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Political Science Minor

Division of Social Sciences - Adm
Division of Social Sciences
  • Program Type: Undergraduate minor related to major
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2015
  • Required credits in this minor: 20
Objectives--Political science is the study of the political world in a comprehensive sense, including the behaviors, organizations, institutions, and philosophical foundations of political life from the level of individuals to the international setting in both contemporary and historical contexts. In addition, political science makes the connection between theory and practice at the ground level by preparing students for active lifelong participation and leadership in democratic society. The political science major curriculum stresses the development of strong analytical skills and critical thinking and prepares students for further academic training in political science, law, public administration, and other graduate programs, as well as for work in public affairs, business, journalism, interest groups, and a wide range of other careers. Students who complete the political science major are able to critically analyze and interpret political processes, problems, and challenges; understand, synthesize, and contribute imaginatively to the major research and theoretical debates prevalent in the study of American and comparative politics, international relations, and political thought; present their evidence and arguments in clear, precise language; and participate thoughtfully, knowledgeably, and ethically in civic life.
Program Delivery
This program is available:
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Minor Requirements
The political science minor requires 20 credit hours of political science courses. No grades below C- are allowed. Courses may not be taken S-N, unless offered S-N only. A minimum GPA of 2.00 is required in the minor to graduate. The GPA includes all, and only, University of Minnesota coursework. Grades of "F" are included in GPA calculation until they are replaced.
Required Courses
Take 1 or more course(s) from the following:
· POL 1101 - Introduction to Political Theory [E/CR] (4.0 cr)
· POL 1201 - American Government and Politics [E/CR] (4.0 cr)
· POL 1202 - Law and Society: Introduction to Public Law [SS] (4.0 cr)
· POL 1401 - World Politics [IP] (4.0 cr)
Elective Courses
Courses used to satisfy electives are exclusive of any used to complete the required courses. Take 12 or more credits from 2xxx, 3xxx or 4xxx. At least 4 credits must be from 3xxx or 4xxx level.
Take at most 4 credit(s) from the following:
· POL 1101 - Introduction to Political Theory [E/CR] (4.0 cr)
· POL 1201 - American Government and Politics [E/CR] (4.0 cr)
· POL 1202 - Law and Society: Introduction to Public Law [SS] (4.0 cr)
· POL 1401 - World Politics [IP] (4.0 cr)
Take at most 8 credit(s) from the following:
· POL 2001 - Political Science Research Methods [SS] (4.0 cr)
· POL 2221 - The American Judicial Process [SS] (2.0 cr)
· POL 2222 - The U.S. Supreme Court [SS] (2.0 cr)
· POL 2234 - Race, Class and Power: Social Movements in U.S. Politics [HDIV] (2.0 cr)
· POL 2235 - Race, Class and Power: Interest Groups in U.S. Politics [HDIV] (2.0 cr)
· POL 2261 - States: Laboratories of American Democracy [E/CR] (2.0 cr)
· POL 2262 - Power and Politics in American Cities and Communities [E/CR] (2.0 cr)
· POL 2301 - Anarchy and Utopia [HUM] (2.0 cr)
· POL 2302 - Gandhi and the Politics of Resistance [SS] (2.0 cr)
· POL 2401 - U.S. Foreign Policy [IP] (4.0 cr)
· POL 2411 - Model United Nations [IP] (4.0 cr)
· POL 2461 - Diplomatic Negotiation [IP] (4.0 cr)
· POL 2501 - East Asian Society and Politics [SS] (4.0 cr)
Take 4 or more credit(s) from the following:
· POL 3201 - Legislative Process [SS] (4.0 cr)
· POL 3211 - The American Presidency [SS] (4.0 cr)
· POL 3231 - Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights [HDIV] (4.0 cr)
· POL 3232 - Constitutional Law: Governmental Powers and Constraints [SS] (4.0 cr)
· POL 3251 - Political Participation and Voting Behavior [SS] (4.0 cr)
· POL 3263 - Political Psychology [SS] (4.0 cr)
· POL 3266 - Media and Politics [SS] (4.0 cr)
· POL 3272 - Making Environmental Public Policy [ENVT] (4.0 cr)
· POL 3302 - Islamic Political Thought [SS] (2.0 cr)
· POL 3303 - Feminist Political Theory [SS] (2.0 cr)
· POL 3351 - Ancient and Medieval Political Thought [HUM] (4.0 cr)
· POL 3352 - Modern Political Thought [HUM] (4.0 cr)
· POL 2354 - Political Ethics [E/CR] (4.0 cr)
