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Political Science

Liberty, equality, democracy, power and justice: as an academic discipline, political science is committed to the rigorous investigation of these fundamental aspects of the human experience.

Although politics pervades our daily lives, few stop to delve beneath the headlines of the day to discern the deeper patterns that are evident. The stakes in politics are high, and therefore political science at Stern College for Women furnishes students with the essential tools for critical analysis. These abilities and the knowledge that students acquire not only enable them to be more thoughtful and engaged citizens, but open up career opportunities in the public and private sectors including law, teaching, journalism, business, research, advocacy, consulting, public service and education.

Political Science at Stern College is divided into four major subfields: American politics, comparative politics, international relations and political theory. Each is dedicated to placing current issues and debates into their broader political and historical context. In addition, the major provides students with the flexibility to incorporate relevant interdisciplinary studies in economics, history and sociology.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Political Science is for undergraduates majoring in political science to be prepared and to be qualified to pursue advanced studies in political science, law, and public policy and/or to pursue employment in various government, law-related fields, and the private sector.  These milestones will be achieved by providing courses covering a spectrum of sub-disciplines with political science, so as to provide majors in political science with a comprehensive background in the fundamentals of political science, current disciplinary controversies, and an understanding of political institutions and processes, current issues both US and international, and developing proficiencies in written and oral communication.

Program Student Learning Goals

  • Political science majors will be able to understand the main principles of the subfield of American politics.
  • Political science majors will develop skills in critical reasoning and analysis. 
  • Political science majors will be able to understand the main principles of the subfield of international relations. 
  • Political science majors will be able to develop global awareness.

For further information, please contact Chair: Dr. Joseph Luders.

Program Information

Please see the Schedule of Classes for the current semester’s offerings. For descriptions of current courses, click here.

Political Science (POLI)

Courses in political science are divided into subfields. Those numbered x1xx are courses in American politics; x2xx are in comparative politics; x3xx are in international relations; x4xx are in political theory; and x5xx are general or cross-field courses.

Courses numbered 1xxx are introductory level courses; courses numbered 2xxx are electives, for which the introductory course is generally recommended or required; courses numbered 3xxx are advanced seminars that will usually have particular prerequisites; and 4xxx level courses are independent reading or research projects.

