2017 Summer Online Classes Available

The political science department is excited to announce the 2017 summer online classes. Click here to download the brochure.


PLS 100: Section 730 (1st Session) Introduction to American National Government

This course provides a broad introduction to the people and processes that shape American politics at the national level, focusing on founding principles, institutions, and mass political behavior.


PLS 160: Section 730 (1st Session) Introduction to International Relations

This course introduces concepts, ideas and debates central to the study of international politics through a variety of theoretical lenses. The core components of the course – historical processes and international conflict/war; international cooperation; globalization and the world economy; and global forces for change – are then analyzed and discussed using those theoretical lenses as guides.


PLS 170: Section 730 (1st Session) Introduction to Political Philosophy

This class is integral for all students from any discipline as it explores the most fundamental question we can ask as humans: How should we live our lives? More specifically, we use some of the ideas of the greatest philosophers in an effort to determine the best way to
live. What does this mean for our politics and government? But more importantly, what is happiness, and how do we achieve it?”


PLS 200: Section 730 (1st Session) Introduction to Political Science

The science of politics in three parts. First, we begin with a broad overview of the themes and topics such as “why do we have government?” Second, we progress to examining a host of political institutions such as the executive and legislative branches. Third, we move beyond formal institutions and turn our attention to things like the media and political culture.


PLS 201: Section 730 (2nd Session) Introduction to Methods of Political Analysis

This course provides an introduction to the tools of re- search design and statistical analysis used in social science research. Topics covered include experimental design, the logic of control, descriptive statistics, statistical inference, and statistical tests of significance.


PLS 320 : Section 730 (2nd Session) Judicial Politics

This class examines theoretical issues regarding the operation of the judiciary in the United States, with a particular, but not exclusive, focus on the federal court system and the U.S. Supreme Court.


PLS 321: Section 730 (1st Session) Constitutional Law

This course deals with civil liberties in the United States, and the way in which the Supreme Court decides which rights and liberties get which protections, at which times. Our specific focus will be on the First Amendment with an emphasis on how the Supreme Court defines, establishes, and protects these liberties though its interpretation of the Constitution. In addition, the first section of the course is devoted to tracing back and understanding the theoretical underpinnings of the First Amendment: why was it put into the Constitution, where do the notions of free speech and religious freedom originate from, and what theoretical reasoning supports their existence.


PLS 324: Section 730 (1st Session)

This course examines legislative processes and will focus on the US congressional system with comparisons with legislative bodies in other countries. We will cover issues such as representation, redistricting, congressional reelection behavior, campaign finance laws, and the link between Congress, and the executive branch of government. We will also examine Congress as an institution and explore how institutional rules, such as the new filibuster rule, can alter congressional outcomes.


PLS 354: Section 730 (1st Session)
Politics of Asia

This class addresses some of the most important issues in contemporary Chinese politics, such as political corruption, environmental pollution, urban-rural inequality, Internet censorship, and the U.S.- China relationship.


PLS 372 Section 730 (1st Session) Modern Political Philosophy

Political philosophy in the modern era forms the theoretical basis of all contemporary constitutional democracies, the United States in particular. This class will trace the ideas of these philosophers, with their heightened focus on ideas such as freedom, equality, and the separation of church and state.


PLS 392: Section 730 (1st Session)
Special Topics in Political Science: Getting Ready for A Career

This class will introduce students to potential career opportunities for political science and prepare students for the transition from college into the job market. The course centers around two major themes. First, students will learn about careers common to political science, and have the opportunity to develop a tentative path for their ideal career. Second, students will have
the opportunity to develop a professional portfolio targeted to your career goals.


PLS 392: Section 731 (1st and 2nd Session) Research Experience in Political Science

This class provides students with first-hand experience conducting research in political science. Students will work directly with a faculty mentor to learn about a new topic in American politics, international relations, or comparative politics. Students will then contribute directly to the creation of new research in this area. Admission to this class requires instructor permission. Please contact Ryan Black (rcblack@msu.edu) for additional information.


PLS 422: Section 732 (1st Session)
Seminar in Political Science: Film and Politics

This course will explore the relationship between politics and film, evaluating how we portray and understand politics through this medium. Students will watch a number of films with explicit and implicit political content, and learn how to critically analyze these films in the context of different political themes.


PLS 422: Section 731 (1st Session)
Seminar in Political Science: Law for Public Policymakers and Administrators

This seminar examines how law both empowers and restrains policymakers. Topics include administrative law, judicial review, state-local government relations, the Freedom of Information Act, employee rights, and govern- mental liability. Course material will be applied to real- world situations in writing assignments designed to simulate the work of policy workers.


PLS 494: Section 730 (Full Summer)
 Field Experience in Political Science

This course provides supervised field work in several areas of study. It may involve internships with non- profit organizations or public agencies, or participation in survey research, political campaigns, or petition drives.


ISS 215: Section 730 (1st Session)
Social Differentiation & Inequality: Role of Religion in Global Society and Politics

Religion is one of the oldest forms of societal organization and a phenomenon that touches aspects of most individuals’ lives. It is hard to read or listen to the news today without hearing some mention of religion in world affairs. How do social scientists approach the study of religion? Using readings from sociology, anthropology, political science, psychology, and economics, the course will examine how the teachings and practices of the world’s five major religious traditions affect rights, equality, conflict, and peace in different countries around the world.


ISS 225: Section 731 (1st Session)
Power Authority & Exchange: Social Science and Public Policy

An overarching theme of this course is the relationship between social science disciplines and public policy, particularly how social sciences can contribute to the development of ‘better’ public policy. This will be done by both an overview of various social science disciplines and through case studies of certain policy arenas focusing on power, authority, and exchange.


ISS 305: Section 730 (1st Session) Evaluating Evidence: The Social Science of Decision Making

On any given day, each of us will make hundreds of decisions. Some of these decisions will be mindless and unimportant: Should I bring an umbrella with me? Some, however, have the potential to substantially alter one’s life: Should I go to graduate school? This course will investigate what social science can tell us about how individuals make decisions ranging from the mundane to the monumental.


ISS 308: Section 730 (1st Session)
Social Science Approaches to Law: Crime and Punishment

This class will focus on crime and punishment in the United States over the last fifty years. There has been a 400% increase in the number of people incarcerated in the U.S. since 1980. Of the total number of individuals incarcerated in the world, 25% are in the U.S. The class will focus on the factors that have led to the unprecedented in- creases including media portrayals of crime, the war on drugs, the crime rate, and public opinion. The consequences of mass incarceration will be explored including the impact on people of color. Finally, the class will explore the costs of incarceration especially their impact on primary, secondary, and higher education.


ISS 328: Section 732 (1st Session)
Social Science and Sports

Explore what sports can teach us about how people and institutions behave outside of sports. What doping and match-fixing tell us about when people are more likely to be corrupt. What referees and team owners illustrate when racial discrimination occurs and how it might be prevented. Why efforts to prevent tanking in the NBA are similar to reducing the poverty trap in America. What hockey fights and baseball pitchers can teach us about violent behavior, how Michael Jordan passing the ball tell us something about how political parties spend their campaign money, and why pro sports teams might be smarter than college admissions officers.