Political Science

The academic program of the Department of Political Science seeks to provide students with a systematic understanding of government, political behavior and political institutions at the local, state, national and global levels. To accomplish these goals, students majoring in political science take coursework across the primary fields of political science – Political Theory, Comparative Government, American Politics and International Relations.

In addition to in-class instruction, the department seeks to provide students with rich opportunities for hands-on and experiential encounters with political processes in the United States and abroad. For example, the Washington, D.C. Honors Semester Program is an interdisciplinary program that enables students to intern in the nation’s capitol and allows them to meet and interact with key political and governmental officials. Other Hope students intern or work in governmental and political offices in Holland, Grand Rapids or Lansing.

The political science major provides a broad-based training for those who might wish to work in government or the private sector, pursue careers in law, teach political science, or do graduate work in political science. Political science students who supplement their study with appropriate electives in other disciplines may also be equipped for eventual careers in journalism, public relations, industry, small business, personnel administration and many more. Hope College political science majors have taken part in such varied activities as:

  • Directing the campus radio station
  • Meeting with prominent campus visitors such as Jennifer Granholm, George H. W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Elizabeth Dole, Terri Lynn Land, John Engler, John McCain, Robert Kennedy Jr., Peter Hoekstra, Bill Huizenga, Rick Snyder, Rick Santorum.
  • Organizing a “get-out-to-vote” campaign among college students
  • Serving as youth chairpersons of county, congressional district and state political party committees
  • Managing political campaigns

Graduates of the Department of Political Science have enjoyed such satisfying careers as:

  • Members of the Michigan House of Representatives and the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Assistant Presidential Press Secretary
  • Professor of International Relations at a major American university
  • Senior partner in a nationally prominent law firm
  • Juvenile rehabilitation officer
  • Budget analyst for a metropolitan transit system
  • Campaign management specialist with his own consulting firm
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of State
  • Assistant to the Mayor of Washington, D.C.
  • Executive director of state and congressional district party organizations
  • State and national legislative staff person
  • City manager
  • Pastor in the Reformed Church in America
  • VP/Chief of Staff for the Chief Executive Officer of the New York Stock Exchange.
  • Sr. Policy Consultant, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
  • Michigan Secretary of State
SOCIAL SCIENCE REQUIREMENT:

Students who are interested in fulfilling the college social science requirements have the option of taking Political Science 100 or 151.

Majors

Political Science

GENERAL PROGRAM FOR MAJORS

The program for political science majors, consisting of not fewer than 32 classroom credits in the department, is designed to provide broad-based training for those who might wish to work in government or the private sector, pursue careers in law, teach political science, or do graduate work in political science. 

To assure a good balance of course work, majors are required to complete

  • POL 100- Intro to American Politics, 4 credits
  • POL 151 - Intro to Global Politics, 4 credits
  • POL 242  - Research Methods in Political Science, 4 credits

Majors must complete one of the following international courses

  • POL 251- International Relations, 4 credits
  • POL 351 - International Law and Organization, 4 credits
  • POL 352 - Global Political Economy, 4 credits
  • POL 378 - US Foreign Policy, 4 credits

Majors must complete at least  one elective course (4 credits) in each of the following areas:

  • Political Theory
  • American Government
  • Comparative Politics

In addition to the classroom coursework requirements, each major must also complete a 4-hour experiential/internship course. Finally each major must complete POL 494, the Capstone Seminar.

Minors

Political Science

A minor in Political Science consists of a minimum of 20 credits in Political Science. Students must complete at least one 4 credit survey course (100 level). The remaining 16 credits should include courses from both the “American” and “International” offerings of the Department.

Political Science Education

In partnership with the Hope College Department of Education, the Department of Political Science offers a secondary teaching minor for certification through the State of Michigan. Requirements for the 24-credit minor in political science can be found on the education website.

Political Science

100. Introduction to American Politics — This course provides an introduction to American political institutions. Topics surveyed include the U.S. Constitution, parties and elections, Congress and the Presidency, the impact of interest groups and the media, and public policy debates on such issues as U.S. foreign policy, social issues, economic policy, and more.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Global Learning Domestic (GLD), Social Science 1 (SS1)

110. Topics in Political Science — This eight-week course is offered to fulfill the General Education Social Science II requirement. It provides a brief introduction to issues, debates, and challenges in political life. Themes and course activities will vary depending on the instructor.
2 Credits | Fall, Spring | Social Science 2 (SS2)

151. Introduction to Global Politics — This is an introductory survey course in the study of Global Politics. It will focus on the twin themes of Globalization and Democratization. While critically examining these dominant phenomenon, students will examine the roles of security for governmental and non-governmental actors, human rights, the environment, ethnic conflict, role of religion in politics and culture, international political economy, and movements for change.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Global Learning International (GLI), Social Science 1 (SS1)