  • POLI 1101 Introduction to American Politics (3 credits)
    Overview of the formal institutions and functions of the national government (Congress, presidency, courts); their interactions with state and local governments, and with informal institutions of political power (political parties, interest groups, social movements, public opinion, media).
  • POLI 1105 Issues in American Public Policy (3 credits)
    An examination of how, where, and why policy is created, with particular attention to domestic policy making. Substantive focus varies; areas may include Social Security, welfare, health care, economic policy and budgeting, and environmental policy.
  • POLI 1201 Introduction to Comparative Politics (3 credits)
    Why are some countries rich and others poor? What is the relationship between human rights and economic development? How can we explain differences and similarities in the domestic politics of countries throughout the world? These and other questions are explored through an examination of countries representative of different regions, political systems, and levels of development.
  • POLI 1301 Introduction to International Relations (3 credits)
    Nation-state system since World War I (national power, national interest, foreign policy formulation); development of international relations from the League of Nations to the United Nations and present regional systems; impact of modern weaponry; war and peace; globalization and the post-cold war world order.
  • POLI 1305 American Foreign Policy (3 credits)
    How American foreign policy is made and implemented; the interrelationship of foreign and domestic policies; the military-industrial complex; the media and the foreign policy making process; objectives of American foreign policy; the United States as an international actor in the post-cold war order; the United Nations and the United States.
  • POLI 1501 Fundamentals of Political Science (3 credits)
    Meaning, principles, and major fields of political science; development of the state; civil and political rights; law and the judicial process; theories of the state such as democracy, socialism, communism, fascism; international relations. Recommended for those students who might be considering a major in the department, or for non-majors who would like an overview of the discipline.
  • POLI 2100 The American Presidency (3 credits)
    Presidential power in domestic and international affairs, and in relation to the rest of the political system, in historical perspective.
  • POLI 2105 Congress and the Legislative Process (3 credits)
    What the U.S. Congress does and why, and what tools are available to examine and understand congressional elections and legislative behavior.
  • POLI 2110 Public Administration and Bureaucratic Politics (3 credits)
    Theories of organizational behavior and management; relationships between administrators and politicians and between administrators and interest groups; political implications of the bureaucratic state.
  • POLI 2115 State and Urban Politics (3 credits)
    Roles and functions of state and local governments in the American federal system; impact of political parties, interest groups, race, and class on the development and operations of the American city.
  • POLI 2120 National Institutions (3 credits)
    In-depth examination of the executive, legislature, and judiciary; their development over time; their interactions with each other.
  • POLI 2125 Political Parties and Interest Groups (3 credits)
    History, evolution, and function of political parties; role of interest groups in national politics and policy making; relationship between parties and pressure groups, and their separate and joint influence.
  • POLI 2130 Public Opinion and Political Behavior (3 credits)
    Methods for measuring and evaluating public opinion across a range of issues, and the role opinion plays in politics and policy making.
  • POLI 2135 Voting and Elections (3 credits)
    Methods by which American elections are conducted; means of voter mobilization; explaining levels of voter participation.
  • POLI 2140 Law and Politics (3 credits)
    The role of the courts in state and national politics; judicial decision making.
  • POLI 2145 American Constitutional Law (3 credits)
    Changing interpretations of the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, with particular attention to decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • POLI 2150 Civil Liberties (3 credits)
    Limits on government power and the rights of individuals, especially as enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
  • POLI 2155 Politics of Criminal Justice (3 credits)
    History and current functions of the criminal justice system, with particular attention to matters of race and class.
  • POLI 2156 Women and the Law (3 credits)
    What does the law say about a woman's right to live free from violence and discrimination, control her own reproductive destiny, and create a family? How did the law get to where it is now, and where should it go from here? These are some of the questions addressed in this highly interactive course, with a particular emphasis on issues of employment discrimination (including sexual harassment), violence against women, family law, and reproductive rights.
  • POLI 2160 American Social Movements (3 credits)
    Theoretical perspectives appropriate to the analysis of political, religious, and cultural movements; case studies of civil rights movement, women's movement, and others.
  • POLI 2165 Women and Politics (3 credits)
    Analysis of how gender shapes the social, economic, and political possibilities for women. Various topics addressed such as education, employment discrimination, violence against women, welfare, reproduction and other current political debates.
  • POLI 2170 Media and Politics (3 credits)
    Role of the fourth estate in American politics and policy making, with special focus on television and new media; the history and use of political propaganda.
