Department of Political Science

Professor Emerita: Janet A. Flammang

Professors: Elsa Y. Chen (Department Chair), Jane L. Curry, Dennis R. Gordon, Timothy J. Lukes, Peter I. Minowitz, Terri L. Peretti

Associate Professors: Anne E. Baker, Gregory P. Corning, Naomi Levy, Farid D. Senzai

Assistant Professors: Vivien Leung, Eric Mosinger

Lecturer: Matthew Harrigan

Senior Lecturers: Diana Morlang, Kenneth Faulve-Montojo

The Department of Political Science offers a degree program leading to the bachelor of science in political science. The department introduces students to the analysis of political behavior, values, institutions, and governments. It also offers preparation for various graduate and professional studies and for careers in public service, education, and the private sector.

The department offers opportunities to participate in a variety of programs that combine practical field experience and academic credit. It assists students in arranging academic credit for internships. Placements include government agencies, legislative or judicial bodies, political parties, and nongovernment organizations. On the national level, Santa Clara partners with American University’s Washington, D.C., program, in which students receive credit for internships and intensive seminars in the nation’s Capitol. Santa Clara also participates in the Panetta Institute’s Congressional Internship Program, which fully subsidizes students who study and intern with the California Congressional delegation on Capitol Hill. On the international level, the department encourages student participation in the numerous University-operated and approved study abroad programs around the world.

Requirements for the Major

In addition to fulfilling undergraduate Core Curriculum requirements for the bachelor of science degree, students majoring in political science must complete the departmental requirements listed below. Please note that students in the Political Science Honors Program must complete the requirements noted under the Honors Program.

  • One course from the following list to satisfy the Core mathematics requirement: MATH 8, 11, 30, or 35 (with MATH 8 preferred)
  • POLI 1; 2; 25; 30; 40 (ECON 1 or 2 may be substituted for POLI 40); and 99
  • Seven upper-division courses in political science, including one lecture course from four of the following five subfields: United States politics, comparative politics, international relations, political philosophy, and applied quantitative methods; two upper-division electives from any political science subfields, one of which may be a 5-unit internship class; and a political science senior seminar taken after achieving senior status or with the permission of the instructor

Requirements for the Minor

Students must fulfill the following requirements for a minor in political science:

  • Any three lower-division political science courses: POLI 1, 2, 25, 30, 40 (ECON 1 or 2 cannot be substituted for POLI 40), 45, 55, 99
  • Any three upper-division 5-unit political science lecture courses
  • One additional upper- or lower-division political science course

Optional Emphasis

Political science majors may select an emphasis in pre-law, public sector studies, or international relations, which will be noted on the student’s transcript.

Emphasis in Public Sector Studies

The public sector emphasis is a specialized area of concentration within the political science major allowing students to focus their coursework toward public sector studies. The emphasis is designed to provide a closer look at the creation, implementation, and analysis of public policies, and the operation of governments and public organizations. The public sector emphasis provides an excellent foundation for those who would like to pursue careers or graduate studies in public policy, public administration, public affairs, urban planning, and law. Requirements for the public sector emphasis include a variety of courses both inside and outside of the political science department. For the most up-to-date information about the public sector emphasis, please contact the emphasis advisor.

  • ECON 1 and 2
  • POLI 167 with a grade of C or better
  • Upper-division POLI internship: POLI 198A, 198B, or equivalent, including Washington Semester Program internships
  • One upper-division POLI course for public sector: POLI 152, 153, 154, 160, 161, 163, 165, 166, 168, 170, 172
  • Two additional lower-division courses: POLI 45; ACTG 11, 12, 20; BUSN 71; COMM 2,; ECON 3; ELSJ 50; ENVS 11A, 12A, 50; ETHN 20; MGMT 6; PHIL 28, 29, 30; PHSC 1, 2; SOCI 33, 65; or others as approved by the emphasis advisor.
  • Two additional upper-division courses (outside of the political science department): BIOL 171; CHST 106; COMM 151, 157, 158; ECON 111, 113, 114, 115, 120, 126, 129, 136, 137, 150, 160, 166, 173, 181, 182, 185, 190; ENVS 120, 122, 128, 147, 150, 162; HIST 176; MGMT 169, 171; PHIL 108, 116, 117, 118; PHSC 156; PSYC 134; SOCI 132, 137, 138, 140, 153, 159, 160, 161, 165, 172, 176, 180; or selected courses from the Washington Semester Program or others as approved by the emphasis advisor.

