We The People


For students of political science, Stetson offers a diverse array of courses taught in small-class settings. Courses range from traditional introductory subjects of American Government and Comparative Politics to more specialized classes and seminars in such topics as Russian Foreign Policy and Religion and Politics. Class size in the Department varies from 8 to 30 students.

The requirements for the political science major are designed to allow students to follow their special interests in the discipline while insuring that they obtain a broad education in political science. To achieve this end, majors are required to take five designated courses (including a senior seminar the fall semester of their senior year) and to research and write a senior thesis. The remaining courses in the major are electives. Beginning the Fall of 2018, students must complete a total of 11 unit courses of required and elective courses.

To give their major added cohesion and to prepare themselves for the writing of the senior thesis, political science majors may choose to concentrate their elective courses in one or two of the four major areas of the discipline: American government, comparative politics, international relations or political theory. Students may also wish to seek out courses in other departments that relate to their particular interests in political science. Those interested in Latin-American politics, for example, should consider enrolling in appropriate language and culture courses at Stetson. And all political science majors should seriously consider taking a year of economics (macro and micro) and some history. By graduation, majors should understand the outlines of modern world history and have a detailed knowledge of 20th century history in their area of concentration (United States, Latin America, Russia, etc.).

To assist students in designing their major, the following is political science curriculum at Stetson divided by area specialty:


The student must complete the general requirements for the College of Arts and Sciences for the Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree.


  • POLI 100: Introduction to Political Science
  • POLI-200: American Politics
  • POLI 201S: Comparative Politics -or-
    POLI 202: European Politics
  • POLI 203: International Relations
  • POLI 325: Political Analysis
  • POLI 499: Senior Research


5 Additional courses from the Political Science Catalogue of which 4 courses must be at the 300 or 400 level.

POLI 101S American National Government

The course focuses on tools for understanding and evaluating to major policy choices in the American political system. Specific topics treated include principles of American democracy and the United States Constitution; political culture; interest groups, parties and elections; and the major policy-making institutions (Congress, the President, the Bureaucracy, and the Courts).

POLI 102S Florida Politics

Study of federal system and the role of the states and communities in the American political system. Contemporary politics and public policies the state of Florida are examined and discussed.

POLI 145S Politics of the Developing Worlds

Looks at the interaction between the pursuit of economic development and the social and political systems of Third World nations since 1945. After reviewing basic notions and theories of development, it deals with central development issues and broader development-related problems associated with social disorder, corruption, drug traffic and violence.

POLI 190 Special Topics

POLI 201S Comparative Politics

An introduction to the study of comparative politics. Political institutions and behavior in selected European, Communist, and developing countries are examined in their cultural contexts and in relation to the general theories of comparative politics. The course is designed to expose the student to the tools of comparative political analysis as well as to the varied structures and functions of modern political systems.

POLI 397 Political Internship (Pass-Fail only)

The student is provided with the opportunity to seek out an intern experience in some aspect of the political process. A student will be accepted into the course by permission only, and must be a junior or senior, have at least 6 hours of political science and an overall 2.5 GPA. Students will be required to present a journal which not only describes some of the aspects of the experience, but attempts some analysis of politics pertaining to this area and obtain a letter of evaluation from the supervisor of the project.

POLI 301 International Relations

A survey of the diplomatic, legal, economic, military, and organizational relations of nations and the major contemporary problems of world politics. The forces of change in the international system and the impact of sovereignty, nationalism, and power politics are given special attention.

POLI 304 Russian Foreign Policy

An examination of Russia's role in world affairs. After a brief introduction to the history of Russian foreign policy, the course addresses three major topics: the development of the Soviet Union as the leader of the Communist movement; the behavior of the Soviet Union as a superpower; and Russia's descent from power in the Gorbachev and Yeltsin eras and beyond. Considerable attention is given to Russia's current attempt to define for itself a new world role.

POLI 306J Law and Society

The issues of American civil liberties and civil rights are viewed within the framework of decisions of the United States Supreme Court.

POLI 312 Practical Politics

An analysis of American electoral politics, with an emphasis on presidential campaigns and elections and the factors that affect their outcome. The goal of the course is to develop an understanding of the political process as a means of encouraging effective citizen participation.

POLI 314 Public Administration

The course in designed to introduce the student to the world of public bureaucracy and to further an understanding of the ways in which public policies are shaped through administrative processes. Administrative organization and decision making and problems of management, personnel administration, and budgeting are covered.

POLI 315 American Health Care Policy

This course will review the history of health care in America, concentrating on the history of healthcare public policies (Medicaid, Medicare). We will study the parties involved in shaping Health Care policies. Course reading will be supplemented by speakers representing the Health Care industry, Health Care Consumers and the government. We will also look at the ethical and political problems posed by Healthcare issues such as AIDS and genetic testing.

POLI 316R.JS Environmental Politics

The course applies public policy analytic models to help explain why governments pursue the policies they do, and what the consequences of these policies are. The development of the environmental movement is traced, as well as policy responses, and the difficulty of shaping effective policy to address global phenomena.

