Political Science Courses
- All courses are 4 units, except where noted otherwise.
- Courses are not guaranteed to be scheduled every semester, so please plan ahead when determining your course schedule and consult the Schedule of Classes frequently for the most up-to-date list of when particular courses are offered.
- 'g' = eligible for USC Core/General Education credit.
- 'm' = eligible for USC Core/Diversity credit.
- 'a', 'b', 'c', 'd', 'z' = Course dividers.
POSC 100: Theory and Practice of American Democracy - Theoretical, institutional, and functional aspects of American national, state, and local government and politics; contemporary issues. Recommended for freshmen and sophomores.
POSC 110: Ideology and Political Conflict - Modern political ideologies; their assumptions, perceptions, and prescriptions regarding political stability and social injustice: anarchism, communism, socialism, liberalism, conservatism, and fascism.
POSC 120: Comparative Politics - Gateway to the major in political science. Comparative analysis of political institutions and processes in selected industrial, developing and socialist countries, in terms of contrasting ideologies, parties, elites, and economics.
POSC 130g: Law, Politics and Public Policy - Interaction between law and politics; overview of the American legal system; value conflicts and public policy questions which arise within it. Concurrent enrollment: WRIT 140.
POSC 165g: Modern Times - Explores the current major social and political issues that confront scholars, leaders, and citizens in today's modern world. Concurrent enrollment: WRIT 140.
POSC 190a/b: Politics and Society - Significant political writings emphasizing historical perspectives, differing approaches to recurring political problems, and conflicting contemporary ideologies. Discussion; independent research. A two-semester course. Maximum enrollment = 20.
POSC 201: Law and Politics: Electing a President - Examination of the rules and realities of American politics, and the role politics plays in American life and culture. Not available for major credit to law students. Enroll in LAW 201
POSC 210gm: Social Issues in Gender - Multidisciplinary survey of gender assumptions in relation to sexuality, mental health, social and political relations, and artistic expression. Concurrent enrollment: WRIT 140. Enroll in SWMS 210gm
POSC 220g: Critical Issues in American Politics - Examination of enduring political issues, as well as the political processes and institutions.
POSC 250: Critical Issues in Comparative Politics - Critical analysis of major issues in comparative politics such as dependency, crises in political legitimacy, political violence and terrorism, political corruption, genocide, and comparative revolutions.
POSC 255g: Cultures, Civilizations and Ethnicities in World Politics - Theories and case studies of conflict and coexistence between cultures, civilizations and ethnic groups in the context of the countervailing force of Western socio-economic globalization.
POSC 260: Global Ethnic Politics - A comparative analysis of multi-ethnic societies through case studies of inter-ethnic conflict and coexistence, conflict resolution, prevention of genocide and defense of human rights.
POSC 300: Principles, Institutions, and Great Issues of American Democracy - Underlying principles of American democracy; major issues of contemporary public policy in national and state institutions.
POSC 311: Political Analysis - Methodological and theoretical problems of micro-analytic studies in political science. Techniques of data collection and assimilation.
POSC 315: Regulation of Elections and Political Finance - The role money plays in elections and public decisions: disclosure requirements, limits on campaign contributions and expenditures, regulation of radio/television time, tax incentives, public funding.
POSC 320: Urban Politics - Evolution of contemporary institutions; differing views of community power; major policies; state and federal relations to local governments; metropolitan community problems.
POSC 321: Urban Political Problems - Social problems and governmental policy in the urban environment, emphasizing such problem areas as education, environment, race, police and the system of criminal justice, and poverty.
POSC 323: Applied Politics - Each of the following are separate and unique 4-unit courses:
- Civic Engagement and Leadership - Works with local community elementary schools to bring the Penny Harvest Leadership Program to Los Angeles. Students in the class will learn leadership, civic engagement and research skills as school children are taught to become empowered citizens.
- Value-Based Political Leadership and Public Policy - Current problems and opportunities facing today’s graduates as they relate to politics, government, business and the non-profit marketplace.
- Great Races: From City Hall to the White House - Focus on presidential contests from 1962‐2012, along with a series of statewide and local contests, detailing a genuine sense of what happened in each campaign.
POSC 325: State Politics - American state politics from a comparative perspective. Examines political processes, differing policy outcomes and the impact of social change on system performance.
POSC 328: Asian American Politics - Examines political attitudes, behavior and participation of Asian Americans in diverse U.S. society.