160. Women in a Global Society — The purpose of this course is to examine the politics of women’s location in various parts of the world. It will examine women both in emerging and developing countries. We will look at many different perspectives and viewpoints that determine women’s status in society today. Students will become familiar with various/alternative views of women specifically in the third world. Cross-listed with WGS 160.
4 Credits | Fall | Global Learning International (GLI), Social Science 1 (SS1)

195. Studies in Political Science — A course offered in response to student and instructor interest. Topics are not generally covered in the regular course listings. Course may be taken multiple times if topics are different.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
1-4 Credits | As Needed

201. Political Geography — This course confronts traditional topics such as geopolitical regions and spatial dimensions of political behavior. The course has an integrative character and requires basic knowledge about international affairs, global locations, and current events. Available to Political Science majors and minors, International Studies majors, and to candidates for teacher education.
4 Credits | Fall

212. Parties, Interest Groups & Elections — This course involves a study of the organization and functions of contemporary political institutions such as parties and interest groups, as well as the nominating and electoral processes. Special attention is given to the presidential selection process.
4 Credits | Fall, Even Years

221. State and Local Government — The course examines the major constraints on state and local governments in making public policy, examines the institutions of state and local government, analyzes several public policy areas, and studies municipal and metropolitan governments. Students who are interested in pursuing careers in state and local government should also take Pol 235 Pol 391.
4 Credits | Fall, Odd Years

235. Public Policy and Administration — This course is an introduction to the underlying principles of government management at the federal, state, and local levels. Students who are interested in careers in government should also take Pol 294 or Pol 391 or a Washington Honors Semester internship (Pol 392 or Pol 393).
4 Credits | Spring, Odd Years

237. The Judicial Process — This course examines the fundamentals of the American judicial process, with an emphasis on courts as political institutions and on the political forces which shape and determine judicial behavior and legal outcomes. Special attention is devoted to the criminal justice and civil litigation systems, and the role of the Supreme Court in American life.
4 Credits | Spring, Odd Years

242. Research Methods — This introductory course deals with research methods and approaches to the study of politics which teach the basic skills needed for political science research. These include library research, approaches to political science, and computer usage. This course aims to insure that students have a basic core of skills related to their major.
Prerequisites: Pol 100 or Pol 151
4 Credits | Fall, Spring

251. International Relations — This course is an introduction to, and an examination of, the major problems confronting the peoples and nations of the modern world. Units include modernization, ideologies, military power management, diplomatic games, and international law and organization. Material on the international political economy also is covered.
Prerequisites: Pol 151
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Global Learning International (GLI)

262. Latin American Politics — The purpose of this course is to familiarize the student with the politics and culture of Latin America and in the process provide a base of knowledge from which analyses and comparisons can be made. The course is essentially comparative in orientation. The primary focus is on understanding problems of economic and political development and studying institutions such as the state, the military, and the Church in order to provide a basis for identifying similarities and appreciating differences within Latin America itself. We will build on these broader issues by focusing on the political, socio-economic and cultural realities of particular countries in the region. We will also evaluate alternative frameworks for social, political and economic change, and democracy within the continent as a whole and individual countries in particular.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Global Learning International (GLI)

274. The Practice of Law & Legal Advocacy — The U.S. is a nation of lawyers, with the highest ratio of lawyers per capita of any country. Little of significance happens without lawyers having a hand in it. This course introduces students to the realities of the legal profession and its role in American society. In addition to interacting with panels of lawyers from a variety of backgrounds, students also will engage in the art of legal advocacy through participation in a moot court simulation, presentations on contemporary legal controversies, and short writing projects.
4 Credits | As Needed

295. Studies in Political Science — A course offered in response to student and instructor interest. Topics are not generally covered in the regular course listings. Course may be taken multiple times if topics are different.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
1-4 Credits | As Needed

301. Religion and Politics — This course offers a survey of key issues arising at the intersection of religion and politics. The first part of the course will survey the variety of Christian responses to engaging the political order, with special attention paid to the American context. The second part of the course will examine the interplay between Christianity and policy alternatives, paying close attention to the behavior of political and social groups. Finally, the course will examine the increase of religious pluralism and its effect on American politics and jurisprudence.
4 Credits | As needed

303. Asian Politics — This course will focus on the economic, political, social, and cultural processes in Asia with a particular emphasis on China, India, and Japan. The students will become familiar with the interplay between these dominant Asian economies and the U.S. Issues of security, foreign policy, and globalization and its impacts will be discussed.
4 Credits | As Needed | Global Learning International (GLI)

304. Politics and Society of the Middle East — The purpose of this course is to examine the way in which politics and society plays out in the Middle East and North Africa. We will be looking at the region through the lenses of economics, politics, and culture. The course is meant to give you a more in-depth understanding of the Middle East but will focus more on contemporary issues and the impact that Middle-Eastern nations have on international politics and society as a whole.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring

