The Letter of Specialization requires students to take at least 4 undergraduate or graduate courses and the equivalent of 120 hours (3 credit hours) of research experience. Required coursework consists of 1) an introduction to research design and analysis, 2) two technical option courses, 3) one substantive option course , and 4) three credit hours of UREP or similar research experience. Pre-approved options are listed below, but other options inside and outside the department may be used to fulfill the Substantive or Technical requirement with the approval of a DAPPLS Advisor. When requesting approval of an unlisted course, please be prepared to share a copy of the course syllabus with the DAPPLS Advisor.
POLISCI328 or POLISCI750
This course is designed to familiarize undergraduate political and social science majors with the basics of undertaking research in the social sciences. It will cover aspects of research design, and an introduction to various methodological approaches to political science research.Should we include a link to the syllabus?
Faculty: Rolfe, Schaffner
In this course, students will both learn how to digest empirical legal research and be equipped with the skills to conduct their own empirical research. Using readings and accompanying data from a variety of areas of legal studies research, the course covers topics including constructing empirical legal research questions, collecting and generating data appropriate for testing those questions, collecting and generating data appropriate for testing those questions, visualizing data and conducting descriptive inferential analyses. Students will leave the course with a firm understanding of the centrality of data in twenty-first century law.
POLISCI 297/LEGAL 297V Weighing the Evidence
In this course different ways that philosophers, scientists, and statisticians have sought to interpret probability and causation, the practical techniques that have emerged, and how they may be applied to certain problems in public policy and law. Students will deep their ability to critically examine competing claims about data, analyze and interpret evidence, and identify areas of genuine ambiguity.
POLISCI 391/POLISCI791 Political Network Analysis
This course introduces theories and methods used to analyze social and political networks. The study of networks across the sciences has exploded recently. In this course, we will cover network scientific theory as it applies to the social sciences, network data collection and management, network visualization and description; and methods for the statistical analysis of networks. The course will make extensive use of real-world applications and students will gain a thorough background in the use of network analytic software. Examples used in the course are drawn from multiple disciplines, and the course will be relevant to anyone interested in network analytic research.
POLISCI 499C – Honors Seminar
In this course, you will draw on a variety of perspectives to learn more about the relationship between energy and politics. Using statistical and qualitative techniques, you can help answer any questions regarding energy affecting global politics or create your own. Open to Senior and Junior Commonwealth Honors College Students only.
POLISCI 394RIH Political Polling and Survey Research
This class examines how political scientists use surveys to measure and understand public opinion and election outcomes. A significant component of the course will be a class project to develop, conduct, and analyze an exit poll survey of voters during the election. Students will learn valuable skills including how to write survey questions, how to properly sample and interview respondents, and how to analyze survey data. They will also learn what constitutes public opinion, where public opinion comes from, how it changes, and why it matters for our political system.
POLISCI 797SR Survey Research Methods
This course will focus on advanced topics in survey design and analysis. Topics covered include different approaches to sampling, how to construct and use survey weights, and tools for analyzing and enriching survey data, including approaches to conducting matching and multiple imputation, as well as the construction and analysis of panel data. The course will also focus on designing and analyzing survey experiments. Open to Undergraduates with insructor consent.
POLISCI 791EA Empirical Analysis of Ideologies
This course will familiarize students with existing approaches to the measurement and classification of ideology in text, and provide an opportunity to think critically about how to improve upon these. We begin by examining various definitions of ideology from different empirical and philosophical traditions, distinguishing between those that emphasize core values and beliefs from ones that take policy positions as their essential indicators. We then consider what it would mean to analyze ideologies as shared, publicly-articulated philosophies; in particular, how might we operationalize such systems in order to effectively detect their presence in writing and speech? The instructor will draw examples primarily from contemporary U.S. media, but students are welcome to base their own research in other setting. Open to Undergraduates with insructor consent.
POLISCI 755 – Introduction to Quantitative Analysis
This course is an introduction to statistical research methods for political science. The material covered will include probability theory, descriptive statistics, data visualization, the principles of statistical inference, and linear regression. Upon completion, students will be able to understand, evaluate and criticize the use of basic statistical methods for social science research. The course will also serve as a useful prerequisite for more advanced research methods courses.
