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POLS 2101

This is an archive of the Common Course Outlines prior to fall 2011. The current Common Course Outlines can be found at
Credit Hours3
Course TitleIntroduction To Political Science
Prerequisite(s)Exit or exemption from Learning Support reading and all ENSL requirements except ENSL 0091
Corequisite(s)None Specified
Catalog Description
An introduction to the Political Science fields of Political Theory, Comparative Politics, and International Politics.
Expected Educational Results
As a result of completing this course, the student will be able to:

1. Examine the history of Political Science as a discipline.
2. Discuss the basic methods of Political Science research.
3. Discuss the history and explain the concept of the nation-state.
4. Compare and contrast the political ideas of key thinkers including Aristotle, Plato, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Marx.
5. Differentiate democratic, authoritarian, and totalitarian governments.
6. Define and apply the following key concepts: legitimacy, authority, political culture, political socialization, and nationalism.
7. Define ideology and describe democratic and non-democratic ideologies including capitalism, socialism, fascism, and communism.
8. Classify governments according to their forms: unitary, confederal, and federal.
9. Compare and contrast the American presidential system with parliamentary systems.
10. Compare and contrast the variety of legislatures and executives found in democracies.
11. Compare and contrast case law and code law.
12. Discuss and compare two-party and multiparty systems.
13. Differentiate electoral systems including single member district and proportional representation.
14. Define the concept of polarity and apply it to the history of the nation-state system.
15. Examine global economics and focus on the concepts of comparative advantage, colonialism, and imperialism.
16. Explain the concept of political geography.
17. Examine political violence, especially the concepts of revolution and terrorism.
18. Compare the traditional concept of worlds with today’s global economy.

General Education Outcomes
This course addresses the general education outcomes of identifying, analyzing, and evaluating global economic, political, historical, and geographic forces and communicating effectively through speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Course Content

I. Politics, Political Science, and Political Theory
A. History of Political Science and research methods in Political Science
B. The nation-state
C. Key political thinkers
D. Democracy, authoritarianism, and totalitarianism
E. Legitimacy, authority, sovereignty, political culture, political socialization, and nationalism
F. Ideology
II. Comparative Politics
A. Forms and systems of government
B. Legislatures, Executives, Case Law, and Code Law
C. Party systems and electoral systems
III. International Politics
A. The history of the nation-state system
B. Global political economy
C. Political violence
D. Concept of worlds vs. the global economy


Tests and a final exam prepared by individual instructors will be used to determine a part of the course grade.  In general, all exams will focus on the above objectives.  It is expected that writing skills will be a particular emphasis through utilization of a significant essay questions component of the course.  Student mastery of the expected educational outcomes will also be assessed with the use of a writing assignment or writing assignments.

A. This course will be assessed in the Fall semester of every year as part of ongoing program review. Every student in each section will be required to complete a15-question multiple-choice assessment instrument that will count for at least 20% of the grade on the final exam.  This assessment instrument will have questions that sample the material found in the above objectives.
B. The construction of the assessment test will be the responsibility of the college-wide Political Science Curriculum Committee.

Assessment of Outcome Objectives
The results of the assessment questions will be summarized by the college-wide Political Science Curriculum Committee made up of all persons teaching Political Science and headed by a chair selected by the curriculum committee.  All committee members will analyze the results and determine implications for curriculum change.  A summary of the group analysis as well as specific details and a timeline for implementation of changes will be included.   The committee will follow-up and document the implementation of the agreed upon changes.

Revised: Spring 2006
Last Revised: Aug. 11, 2011
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