305. African Politics — This class provides students with the conceptual framework necessary to understand the complexity, variety, and fluidity of contemporary politics in Africa. While not glossing over the depth and recurrence of crises in Africa, this course seeks to uncover our commonly-held assumptions and go beyond simple stereotypes. We will situate current political realities in Africa, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), among the historical factors internal and external to Africa that have shaped the continent’s current and future political possibilities. We will also keep an eye on current events, situating Africa in a global context, and therefore, not only will we learn about Africa, but we will investigate how Africa can test and refine broader theories about governance, democracy, state-building, political economy, etc., Thus, this class examines comparative political science through the specific focus on Africa as part of the larger global political arena.
4 Credits | Spring, Odd Years | Global Learning International (GLI)

310. Environmental Public Policy — This course is an introductory analysis of the economic, scientific and political factors involved in environmental public policy. American environmental management will be viewed in terms of the interplay among economic efficiency, scientific feasibility and the demands of the political process. Topics covered will include federal lands, intergovernmental relations, agency law, comparative institutions, U.S. environmental regulations and technological compliance. This course is team taught by faculty from the Departments of Economics and Business, Geological and Environmental Sciences, and Political Science, so that students are exposed to the interdisciplinary nature of environmental public policy issues. Four hours of lecture per week. Fulfillment of the NSL general education requirement is highly recommended prior to this course.
Prerequisites: Econ 211 with a grade of C- or better or Pol 100
4 Credits | Spring

332. Congress and the Presidency — This course examines the organization and operations of Congress and the role of executive and administrative agencies in the process of law making. Subjects such as the functions of Congress and the President, reapportionment and redistricting, nominations and elections, the role of political parties and lobbyists, congressional committees, the law-making process, war powers, treaties and executive agreements, congressional investigations, budgets and appropriations, and ethics in government will be studied. Major issues before Congress and the President will be explored in some detail.
4 Credits | Fall, Even Years

339. American Constitutional Law — This course is a topical and developmental survey of the principles of the U.S. Constitution. The primary focus of the course is on the development of civil rights and liberties jurisprudence--religion, speech, press, due process and privacy rights, equal protection under the law, rights of the accused and more. The course also examines structural questions of constitutionalism--separation of powers, assertions of executive authority, limits on federal power, federalism--with a particular focus on contemporary controversies and applications.
4 Credits | Fall, Even Years

341. Ancient and Medieval Political Thought — We will examine such thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and others on such issues as: human nature, the good life, the role of government, the relation between the individual and the government, the meaning of freedom, and the need for social order. We will also investigate how ancient and medieval views differ from modern political thought. Cross-listed with Phil 341.
4 Credits | Fall, Odd Years

342. Modern Political Thought — We will examine such thinkers as Hobbes, Locke, Burke, Bentham, Mill, Spencer, Rousseau, Hegel and Marx on such issues as: human nature, the good life, the role of government, the relation between the individual and the government, the meaning of freedom, and the need for social order. We will also investigate how modern political thought differs from ancient and medieval views. Cross-listed with Phil 342.
4 Credits | Fall, Even Years

343. Contemporary Political Thought — The theory of the liberal democratic state in the 20th century will be studied. Attention will be given to such central concepts as capitalism, socialism, communism, freedom, equality, and justice. Cross-listed with Phil 343.
4 Credits | Spring, Odd Years

345. Politics and Mass Media — This course is an introduction to the dynamics of mass media in American democracy. It examines how mass media shape Americans’ political attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. The course discusses a) the major theoretical frameworks which structure our thinking about politics and media systems, b) the social function of mass media and its impact on politics and c) methodological and substantive problems in measuring the influence of media on the social world. Special attention is given to the growing politicization of the Internet by both political elites and the mass public.
4 Credits | Fall, Even Years

346. American Political and Social Thought — This course is an introduction to political thought in America. It will include 1) a review of the antecedent and origins of American political thought, 2) a tracing of the history and development of political thought in this country, 3) a survey of the imported political theories which have surfaced in the course of that historical development, and 4) a careful examination of the variety of political ideologies present in contemporary American political thought, and the outlook for the future.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing
4 Credits | Spring, Even Years

348. Race and Politics — We all come to the topic of race and politics in America with a wealth of knowledge and varied experience regarding the interaction between racial identity and the political order. This class formalizes this knowledge and offers an introduction to the study of race in American Politics. Often the study of race and politics is narrowly approached. This class moves beyond the Black/White paradigm and the study of African American politics to examine issues in Latino and Asian politics as well as the politics of Whiteness in America. Specifically, this class focuses on four core issues: the significance of race; racial theories; race in American political culture, and mass media; and contemporary case studies in race and politics in America.
4 Credits | Spring, Even Years | Global Learning Domestic (GLD)

