Department of Political Science

Dr. Anna Brown, Chairperson

The Political Science Department offers a major and a minor in Political Science.

Requirements for Political Science Major

Degree of Bachelor of Arts

Political Science majors must complete the following courses, and must maintain a 2.5 GPA in their political science major course of study.

PO-100Perspectives on Politics3
PO-200Research Methods and Social Impact3
PO-201American Government3
PO-499Political Science Capstone3
Distribution Courses: choose one course from each of the following designations
PO-Political Science course with American Politics designation (AP)3
PO-Political Science course with Political Theory designation (PT)3
PO-Political Science course with Comparative Politics designation (CP)3
PO-Political Science course with International Relations designation (IR)3
PO-Political Science elective courses: choose four courses from any designation or combination of designations (AP, PT, CP, IR)12
Total Credits36

Special Notes on Major Requirements

Requirements for a Minor in Political Science

PO-100Perspectives on Politics3
PO-200Research Methods and Social Impact3
PO-201American Government3
PO- Political Science electives: choose three courses from any designation or combination of designations (AP, PT, CP, or IR)9
Total Credits18

Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society

The Department sponsors a chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society. Membership in the Theta Chi chapter is open to any student who has completed at least fifteen credits in political science, maintained at least a 3.3 average in those courses, and demonstrates a deep commitment to the ethical-political life and to social justice. Inductions into Pi Sigma Alpha occur annually during the spring semester and applications are available in the Department office.

Internship Experience

Majors are encouraged to obtain valuable internship experience in government or in public advocacy organizations available through either the Department, the Center for Experiential Learning and Career Services, the Washington Center, or the Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership as well as to participate in the Gannon Debate Society and/or the Harvard Model United Nations.

Harvard Model United Nations

A unique and exciting part of the political science curriculum, the Harvard Model United Nations (U.N.) is a component of PO-376, one of the International Politics courses offered annually during the fall semester. Together with delegations of students from colleges and universities from around the world, each representing a different United Nations member nation, a delegation from Saint Peter’s University participates in a four-day mock United Nations session at Harvard University, debating various topics and advancing the official government policy positions of the nation it is assigned. The Model U.N. affords the student the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in the processes of conference diplomacy and negotiation that increasingly characterize the dynamics of international politics. Because the course selected to include the Model U.N. changes every year, interested students are able to participate more than once in this fascinating educational experience.

The Washington Center Internship Program

The Washington Center Internship Program offers students the distinctive and exciting opportunity to intern in Washington, D.C. and earn Saint Peter’s University academic credit at the same time.  The university liaison to the program guides and supervises interested students from all major fields of study through the application process. For more details about the program, consult the Special Academic Programs section.

For students majoring in Political Science, no more than 9 academic credits earned through the Washington Center Internship Program may count towards the fulfillment of the required political science major course of study. For political science minors, no more than 6 academic credits earned through the Washington Center Internship may count towards the fulfillment of the required political science minor course of study. Students must have these credits approved ahead of time by the Washington Center Internship Program Coordinator.


This is for students who desire to learn about the law school application process, the course of study at law schools, or the professional practice of law. For more information about Pre-Law advising or Saint Peter’s University’s Joint B.A./J.D. Program with the Seton Hall University School of Law, consult the Pre-Law section.


PO-100. Perspectives on Politics. 3.00 Credits.

An introductory study of the political values, concepts and institutions that define and span the field political science in the areas of American politics, international affairs, comparative politics, and political theory.

PO-137. Nonviolence Community Org. Social Move. 3.00 Credits.

A study of violence and human nature the theory and practice of nonviolence, how conflicts - local and global - can be solved nonviolently and the lives of past and current peacemakers, including Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and many others.

PO-155. Politics of Climate Disruption. 3.00 Credits.

This course will explore how environmental issues - such as climate change, resource extraction and energy use - are shaped by politics and political systems at the international, domestic and local levels. We will also examine the ways in which environmental issues have shaped politics - with concepts such as sustainable development and environmental justice - since the emergence of the environmental movement.