POLISCI 308 – Public Opinion in Politics
This course explores the landscape of opinion on a variety of political topics to develop an understanding about how the public thinks about issues and why they think the way they do. It also examines how peoples’ opinions influence their behavior, and whether or not political leaders follow the “will of the public” or manipulate public opinion to achieve their own aims.
Faculty: Blinder, Schaffner
POLISCI 320 – Public Administration
The course develops the practical knowledge and analytical skill required to make sense of field problems faced by public managers, and to design and implement strategic and effective practical action in the public sector.
POLISCI 329 OR POLISCI791 – Political Psychology
This course provides an introduction to the field of political psychology. It focuses primary attention on psychological explanations of individual political attitudes and actions, among both elites as well as the masses.
POLISCI 359 – International Political Economy
This course provides a thorough introduction to international political economy: the study of the dynamic interplay between international economics and politics. The course first reviews different theoretical approaches to analyzing and explaining governance in the contemporary international system and the basis for world order. It then covers a wide variety of contemporary issue areas in international political economy, including the politics of international trade, development, and international financial regulation.
PPA 397P – Policymaking for Social Change
What is inequality and what is fair? This course examines inequality across three major policy areas: education, justice, and labor. For each policy area, we investigate inequality by examining policy impacts and outcomes across race, ethnicity, gender, and class. We explore the policy solutions that have attempted to increase equality (e.g., No Child Left Behind, minimum-wage, Three Strikes sentencing laws) and assess success and failure. Students will learn policy analysis and evaluation tools for assessing policies. By the end of the class, students can expect to have gained a deep understanding of these policy areas and the political, economic and social challenges for creating equality in the United States.
POLISCI 391FPH – Framing Public Policy and the News
This course examines how policy issues and current events get framed and re-framed by public officials, political commentators, reporters, and interest groups. After reviewing some social scientific theories about how framing occurs, and reading framing analyses conducted by a number of scholars, students will have an opportunity to do their own original research. They will choose a public policy or set of events, identify various ways that it has been framed, and analyze differences in the relative prominence of these distinct frames across sources or over time.
POLISCI 393M – Media?
Legal 394JI (Judges & Judging)
The purpose of this upper-division integrative experience (IE) course is to explore the roles of judges, with a particular emphasis on judicial decision making. Because understanding what judges do entails comprehending human behavior more generally, we will approach this topic through an interdisciplinary lens. Accordingly, we will examine perspectives on judging from a variety of disciplinary approaches, including economics, gender studies, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology. Topics include judicial decision making, the selection of judges, judicial empathy, constitutional interpretation, and the role of juries. This course will provide you with a new way of thinking about the law, based on how a wide range of social science disciplines approach the craft of judging. In addition, you will learn how to understand and critique legal studies research, and hone your writing skills through the development of your own research papers.
Legal 391B (Law & Social Activism)
The purpose of this integrative experience course is to explore the relationship between law and social activism. To do this, we will examine how social movements and interest groups use the legal system to influence change and mobilize support for their causes. Because the study of social movements implicates a diverse array of perspectives, we will interrogate this topic from an interdisciplinary lens. We will devote special attention to issues of social justice; group formation and maintenance; how groups use the legal system in an attempt to influence public policy; legal strategies; the effectiveness and limits of litigation; and the role played by lawyers in using the courts to pursue social change. We will investigate these topics in the context of social movements related to civil rights, LGBT rights, women’s rights, the Second Amendment, and others. This course will provide you with a new way of thinking about the law, based on how a wide range of social science disciplines approach the study of law and social activism. In addition, you will learn how to understand and critique legal studies research, and hone your writing skills through the development of your own research paper
Legal 397V (Civil Liberties in Wartime)
Civil liberties are one of the casualties of war. This course will begin by looking at the loss of civil liberties during World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War. With the benefit of hindsight, we will analyze the current conditions including USA Patriot Act, military commissions, and secret deportation hearings. Prerequisite: LEGAL 250
Legal 397N (Law & Public Policy)
Examines ways in which law, especially constitutional law pronounced by the courts, influences the adoption, legal and political strategies, and public perception of major public policy issues. Several short topics, such as same-sex marriage, teaching of evolution in public schools, and Internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. Major topics include reproductive freedom, right to refuse medical treatment, and end-of-life healthcare decisions.