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B.A. in Government

Summary of Requirements

General Studies 37
Pre-Major Courses 3
Major and Related Courses 30
Free Elective Courses 50

Students may choose from the General Government Track or from the Government with a specialization in Law Track.

GPA requirement: Students MUST graduate with a GPA of 2.75 or higher to graduate with the law track option. Students should meet at least every semester with their academic adviser and will be asked to switch to the general government track if they cannot satisfy the GPA requirement.


Required pre-major courses 3 hours

GOV 110Basic American Government3

Required government courses 9 hours

GOV 301Political Theory I3
GOV 410Introduction to Research Methods in Political Science3
GOV 493Senior Seminar3

Elective government courses 21 hours

A government major will be allowed to substitute one history course for a government elective in the major, and a history major will be allowed to substitute one government course for a history elective in the major. Such substitution must be done with the approval of academic advisors.

American Government Concentration

Choose two courses:

GOV 335American State and Local Politics3
GOV 346Political Parties3
GOV 348Interest Group Politics3
GOV 351American Constitutional Law: Powers and Checks3
GOV 352Civil Liberties3
GOV 353Civil Rights and Civil Rights Movement3
GOV 355Mock Trial Experience3
GOV 356Legislative Process3
GOV 370Human Rights3
GOV 384American Foreign Policy3
GOV 401The Presidency3

International Concentration

Choose two courses:

GOV 328Comparative European Governments3
GOV 329Comparative Governments of Asia, Africa & Latin America3
GOV 330Intro to the European Union3
GOV 387Nationalism and Developing Nations3
GOV 391International Relations3
GOV 396International Law and Organization3
GOV 397Democracy and Democratization3

And choose the remainder of the 21 credits in consultation with the department. Any department elective course listed above or below may be taken.

Other elective government courses

GOV 495Special Topics1-5
GOV 499Independent Study1-3

GOV 110 - Basic American Government (3)

This course covers discussion of the basic structures of American government (the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary), important processes such as elections and basic principles and theory of governance in the American system.

GOV 301 - Political Theory I (3)

In this course, students will be introduced to the questions that traditionally concern political theorists. In light of these questions, students will examine democratic theories of classical liberalism, conservatism, socialism, and contemporary liberalism; fascism; Marxism; communism; and nationalism.

GOV 328 - Comparative European Governments (3)

This course will focus on comparative political systems in Europe, with an emphasis on the democracies of western Europe, especially the United Kingdom, France and Germany, as well as a selection of topics on the countries of southern Europe, the Nordic countries, and the more successful of the former Communist Eastern European states.

GOV 329 - Comparative Governments of Asia, Africa & Latin America (3)

This course will explore the diverse political systems of the non-western world. Study will include established democracies such as India and Japan, political systems in transition to democracy such as Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa, and more authoritarian systems such as China. Students will be introduced to both theory and practice in these areas.

GOV 330 - Intro to the European Union (3)

This course will introduce students to the history, politics and legal structure of the European Union. Among the topics to be covered will be: EU institutions, social policy, CAP, EU expansion, the EURO, the single market, EU foreign policy, and immigration policy.

GOV 335 - American State and Local Politics (3)

This course introduces students to the study of state and local government and politics. This course provides students with insight into the political processes that most affect Americans' lives: state and local politics. Many of the policy innovations made on the state and local levels affect policy of other states as well as the federal government. Students will be introduced to the structures and theories of governance at the state and local levels.

GOV 346 - Political Parties (3)

A study of the major and minor parties in the United States, their history, composition, organization, leadership, resources, politics, distribution of power, and influence on the formation and execution of public policy. The role of pressure groups.

GOV 348 - Interest Group Politics (3)

This course will cover the formation of interest groups; their interactions with government (lobbying, campaign donations, amicus briefs, protests, etc.); interest group theories; and their impact on the quality of democracy, policy and justice. Interest groups for specific categories of people, including Deaf people will be focused upon.

GOV 351 - American Constitutional Law: Powers and Checks (3)

This course is an in-depth examination of the powers of government under the Constitution. Primary focus is upon Articles I through VII and topics such as judicial, legislative and executive powers; federalism; regulation of commerce and property rights; war powers.