PO-200. Research Methods and Social Impact. 3.00 Credits.

This course will explore a range of social problems and movements while engaging with empirical research. These topics will cover an array of social issues, including police brutality, depression, misinformation, and bias. Students will learn how to move from theory to action on social challenges, studying the historical roots of movements while engaging with different research methodologies. Prerequisites: PO-100.

PO-201. American Government. 3.00 Credits.

An introductory study of the principles, institutions and power relationships of the American governmental system. Topics include the politics of the American Founding, the federal arrangement between the national and state governments, the operations of the Congress, the president, and the courts, and the roles of elections, political parties and interest groups.

PO-207. The Mass Media and American Politics. 3.00 Credits.

An in-depth study of the interactions between the American mass media and the U.S. political system, and how these two centers of power influence each other. Topics include media organization and ownership, the legal and political contours of press freedom, the norms and processes of news reporting, the relationships between the media and conduct of the U.S. elections, and the relationships between the media and the operations of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government.

PO-210. Community Service-Based Approach to SJ. 3.00 Credits.

This course introduces students to service-based methods of helping marginalized individuals and groups in local communities while exploring ways to promote justice and alter unjust social structures as a necessary component of community service. Students will identify and define those in need in the community, analyze existing methods for serving the marginalized, and explore ways of furthering service to address the core problems causing this need. The focus of this course study will be on the local level. The course will be viewed through the lens of the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus and will guide the study.

PO-215. United States Foreign Policy. 3.00 Credits.

An examination of the principal historical influences and major institutions involved in the formulation and execution of foreign policy.

PO-216. Urban Politics and Policy. 3.00 Credits.

This course examines the political history peculiar to American cities and its impact. It analyzes the fiscal problems faced by many cities and recent efforts to improve urban life. It will also focus on cities's role in the American political structure, the political debates between reformers and the machine, and the role of race in urban politics. On issues of public policy, it will examine the urban-suburban divide, housing, transportation, urban planning, economic and community development, poverty, and education. It will end with a global comparison of cities.

PO-230. Black American Politics. 3.00 Credits.

This course will examine the political behavior of African Americans in the United States. Students will examine the relationship between African Americans and the American political system in order to gain a broader perspective of the American political process. Issues of leadership, representation and empowerment strategies will be addressed. We will consider various forms of participation as we attempt to assess Black political empowerment. We will consider the behavior of Blacks within political institutional settings and at various levels of government. We will also discuss issues such as Black political thought (conservatism, liberalism, and nationalism) and contemporary issues in African American politics.

PO-250. Intro to Social Justice. 3.00 Credits.

An examination of how racism, classism and sexism create barriers to the realization of a more equal and just society, with a particular focus on pressing current social justice issues - such as affordable housing, health care, immigration, the prison system, war and the environment - and the people that are working to build a better world. Prerequisites: COMPLETE 6 CREDITS: 1 COURSE FROM COURSES PL-130 PL-140 AND 1 COURSE FROM COURSES TH-110 TH-120; Course Type(s): Values, Pluralism.

PO-275. Intro to International Relations. 3.00 Credits.

Examination of the system of nation states, blocs, and rivalries in the world order. Approaches to the explanation of power and security, the use of force and war and international social, economic, and environmental problems. Course Type(s): Senior Seminar.

PO-276. Comparative Social Movements. 3.00 Credits.

From Hong Kong to Chile, Wall Street to Plaza de Mayo, the last few years have demonstrated that the politics of protest and collective mobilization play an ever more relevant part in the contemporary dynamics of political resistance and social change. Through the comparative study of social movements around the globe, this course provides an overview of theoretical approaches and transdisciplinary insights into the study of collective action. Class discussions will go beyond stigmatized connections between social action and social unrest to explore topics such as performance and everyday resistance strategies, power and identity relations and other factors that allow for a critical perspective on the field.

PO-285. United Nations Seminar. 3.00 Credits.

