Political Science

Department Affiliation: Social Science
Division Affiliation: History and Social Science

The student who specializes in Political Science investigates issues and topics relating to the following subfields within the discipline: political theory, international relations, American politics and institution, comparative politics, public policy and administration, and public law. The purpose of the major or minor is to examine how issues in the discipline relate to historical developments and to the current state of political affairs. A maximum choice is allowed so that the course of study can be designed according to the primary interests of the student.

Political Science B.A. Degree (or Major)

Required Courses

Lower Division: 6 units


American Government and Institutions



Comparative Government


Upper Division:


101 Research Methodology


Nine additional upper division courses in Political Science


Total units in Political Science: 36

Plus General Studies requirements, electives and Modern Language requirement totaling 124 semester units.

Political Science Minor

Students wishing to minor in Political Science are required to take POL 1 or 2 and five additional Political Science courses. At least 4 of the remaining 5 courses (or 12 units) must be at the upper division level.

To declare a minor in Political Science, a student must take at least 5 approved courses from Mount St. Mary's College.

Total units in Political Science: 18

Political Science Courses

POL 1 American Government and Institutions (3)

This course examines the structure and procedures of American governmental institutions; the political principles upon which American democracy is based; and political participation in the United States. GS-IIIG

POL 2 Introduction to World Politics (3)

An investigation of the concepts and techniques which enable the student to compare various political systems, focusing upon both traditional and innovative concepts such as power, ideology, policy and decision making, and issues of political and economic development. GS-IIIC, IIIF, VI

POL 5 Business Law (3)

An introduction to the development of legal principles for business activity, as found in common law, statutory laws, and the Uniform Commercial Code. Use of case studies for practical applications. Also see BUS 5.

POL 10 Political Concepts (3)

The aim of this course is to acquaint students with the scope and techniques of political science by relating major concepts in political theory to current problems and issues. Major political theorists such as Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Hobbes, Hegel, and Marx are the focal points of analysis. In this way the contribution of political science to the understanding and clarification of political phenomena can be exemplified. GS-IIIF

POL 93ABCD Selected Problems and Projects in Political Science (1-3)

Subject announced in term schedule. May be taken for upper division credit. See POL 193.

POL 101 Research Methodology (3)

Examination of research and writing methods with an emphasis on skills in conducting political science research and preparing research papers; working with statistical techniques and databases, using libraries and archives; and evaluating, citing and presenting evidence. GS VIIB

POL 102 Women and the Law (3)

This course analyzes the relationship between gender and the law and how it has evolved over time. Students examine the landmark cases that have shaped women's rights in America and the works of leading legal scholars in the field. GS-IIIG

POL 103 Legal Reasoning (3)

This course introduces students to the basic principles of legal reasoning. Students will learn to analyze cases and statutes, identify applicable law and apply law to a given set of facts. These skills will prepare students for the case analysis methodology used in law school and, more broadly, provide students with the insight that comes from approaching problems analytically. Legal Reasoning is required for all pre-law minors.

POL 104 Political Biography (3)

See HIS 133.

POL 105 Advanced Business Law (3)

Upper level study of business law. Applications to areas of agency, partnerships, corporate law, sales security transactions, and insurance. Also see BUS 106. GS-IIIG

POL 106 Real Estate Law (3)

Business and legal aspects. Estates in land, purchase and sales contract, conveyances, mortgage and trust deed transactions, property taxes, landlord and tenant, wills and inheritance. Also see BUS 171. Prerequisite: BUS 5.

POL 107 Criminal Law (3)

An examination of the elements of the criminal law with emphasis on crimes against the person as well as crimes against property. The standard defenses will also be considered.

POL 108 American Constitutional Law (3)

See HIS 179. Prerequisite: Pol 1. GS-IIIG

POL 109 Individual Rights (3)

Emphasis on the Bill of Rights as applied to both federal and state jurisdictions. See HIS 180. GS-IIIC, IIIG

POL 110 Political Behavior (3)

This course explores the political behavior of American citizens. Students will examine citizens' participation in elections, issue advocacy and protest movements. The examination will include a comparison of political behavior and preferences among differing socio-economic groups, minorities and women.

POL 116 Democracy and Democratic Theory (3)

A critical examination of the major theorists of democracy in the twentieth century and preconditions of democratic government and society.

POL 117AB History of Political Theory (3,3)

An examination of the major theorists of political theory from antiquity to the middle of the nineteenth century. Special emphasis will be placed on the writings of such seminal figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. (See HIS 115 AB.) GS-IIIC

POL 118 American Presidency (3)

This course examines the powers of the office of the President of the United States. Students will analyze the President's formal constitutional powers, informal powers of persuasion and the impact of the personal styles of those who have held the office. The role of White House staff, institutional resources, and the dynamic relationship between the President, Congress and the courts will be considered in determining the ability of Presidents to successfully achieve their political agendas and affect public policy.