Emphasis in International Relations

The international relations emphasis allows students to focus on the international system and the interaction of national and non-national actors on the global stage. Sample topics addressed by the international relations emphasis include international organizations; transnational movements; conflict resolution, peace, and reconciliation; military-strategic issues; international political economy; human rights; development and economic justice; and global sustainability.

Requirements for the international relations emphasis include a variety of courses both inside and outside of the political science department. For the most up-to-date information about the international relations emphasis, please contact the emphasis advisor.

  • Senior seminar: POLI 196 (International Relations) or POLI 192 (Comparative Politics)
  • Three upper-division international relations courses : POLI 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 131; or 116A and 116B combined.
  • One international relations-related course outside the political science department: ANTH 159; COMM 183, 184A, 187; ECON 3, 3H, 129, 134, 137, 181, 182; HIST 102S, 116, 121, 122, 131, 139, 141, 146B, 147B, 150 (also listed as WGST 126), 151, 163; SOCI 133, 134, 137; TESP 108, 159;  or other courses as approved by the program director.
  • One off-campus academic experience with an international relations component: Study Abroad; Washington Semester Program; Arrupe placement; local internship approved by the emphasis advisor; or POLI 116A and 116B combined, if not counted above as an upper-division course.

Emphasis in Pre-Law

Political science is one of the most common majors for pre-law students. After all, political science is the closest of all majors to the institutions and values with which law deals. The primary study of law is the state, and so too for political science. Additionally, the demands of political science courses (reading of complex texts, independent research, frequent class presentations, and demanding writing assignments) strengthen the analytical and communications skills that the practice of law requires.

Requirements for the pre-law emphasis include a variety of courses from both inside and outside of the political science department. At most, six courses are required: three within the political science department and three from outside the political science department, although many of these courses fulfill other Core and political science major requirements. For the most up-to-date information about the pre-law emphasis and specific courses, please contact the emphasis advisor.

  • Three courses from List A: POLI 45, 124, 125, 160, 161, 167, 168, 171,195L; POLI 198A, 198B (internship must be law-related and be approved by the pre-law program director)
  • One course from List B: BUSN 85; COMM 167; ECON 126; ELSJ 50; ENVS 120; ETHN 126, 127; PHIL 30, 43, 117, 118, 119, 123; PSYC 155; SOCI 159, 160, 161, 162; WGST 189
  • One course from List C: ENGL 100, 115, PHIL 17
  • One additional course from either List B or List C

Lower-Division Courses

1. Introduction to U.S. Politics

Critical analysis of U.S. political values, institutions, and processes. The U.S. political tradition, the Constitution, the presidency, Congress, the bureaucracy, Supreme Court, elections, political parties, interest groups, mass media, political opinion and participation, domestic policies, and foreign policy are examined in depth. (4 units)

2. Introduction to Comparative Politics

Government and politics in several states. Emphasis on the development of analytical abilities and critical skills in the evaluation of political culture, processes, and institutions. (4 units)

25. Introduction to International Relations

Conceptual models used to analyze international relations, contemporary problems of world politics, and the methods states employ to provide peace and security. (4 units)

30. Introduction to Political Philosophy

An exploration of some of the principal themes and questions of political philosophy through the writings of authors such as Plato, Machiavelli, Marx, and Mill. Prominent themes include theory and practice, individual liberty, morality and politics, freedom, obligation, and justice. (4 units)