POLI 318 The American Presidency

The course examines individual presidencies, as well as the presidential election process, and political science theories of the presidency. In a discussion format, students will examine changing criteria for a "successful" presidency and dilemmas of leadership for American presidents in the media age.

POLI 320 Congress

Examines the role of Congress in the process of formulating and overseeing public policy. The course will also focus on the politics of legislation and the dilemma of the "constant campaign." The course provides preparation for the Model Senate program held in the spring.

POLI 322 The American Judicial Process

Roles of American courts and judges in the processes of formulating public policy. Emphasis is placed on the interplay of politics and jurisprudence in the operation of the courts.

POLI 323E Western Political Thought: Classical to Modern

Through an analysis of such primary texts as Plato's The Republic, Augustine's City of God, and Machiavelli's The Prince, this course traces the development of political thought from its ancient concerns with virtue and political community to the modern emphasis on freedom and statecraft. In learning how others thought about the role of politics in human society, students will better understand their own value preferences and philosophical orientations in politics.

POLI 324E Western Political Thought: Modern to Contemporary

This course begins with texts that reveal the origins of modern American and European democratic theories. After an assessment of the conservative arguments against these theories, the course tackles the development of the two dominant political ideologies of the 19th and 20th centuries, liberalism and Marxism. Texts to be studied include Leviathan by Hobbes, On Liberty by Mill, and The Communist Manifesto by Marx.

POLI 325 Political Analysis

An introduction to key concepts in the hypothesis formulation and the application of basic statistical techniques. The course covers descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, correlation and regression analysis, and how they are applied in political analysis. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing (or permission of the Department).

POLI 330D Ethnicity and Politics

This course deals with the full range of issues in the politics of ethnicity, from the origins of ethnic consciousness to the varieties of ethnic conflict and the means that states and non-governmental organizations have used to manage this conflict. Case studies will focus on Central Asia, India, Eastern Europe, and the United States, though frequent reference will also be made to conditions in Southeast Asia and Africa.

POLI 338 Central Asia: Politics and Society in the Russian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern Borderlines

Long a peripheral region of European and Asian empires, Central Asia is now reclaiming its own identity in the wake of the collapse of the USSR. The primary focus of the course is on politics, society, and foreign policies in the new Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, though some attention will also be given to the Turkic regions of western China as well as Iran and Afghanistan. Among the topics to be examined are Islamic revivalism, ethnic conflict, national security, and attempts to construct modern national identities as well as modern political and economic systems.

POLI 340 Russian Politics

An examination of the domestic policies of the USSR and its successor states. The central concern of the course is the perennial dominance of authoritarianism over democracy in Russian political culture and behavior. Through a study of relations between ethnic groups, political institutions, citizens and the state, and the center and provinces, the course illustrates the torturous path toward political change in Russia and the neighboring lands of Eurasia.

POLI 346 Latin American Politics

Introduces the student to the study of the political systems of Latin America, presents some elements and characteristics common to most states of the region, examining subsequently the great political revolutions that Latin America has experienced in this century. The central focus is on the description of the political systems of selected states of the region.

POLI 353E International Law

The course is focused on the relationship between international law and international politics. It provides the students with insight into historical, cultural, and theoretical aspects of law as well as basic information on traditional international law topics such as the law of the sea, laws on the use of force, and international human rights.

POLI 415 American Constitutional Law

An analysis of cases and controversies arising from the constitutional principles of separation of powers and federalism. The case method will be used in studying issues such as federal-state and congressional-presidential conflict.

POLI 425E Contemporary Political Thought

This course is directed at current major theoretical statements concerning some of the most important ideas in political philosophy: justice, freedom, liberty, equality, self, community, individual rights, pluralism, and democracy. Current philosophers such as John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Michael Sandel, Seyla Benhabib, and Juergen Habermas will be studied. The goal is not to come up with the "correct interpretation," given the controversy surrounding each philosopher, but to come to the best understanding we can of the ideas presented and, most importantly, how they fir with, and perhaps, change, our ideas. Key "ism's" of the day such as liberalism, libertarianism, communitarianism, conservatism, feminism, Marxism and postmodernism will be discussed.

POLI 426 American Political Thought

The objectives of this course are (1) an inquiry into the politics of ideas in America and (2) an attempt to draw the connection between theories, religious values, and American institutions. Students will read Jefferson's letters to Madison, Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, among other works.

POLI 451 Politics of International Trade and Finance

The course presents the theoretical framework for the study of the political aspects of international economic relations. It concentrates on the evolution and deterioration of the Bretton Woods system, looking in particular at Atlantic interdependence and North-South cooperation, and discussing patterns and regimes of global and regional coordination and cooperation.

POLI 485 Independent Study

POLI 499 Senior Research

Senior standing (or permission of the Department). The seminar provides students with an opportunity to do advanced research in a political science area of particular interest to them. Students write a senior thesis after a directed study of the research literature and the problems associated with it. The course is a "capstone" experience in research, writing, argumentation, and exploration of the field of Political Science.