POL 119 Concepts in Political Theory (3)

Selected concepts in political theory examined comprehensively and in depth.

POL 120 Legislative Process (3)

This course examines legislative process, organization and structure. Students will analyze committee structure, the impact of House and Senate rules, and the electoral motivations of the members of Congress. The role of constituents, interest groups, party politics and the dynamic relationship among the branches of government will all be considered in assessing the law and policy making function of the U.S. Congress.

POL 121 Judicial Politics (3)

This course examines the role of the courts in American government and politics. Students will explore the structure of the American judicial system, judicial processes, the nature of judicial decision-making and the increasingly contentious judicial appointment process. The relationship of the courts to the other branches of government will also be considered in determining the courts' impact on major substantive policy areas.

POL 122 Middle East Politics (3)

An analysis of political societies in the Middle East and of the many ways in which they were transformed into nation states. Issues addressed include nationalism, religious political activism, colonialism, regional conflicts, revolutions and the position of women.

POL 123 African Politics (3)

Provides an understanding of the historical, economic and social variables that shape modern African politics. Central themes will include nation-building and democratization, the international relations of Africa, issues of peace and security, and Africa's political economy.

POL 124 Latin American Politics (3)

A comparative analysis of Latin American political systems. Emphasis on the politics of development, the problems of leadership, the military in politics, legitimacy, and regime continuity.

POL 125 Foreign Relations of the United States (3)

See HIS 178. GS-IIIG

POL 126 Politics of the former Soviet Union (3)

An examination of the revolutionary origins, development, and dissolution of the Soviet Union followed by a discussion of the issues confronting Russia and the new republics. Issues include political and economic transformation, ideological transitions, and proliferation of weapons.

POL 128 Politics of Globalization and Interdependence (3)

An assessment of globalization and interdependence, and the challenges they pose to the governments of nation-states since the end of World War II. Topics include the global economy and trade; the challenges to national cultural identities and sovereignty; the role of technological advancements; and integration.

POL 130 International Political Economy (3)

Examines approaches to the international political economy (IPE) including the liberal, economic nationalist, and neo-Marxist perspectives. Topics include the Bretton Woods institutions (World Bank, IMF and GATT/WTO), international trade and development, foreign debt, poverty and global inequality.

POL 131 International Relations (3)

A general survey of the institutions, considerations, and ideologies involved in the formation and execution of foreign relations within a world context. Special attention is placed upon international agencies such as the United Nations and non-governmental organizations. GS-IIIG

POL 132 Political and Economic Development (3)

An analysis of the major explanations for underdevelopment and alternative strategies for development. Topics discussed include colonialism, nationalism, the Third World in the international system, state-building and political change, and gender perspectives on underdevelopment.

POL 133 Moot Court (1-3)

This course will teach students the fundamental skills of legal oral advocacy. Students will receive training in case analysis and development, rules of evidence, and basic trial and appellate court techniques. Students will participate in appellate moot court competitions and, based on class performance, may be chosen to compete in national mock trial competitions. This course may be taken for 1, 2, or 3 credits. This course may be repeated for up to a total of 12 units. GS IB

POL 134 International Organization (1-3)

An examination of the origins, structure, and practices of international agencies with special attention to the United Nations. GS-IB, IIIG

POL 135 Selected Problems in International Organization (3)

Examines the various ways in which international organizations are used to promote the domestic and global interests of international actors. Particular emphasis is placed on promotion and maintenance of world order. GS-IB, IIIG

POL 136 Revolutions in World History (3)

This course focuses on the social, political, economic and ideological forces that promote and sustain political revolutions. Case studies may include the French, American, Russian and Chinese revolutions as well as revolutionary groups and individuals.

POL 137 Ethnic Conflict and Civil War (3)

Examines discord within multiethnic societies by analyzing how nationalist, racial, ethnic and/or religious identities serve as sources of internal conflict. Issues addressed include communalism, civil strife, systematic violence, and genocide. GS-IB, IIIG

POL 138 International Law (3)

This course examines the origins and evolution of international law. Special emphasis will be placed on the development of international law under the aegis of international organizations and through the promulgation of treaties and customary practice.

POL 140 North-South Relations (3)

Examines the political, social and economic issues that often create tensions between developing (South) and developed (North) countries. Issues include sustainable development, foreign debt and investment, terms of trade, political hegemony and cultural relativism.

POL 142 International Conflict and Cooperation (3)

Focuses on the various types of international conflict and ways in which cooperation manifests in international politics. Topics include the management and prevention of conflict, regional and global conflicts throughout history and the causes of conflict.

POL 144 Politics of Europe and the European Union (3)

Analyzes the political, social and economic development of modern European nation-states and the evolution of the European Union. Topics include the political and economic integration of Europe since the end of World War II.

