trace the emergence of democratic government and the political culture of the polis as represented by the philosophers and playwrights of the ancient world from Athens to Rome, (AG/PT).

PSC 342. Modern Political Theory. 3 Hours.

This course surveys the development of Western political though from early modern era to contemporary debates from Machiavelli to King. We examine the innovation of social contract theories and the revolutionart orgins of modern democracies as we analyze philosophical arguments for individual consent, political authority, personal liberty, and legitimate government. (AP/PT).

PSC 350. African Politics. 3 Hours.

Following the African tradition of communication of political philosophies through narrative, our study of African politics will incorporate storytelling (in film, fiction, and poetry) as well as more standard methods of political analysis. The course addresses social, economic, and political dimensions of Africa - Northern, Southern, and Sub-Saharan - from pre-colonial era to the present. We will also examine Africa's regional and international relations today. (CP/IR).

PSC 351. European Political Systems. 3 Hours.

Comparative analysis of politics in European nations. (CP/IR).

PSC 352. Latin/South American Political Systems. 3 Hours.

Comparative analysis of politics in Latin and South American Societies. (CP/IR).

PSC 353. Asian Political Systems. 3 Hours.

This course provides an overview of the relationships between state and society in contemporary Asia, with particular emphasis on India, Pakistan, China and Japan. Also included are a presentation of Pan-Asian relation, environmental problems, current armed conflicts and political culture. (CP/IR).

PSC 354. East European Politics. 3 Hours.

Analysis of East European domestic and foreign policies and politics. (CP).

PSC 355. Politics of Development. 3 Hours.

Analysis of social, economic and political problems confronting the world's poor countries. Topics examined include national responses to the following problems: child soldiers and child labor; government corruption and transparency; ethnic conflict; environment destruction; social inequality; globalization; and cultural preservation. (CP/ IR).

PSC 360. International Security. 3 Hours.

Analysis of arms race, process of arms control negotiations, and diffusion of nuclear weapons. (IR/ CP).
Prerequisites: PSC 103 [Min Grade: D]

PSC 361. North/South International Relations. 3 Hours.

Relations between advanced industrial countries and underdeveloped countries, focusing on changing dynamics of these relations. (IR/CP).
Prerequisites: PSC 103 [Min Grade: D]

PSC 362. Diplomacy. 3 Hours.

Origins, institutions, functions and rules of modern diplomatic and consular practice and roles of diplomacy as instrument of national policy. (IR/CP).

PSC 363. Nationalism in World Politics. 3 Hours.

The primary objective of this course is to examine the political basis and implications of nationalism, as an idea and a political movement, in world politics. (IR/CP).
Prerequisites: PSC 103 [Min Grade: D]

PSC 370. Politics and the Media. 3 Hours.

This course covers how significant changes in communications media have affected our ability to address our political problems and make public policy. It covers the interactive relationship between real world politics and communications media, where and how we learn about candidates, elected and appointed officials, and policy issues.
Prerequisites: PSC 101 [Min Grade: D]

PSC 380. The Politics of Constitutional Law. 3 Hours.

Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court as related to the development of important doctrines of constitutional law. Role of judiciary; extent of federal executive and legislative power; federal taxing and commerce powers. (AG/PT).
Prerequisites: PSC 101 [Min Grade: C]

PSC 381. American Constitutional Law II. 3 Hours.

Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court as related to the development of important doctrines of constitutional law. Guarantees of Bill of Rights regarding both national and state governments; 14th Amendment. (AG/PT).
Prerequisites: PSC 101 [Min Grade: C]

PSC 382. Political Networks. 3 Hours.

The course explores the impact of social networks on political attitudes, political behavior, and policy outcomes in domestic and international politics.

PSC 395. Special Topics in Political Science. 3 Hours.

Special topics in political science.

PSC 400. Research in Political Science. 3 Hours.

This course covers strategies to develop and answer research questions in Political Science, with emphasis on research design, data generation techniques, and on descriptive and inferential statistical analysis. The course fulfills QEP requirments in Quantitative Literacy and Writing.

PSC 401. Seminar in American Government. 3 Hours.

There are multiple theoretical approaches employed in the study of American political culture, behavior, institutions, and policy making. This course covers those approaches and the significant literature on the central topics in American government and politics (AG/PT).
Prerequisites: PSC 101 [Min Grade: D]

PSC 402. Seminar in Comparative Politics. 3 Hours.

