Course Descriptions

Political Science & Legal Studies Courses

POLS100 Active Citizenship and Integrative Learning 
An exploration centered around a series of competencies, such as critical thinking, effective citizenship, valuing, and global perspective, which prepare students for living and working as active citizens of a multicultural world. Credit 3 hours. 

POLS101 Introduction to Political Science 
An introduction to the theories and practices used in the discipline of political science. This class will map political science in various ways to show students where their interests might fit those of the discipline. Credit 3 hours. 

POLS102 Introduction to Criminal Justice 
An introduction to the components and operations of the criminal justice system. It examines the three main components of that system: law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. Issues and challenges within the criminal justice system and the system's future are also explored. Credit 3 hours. 

POLS120 Ethics, Society and Politics 
This course explores the main theme of political science: justice. Over the next semester, we ask what it means for a political association to be just. We consider the different types of regimes that human beings have created in order to live good lives. Our main course resource is the primary literature of the Western political tradition, including but not limited to works by Aristotle, Locke, Bentham, Kant, Mill, and Rawls. Students will enhance their writing skills as they articulate a specific position on a specific ethical issue. Students will also learn how to use statistical measures, Supreme Court cases, and long-form journalism to explore economic and social inequalities in Kansas, the US, and in a global context. By the end of the class, students will have the tools to answer a crucial question: What regime would you choose to live in? Credit 3 hours. 

POLS205 Public Policy 
An examination of the nature of public policy and public administration in America as well as the processes of policy formation and administration. The different approaches to evaluating and improving public policies will be fully discussed. Credit 3 hours. 

POLS213 American Politics 
A consideration of the national government in terms of the central ideological basis, its institutional framework, and political actors and processes. This course is an introduction to the study of American politics in the contemporary era and focuses on the process of policymaking in a sociologically diverse, culturally divided, and institutionally fragmented political system. Credit 3 hours. 

POLS215 Crime and Punishment 
An exposure to the most vexing criminal justice issues of our time - how should we punish those who break our laws. Students will discuss cases, articles, and speakers' comments with the aim to discern the merits and disadvantages of the current incarceration priorities and to deliberate whether better options exist for punishing offenders and achieving justice for all concerned. Credit 3 hours. 

POLS216 Principles of Criminal Law 
A generic study of criminal law in the United States, covering the most common crimes prosecuted in American courts. Topics include principles of criminal law, principles of criminal liability, complicity, inchoate crimes, defenses, justifications, excuses, crimes against persons, crimes against property, and crimes against public order. Credit 3 hours. 

POLS217 Criminal Procedure 
An in-depth examination of the legal aspects of law enforcement. Policing in a democracy often conflicts with the core principles protecting citizens from government intrusions. This course is an in-depth analysis of the rules of criminal evidence and procedure in the United States. Topics include trial procedures, examination of witnesses, real/physical evidence, circumstantial evidence, hearsay evidence and exceptions, privileged communications, declarations against interests, and judicial notice. Credit 3 hours. 

POLS218 Leadership and Ethics in Criminal Justice 
An exposure to the various philosophical approaches for developing appropriate ethical decision-making tools for the criminal justice professional. Ethical decision-making tools are illustrated in actual application in police, courts, corrections, criminal justice policy, and criminal justice research scenarios. Emphasis is placed on professional integrity and leadership skills that support laws, policies, and procedures in criminal justice. Credit 3 hours.  

POLS222 International Relations 
A study of international politics, its elements, and general nature with emphasis on the struggle for power among nations. This course introduces and compares basic theories of international politics and applies them to current events. Credit 3 hours. 

POLS241 Comparative Politics 
An introduction to political and governmental systems, focusing primarily on the varieties of democracy. The concept of the nation-state, including political culture and history, and interest articulation. Comparison of both structure and function of government through case studies of a wide array of nations. Credit 3 hours. 

POLS306 Law and the Legal System 
An introduction to the law with a primary emphasis on U.S. law and the legal system. Topics include U.S. legal history; law and society; court organization and procedure; lawyers and the legal profession; judicial powers and constraints; constitutional, statutory and common law; criminal and civil law; administrative law; and contemporary legal issues. Credit 3 hours. 

POLS322 Climate Change, Global Warming, and Politics 
This course examines the basic science of climate change, the evidence for its human fingerprint, and the role or politics in its origins, public perception and mitigation. It will analyze the role of politics for questions concerning climate, ecology and the environment, with special emphasis on the debates and differences across the various schools of thought on environmental affairs. Credit 3 hours.

*2022-2023 Academic Catalog

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