  • POLI 2175 Race and Religion in American Politics (3 credits)
    How race and religion have shaped American institutions and fueled partisan strife; how these divisions continue to affect political discourse and social policy. Analysis of the political mobilization of African Americans and conservative evangelicals.
  • POLI 2180 The American Welfare State (3 credits)
    History of American efforts to provide economic and social security to its citizens; evaluation of their effects; debates about legitimate role of government in social welfare provision.
  • POLI 2190 through 2199 Topics in American Politics (3 credits)
    Selected issues in American politics.
  • POLI 2200 Politics of Advanced Democracies (3 credits)
    Contemporary issues in advanced industrial countries. Topics include political parties, party systems, political culture, ideologies, bureaucracy, interest groups, political economy, policy process, regional integration, and globalization.
  • POLI 2201 European Political Development (3 credits)
    The European Union as a political, economic experiment in transnational regional integration, supranational policy making, the democracy deficit, enlargement issues, neoliberalism, immigration, and Europe as regional imperium.
  • POLI 2205 African Politics (3 credits)
    Major political developments in contemporary Africa, including the impact of colonial administration on contemporary politics, ethnic conflict, the prominence of the military in Africa's politics, neo-patrimonial modes of governance, and the prospects for reform and political change.
  • POLI 2210 East Asian Politics (3 credits)
    Pacific Ocean states as the power hub of the 21st century, with emphasis on Japan and China. Globalization dynamics in East Asia and the Asian Tigers; impact of the rise of East Asia on the United States, Canada, and Latin America.
  • POLI 2215 Latin American Politics (3 credits)
    Contemporary politics in Central and South America, focusing on the role of elites, the military, political parties, and civil society; attention to issues including neo-liberalism, the politics of identity, and inter-American politics.
  • POLI 2220 Middle East Politics (3 credits)
    Major issues confronting the Middle East; religion and politics; challenges to economic development and democratization.
  • POLI 2225 Politics of Countries in Transition from Communism (3 credits)
    Rise and fall of the Soviet empire; emergence of the Commonwealth of Independent States; problems of democratization and privatization; U.S.-Russian relations after the cold war; Russia as an international actor.
  • POLI 2235 Israeli Politics (3 credits)
    Nature of and challenges to Israel's democracy; how security concerns translate into domestic politics; the role of Zionism in Israel's heritage and future; and the social and economic tests that the society has faced.
  • POLI 2240 Escaping Poverty, Oppression, and Violence: Problems of Development (3 credits)
    Sources and possible solutions to problems that limit the development of poor countries. Importance of colonialism, nationalism, alternative models of political and economic development; problems of instability, military rule, population, famine, debt.
  • POLI 2245 Race, Nation, and Ethnicity in a Global World (3 credits)
    Politics of identity, xenophobia, and ethnic conflict in developing and advanced societies.
  • POLI 2250 Social Movements: Mobilizing for Change (3 credits)
    The complexities of collective political behavior: how, why, and when do people come together, organize, and mobilize to bring about or to resist social or political change? Why are some groups more successful than others?
  • POLI 2255 Regime and Opposition (3 credits)
    How do opposition groups rise up to oppose those in power? When does opposition become violent? What role does the structure of political regimes play in determining the dynamic of regime-opposition relations?
  • POLI 2260 Democratization (3 credits)
    Comparative study of the wave of democratization that has swept much of Latin America, Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union; the political, economic, and social causes of this trend.
  • POLI 2265 Religion and Politics in Comparative Perspective (3 credits)
    Causes and impact of the rising importance of religion in the politics of selected countries.
  • POLI 2290 through 2299 Topics in Comparative Politics (3 credits)
    Selected issues in comparative politics.
  • POLI 2310 European Foreign Policy: Trends and Issues (3 credits)
    The European Union as an emerging international actor; globalization; EU as military power and as peacekeeper; NATO, the EU and U.S. hegemony; foreign policy objectives in the Maghreb states of North Africa; Russia; the Middle East, China, Latin America.
  • POLI 2315 International Law and Organizations (3 credits)
    Development of principles of public law governing the relations of states and analysis of these principles; problem of individual responsibility; role of diplomacy, international organizations, and international tribunals; review of selected international law cases.
  • POLI 2320 Money and Power in International Politics (3 credits)
    Political foundations of economic policy making, the struggle among states for control of the international economy, and the potentially violent after-effects of economic change.
  • POLI 2325 Intelligence and National Security (3 credits)
    Relationship between intelligence and national security policy making, with particular focus on the United States.
  • POLI 2330 Terrorism and Low-Intensity Conflict (3 credits)
    Investigates the two distinct but related phenomena of terrorism and guerilla warfare.
  • POLI 2335 Civil Wars and Intra-State Conflict (3 credits)
    Since 1945, the vast majority of wars have taken place within states rather than between them. Examine the causes of these wars as well as their international implications.