349. Contemporary Topics in Political Thought — An exploration of more specialized subjects in political thought. Possible topics include: Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Constitutionalism, Shakespeare’s Politics, Capitalism and Socialism, Just War Theory and Pacifism, Catholic and Protestant Political Thought, Liberal Democracy, and Islam. Within the context of these topics, we will consider the fundamental questions about human nature, justice and equality, liberty and oppression, and freedom and authority that make up the perennial concerns of political thought.
4 Credits | Fall, Odd Years

350. United Nations — This course gives the student an appreciation and understanding of the United Nations. Through study and simulation, the student will recognize the reasons for the UN, its various functions, partners, and procedures. The role of the United Nations in conflict resolution will be emphasized in class discussion.
2 Credits | Spring | Global Learning International (GLI)

351. International Law and Organization — This course examines the formal and informal organizational structure of the international community, as well as international legal norms, customs, and practices. Contemporary international systems and organizations are studied as part of an extensive Model United Nations simulation.
4 Credits | Spring | Global Learning International (GLI)

352. Global Political Economy — An exploration of the impact of development and economic globalization after World War II. Students will be introduced to the role of transnational and multinational corporations, as well as international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The course will examine the importance of economic integration and regionalism. It will also explore topics including international trade and its impact, and the role of the World Trade Organization.
Prerequisites: Pol 151
4 Credits | Fall

375. Philosophy of Law — What is law, and what gives law the obligatory force it has? In this course we will investigate such issues as the nature of law, the relation of law to morality, and problems with interpreting and applying the law, especially the Constitution. Cross-listed with Phil 375.
4 Credits | Spring, Even Years

378. U.S. Foreign Policy — American foreign policy is examined in global terms with emphasis on alternative political moods of the public, processes by which policy is formulated and executed, its current substance, and challenges of international politics.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing
4 Credits | Fall, Odd Years

391. Internship Program — A variety of internship programs are available through the Department of Political Science. Field experiences at the local, state, or national government level or with an attorney or a political party organization are possible. A one-hour campaign internship is also available during every national election year. The student will work in the internship for a minimum period of time and, under the direction of a staff member, prepare a paper related in some manner to his or her field experience.
1-4 Credits | Fall, Spring

392. Washington Semester Internship — These internships are offered under the Washington Honors Semester Program (see Pol 496). Students typically will participate in two internships. Most students intern in Congress or with a political interest group. Some students intern with an executive branch agency, a political party, or another group. Interns will prepare a term paper or other written material for each internship on a topic related to the internship experience.
4-8 Credits | Spring

393. Washington Semester Internship — These internships are offered under the Washington Honors Semester Program (see Pol 496). Students typically will participate in two internships. Most students intern in Congress or with a political interest group. Some students intern with an executive branch agency, a political party, or another group. Interns will prepare a term paper or other written material for each internship on a topic related to the internship experience.
4-8 Credits | Spring

395. Studies in Political Science — A course offered in response to student and instructor interest. Topics are not generally covered in the regular course listings. Course may be taken multiple times if topics are different.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
1-4 Credits | As Needed

397. Campaign Management — Campaign management studies the methods and techniques of managing a campaign for public office. Topics include organization, advertising, press relations, fund raising, advancing, volunteers, budget, issues development, scheduling, and strategies. Up to half of the total class and preparation time may involve field work. Students choose between a Democratic Party or a Republican Party lab when doing field work. Individual campaign plans are prepared at the end of the course.
4 Credits | Fall, Even Years

490. Independent Studies — Independent research of an advanced nature can be arranged under the supervision of a designated staff member, culminating in the preparation of an extensive research paper.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor, Senior standing
1-4 Credits | Fall, Spring

491. Readings in National Domestic Institutions — Independent reading of assigned works of an advanced nature can be arranged under the supervision of a designated staff member.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
1-4 Credits | Fall, Spring, Summer

492. Washington Semester Preparation — This course provides an orientation for accepted Washington Honors Semester students. The course examines current public policy issues, seeks to sharpen written and oral communication skills, and prepares students for a semester of living and working in Washington, D.C.
1-2 Credits | Fall

494. Capstone Seminar — This course emphasizes individual research projects in some field of politics and the preparation of the research paper. Special requirement for majors: an oral discussion and portfolio presentation on 100, 242, and 251 during the course.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring

496. Washington Semester Program — This program enables superior students from all disciplines to study in Washington, D.C., and apply knowledge of their area as it relates to government and politics. Select junior and senior students will take a seminar on American government and politics; participate in group seminars with congressmen and legislative staff, executives, lobbyists, political party officials, and journalists; intern for twelve weeks or two six-week periods in Congress, the executive branch, or with political interest groups; and prepare extensive research papers based upon their semester’s work.
Prerequisites: Permission of Program Director
4 Credits | Spring

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