40. Politics of U.S. Economic Policies

Covers basic concepts in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and international economics in order to demonstrate the relationship between the science of economics and the politics of U.S. economic policies. Case studies such as poverty issues, agricultural policies, and immigration and international trade dynamics will demonstrate how economic and political issues, as well as domestic and international policies, are interrelated. (4 units)

45. Criminal Justice System

Basic understanding of the U.S. criminal justice system: police, courts, probation, imprisonment, parole, and relations with other governmental agencies. Goals, successes, and failures of the system, and possible remedies. (4 units)

55. Racial and Ethnic Politics in the U.S.

Also listed as ETHN 55. For course description see ETHN 55.. Does not satisfy any major requirement. (4 units)

71. The Practice of Politics

An occasional course taught by a political practitioner with an insider’s perspective on policy issues, e.g. a city, county, or state official; a U.S. Foreign Service Officer; or a representative from a Non-Governmental Organization. Open to qualified students with sophomore standing or above. Does not satisfy any major requirement. (2 units)

99. Political Science Research

This course provides the necessary tools to understand, critically evaluate, and perform political science research. Students will learn how to conduct a literature review, produce an annotated bibliography, and propose a theoretically informed research design. Topics include case selection; measurement of variables; hypothesis testing; qualitative research methods including interviews, content analysis, and ethnography; survey research; and interpretation and presentation of charts and tables. (4 units)

Upper-Division Courses

Note: Upper-division courses in each area below have required prerequisites as noted in each section. In special cases, the instructor of a particular course may make an exception to the requirements. It is recommended that majors complete POLI 99 before undertaking upper-division coursework in political science.

Upper-Division Course: Applied Quantitative Methods

101. Applied Quantitative Methods

An applied introduction to statistical techniques that are especially relevant to data from the social sciences. Note: POLI 99 is a required prerequisite for POLI 101. (5 units)

Upper-Division Courses: Political Philosophy

Note: POLI 30 is a required prerequisite for upper-division political philosophy courses.

105. Special Topics in Political Philosophy

Selected topics in political philosophy. (5 units)

107. American Political Thought

Selected topics and themes in the history of American political thought. (5 units)

109. Liberty and Diversity

Examination of the relationship between liberty and diversity. Beginning with pioneering “classics”—particularly Locke’s Letter on Toleration and Mill’s On Libertythat extolled both, the course will proceed to explore the contemporary tensions between them, especially regarding free speech. (5 units)

111. History of Political Philosophy I: Greek and Christian

Development of Western political thought from its Greek origins in the work of Plato and Aristotle through the work of Aquinas. (5 units)

112. History of Political Philosophy II: Liberalism and Its Roots

Western political thought from Machiavelli through the origins of liberalism in the writings of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. (5 units)

113. History of Political Philosophy III: Post-Liberal Theories

Writers and themes in political thought from the 19th century to the present, including those offered by Friedrich Nietzche, Simone de Beauvoir, Herbert Marcuse, Isaiah Berlin, Catharine MacKinnon, and Allan Bloom. (5 units)

Upper-Division Courses: International Relations

Note: POLI 25 is a required prerequisite for upper-division international relations courses.

116A. Model United Nations Prep

Model United Nations (UN) is a simulation program in which students participate in mock sessions of the United Nations. POLI 116A is a preparatory course for the Model UN conference in spring quarter. Students will learn about the principles of international law and conflict resolution. Note: This course does not meet the upper-division major requirement for International Relations. (2 units)

116B. Model United Nations: International Conflict Simulation

Simulated United Nations sessions, representing member-nations, debating and preparing resolutions, and engaging in other aspects of diplomacy. Prerequisite: POLI 116A. Note: This course does not meet the upper-division major requirement for International Relations. (2 units)

119. The European Union

Evolution of European political, social, and economic integration in the postwar period. Emphasis on the institutions and politics of the European Union since the Maastricht treaty, and current issues of European integration, such as the addition of new members, monetary union, and internal democratization. (5 units)