  • POLI 2340 International Relations of the Middle East (3 credits)
    Factors that help us better understand and analyze the Intra-state relations of the Middle East and North Africa, including impact of colonialism, nationalism, regional crises and wars, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Special attention to historical and contemporary interaction between the Middle East and the United States.
  • POLI 2345 Ethnic Conflict and Genocide (3 credits)
    Since 1945, the majority of conflicts have taken place within states rather than between them. We will examine the causes of these conflicts, including the role of ethnicity and power and their international implications and try to understand the mobilization of process leading to mass killings.
  • POLI 2390 through 2399 Topics in International Relations (3 credits)
    Selected issues in international relations.
  • POLI 2405 Classical Political Theory (3 credits)
    Philosophical analyses of and propositions about political power that have shaped the Western political tradition in its anti-democratic and democratic variants; emphasis on Plato and Aristotle; development of the classical Greek (and Roman) tradition(s) in medieval thinkers; Machiavelli (Renaissance) and Rousseau (modern).
  • POLI 2410 Modern Political Theory (3 credits)
    Political thought in the 17th to 19th centuries. Theories of rights and property; moral agency; theories of state, justice, and civil society. English, French, and German liberalism (Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant). Hegel's social theory. Marx's critique.
  • POLI 2415 Contemporary Political Theory (3 credits)
    Trends in Anglo-American and in Continental political philosophy with emphasis on the development of democratic thought (Rawls, Nozick) and the critique of democratic theory as practicable within the contemporary state (Foucault, Habermas); postmodern thought (Levinas, Derrida).
  • POLI 2430 American Political Thought (3 credits)
    Readings in classical and contemporary commentaries on the American political experience; analysis of historical and geographical factors shaping the American political mind and tradition; impact of religion, slavery, ethnicity, and racism; antidemocratic thought in America.
  • POLI 2435 Contemporary Political Ideologies (3 credits)
    Rise of ideology with mass politics and its political function; mass revolutionary movements like communism and fascism; democratic New Politics; religion as political ideology; Left and Right in contemporary America and other democracies.
  • POLI 2440 Israeli Political Thought (3 credits)
    Can Israel be both a Jewish State and a democratic state? This course focuses on historical and contemporary debates within Israel on the meaning of a Jewish democratic state. It also includes relevant Israeli and Palestinian Arab literature and commentary.
  • POLI 2490 through 2499 Topics in Political Theory (3 credits)
    Selected issues in political theory.
  • POLI 2505 Topics in Political Science (3 credits)
    Selected issues in the discipline of political science.
  • POLI 3110 Seminar: American Political Development (3 credits)
    Examination of durable patterns of institutional development and reallocations of institutional power discernible over the long sweep of American history.
  • POLI 3115 Seminar: Dynamics of American Politics (3 credits)
    Intensive survey of current research on American politics and political behavior including voting, elections, media effects, legislative politics, democratic theory, and political manipulation.
  • POLI 3175 Seminar: American Politics (3 credits)
    Seminar on issues in American politics.
  • POLI 3205 Seminar: Welfare States in Comparative Perspective (3 credits)
    Rise (and decline?) of the provision of social welfare benefits by states across the globe.
  • POLI 3210 Seminar: Resilience of Authoritarianism in the Middle East (3 credits)
    Contending approaches to explaining the democratic deficit in the Middle East.
  • POLI 3225 Seminar: Nation and State Building in the Post-Cold War Era (3 credits)
    American foreign policy, the democratic peace proposition and nation state building; problems associated with democratizing transitional states emerging from collapsed authoritarian regimes; historical precedents for nation-state building; the military as state builder.
  • POLI 3230 Seminar: European Politics (3 credits)
    Seminar on current issues in European politics.
  • POLI 3275 Seminar: Comparative Politics (3 credits)
    Seminar on issues in comparative politics.
  • POLI 3300 Seminar: International Security (3 credits)
    Major theories, concepts, and research programs associated with the study of international security. Addresses such topics as grand strategy, military strategy and statecraft, war termination, alliance politics, civil military relations.
  • POLI 3305 Seminar: Statecraft Analysis (3 credits)
    When and why policy makers use different techniques of statecraft. Topics include military force, coercive diplomacy, economic sanctions, covert action.
  • POLI 3310 Seminar: Globalization (3 credits)
    Examines the extent to which claims that the international economy is more integrated than ever before are true and the implications globalization has for economic development.
  • POLI 3315 Seminar Humanitarian Intervention (3 credits)
    Examines when, how, and why it is justified to militarily intervene in the domestic affairs of countries to protect lives and rights, and the political costs of doing so.
  • POLI 3375 Seminar: International Relations (3 credits)
    Seminar on issues in international relations.
  • POLI 3475 Seminar: Political Theory (3 credits)
    Seminar on issues in political theory.
  • POLI 3575 Research Methods (3 credits)
    Introduction to quantitative and/or qualitative research methods used in the social sciences generally and within political science more particularly.