Multiple theoretical approaches employed in study of international relations and their usefulness in cross-national analysis of political systems. (CP/IR).
Prerequisites: PSC 102 [Min Grade: D]

PSC 403. Seminar in International Relations. 3 Hours.

The course covers multiple theoretical approaches employed in study of International Relations and their usefulness in investigating issues in world politics. Quantitative Literacy is a significant component of this course.
Prerequisites: PSC 103 [Min Grade: D]

PSC 404. Seminar in Political Theory. 3 Hours.

Multiple approaches employed in study of political theory and their usefulness in forming normative judgements. (PT/AG).
Prerequisites: PSC 104 [Min Grade: D]

PSC 430. American Constitutional Law I. 3 Hours.

Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court as related to the development of important doctrines of constitutional law. Role of judiciary; extent of federal executive and legislative power; federal taxing and commerce powers. (AG/PT).
Prerequisites: PSC 101 [Min Grade: D]

PSC 461. International Political Economy. 3 Hours.

Increasing interaction of politics and economics in international and transnational arenas of current global system. Quantitative Literacy is a significant component of this course (QEP). (IR/CP).
Prerequisites: PSC 103 [Min Grade: D]

PSC 465. International Law. 3 Hours.

Historical roots, theoretical foundations, and substantive development of law governing relations among nations; functioning of present international legal system. (IR/CP).

PSC 466. The United Nations. 3 Hours.

Organizational framework, evolving experiences and continuing problems of United Nations system for maintenance of international peace and security and for international economic and social cooperation. (IR/CP).

PSC 471. Contemporary Political Issues. 3 Hours.

Analyzing and writing in depth about the ethics and rationale for using and abusing the film medium to relate to, undermine, or support political authority. Ethics and Civic Responsibility and Writing are significant components of this course (QEP).

PSC 495. Directed Research in Political Science. 1-6 Hour.

Directed research in political science with department faculty. Open to Political Science majors only. Requires instructor approval.

PSC 496. Independent Studies and Special Projects. 1-3 Hour.

Directed reading under supervision of member of PSC faculty.

PSC 497. Honors Research in Political Science. 3-6 Hours.

Directed research by Political Science Honors student.
Prerequisites: PSC 401 [Min Grade: A] or PSC 402 [Min Grade: A] or PSC 403 [Min Grade: A] or PSC 404 [Min Grade: A]

PSC 498. Public Affairs Internship. 1-3 Hour.

Individually arranged assignment in public or non-profit agencies or organizations, monitored and evaluated by member of department.

Faculty

Corbetta, Renato, Associate Professor of Government, 2005, B.A., M.A. (Portland State), Ph.D. (Arizona)
Ertas, Nevbahar, Assistant Professor of Government, 2009, B.S., M.S. (METU, Ankara), Ph.D. (Georgia State and Georgia Institute of Technology)
Gunther-Canada, Wendy A., Professor of Government; Chair, Department of Government, 1993, B.A. (Utah), M.A., Ph.D. (Rutgers)
Haque, Akhlaque, Associate Professor of Government 1995, 1995, B.S. (Dhaka), M.A., Ph.D. (Cleveland State)
Kwak, Sunjoo, Assistant Professor (Government), 2002, B.A., M.P.A. (Hankuk Univ), Ph.D. (Rutgers), Public budgeting and finance, strategic planning, state and local government administration, administration theory and behavior.
Lewis, Angela K., Associate Professor of Government, 2003, B.A. (Alabama), M.P.A., Ph.D., (Tennessee)
Robinson, Robert R., Assistant Professor of Government, 2006, B.A. (Rhodes), M.A., PhD. (Wisconsin-Madison)
Sharlach, Lisa, Associate Professor of Government, 2004, B.A. (California), M.A. (California), Ph.D. (California - Davis)
Taratoot, Cole, Assistant Professor (Government), B.S. (Georgia), M.P.A., Ph.D. (West Georgia), Administrative law, judicial politics, constitutional law, quantitative analysis
Zahariadis, Nikolaos, Professor of Government, 1998, B.A. (Slippery Rock), M.A., Ph.D. (Georgia)