GOV 352 - Civil Liberties (3)

This course will provide an in-depth analysis of the Bill of Rights, as interpreted by the Supreme Court. Current controversies, such as the conflict between privacy and national security, abortion rights and the death penalty will be examined in more depth

GOV 353 - Civil Rights and Civil Rights Movement (3)

This course will provide an in-depth look at equality in the US. Amendments 13, 14, 15 and 19 will be emphasized and the evolution of their interpretation in the Supreme Court will be studied. At the same time, the influence of movements for abolition, women's suffrage and women's rights, civil rights on the interpretation will be studied. In addition, current movement for equality in the disability and GLBT communities will be discussed.

GOV 355 - Mock Trial Experience (3)

Students will learn the basics of the legal system including vocabulary, processes and roles of key personnel. Students will learn how to develop opening and closing statements, how to question witnesses on direct and cross examination, how to introduce evidence, impeach testimony and how to object. Students will apply what they learn as part of a team that participates in a mock trial.

GOV 356 - Legislative Process (3)

A study of the formal and informal procedures of Congress and the relation between the legislature, the presidency, and the Supreme Court.

GOV 370 - Human Rights (3)

The diverse beliefs of nations and classes, world divisions, and the racial rivalry reflected in various systems of law and politics all give changing meaning to such phrases as human rights and fundamental freedoms. This course will look at these rights and freedoms within the different belief systems, world divisions, and racial rivalries. Special attention will be given to the deaf communities in United States and their struggle to achieve full human rights and freedom.

GOV 384 - American Foreign Policy (3)

An introduction to American foreign policy from 1778 to the present, its major forms, problems, and mutations. Special emphasis on the period since 1898, role of the United States as a world leader, and the future direction of U.S. foreign policy after the Cold War. Focus is put upon changing international circumstances and American capabilities and their implications for policy.

GOV 387 - Nationalism and Developing Nations (3)

A study of the historical development and present role of nationalism and nation-state in both theory and practice. The course deals with the growth of nationalist conceptions and movements in the 19th century, the transition from liberal to totalitarian nationalism, the principle of self-determination, and Marxist treatment of the national problem.

GOV 391 - International Relations (3)

An introduction to the basic factors, concepts, and theory of international relations. The objectives, methods, and capabilities of modern states and other international actors will be surveyed. A study will be made of the institutional forms of international relations, ideological orientations, and objectives. Emphasis will be on the trends and transformation of the international system during and after the Cold War.

GOV 396 - International Law and Organization (3)

This course is a basic introduction to international law and organization. Students will learn how international law is different from municipal law, how international law is made, the role of international law in domestic legal systems, specific rules of international law regarding sovereignty, recognition, nationality, human rights, war, and the law of the sea. The role of international organizations relating to the making of international law, the uniqueness of the European Union as a law-making body, and a brief introduction to the role of the UN, generally in the international system, will be discussed.

GOV 397 - Democracy and Democratization (3)

This course addresses the theoretical and practical aspects of democracy. What does democracy mean? What are its advantages and disadvantages as a form of government and what alternatives are available? How have countries become democracies in recent years and what kinds of challenges have they faced? Is there a formula for successful democratization?

GOV 401 - The Presidency (3)

To be offered every other year. During a nonelection year this course will focus on the presidency and constitutional development along with historical perspectives. During an election year it will focus on the major facets of presidential elections, the nominating process, general election activities, and campaigns.

GOV 410 - Introduction to Research Methods in Political Science (3)

A course that introduces majors to methods and techniques of research in political science. Topics covered will include: the scientific method, comparative analysis, types of research and papers, library, and Internet resources, and emphasis on statistical methods and survey design.

  • Prerequisites: permission of the instructor

GOV 493 - Senior Seminar (3)

This course will require government majors to integrate the skills and knowledge developed in their major courses. The thematic focus of the course will vary, but discussion will be centered on the major choices presented to political systems and political actors. A substantial research component of the course will enable students to produce an appropriate literature survey, research proposal, and research thesis.

  • Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

GOV 495 - Special Topics (1-5)

Special topics in the discipline, designed primarily for seniors who are majors or minors. Students may enroll in 495 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

  • Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

GOV 499 - Independent Study (1-3)

Intensive supervised study and research on topics of the student's selection.

  • Prerequisite: Permission of the department chair
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