· POL 3355 - Environmental Political Theory [ENVT] (4.0 cr)
· POL 3411 - International Law [E/CR] (4.0 cr)
· POL 3451 - Comparative Foreign Policy (4.0 cr)
· POL 3453 - Russian Politics and Foreign Policy [IP] (4.0 cr)
· POL 3475 - International Human Rights (4.0 cr)
· POL 3504 - Latin American Politics (4.0 cr)
· POL 3996 - Field Study in Political Science (1.0-16.0 cr)
· POL 3xxx
· POL 4305 - Seminar in Political Theory (4.0 cr)
· POL 4205 - Seminar in American Politics (4.0 cr)
· POL 4405 - Seminar in Comparative Politics and International Relations (4.0 cr)
 
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POL 1101 - Introduction to Political Theory (E/CR)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
An introduction to key political concepts, questions, and ideologies through the writings of major thinkers of Western political theory and examination of contemporary debates about political life.
POL 1201 - American Government and Politics (E/CR)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Analysis of principles, organization, procedures, and powers of government in the United States. The federal system, national constitution, civil and political rights, party system; nature, structure, powers, and procedures of legislative, executive, and judicial departments of the national government.
POL 1202 - Law and Society: Introduction to Public Law (SS)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Law is a significant part of modern-day society and culture, especially in the United States. Examine the adversarial system of law and the various actors and institutions that influence and shape it in this country. In particular, look at where legal authority comes from and its limits in modern society. Explore the ways in which law acts to restrict and empower individuals and groups in society. This introductory level course is intended as a survey of the concept of public law both for students interested in taking upper-level courses dealing with legal and constitutional questions and for students simply interested in a greater understanding of why and how law matters in 21st-century society. It is taught using lectures mixed with some in-class activities and simulations.
POL 1401 - World Politics (IP)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
The contemporary international system, including nationalism, international political economy, foreign policy formulation, and global concerns such as the environment and conflict. North/South debate, definitions of power, the new world order, regional vs. global conflicts, and avenues of cooperation.
POL 1101 - Introduction to Political Theory (E/CR)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
An introduction to key political concepts, questions, and ideologies through the writings of major thinkers of Western political theory and examination of contemporary debates about political life.
POL 1201 - American Government and Politics (E/CR)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Analysis of principles, organization, procedures, and powers of government in the United States. The federal system, national constitution, civil and political rights, party system; nature, structure, powers, and procedures of legislative, executive, and judicial departments of the national government.
POL 1202 - Law and Society: Introduction to Public Law (SS)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Law is a significant part of modern-day society and culture, especially in the United States. Examine the adversarial system of law and the various actors and institutions that influence and shape it in this country. In particular, look at where legal authority comes from and its limits in modern society. Explore the ways in which law acts to restrict and empower individuals and groups in society. This introductory level course is intended as a survey of the concept of public law both for students interested in taking upper-level courses dealing with legal and constitutional questions and for students simply interested in a greater understanding of why and how law matters in 21st-century society. It is taught using lectures mixed with some in-class activities and simulations.
POL 1401 - World Politics (IP)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
The contemporary international system, including nationalism, international political economy, foreign policy formulation, and global concerns such as the environment and conflict. North/South debate, definitions of power, the new world order, regional vs. global conflicts, and avenues of cooperation.