121. Politics of the Global Economy

An introduction to the politics and institutions of the global economy. Topics include: liberal, realist, and structuralist theories of the global economy; the international trading system and economic regionalism; the international financial system and financial crises; multinational corporations; and economic development in the Global South. Prerequisite: POLI 40 or ECON 1. (5 units)

122. Asia-Pacific International Relations

An overview of the political, economic, and security dimensions of international relations in the Asia-Pacific  with a focus on the foreign policies of the United States, China, and Japan. The course examines regional flashpoints such as the Korean Peninsula; the role of emerging players such as India and ASEAN; and developments in the  regional economy. (5 units)

123. Global Environmental Politics

Explores the political, social, scientific, and economic challenges in the pursuit of a just and sustainable global environment. Case studies include climate change, the environmental effects of war, sustainable development, environmental racism, and cross-border pollution which are studied through the lenses of national, intergovernmental, nongovernmental actors and social forces. (5 units)

124. Law, Security, and Force

An examination of traditional international legal principles involving the use of force in self-defense with case studies to understand how the justification of armed conflict is changing. Discussion of the international community’s adjustment to the evolving nature of sovereignty, increasing globalization, and national defense. (5 units)

125. International Law

Sources, nature, and function of international law in world politics. Special attention to the subjects of international law, international transactions, and the rules of war. Viewpoints presented from Western and non-Western perspectives. (5 units)

126. International Organization

International organization in world affairs. Political, economic, and social role of the United Nations, regional organizations, specialized agencies, and nonstate transnational actors. (5 units)

127. Special Topics in International Relations

Selected topics in international relations. (5 units)

128. U.S. Foreign Policy

Aims, formulation, and implementation of U.S. foreign policy since World War II, focusing on diplomacy, war, security, and trade. (5 units)

Upper-Division Courses: Comparative Politics

Note: Either POLI 2 or 3 is a required prerequisite for upper-division comparative politics courses.

131. The Military and Politics

Introduction to concepts and issues in civil-military relations. Historical and comparative analysis of different patterns of military participation in politics, defense policy making and national development. Introduces alternative models for structuring civil-military relations, and examines the problems associated with the models adopted by the United States and other nations. (5 units)

134. Race and Ethnicity in the Politics of Developed States

An examination of the role of and attempts to deal with racial/ethnic identity and conflict in the politics of the United States, South Africa, the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Western Europe. (5 units)

137. Politics in Latin America

Political cultures, processes, and institutions of selected Latin American countries. Dictatorship and revolution, democratization, economic development, and social movements. (5 units)

140. Politics and Development in the Global South

Multidisciplinary study of politics and political culture in selected states in Africa, Asia, and/or Latin America. Comparisons within and across regions exploring democratization, economic development, racism, diversity and inclusion, sustainability, and environmental justice. (5 units)

142. Politics in the Middle East

Designed to give students an understanding of the complexities of Middle East politics, the importance of the region to the world, and the role history and religion have played in the political and social development of the various countries in the region. (5 units)

143. Democracy and Democracy Building

Designed to give students an understanding of theories of democracy and how democracies are built out of military defeat (Germany and Iraq) and internal change either by leaders relinquishing power or popular uprising. Course includes reports of participants about decision making in democratizing processes. (5 units)

144. European Politics

An examination of European politics in the postwar era through political parties and institutions. Evaluation of current challenges facing European governments such as immigration, changing welfare states, regional diversity, and an expanding European Union, using national comparisons. (5 units)

145. Politics of Former Communist States

An examination of transitions of the diverse states of the former Soviet Union and East Europe, with a focus on differences in transitions, progress toward democracy, and the impact on people’s attitudes and lives. Students will work with their peers from these countries. (5 units)

146. African Environment and Development

Also listed as ENVS 149. For course description see ENVS 149. (5 units)

149. Special Topics in Comparative Politics

Selected topics in comparative politics. (5 units)

Upper-Division Courses: United States Politics

Note: POLI 1 is a required prerequisite for upper-division U.S. politics courses.