An introduction to the purpose, establishment, and work of the United Nations through readings, lectures and hands-on experiences. Students will visit the United Nations, learn about the foreign service, participate in a college level Model United Nations conference, and take a leadership role in conducting the Saint Peter's University High School Model United Nations conference. Model UN fee of $300 Course Type(s): Service Learning.

PO-295. Credited Internships. 3.00 Credits.

PO-297. Fat Feminism and Comparative Politics. 3.00 Credits.

A look at the American diet industry and medical institutions as they relate to the intersection of fat-phobia as anti blackness. A connection to how modern feminism has shaped the body positivity movement and the evolution of fat politics.

PO-301. Ancient & Medieval Political Theory. 3.00 Credits.

A survey of the classic works of political theory from its inception through the Middle Ages: Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas.

PO-308. Women and American Politics. 3.00 Credits.

This course will analyze the participation of women in American political life; examine women's public roles and the effects of feminism in altering women's public roles in both historical and contemporary contexts; delve into women's participation in electoral politics; understand women's behavior and influence as public officials; and analyze the intersection of gender with other categories such as race/ethnicity and political party. We'll study the historic 2020 presidential election, the gender gap, and attitudes towards Vice President nominee Kamala Harris and other presidential/vice presidential candidates. This course is designed to introduce students to the study of gender and U.S. politics including the central questions, concepts, and debates in the field.

PO-310. Feminist Political Theory. 3.00 Credits.

Historical overview of feminist political activity in the United States and an analysis of feminist theory: liberal feminism, Marxist feminism, radical feminism, and post-modern feminism. Course Type(s): Pluralism.

PO-312. The American Congress. 3.00 Credits.

An in-depth examination of the organization and decision-making processes of the U.S. Congress, and the political considerations and forces that influence the work of members of Congress in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Topics include the legislative intentions and designs of the Founders, the representational and lawmaking functions of Congress, the norms, organization and processes of each chamber, the parameters of congressional elections, the roles of political parties and interest groups, and the relationships between Congress and the other two branches of government.

PO-313. The American Presidency. 3.00 Credits.

An in-depth study of the evolution of the presidency, and its modern functions, decision-making processes, and political influence over American governance. Topics include the contrasting and changing visions of the presidency, the presidential election process, the connections between the president and the public, the institutional organization and operations of the presidency, the relationships between the president and the other two branches of government, and the presidential role in national security and foreign affairs.

PO-314. The American Judicial Process. 3.00 Credits.

An in-depth examination of the roles, decision-making processes and organization of the state and federal courts, and the impact of the judiciary on American politics. Topics include the function of law, the roles of lawyers and judges, the formal and informal structures and operations of courts, and the elements, procedures and purposes of trials and appeals and of criminal and civil proceedings.

PO-315. American Campaigns & Elections. 3.00 Credits.

An in-depth exploration of the dynamics, challenges and political parameters of American elections. Topics include the evolving roles of political parties, consultants, interest groups and candidates, the structures and complexities of the primary and general election processes, the resources, organization and strategies of political campaigns, and the behavior of American voters.

PO-316. Hip Hop and US Political Life. 3.00 Credits.

An examination and discussion of Hip Hop's political origins and how the musical genre provides insight into the social and political climate of America.

PO-319. Politics and Pandemics. 3.00 Credits.

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked intense discussion about the political and economic factors and responses that have shaped this most recent iteration of a world pandemic. This course considers the political, economic, and climate change realities that have ushered forth the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as previous world vital catastrophes. Also, it looks at what these epidemics reveal about the injustices that permeate societies, and why marginalized communities, such as immigrants, communities of color, the elderly, and the economically impoverished disproportionately bear the brunt of the pandemic's brutal effects. Finally, and in the words of Arundhati Roy, how might we walk through the portal of the pandemic in a liberated way?.

PO-321. New Jersey Local and State Government. 3.00 Credits.

This course focuses on New Jersey local and state government; the interdependent role of governors, legislatures, and courts in policy-making and implementation.