POSC 333m: Stigma and Society: Physical Disability in America - Political activity involving disabled persons; development of public policy regarding disabled citizens. (Duplicates credit in former POSC 233.)
POSC 334: Interest Groups and Elite Behavior - Introduction to interest group and elite views of the American system, including recent interest group theory and findings and the general critiques of power distribution in American society.
POSC 335: Political Parties, Campaigns, and Elections - Organization and function of political parties, nominations and elections, strategy and tactics of campaigning, professional candidate management finance, political machines, voting behavior.
POSC 340: Constitutional Law - Development of constitutional law by the courts; leading cases bearing on major constitutional issues; the federal system; powers of government; civil liberties.
POSC 345: International Law - Nature, origin, and development of international law; basic principles analyzed and illustrated with cases.
POSC 347: Environmental Law - Introduces students to central concepts and theories in environmental law and regulation; analyzes present environmental laws and regulations.
POSC 350: Politics of Latin America - Theories of development and nation-building; revolutionary and evolutionary modernization; role of history, culture, socioeconomic conditions in affecting political structures and functions.
POSC 351: Middle East Politics - Political development in the Middle East, emphasizing historical, cultural, and socioeconomic conditions affecting political structures and functions; modernization and countervailing social, economic, and religious forces.
POSC 352: Politics of Southeast Asia - Theories of development and nation-building; revolutionary and evolutionary modernization; role of history, culture, socioeconomic conditions in affecting political structures and functions.
POSC 354: Japanese Politics - Politics, political economy, and political processes in contemporary Japan. How the political system is organized; the roles of bureaucrats, politicians, organized interest groups, and social activists in the policy-making process. Recommended preparation: POSC 120.
POSC 355: Politics of East Asia - Institutions and processes of advanced societies; political culture, interest articulation and aggregation, the governmental process.
POSC 356: Politics in the People's Republic of China - The Chinese revolution; social, political, and economic developments in post-1949 China; China after Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung).
POSC 358: Politics of Sub-Sahara Africa - Theories of development and nation-building; revolutionary and evolutionary modernization; role of history, culture, socioeconomic conditions in affecting political structures and functions.
POSC 360: Comparative Political Institutions - Institutions and processes of advanced societies; political culture, interest articulation and aggregation, the governmental process.
POSC 363: Cities and Regions in World Politics - Cities and the rise of states; globalization and localization; federalism and decentralization; comparative politics of urban regions in developed and developing countries. Recommended preparation: POSC 120 or POSC 320.
POSC 365: World Political Leadership - Comparative analysis of theories of power and leadership; application to leaders from western democracies, Third World, and socialist countries.Societal consequences of their policies.
POSC 366: Terrorism and Genocide - Comparative analysis of the determinants of political violence, terrorism, and genocide and their social and moral consequences; application of theories to contemporary case studies.
POSC 370: European Political Thought I - Basic concepts of Western political thought from Plato through the contract theorists.
POSC 371: European Political Thought II - Western political thought since the French Revolution. Rise of Marxist socialism, communism, anarchism, fascism, National Socialism, other doctrines; the democratic tradition; new theories of the state.
POSC 374: The American Founders: Visions, Values and Legacy - Analysis of the political thought of the American Founders; consideration of alternative visions of patriarchalism, republicanism, and liberal democracy; exploration of Founders' core values and their impact on issues of race, class, and gender.
POSC 375: American Political Thought - Historical and topical review of American political philosophy from the Puritans to the present. Special emphasis on such recurrent themes as equality, democracy, and racism.
POSC 377: Asian Political Thought - Major systems of political thought in Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian cultural traditions.Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam, and other classical systems and their present-day adaptations under the impact of communism and democracy.
POSC 380: Political Theories and Social Reform - Political theories and philosophies in modern times and their relation to public policy and social reform. (2 or 4 units)
POSC 381: Sex, Power, and Politics - An evaluation of the ways in which different ideologies, institutions, and policies contribute to differences in political power between men and women.
POSC 385: Population, Society, and Aging - Study of population characteristics related to the problems and processes of aging. Enroll in SOCI 385.
POSC 390: Special Problems - Supervised, individual studies. No more than one registration permitted. Enrollment by petition only. (1-4 units)
POSC 391: Honors I Undergraduate Seminar (Fall) - Selected topics in designated area of political science. Discussion of readings and presentation of papers.