POL 2001 - Political Science Research Methods (SS)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Students conceive and develop research questions and hypotheses; collect and critically review published research on their topic; analyze empirical evidence using statistical software; and write clearly, forcefully, and logically about their research. Examination of the philosophy and critiques of social-science methods. prereq: any 1xxx-level UMM Pol course, major or minor or instr consent
POL 2221 - The American Judicial Process (SS)
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02203 - Pol 2221/Pol 3221
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
A half-semester course examining the common law system as broadly practiced in the United States, including types of legal recourse, the structures of state and federal judicial systems, how judges are selected, and the various influences on their decisions.
POL 2222 - The U.S. Supreme Court (SS)
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02204 - Pol 2222/Pol 3221
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
A half-semester course specifically looking at the role of the Supreme Court in U.S. politics with an emphasis on its historical development, how it interacts with the other federal branches, and the decision-making process of the justices on the Court.
POL 2234 - Race, Class and Power: Social Movements in U.S. Politics (HDIV)
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02205 - Pol 2234/Pol 3234
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Using a case study approach, this half-semester course examines a variety of social movements from across U.S. history. Addresses questions such as why social movements arise, how they succeed or fail, and how the American political system adapts to their influence.
POL 2235 - Race, Class and Power: Interest Groups in U.S. Politics (HDIV)
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02206 - Pol 2235/Pol 3234
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
A half-semester course focusing on the growth and importance of interest groups in U.S. politics by looking at different types of interest groups, the tactics they use to try to influence the political system, how successful they are at doing so, and whether this system works for the public good.
POL 2261 - States: Laboratories of American Democracy (E/CR)
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Prerequisites: 1201 or #
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Examination of the ways American democracy functions in the states. Analysis of principles, organizations, procedures, and functions of state government in the United States, with particular emphasis on comparing state politics and policy outcomes. [Note: no credit for students who have received credit for Pol 3261] prereq: 1201 or instr consent
POL 2262 - Power and Politics in American Cities and Communities (E/CR)
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02207 - Pol 2262/Pol 3261
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Explores the nature of political power and institutions in urban, suburban, and rural communities, along with cultural and economic forces. Analyzes political and policy trends in metropolitan regions and rural areas. Includes relevant experiential or service projects in surrounding communities.
POL 2301 - Anarchy and Utopia (HUM)
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
An analytical survey of anarchist thought and utopian ideals that are used to challenge modern political and social systems. The course draws from scholarly work as well as fiction, films, and mixed media sources.
POL 2302 - Gandhi and the Politics of Resistance (SS)
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02208 - Pol 2302/Pol 4302
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
A study of Gandhi's theory and practice of satyagraha and swaraj as forms of nonviolent political resistance and human realization. Places Gandhi within the historical and theoretical context of Indian political thought and colonialism and examines the influence of Gandhi's politics of resistance on international political theory.
POL 2401 - U.S. Foreign Policy (IP)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
American diplomatic history. Institutions and processes of American foreign policy. Major factors to be considered and levels of analysis that allow for the examination and dissection of foreign policy decisions. [Note: no credit for students who have received credit for Pol 3401]
POL 2411 - Model United Nations (IP)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Students examine the nature and functions of the United Nations and hone their negotiating skills through a series of mock UN conferences. In a mock conference, each student represents a country (President of the United States, Prime Minister of Great Britain, etc.), study issues, and engage in negotiations. The issues (or topics) for conferences include peace and security, social justice, economic well-being, nuclear proliferation, environment, and human rights. The concentration on the UN is justified on the grounds of the UN's high profile in the international system and the fact that it is the most prominent of the IGOs (International Governmental Organizations). Through the use of mock UN conferences, students gain understanding of the UN, acquire negotiating skills, and appreciate the complexities involved.