PO-322. Socialism and Social Movements;Socialism and Social Movements. 3.00 Credits.

This course introduces the student to the "ABC's" of socialism, it's thought and practice, and its various iterations. The class considers why more people see socialism as an alternative to capitalism and study the social movements that have striven to bring life to its theory and practice. The class also emphasizes practices of democracy, justice, diversity, and Green Socialism.

PO-327. Environmental Politics and Policies. 3.00 Credits.

This course explores the shifting political forces that determine environmental policies. Included is an examination of pressures, interest groups, and the media. Prerequisites: EV-100.

PO-330. Politics of Migration and Mobility. 3.00 Credits.

The course introduces students to key notions, norms, and narratives of human migration and mobility. By exploring the concepts and forms of spatial mobility in both domestic and international spheres, the course will further identify actors that shape and challenge existing policies, norms, and systems and address the differences between global South and global North perspectives. It will highlight, among other issues, the role of gender and racial perspectives in spatial mobility, the relevance of displacement and forced migration in the climate agenda, and the securitization of the current migration debate. A critical take on current global events will be used to illustrate academic texts and policies. Course materials will also include news articles, documentary films, and chronicles.

PO-337. Non-Western Perspective to Int Relations. 3.00 Credits.

This course will introduce the study of International Relations (IR) from post-colonial and decolonial perspectives. Course readings and discussions will examine biases and limitations of mainstream western-oriented perspectives on the field. While recognizing the varied scope of post-colonial and decolonial literature, course materials will explore "subaltern" frames of reference that cut across North-South divides, debate racialized and genderized assumptions about nationality and culture, and promote "counter-hegemonic" reflection on prevailing concepts, norms and institutions in IR.

PO-350. Rent Control in Jersey City. 3.00 Credits.

As rent prices increase in Jersey City, many activists and tenants are calling for both increased enforcement of existing rent control laws and new controls to be added to the existing laws. Such policies, however, are subject to vigorous debate. This course offers a hands-on examination of the existing policies in Jersey City and the larger policy debate about rent control through the following methods: 1) Student will design and implement a survey on existing policies for both landlords and tenants. 2) Students will collect and analyze data on the Jersey City housing market. 3) Students will compare and contrast rent control ordinances in municipalities across New Jersey. 4) Students will review the policy literature on rent control. Course Type(s): Service Learning.

PO-365. Introduction to Security Studies. 3.00 Credits.

What does it mean to talk about security in a globalized world? How do different concepts, discourses, and practices of security impact human lives, political rhetoric, public opinion, military action, and the current state of the international political order? This introductory course will critically review major IR theories and security frameworks, exploring different definitions of conflict, security, humanitarian action, terrorism, war, peace, and their significance in both historical and contemporary perspectives. Topics discussed will include diseases and migration as security issues, international crises, technologies of control and surveillance, the role of international institutions, and connections between security and power in international relations.

PO-366. Civic Scholars Seminar. 1.00 Credit.

This is a seminar that is coupled with an internship in a local or state government office. It is designed to help students make the most of their time as interns and introduce them to the local and state decision making processes in NJ. In addition to bi-weekly class meetings, students will meet with elected and appointed officials and professionals working in state and local government, and attend school board, council, commissioner, and state legislative meetings.

PO-376. International Organizations. 3.00 Credits.

Examination and discussion of international political and economic organizations including the United Nations, multinational corporations, the World Bank and regional organizations such as the European Union and producer cartels such as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting countries. Model UN fee of $500. Prerequisites: PO-100.

PO-380. Spatial Justice Cities and Resistence. 3.00 Credits.

Spatial Justice is an invitation to discuss social justice by looking at places and spaces around us. How much does the design of our cities reflect and offer insights into social and economic inequalities? How do city spaces influence embodied aspects of our daily lives? How can structured or spontaneous acts of spatial resistance impact broader social dynamics? Through the comparative study of urban social dynamics around the world, this course will discuss the contradictory ways in which spaces are socially constructed, consider different urban experiences in relation to race, gender, class, and sexual orientation, investigate spacial resistance dynamics, and explore how those can be applied to the promotion of more just and inclusive social & spatial realities.