POSC 392: Honors II Undergraduate Thesis (Spring) - Thesis written under supervision, based on research begun in Honors I.
POSC 395: Directed Governmental and Political Leadership Internship - Intensive experience in governmental and political offices.Minimum time requirement; evaluation by office and intern report required. Prerequisite: permission from Unruh Institute of Politics. (2-8 units, max 8)
POSC 398: Trial Advocacy Program (Mock Trial) - Trial advocacy course instructing on issues of law, evidence, courtroom advocacy, and public speaking. Graded CR/NC. Enrollment limited to Mock Trial team members. (1-4 units, max 4)
POSC 420: Practicum in the American Political Process: GOTV Research - Field work in governmental institutions and processes. (4-12 units, max 12)
POSC 421: Ethnic Politics - Analysis of the political behavior and roles of ethnic and racial groups in the American political system; public policy issues and patterns of political action are examined.
POSC 422: Political Attitudes and Behavior - The citizen's political world; political socialization, opinion formation and dissemination; development of political cultures and subcultures; political mobilization; personality and politics.
POSC 423: Presidents and the Presidency - Presidential coalition; sources of presidential power; recent leadership styles; decision-making within the presidency.
POSC 424m: Political Participation and American Diversity - Examines how diverse groups in the U.S. interact with the American political system.
POSC 425: Legislative Process - Individual behavior and decision-making within legislatures; changing executive-legislative functions; legislative functions; relationships to political systems in comparative perspective.
POSC 426: The United States Supreme Court - Role of the court in American politics; overview of major decisions; the politics of appointment; the process of decision-making; impact of judicial decisions. Recommended preparation: POSC 130.
POSC 427: Black Politics in the American Political System - The effects of the organization of the American political system and its operations on blacks and other minorities.
POSC 430: Political Economy of Mexico - Examination of contemporary Mexico: the role of the state in the Mexican economy; development of the government party and opposition groups.
POSC 431: Political Economy of Central America - Focus on economic, social, and political structures and processes in the region and in specific countries, especially Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.
POSC 432: The Politics of Local Criminal Justice - Roles and behavior of major legal and political participants in the criminal justice system including the police, the legal profession, judges, and the public.
POSC 435: Politics and the Economy - Major techniques, politics, and values involved in the allocation of social and economic resources. Includes such topics as determination of priorities in budgetary processes, economic regulation, control of environmental change, and policies for science.
POSC 436: Environmental Politics - The political realities of selected environmental issues; resolving and implementing social priorities; interests, attitudes, strategies, and tactics of pressure groups; institutional biases and opportunities.
POSC 437: Mass Media and Politics - Analysis of political content of mass media. Audience response to alternative sources of political information. Consideration of the institutional and economic as well as political aspects of the mass media.
POSC 439: Critical Issues in American Politics - Intensive examination of critical issues of particular interest in the field of American politics. (4-12 units, max 12)
POSC 440: Comparative Law and the Judicial Process - Analysis of courts in comparative perspective; judicial decision-making and development of public policy through the judicial process; theories of law and jurisprudence. Recommended preparation: POSC 340.
POSC 441m: Cultural Diversity and the Law - Jurisprudential approach to the study of cultural differences. Consideration of circumstances under which law should accommodate cultural diversity in the United States and abroad.
POSC 442m: The Politics of Human Differences: Diversity and Discrimination - A comparative perspective on social and cultural forces that affect American laws and policies concerning discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, and disability.
POSC 443: Law in Film - Analysis of the depiction of law in film; use of film to explore topics in jurisprudence and the politics of law and courts. Recommended preparation: POSC 130.
POSC 444: Civil and Political Rights and Liberties - An examination of debates and controversies surrounding the nature and scope of civil rights and civil liberties. Recommended preparation: POSC 340 or POSC 440.
POSC 448a: The Politics of Peace: Human Rights - Issues of social justice, large-scale social change, high technology, impacts on human survival, and uses of national and international institutions.
POSC 448b: The Politics of Peace: Arms Limitation, Control, and Disarmament - Issues of social justice, large-scale social change, high technology, impacts on human survival, and uses of national and international institutions.
POSC 449: Political Psychology - Psychological forces shaping politics and persons, processes and interactions; emphasis on political socialization and cognitive and affective orientations to politics.