POL 2461 - Diplomatic Negotiation (IP)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Summer
Discusses negotiation strategies and tactics and examines negotiation skills through a series of simulated negotiations and mock conferences. Diplomacy, negotiation styles, negotiation simulations, and mock conferences. [Note: no credit for students who have received credit for Pol 3461]
POL 2501 - East Asian Society and Politics (SS)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
Examination of governments, political and leadership changes, and economic developments in China, Japan, and Korea. Modernization, democratization, political pluralism, revolution, authoritarianism, and civil-military relations. [Note: no credit for students who have received credit for Pol 3501]
POL 3201 - Legislative Process (SS)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Prerequisites: 1201 or #
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
The internal organization of Congress and state legislatures, with emphasis on how rules and organizational changes affect the policy process. Topics include the evolution of the modern Congress and state legislatures, the committee system, the role of party leadership, and competing theories of congressional organization and behavior. prereq: 1201 or instr consent
POL 3211 - The American Presidency (SS)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Prerequisites: 1201 or #
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Traces the development of the American presidency over time. Major theories of presidential behavior and success are examined, as well as the literature on presidential popularity and executive/congressional relations. prereq: 1201 or instr consent
POL 3231 - Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights (HDIV)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02137 - Pol 3231/Pol 3233
Prerequisites: 1201 or #
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Case-based examination of major Supreme Court opinions primarily dealing with the Bill of Rights and including topics such as freedom of religion, speech and the press, rights of the accused, and struggles over the right to privacy and how to guarantee civil rights protections. [Note: this course is one part of a two-part set of courses covering Constitutional Law; these courses may be taken in any order] prereq: 1201 or instr consent
POL 3232 - Constitutional Law: Governmental Powers and Constraints (SS)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Prerequisites: 1201 or #
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
Case-based examination of major Supreme Court opinions dealing with separation of powers, checks and balances, and issues of federalism. Specific topics include the importance of due process, the Contract Clause, the power to tax and spend, the Commerce Clause, and the struggle to define national and state powers. [Note: this course is one part of a two-part set of courses covering Constitutional Law; these courses may be taken in any order] prereq: 1201 or instr consent
POL 3251 - Political Participation and Voting Behavior (SS)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Prerequisites: 1201 or #
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Examination of factors which influence political behavior such as voting, protesting, attending political rallies, and working in campaigns in the U.S. context. Specific attention is paid to voting demographics, recent elections, change in behavior over time, and the various ways in which citizens are engaged or not with the political system. Included is a strong practical focus on mid-term or presidential elections occurring at the same time as the course is offered. [Note: no credit for students who have received credit for Pol 4251] prereq: 1201 or instr consent
POL 3263 - Political Psychology (SS)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Prerequisites: 1201; Psy 1051 or # recommended
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Examines the intersection of political science and psychology research, particularly on topics such as personality, emotions, and cognition. Explores the various roles of individuals and groups in political decision-making, emphasizing the connections between how we think and learn and how we structure society and make political choices. prereq: 1201; Psy 1051 or instr consent recommended
POL 3266 - Media and Politics (SS)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Prerequisites: 1201 or #
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
Examination of the relationships between mass media, government, and public in American democracy. Focus on the role of informed citizenry in theories of U.S. democracy, role of media in informing the U.S. citizenry, and the methods by which this occurs or fails to. Specific attention is given to the ways media influences public opinion, the effects of media, such as framing, agenda setting, and priming, and relationship of media, public opinion, and elites in politics. [Note: no credit for students who have received credit for Pol 4266] prereq: 1201 or instr consent
POL 3272 - Making Environmental Public Policy (ENVT)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Exploration of the domestic and international politics of environmental and energy policy making. Focus on theoretical frameworks for policy making and political behaviors surrounding development of environmental and energy policies. Includes the applications of political dynamics and principles to specific areas of environmental and energy policy. Emphasis also given to politics of policy implementation. prereq: 1101 or 1201 or 1401
POL 3302 - Islamic Political Thought (SS)
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02209 - Pol 3302/Pol 4302
Prerequisites: 1101 or #
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Examination of classical and contemporary perspectives on Islam and politics that draws from a diverse range of Muslim and non-Muslim political thinkers and scholars. Particular attention given to the global discourse on Islam and democracy. prereq: 1101 or instr consent
POL 3303 - Feminist Political Theory (SS)
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Prerequisites: 1101 or #
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Examination of various ways of understanding gender through study of diverging perspectives within feminist political theory in conjunction with critical analysis of the relationships of feminist theory to political action. prereq: 1101 or instr consent
POL 3351 - Ancient and Medieval Political Thought (HUM)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
A survey of Western social and political thought from 5th century BCE through the 15th century. prereq: 1101 or instr consent
POL 3352 - Modern Political Thought (HUM)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
A survey of Western social and political thought from the 16th through the 19th centuries. prereq: 1101 or instr consent
POL 2354 - Political Ethics (E/CR)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Examination of the strengths, weaknesses, and implications of moral arguments in political decision making. Ethical frameworks drawn from theoretical readings are applied to a range of contemporary U.S. case studies such as state use of violence, interrogation in times of war, governmental secrecy and deceit, official disobedience, health-care access, welfare reform, and environmental regulation and protection. [Note: no credit for students who have received credit for Pol 3354]
POL 3355 - Environmental Political Theory (ENVT)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
An examination of political understandings of the relationship between humans and the natural environment. Topics include Western and non-Western perspectives on the natural environment, technological optimism and survivalism, the tragedy of the commons, environmental direct action movements, the environmental justice movement, and theories of green democracy and citizenship. Readings cover a variety of political perspectives and ideologies including neoconservatism, libertarianism, ecoanarchism, ecosocialism, ecofeminism, social ecology, deep ecology, and postmodernism.