150/150AW. The U.S. Presidency

Analysis of the presidency as it has evolved throughout U.S. history. Comparison of presidential powers with those of Congress, the courts, the bureaucracy, the press, political parties, and the public. Prerequisites: POLI 1 and CTW 1&2 for POLI 150AW, which has an Advanced Writing component. (5 units)

151. The U.S. Congress

An examination of the structure, functions, and evolution of the U.S. Congress as both a national lawmaking body and a collection of constituent representatives. Topics include the development of Congress; elections; representation; parties and leaders; the committee system; the lawmaking process; interaction with the presidency, the bureaucracy, the courts, and interest groups; and Congress’s role in making public policies. Prerequisite: POLI 1.  (5 units)

152. Political Participation

An examination of who participates in U.S. politics and the various forms of political participation. Elections, political parties, interest groups, community organizing, and political protest. (5 units)

153. Minority Politics in the United States

Survey course with a focus on the historical and contemporary struggles of minority groups in the United States. The following minority groups are analyzed comparatively within a political and institutional context: African Americans, Latinx, Asian Americans, Native Americans, minority women, gays, and the disabled. This course examines various issues including theories of race, ethnicity, gender, and class to understand how these variables serve as a basis for identification and political mobilization in American politics. Also listed as ETHN 153. (5 units)

154. Women and Politics

A consideration of the various ways women have changed “politics as usual.” Examination of the status of women today, varieties of feminist thought, women as voters and as an interest group, women in public office, and public policy issues. Also listed as WGST 180. (5 units)

155. Political Psychology

This course serves as an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of political psychology, which applies theoretical ideas from psychology to understand political processes. Political psychology tends to focus on how politics works at the individual (micro) level. This course will focus on the psychological roots of public opinion and the political behavior of ordinary citizens through an application of psychological theories about personality, learning, cognition, emotion, social influence, and group dynamics to individuals’ political attitudes and behaviors. (5 units)

156. Politics and Mass Media

An examination of the politics of the mass media, interactions between politicians and the media, the effects of mass media, and social media on political life and public opinion, concerns of racial and ethnic minorities, and the ethics of media work. (5 units)

157. Environmental Politics and Policy

Also listed as ENVS 122. For course description see ENVS 122. (5 units)

160. Equality and the U.S. Constitution

Constitutional law doctrines and decisions regarding the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. Topics include race discrimination (particularly school desegregation and affirmative action), sex discrimination, discrimination against the poor, and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. (5 units)

161. Law and Politics in the United States

Examination of the U.S. legal system. Topics include legal culture, the adversary system and its alternatives, system participants (litigants, lawyers, and judges), judicial selection, and legal versus political influences on judicial decision making. Special attention to the question of the capacity of courts to serve as agents of social change. (5 units)

163. State and Local Politics

A consideration of the politics and processes of state and local governments, with particular attention given to California state, county, and municipal politics. Topics include federalism, executives, legislatures, courts, interest groups, parties, elections, financing, and issues such as education, welfare, criminal justice, transportation, housing, and urban growth. (5 units)

164. Studies in Public Policy

Selected topics and problems in public policy as viewed from a political insider’s perspective. Taught by a political practitioner. (2 units)

165. Public Administration

Administration of public policies in terms of broad questions of democratic theory. Organizational theory, public employees, budget making, policy evaluation, and public finance. (5 units)

166. California Politics

An examination of the structures and processes of California politics: the state’s constitution, legislature, governor, courts, and executive agencies. Special attention to democratic dilemmas of citizen participation (elections, ballot initiatives), legislative gridlock (redistricting, budget), and crucial policies (education, health and welfare, immigration, criminal justice, energy, and environment). (5 units)