Political Science Major: 33 Total Credits

There are three parts to the major: (1) Introductory courses that provide a foundation to the different subfields of the discipline; (2) Elective course distribution that provides greater depth and narrower focus in each of the subfields; (3) Free electives that allow students to pursue those area(s) that they find most interesting.

Introductory Courses: 9 Credits

Students must take three of the five following courses:

  • POLI 1101 Introduction to American Politics (offered every Spring) 3 Credits
  • POLI 1201 Introduction to Comparative Politics (offered every Fall) 3 Credits
  • POLI 1301 Introduction to International Relations (offered every Spring) 3 Credits
  • POLI 1401 Great Political Thinkers (offered every Fall) 3 Credits
  • POLI 1501 Fundamentals of Political Science* (offered every Fall) 3 Credits

Students are STRONGLY advised to take their introductory courses by no later than the end of the first semester of their junior year.

*Recommended for those considering a major in the department, or for non-majors who would like a comprehensive overview of the discipline.

Electives: 24 Credits

Students must take at least one elective course in each of the subfields of political science, for a total of 12 credits (American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations and Political Theory).

The remaining four courses may be taken in any subfield of political science. 12 Credits

Since introductory courses are meant to provide a foundation in a subfield, it is STRONGLY recommended that students take a field introductory course or Fundamentals before they take an elective course in that subfield.

Exit Requirement: Parts I and II Required:

I. A departmental exit examination that demonstrates competence in the four major
disciplinary subfields (American politics, comparative politics, international relations,
and political theory).

II. Submission of two political science papers which are representative of the student's
writing at the beginning and end of her studies (such as the first and last paper
written for a political science course). The inclusion of copies of the instructor's
original comments is desirable, but not required.

Political Science Minor: 18 Total Credits

Introductory Courses: 6 Credits

Students must take two of the five following courses

  • POLI 1101 Introduction to American Politics (offered every Spring) 3 Credits
  • POLI 1201 Introduction to Comparative Politics (offered every Fall) 3 Credits
  • POLI 1301 Introduction to International Relations (offered every Spring) 3 Credits
  • POLI 1401 Great Political Thinkers (offered every Fall) 3 Credits
  • POLI 1501 Fundamentals of Political Science* (offered every Fall) 3 Credits

*Recommended for those considering a major in the department, or for non-majors who would like a comprehensive overview of the discipline.

Electives: 12 Credits

Students must take at least one elective course in three of the four subfields of political science, for a total of 9 credits (American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations and Political Theory).

The remaining one course may be taken in any subfield of political science for 3 Credits

Since introductory courses are meant to provide a foundation in a subfield, it is STRONGLY recommended that students take a field introductory course or Fundamentals before they take an elective course in that subfield.

Internships and Cross-listed courses

Students may also take one internship to count towards satisfaction of the elective requirement.

Students may use up to two courses cross-listed with other departments toward their elective requirements.

Before students register for internship credit, they need to consult with the department and with the Academic Advisement Center to learn of specific requirements and restrictions of this option.

For more details about the Political Science major and minor - see the factsheet at the Academic Advisement webpage.

The following list includes faculty who teach at the Beren (B) and/or Wilf (W) campus.

