Course Descriptions

Looking for political science courses for winter 2020 and spring 2021? Check out these intriguing courses. For more information, and to learn about our other course offerings, contact one of our advisors, or view the course catalog for more information.

Wintermester 2020

Political science wintermester course descriptions. Please review the course catalog for accuracy.
Course Number Course Name Professor Description
PSC 400F Politics and Science Fiction Nicholas Seltzer Perhaps the biggest misconception about science fiction is that it is about the future rather than the present. Like social science, science fiction attempts to build from what we know - or what we think we know - of the trends and mechanisms underlying society in order to glimpse at the future that will result. Conversely, by studying the science fiction of a society we can learn a great deal about their ideas, dreams, frustrations and fears. Come join us, as we explore the present and past through our collective imaginations of the future, as represented in science fiction print and film.

Spring 2021 courses

Want help making sense of an interconnected, complicated political world? These courses will help you understand and address the momentous challenges of our changing socio-economic and political era.

Political science fall course descriptions. Please review the course catalog for accuracy.
Course Number Course Name Professor Description
PSC 211 Introduction to Comparative Politics Laura Blume This course provides students with a foundation in the field of comparative politics. We will explore the - big questions - within the field of comparative politics, e.g. why are some countries democracies and others not? By studying how politics and political systems are similar or different across countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, students will learn how to better understand the world - as well as the United States. We begin by exploring the origins of states, nations and political regimes such as democracy and authoritarianism. We examine the role of political institutions, including electoral systems, party systems and systems of government. We will explore processes of economic development and political violence. Students will also gain substantive knowledge about several countries including Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Iran, Nigeria, the UK, Germany, Japan, India and China.
PSC 403/603C Environmental Policy Elizabeth Koebele Addressing environmental problems is an inherently political endeavor. From defining what counts as a problem to developing and implementing appropriate policy solutions, questions about power, participation and the role of scientific information are central to governing the environment. The primary goal of this course is to probe such questions through a broad, interdisciplinary exploration of environmental policymaking in the United States. In addition to examining the key factors and institutions involved in developing and implementing environmental policy, we'll also explore how major existing U.S. environmental policies came to be, how they function within the current political context and what role they can play in addressing the evolving environmental challenges of the 21st century.
PSC 403/603M Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Policy Elizabeth Koebele Climate change is one of the most salient political issues of our time. While there is scientific consensus about what is causing recent rapid changes in climate (fact: it is the emission of greenhouse gasses generated by humans), policymakers and stakeholders alike are far from agreeing on what actions should be taken to combat it and how they can be implemented effectively. This course provides students with the tools to develop their own answers to these questions by introducing climate change as an environmental and political issue at multiple scales. Through interactive lectures, discussions, policymaking simulations and collaborative projects, students will integrate knowledge from multiple disciplines, including the physical and social sciences, to better understand our political interpretations of and potential policy responses to climate change.
PSC405J/605J The European Union Carolyn Warner The European Union is what some have called an extraordinary political and economic experiment. The E.U. is also an effort by Europeans to overcome the economically, politically and militarily destructive aspects of their history. The E.U. has been an effort to develop creative alternatives that promote Europe's economic, political and social well-being, and to enhance Europe's standing in the world arena. How could such goals be met? Why have the institutions developed as they have? Who runs the E.U.? Why are some countries trying to join while the United Kingdom has left? Does the E.U. have a common foreign and security policy? This course reviews and analyses the rise and development of the European Union. Among the issues to be covered are: theories of integration; E.U. institutions; major policy issues such as agriculture, a common currency and expansion; and the interplay of national and international European politics in dealing with possible joint foreign and security policies, social and economic policies, and immigration.
PSC407E/607E Political Systems of Latin America Laura Blume This course provides a survey of politics in Latin America. In this course, we will come to understand the contemporary political, economic and social history of the more than 20 countries that comprise the region collectively called Latin America. We'll look at democratization and democratic decline in the region, as well as the rise of populism. We'll mine social movements in the region, indigenous politics and agrarian reform. We will explore how Latin America has been impacted by U.S. foreign policy and intervention in the region. We'll compare party systems and institutions and look at how religion has impacted politics. We'll explore persistent and current issues impacting Latin America, such as inequality, organized crime and corruption. We'll also delve into specific cases to illustrate these substantive issues including looking at the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff and democratic decline in Brazil; demilitarization and the subsequent economic growth and democratic stability in Costa Rica; indigenous, environmental activism in Peru; and, finally, ongoing conflict and the impacts of the historic 2016 Peace Accords with the FARC in Colombia.
PSC407K/607K Comparative Religion and Politics Ian Hartshorn What happens when God and politics mix? How do religious parties enter politics and shape democracy around the world? How do scholars of politics deal with religious life? What is secularism anyway? In this course, we explore what happens when political life mixes with issues of ultimate concern. By exploring how states have used, abused, or controlled religion (and vice-versa) we will try to come to an understanding of how these two powerful forces shape our lives. Through theoretical readings as well as case studies from Christian and Muslim majority countries, students will better understand why so much of world politics centers on religion and the state.
PSC 408E/608E Labor, Economy and Protest Ian Hartshorn This course explores when economic conditions send people to the streets in protest. With special sections on campus-based activism and stretching from progressive protests in South Africa to conservative protests in California, this course fulfils CO11 as well as the International Economic Institutions requirement of the IAFF Major (no calculus needed).

Nevada Legislative Internship

Ever wonder how legislatures actually work? What elected officials do once elected? Consider an internship with the State of Nevada legislature. Application deadline Oct. 29, 2020.

Political science fall course descriptions. Please review the course catalog for accuracy.
Course Number Course Name Professor Description
PSC490H Nevada Legislative Internship Amber Joiner Students participating in the Nevada Legislative Internship Program will gain first-hand experience in the inner workings of the Nevada State Legislature while earning academic credit. Students will gain direct experience with the policy process and policy research and will have the opportunity to observe interactions between legislators and advocates from a variety of interests. Participating students will be assigned to work with a member of the Nevada State Legislature based on political compatibility and interests. Each student will work with their assigned legislator throughout the duration of the spring semester with an option to continue working until the end of the legislative session. The duration of the internship is approximately five months, from mid?January until mid-May during the legislative session, which convenes biennially during odd years. Students can earn three or six credits. This internship is available to juniors, seniors and graduate students. (Graduate students must register under 690F). A background in political science is not necessary, but preferably students will have completed at least one policy or government related course, such as PSC 101 American Politics, PSC 210 American Public Policy and/or PSC 304 The Legislative Process. A GPA of 3.0 or above is preferred. See the informational video in our course videos section.

For graduate students, a key course in policy and public administration

Political science fall course descriptions. Please review the course catalog for accuracy.
Course Number Course Name Professor Description
PSC 744 Government Budgeting Robert Morin Government budgeting examines the methods by which the federal and state governments finance governmental operations that impact all of us on a daily basis. This course will discuss the sources of revenue collected by the government. The examination includes discussing the individuals and groups that pay taxes and those that do not pay taxes. The examination also includes a discussion of the policy areas where the government spends the money. This course includes a broader discussion of the political and economic context in which government budgets are produced..