POSC 450: Political Development - Choice of models in nation-building; party and other means of mass mobilization; elite recruitment and differentiation; peculiarities of cultures and subcultures; integration of ethnic and other minorities; political socialization and secularization; legitimization.
POSC 451: Politics of Resources and Development - Comparison of relationships between rich and poor countries involving political and economic resources and prospects for development; impact on industrialized states; interdependence; new international economic order.
POSC 452: Critical Issues in Law and Public Policy - Intensive examination of special topics in the field of law and public policy. (4-12 units, max 12)
POSC 453: Political Change in Asia - Modernization and political development in China and Japan; Asia's economic miracles (Taiwan, Japan, Korea, etc.); nationalism and communist movements in East and Southeast Asia.
POSC 456: Women in International Development - How various developmental theories analyze the role of women as producers and how Third World women are increasing their role in development.
POSC 463: European Politics - Institutions, cultures and politics of western Europe, eastern Europe and Russia; internationalization; historical and contemporary political, economic, and social change.
POSC 464: Politics of Russia and Eastern Europe - Culture, society, and politics in Russia and in Eastern Europe. Contemporary political institutions and processes.
POSC 469: Critical Issues in Comparative Politics - Intensive examination of critical issues of particular interest in the field of comparative politics. (4-12 units, max 12)
POSC 476: Contemporary Political Thought - 20th century political philosophy dealing with major movements in psychological, existential, socialist, and nationalist thought as they bear upon the crisis of political authority in our time.
POSC 479: Critical Issues in Political Thought - Intensive examination of critical issues of particular interest in the field of political thought. (4-12 units, max 12)
POSC 490x: Directed Research - Individual research and readings. Not available for graduate credit. Prerequisite: Departmental approval is required. (2-8 units, max 8)
POSC 499: Special Topics - Revolving topic matter. Consult the Schedule of Classes for most current information. (2-4, max 8)
POSC 500: Methods of Political Science - Empirical political research: social science logic; theory construction; measurement; research design; sampling; data generation; secondary analysis; report and proposal writing; research ethics.
POSC 510: American Politics and Policy Processes - Survey of literature; examination of approaches, concepts, and issues in the field of American politics and policy processes.
POSC 512: Linkage Politics - Empirical and theoretical investigations of the points at which subnational, national, and international politics converge, overlap, or are otherwise interdependent.
POSC 520: Comparative Politics - Survey of literature; examination of approaches, concepts, and issues in the field of comparative politics.
POSC 525: Cities, Regions and Global Society - Comparative and historical examination of cities and regions as political settings, as elements of states and international relations, and as sites of transnational economic and social change.
POSC 530: Political Theory - Survey of literature; examination of approaches, concepts, and issues in the field of political theory.
POSC 535: Seminar in North African and Middle Eastern Politics - Comparative and area study approaches, nation-building; political cultures; mobilization of human and natural resources; political recruitment, integration, socialization, and conflict.
POSC 539: Political Economy and Public Policy - Scope, methodology, and literature of political economy; public policy and policy formation; economic bases of politics; political dimensions of economic activity. Enroll in PEPP 539.
POSC 540: Law and Public Policy - National and comparative approaches to law and politics in organized societies; law as a policy science; administration of justice; political forces influencing legal change.
POSC 546: Seminar in Environmental Policy - Issues and theories involved in the formulation, implementation, and effectiveness of different environmental policies.
POSC 554: Women in Global Perspective - Women and immigration, employment, and household and family relations in the context of the global economy; women’s social and political movements in diverse cultural contexts. Enroll in SWMS 554.
POSC 556: Seminar in Disability and Rehabilitation Policy - Examination of physical disability as a policy issue from a cross-national and multidisciplinary perspective; attitudes toward disability; income maintenance, health care, and related programs.
POSC 560: Feminist Theory - History of feminist theory and major perspectives of current feminist theory: liberal feminism, socialist/Marxist feminism, radical feminism, psychological feminism, spiritual feminism, and ecological feminism. Enroll in SWMS 560.
POSC 590: Directed Research - Research leading to the master's degree. Maximum units which may be applied to the degree to be determined by the department. Graded CR/NC. (1-12 units)
POSC 594a: Master's Thesis - Credit on acceptance of thesis. Graded IP/CR/NC. (2 units)
POSC 594b: Master's Thesis - Credit on acceptance of thesis. Graded IP/CR/NC. (2 units)
POSC 594z: Master's Thesis - Credit on acceptance of thesis. Graded IP/CR/NC. (0 units)
POSC 600: Seminar in Advanced Research Methods - Multivariate analysis of data, computer applications, and research report preparation; multiple regression; analysis of variance; factor analysis and related techniques; time series analysis. Prerequisite: POSC 500 and departmental approval.