POL 145 Southeast Asian Politics (3)

Provides an understanding of the historical, economic and social variables that shape modern Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar, Brunei, the Philippines, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Central themes include nation-building and democratization, peace and security, and political economy.

POL 146 Military in Politics (3)

Focus on relations between the military and politics. Emphasis on the varieties of military involvement in politics, cases of direct military intervention in political systems, and the consequences of military influence over political decisions.

POL 147 Women and Development (3)

Analyzes the impact of development policies on women in developing countries. Topics include the status of women in traditional societies, the gendered allocation of resources, and the informal economy.

POL 148 Refugees and International Migration (3)

Examines the politics of mass migration across state borders or within nation-states. Cases studied include forced relocation, refugees of war, and different forms of legal and illegal immigration including the international trafficking of persons.

POL 149 Comparative Foreign Policy (3)

Comparative study of foreign policy making in different political systems. Issues include economic, military and political relations among countries, and foreign policy actors such as heads of state and bureaucrats.

POL 150 International Security (3)

Analyzes the factors surrounding security studies in international relations. Topics include the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, deterrence, arms races, the security dilemma, and domestic threats to global peace.

POL 151 Humanitarian Intervention (3)

An analysis of the issues that provoke humanitarian concerns such as civil strife, poverty, epidemics and famine. The development of norms of humanitarian intervention will be a focus of this course.

POL 152A Advanced Studies in the History of Modern Japan (3)

An examination of the rapid transition of the feudal Japan of the Shogun to the modern technological state. This course will probe the events that brought changes in government, family, religion, education, industry, and foreign relations from 1600 to 1952. (See HIS 151.) GS-IIIC

POL 152B Advanced Studies in the History of Modern China (3)

An analysis of the political and economic development of Modern China. Personalities such as the Sun Yat-sen, Mao Tse Tung, and Deng Xiao Ping and others will provide insights into the evolution of the Chinese State. (See HIS 152.) GS-IIIC

POL 153 Department Seminar (3)

This course is limited to juniors and seniors and provides an in-depth examination into a topic within political science. The course emphasizes research and writing skills and requires a major research paper. (Same as HIS 126.) Prerequisite: POL 101 Research Methodology.

POL 154 U.S./Mexican Relations (3)

This course examines the relevant actors, issues and political history of foreign policy and interactions between the United States and Mexico. Attention is given to current policy topics of significance, e.g., drugs, immigration, security and trade.

POL 160 Civil Liberties

See HIS 132.

POL 170 American Party Politics (3)

The development, organization, and character of the American party system.

POL 171/171H Presidents and Personality (3)

An attempt to illuminate and characterize the contributions of American presidents to American politics by an examination of the writings of psycho-historians and others emphasizing psychological insights. GS-IIIG

POL 175AB Selected Topics in the American Political Structure (3,3)

Specific area will be announced in the term schedules. Consent of instructor

necessary for non-majors and non-minors.

POL 176 Public Policy (3)

This course considers major public issues in American politics within a framework that emphasizes analysis, social configurations, and resolution of conflicts.

POL 179 California Politics (3)

See HIS 188. GS-IIIG

POL 180 State and Local Government (3)

This course examines state and local political systems in the United States. The course examines the structure of state and local government, the administrative procedures employed by these political entities, their relationship to the federal government, and the public policy outcomes resulting from state and local government action. The course includes consideration of the unique role of local governmental action to American political life. GS IIIG

POL 185 Public Personnel Administration (3)

The process of formulating and administering public personnel policies; concepts and principles utilized in selected governmental personnel systems. Special emphasis on collective bargaining in public employment.

POL 186 Introduction to Public Administration (3)

The executive function in government; principles of administrative organization, personnel management, financial administration, administrative law; and problems and trends in government as a career.

POL 187 Organizational Theory and Governmental Management (3)

Organizational structure, human factors in organization, dynamics of organizational change, internal adaptability to external environment; problems, limitations, and trends in governmental organization and management.

POL 188 Administrative Law (3)

Introduction to administrative law and its impact on the American political and bureaucratic landscape. Regulatory agencies, procedural due process and their interface with vested and individual rights are the focal point for discussion on constitutional and legal precedents in a case study context.

POL 191 Internship in Government Service (3)

Students in the public administration program serve as interns working in government offices in the Los Angeles area.

POL 192 Plays and Politics (3)

A study of selected plays from antiquity to contemporary times in which the insights of the playwright and the conclusions of the political scientist are interrelated. A multidimensional and interdisciplinary approach is utilized. May be taken for lower division credit. GS-IIIG,VI

POL 193ABCD Selected Topics and Projects in Political Science (3)

Subject announced in term schedule. May be taken for lower division credit.

POL 196H Senior Honors Thesis (3)

Open only to students admitted to the Honors Program.