POL 3411 - International Law (E/CR)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Relations of international law to individuals, states, the international community, jurisdictional problems, survey of principles developed by diplomatic agents and consuls, treaties, arbitration, treatment of aliens, pacific settlement. War, military occupation, war crimes, neutrality. prereq: 1401 or instr consent
POL 3451 - Comparative Foreign Policy
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Prerequisites: 1401 or #
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Comparative examination of foreign policies of the United States, China, and Russia. Topics include Sino-American relations, Sino-Russia relations, China's rise, Russia's resurgence, global war on terrorism, and nuclear proliferation. [Note: no credit for students who have received credit for Pol 4451] prereq: 1401 or instr consent
POL 3453 - Russian Politics and Foreign Policy (IP)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Prerequisites: 1401 or #
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Domestic and foreign policies of Russia and the former Soviet Union from the Bolshevik Revolution to the present. Nature of the Soviet empire, Russian Federalism, democratic and market reforms, and Russian foreign relations. prereq: 1401 or instr consent
POL 3475 - International Human Rights
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Prerequisites: 1401 or #
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Explores the historical and philosophical development of concepts of human rights and the contemporary international political and legal frameworks to address rights. Analyzes contemporary concerns about political, economic, and social rights, as well as specific human rights topics like human trafficking and war crimes. Compares American, European, Asian, and Developing World conceptions and critiques of human rights. prereq: 1401 or instr consent
POL 3504 - Latin American Politics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Prerequisites: 1401 or #
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
A comparative examination of central issues in and components of Latin American political life, with a particular focus on economic development, political development of democratic regimes, political violence and human rights, and the region's role in the world. Countries analyzed may include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, and Cuba. prereq: 1401 or instr consent
POL 3996 - Field Study in Political Science
Credits: 1.0 -16.0 [max 16.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Field study of governmental organization; internship with legislature, a state or local administrative office, lobbying group, or other position involving direct experience with government, governmental officials, or political organizations and environment. [Note: max of 4 cr may be applied to the major or minor]
POL 4305 - Seminar in Political Theory
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02211 - Pol 4305/Pol 4905
Prerequisites: 1101, 2001 or #
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
The course includes class meetings based on scholarly readings, student-led critical discussion, as well as time devoted to independent research leading to a substantive research paper. prereq: 1101, 2001 or instr consent
POL 4205 - Seminar in American Politics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02210 - Pol 4205/Pol 4905
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
The course includes class meetings based on scholarly readings, student-led critical discussion, as well as time devoted to independent research leading to a substantive research paper. prereq: 1201, 2001 or instr consent
POL 4405 - Seminar in Comparative Politics and International Relations
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02212 - Pol 4405/Pol 4905
Prerequisites: 1401, 2001 or #
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
The course includes class meetings based on scholarly readings, student-led critical discussion, as well as time devoted to independent research leading to a substantive research paper. prereq: 1401, 2001 or instr consent