PO-409. Constitutional Law & Governmental Powers. 3.00 Credits.

An advanced and case law-focused seminar on the allocation of governmental powers under the U.S. Constitution. Topics are explored through the study of U.S. Supreme Court decisions and include an examination of the separate powers of the national legislative, executive and judicial branches, the checks and balances that channel their operations, the relationship between the national and state governments, and the extensive reach of the national Commerce Clause and Spending Clause powers.

PO-414. Understanding Global Terrorism. 3.00 Credits.

This course, drawing on comparative global and historical experiences, exposes the student to the various regional expressions of terrorism (Asia, Latin America, N. America, Europe). Political, economic, nationalist and religious forms of terrorism receive considerable scholarly attention in this course.

PO-417. Constitutional Law & Civil Liberties. 3.00 Credits.

An advanced and case law-focused seminar on human rights and civil liberties under the U.S. Constitution. Topics are explored through the study of U.S. Supreme Court decisions and include an examination of religious liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to privacy, and the rights of equality and freedom from discrimination.

PO-422. Cmprtv Pol: Middle East & North Africa. 3.00 Credits.

Regional and international dimensions of politics in the area. The formation of nation- states; nationalism; superpower rivalries; the Arab-Israel conflict and the Palestinian question, the politics of oil, energy, and development; Islamic revival; and prospects for stability, change and democracy.

PO-424. Comparative Democratization. 3.00 Credits.

This course reviews the vast literature concerned with the transition from authoritarianism to democracy in various parts of the world. The concepts of democracy and authoritarianism are thoroughly explored, followed with a comparative review of actual cases of democratic and authoritarian rule that include problems facing newly established democracies. Along with the historical development of democracy and its "requisites," the course then focuses on the "third wave" of democratization, with attention to cases in Southern Europe, South America, East and Central Europe, with secondary review of other cases in Asia or Africa.

PO-477. International Law. 3.00 Credits.

An introduction to the principles and norms of international law and how they regulate political and economic interactions at the global level. A case oriented emphasis on treaties, the law of war, and dispute settlement.

PO-479. Internatn'l Political Economy. 3.00 Credits.

An examination of the dynamics of wealth and power in the global system. Emphasis given to issues of trade, monetary relations and economic interdependence. Regulatory efforts at the national, regional and international levels are analyzed. Prerequisites: PO-100.

PO-480. Development & Disaster Risk Reduction. 3.00 Credits.

This course investigates the relationship between global development strategies and disaster risk, resiliency and preparedness in international and local perspective. Prerequisites: PO-100.

PO-481. Immigration: Walls Or Welcome?. 3.00 Credits.

This course focuses on past and present immigration policies in the U.S. as well as immigration activism. Course Type(s): Pluralism.

PO-486. Seminar: Genocide. 3.00 Credits.

After a thorough conceptualization of genocide, the course will examine case studies of modern genocide, ranging from the 20th and 21st centuries. Course Type(s): Pluralism.

PO-488. Discovering Morocco. 3.00 Credits.

Through this travel course, students will examine essential aspects of Morocco: culture, language (Moroccan Dialect or MSA), history, and politics. This unique experience is designed to build on students' learning and motivate them to be more globally engaged in ways that are relevant and meaningful. Students are responsible for completing reading and writing assignments prior to the trip, and ultimately writing a final paper and presentation based on their experience to assess the significance of field trips.

PO-498. Political Poetry & Music. 3.00 Credits.

This course considers the relationship between aesthetics and political philosophy. Political themes flowing through poetry and music, analyzed both in terms of their message and medium, use in political activism. Course Type(s): Pluralism.

PO-499. Political Science Capstone. 3.00 Credits.

Comprehensive oral exam of each sub-discipline in political science and general political science knowledge. Course Type(s): Capstone, Writing Intensive.