  • Ruth A. Bevan
    Professor Emerita of Political Science
    David W. Petegorsky Chair in Political Science (W)
  • Chuck Freilich
    Visiting Professor of Political Science (B)
  • Matthew Holbreich
    Adjunct Assistant Professor of Political Science (B)
    Straus Center Fellow
  • Matthew Incantalupo
    Assistant Professor of Political Science (W)
  • Jonathan Cristol
    Adjunct Assistant Professor of Political Science (B/W)
  • Adina Levine
    Adjunct Instructor of Political Science (B/W)
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman
    Chair in Public Policy and Public Service (B/W)
  • Joseph E. Luders
    Associate Professor in Political Science (B);
    David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in Political Science 
    Chair, Department of Political Science
  • Alexandra Panzarelli
    Adjunct Instructor in Political Science  (B/W)
    Joanna Phua
    Adjunct Instructor in Political Science (B)
  • Joel Strauss
    Adjunct Instructor in Political Science (B)
  • Maria Zaitseva
    Clinical Assistant Professor in Political Science (W)

Resources

Students often find that internships enhance their practical knowledge of politics and provide them with valuable work experience as well as useful contacts. Students are strongly encouraged to seek out these opportunities. Internships might be combined with academic work in independent studies for course credit.

Many students have found many rewarding opportunities in Washington D.C. through the Orthodox Union - Institute for Public Affairs program.

Below you will find a listing of a small sample of the many internship options. Look them over carefully. You should also consult some of the many internship search engines and databases available online. 

Journalism

International and Domestic Politics and Policy

Additional listings can be found at the websites of national advocacy organizations and think tanks.

Government

City
  • New York City Mayor’s Office and City Council
  • New York City - Multiple listings in city government.  
  • NYC Summer Internships - Recent participating agencies include: Department of Transportation, Economic Development, Youth and Community Development, Homeless Services, and Environmental Protection.
  • New York City Urban Fellows Program ($25,000). For recent graduates; applications due between September through mid-January.
State
  • New York State Assembly & Senate Internships (paid)
Federal
International Government
  • United Nations (UNICEF, International Money Fund, Democracy Watch, Human Rights, and others).

Students may also take one internship to count towards satisfaction of the elective requirement. Before students register for internship credit, they need to consult with the department and with the advising center to learn of specific requirements and restrictions of these two options.

Further DC internship advice from PolitixGroup: “One of the best ways to find employment in the Washington DC area is to intern. Whether it is for the United States Congress, the White House, a think tank, political parties, or another branch of the government, DC internships offer you an experience that is a unique perspective and an excellent complement to your education and/or your political aspirations

While summer is the most convenient time for many young people to intern in DC, spring and fall is the best time to apply for internships. Competition is fierce for internship slots in the summer, while during the other parts of the year, it is easier to get selected.

Washington, DC is an expensive city in which to live. The fact that most internships are unpaid does not help. It is important to have either some money saved, family financial backing, or to consider even a part-time job while you are up here. While it is expensive, don't let that deter you from pursuing an internship. The long-term political experience that you will gain will definitely outweigh the short-term financial strain.

Whether you go on to a career in politics or not, an internship in Washington, DC will provide you with a valuable learning experience which will serve you well in whatever career you choose to pursue. Interns, especially interns in DC, run the city and are regarded as a precious commodity, whether they are opening mail or helping to draft policy. Besides learning a great deal, they also have a lot of fun. We cannot recommend internships enough to students, and hope that everyone will have the chance to have the experience.”

American Government

International

Special Interest/Lobbying Groups

Think Tanks

Political Science Citation Guide

When you follow the Style Manual for Political Science (1993) published by the American Political Science Association (APSA), use parenthetical citations within your text to indicate the source of borrowed ideas and quotations.

At the end of your paper you should provide a list of all of the references cited in your paper. The sample citations and references on these pages are drawn from the Style Manual for Political Science, revised edition, 1993, and from The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th edition (1993).

The following Web sites will prove useful as you begin to become familiar with the APSA form of citation in your papers:

Writing Center

Analytical writing is a craft that takes practice to master. To obtain personal assistance, visit the Beren Campus Writing Center.

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