167. Making Public Policy

An examination of the nature of U.S. public policy and policy analysis through the use of texts and case studies. Stages of policy development (how an idea becomes a policy, agenda setting, implementation, analysis, and evaluation). Ethical issues in public policy. (5 units)

168. Special Topics in Public Policy

Substantive in-depth study of selected issues in U.S. public policy such as health care, criminal justice, housing, and homelessness. Emphasis on the intersection of policy areas. (5 units)

169. Special Topics in U.S. Politics

Selected topics in U.S. politics. (5 units)

170. Campaigns and Elections

Campaigns and elections form the backbone of American democracy. In this course we will explore what political science can tell us about electoral politics at the federal level, including how campaigns develop strategies, how voters make decisions, and the roles parties and interest groups play in shaping the outcomes of elections.  (5 units)

171. Gender and Law in the U.S.

Also listed as WGST 118. For course description see WGST 118. (5 units)

172. Money in Politics

In politics, money talks. In this course, we will consider whether political money and the involvement of monied-interests in politics serve to advance or undermine democratic elections, political equality, freedom of speech, representation, and the production of sound public policies. (5 units)

173. Sports and Politics in the U.S.

This course is a survey of issues at the intersections of sports and politics in the United States. Topics include the development of sports culture in the United States, race and integration, gender and sexuality, protest and resistance, nationalism and sports diplomacy, the NCAA and college athletics, antitrust and labor law in professional sports, the politics of stadium finance, regulating sports gambling, and a variety of current controversies and ethical issues facing American sports leagues and institutions of government. (5 units)

Upper-Division Courses: Senior Seminars

192/192AW. Seminar in Comparative Politics

Selected topics in comparative politics in various states and regions. Prerequisite: CTW 1&2 for POLI 192AW, which has an Advanced Writing component. (5 units)

193/193AW. Seminar in Political Philosophy

Selected topics in political philosophy. Prerequisite: CTW 1&2 for POLI 193AW, which has an Advanced Writing component. (5 units)

195. Seminar in U.S. Politics

Selected topics in U.S. politics. (5 units)

195DW. Seminar in U.S. Politics

Selected topics in U.S. politics. This course has Diversity and Advanced Writing components. Prerequisites: POLI 153; CTW 1&2 for the Advanced Writing component. Also listed as ETHN 185. (5 units)

195L. Seminar in U.S. Politics

Selected topics in U.S. politics and law. This course satisfies the Pre-Law requirement. (5 units)

196. Seminar in International Relations

Selected aspects of international political behavior. (5 units)

Upper-Division Courses: Internships and Independent Study

197. Honors Research Projects

Independent research and writing on a selected topic or problem. Enrollment restricted to students in the Political Science Honors Program. This course does not satisfy any upper-division requirement for the major.  (5 units)

198. Public Service Internship

Directed internships in government agencies, legislative bodies, political parties, or interest groups, public or government affairs departments of corporations, or nonprofit organizations. Open to qualified juniors or seniors with permission of the instructor. (2 units; P/NP)

198A and B. Public Sector Study and Internship

Directed internships in local government agencies, legislative bodies, political parties, interest groups, public or government affairs departments of corporations, or nonprofit organizations, integrated with classroom analyses of professions in the public sector, frequent guest speakers, and research projects. Open to qualified second-year students and above with permission of instructor. (5 units)

198EL. Public Sector Study and Internship

Directed internships in local government agencies, legislative bodies, political parties, interest groups, public or government affairs departments of corporations, or nonprofit organizations, integrated with classroom analyses of professions in the public sector, frequent guest speakers, and research projects. Open to qualified juniors and seniors. Note: This course requires participation in community-based learning (CBL) experiences off campus. (5 units)

199. Directed Reading

Independent study. Intensive work in areas not fully covered in upper-division courses. Prerequisite: A written outline of the proposed course, with required forms and all necessary signatures, must be submitted at least one week prior to registration. (15 units)