POSC 610: Seminar in Political Parties - Parties and the political system; formal and informal organization and roles; comparative party systems.
POSC 611: Seminar in the Executive and Legislative Processes - Selected research topics; comparative analyses.
POSC 612: Seminar in Urban Politics - Problems of government and politics in urban, county, and metropolitan areas. Comparative community politics.
POSC 618: Seminar in Problems of American Politics - Theoretical and methodological problems in American politics with emphasis on emerging research paradigms.
POSC 619: Seminar in Supreme Court Politics - Role of the Supreme Court in the American political system. Influences on judicial decision making; appointment and decision making processes; scope of judicial power. Recommended preparation: POSC 540.
POSC 621: Seminar in Public Law - Problems and research in American constitutional and administrative law and in modern jurisprudence.
POSC 622: Seminar in Political Attitudes and Behavior - Determinants, nature, and consequences of political attitudes and behavior exploring psychological-sociological models, political socialization and learning, and factors affecting trends in attitudes and behavior. Prerequisite: departmental approval.
POSC 623: Seminar in American Constitutional Development - Evolution of American constitutional law; the influence of social, economic, and political changes on constitutional interpretation. Prerequisite: POSC 510 or POSC 540.
POSC 624: Seminar in American Constitutional Law and Theory - Contemporary debates and research on the nature of constitutional interpretation, separation of powers, federalism, civil and political rights and liberties.
POSC 630: Seminar in European Politics - Selected research topics in comparative European politics; political culture, socialization, parties, legislative and executive processes.
POSC 632: Seminar in Latin-American Politics - Comparative analysis of the political structure and institutions of Latin America; participation and alienation; democracies and dictatorships; political forces.
POSC 633: Seminar in East Asian Politics - Comparative analysis of revolutionary and evolutionary modernization; the roots of political thought and behavior; peripheral area relationships; present-day political processes.
POSC 634: Seminar in Southeast Asian Politics - Comparative analysis of political forces, ideologies, processes, and institutions.
POSC 636: Seminar in African Politics - Comparative analysis of political forces, ideologies, and institutions in African nations south of the Sahara.
POSC 637: Seminar in Chinese Politics - Guided research and discussion on the governmental process in the People's Republic of China including leadership, ideology, and popular participation.
POSC 640: Seminar in Problems of Comparative Politics - Theoretical and methodological problems in comparative politics; approaches to comparative analysis; problems and trends.
POSC 641: Seminar in Comparative Judicial Policies, Processes, and Behavior - Cross-national and intranational comparative analysis of judicial policies and processes; legal and judicial elites.
POSC 648: International Human Rights Law and Policy - Historical and contemporary consideration of human rights issues in world politics. Examination of the philosophical foundations of human rights and the institutions that enforce international standards.
POSC 650: Seminar in Western Political Philosophy - Research and special problems.
POSC 651: Seminar in Non-Western Political Philosophy - Research and special problems.
POSC 652: Seminar in American Political Philosophy - Research and special problems.
POSC 660: Seminar in Problems of Contemporary Political Thought - Research and special problems.
POSC 670: Seminar in International Law - Topics and cases illustrating general principles and problems. Special research.
POSC 695: Social Science Theory - Philosophic foundations of social science, empirical theories current in social science; the relationship between empirical theory and social research.
POSC 790: Research - Research leading to the doctorate. Maximum units which may be applied to the degree to be determined by the department. Graded CR/NC. (1-12 units)
POSC 794a: Doctoral Dissertation - Credit on acceptance of dissertation. Graded IP/CR/NC. (2 units)
POSC 794b: Doctoral Dissertation - Credit on acceptance of dissertation. Graded IP/CR/NC. (2 units)
POSC 794c: Doctoral Dissertation - Credit on acceptance of dissertation. Graded IP/CR/NC. (2 units)
POSC 794d: Doctoral Dissertation - Credit on acceptance of dissertation. Graded IP/CR/NC. (2 units)
POSC 794z: Doctoral Dissertation - Credit on acceptance of dissertation. Graded IP/CR/NC. (0 units)
- Department of Political Science
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