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Political Science
210 Sierra Hall
CSU Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330-8254

Hours: M-F (8 a.m. to 5 p.m)
Phone: (818) 677-3488
Fax: (818) 677-4502




Please choose one of the following:


Lower Division Courses

155. American Political Institutions (3 units)
An examination of the development and dynamics of American political institutions and political processes including a special emphasis upon the role of minority groups. This course satisfies the Title V United States Constitution requirement and the California State and Local Government requirement.
156. Introduction to Comparative Politics (3 units)
An introduction to the comparative study of government and politics. Its purpose is to familiarize students with the basic themes, concepts and theoretical approaches that are used by political scientists to explain governmental institutions and political processes in different regions of the world.
197. Ethnic Politics (3 units)
An examination of the problems and politics of racial and national subgroups in America. The course includes focus on problems of ethnic identity, inequality and discrimination, and the impact of minority group politics upon public policy. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies.)
225. Elements of International Relations (3 units)
An analysis of the basic historical, geographical, economic, ideological and strategic factors which underlie and condition conflict and cooperation among actors in the contemporary international system. (Available for General Education, Social Sciences.)

Upper Division Courses

General prerequisites: Six units of appropriate lower division courses in political science. Additional specific prerequisites as indicated.

310. Problems of Political Economy (3 units)
Prerequisites: Econ 160 or 300 and completion of the lower-division writing requirement.
A study of the interaction of politics and economics in selected problem areas involving global, national and urban political economic systems. The political role of global corporations and the political dimensions of trade, taxation and budgeting will be considered. (Available for General Education, Social Sciences.)
321. Comparative Political Ideologies (3 units)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower-division writing requirement.
This course will examine, compare and contrast a range of political ideologies and their interpretation and application in contemporary societies. Attention is paid to defining the role and function of ideologies in specific contemporary states. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies.)
332. Politics of Latin America (3 units)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower-division writing requirement.
An introductory study of the politics of Latin America. The topics treated will include dependency theory, revolution, the national security state, women in politics, theologies of liberation, and re-democratization. Selected nations are used as case studies. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies.)
347. The Judicial Process (3 units)
An examination of the dynamics of the national and state judicial systems, with emphasis on the workings of the Supreme Court within American separation of powers; internal procedures of decision-making; external influences on the courts; the politics of selecting judges; and relations with other political institutions.
350. Great Questions in Politics (3 units) (Formerly POLS 250)
Analysis of perennial political questions about power, authority, justice, equality, and freedom. Course materials will include political and literary writings, films, case studies and legal cases. The aim throughout will be to relate these questions to contemporary political situations.
(Available for General Education, Social Sciences.)
355. American National, State, and Local Governments (3 units)
A detailed study of the structures and functions of the national government and California state and local governments. Special attention is given to the legislative and executive branches in the policy-making and administrative processes as well as the constitutional bases for these processes. This course satisfies the Title V United States Constitution requirement and the California State and local governments requirement. Not open to students who have taken POLS 155.
360. Public Administration (3 units)
Analysis of the executive function in governmental processes together with a survey of the principles of administrative organization, personnel management, financial administration, and public relations. Problems and trends in government service as a career are discussed.
361. Introduction to Public Policy (3 units)
This course will introduce the student to public policy approaches, contexts, processes and outcomes.
372. Principles and Methods of Political Science (1 unit)
An introductory study of the history, nature, and current developments of research in politics. One hour of seminar and four hours of methods activity. (POLS 372L must be taken concurrently.)
372L. Laboratory in Principles and Methods of Political Science (2 units)
(Must be taken concurrently with POLS 372.)
380. Los Angeles: Past Present, Future (Same as HIST & URBS 380) (3 units)
A multidisciplinary investigation of the Los Angeles urban area - its patterns of population and resources distribution; its historical, economic, social and cultural developments; and policies models designed to cope with its problems and to develop its potential as an ethnically diverse metropolis on the Pacific Rim. Application of social science methodology. Series of faculty and guest speakers, weekly discussion sessions, field trips. (available for General Education, Social Sciences)
403. State and Local Government (3 units)
A study of the political, administrative, and judicial systems of states, counties, cities, and special districts. Intergovernmental relations; functions; trends; current problems. (Satisfies the Title V California state and local government requirement.)
404. Urban Politics (3 units)
A study of the structures and processes which determine public priorities and programs in urban areas.
405. The Process of Public Policy Formation (3 units)
Prerequisite: at least one upper division course in public administration or American government.
A seminar examining several major areas of American public policy, explaining its formation and content by use of several analytic models: Policy areas studied may include civil rights, criminal justice, welfare, health, education, defense, and taxation.
406. Fundamentals of Policy Analysis (3 units)
Prerequisites: At least 1 upper division course in Public Policy, and POLS 372/372L or an equivalent course in Research Methods.
A systematic and critical approach to designing public policies. Integrates theory and social science techniques so students may apply the methods, models, and tools of policy analysis to particular cases and problems that confront policy makers.
407. Policy Implementation & Program Evaluation (3 units)
Prerequisite: a) at least one upper division course in Public Policy and b) POLS 372 and 372L or an equivalent course in Research Methods.
This course provides an overview of policy implementation and program evaluation, by looking at the strategies, the techniques, and tools used most frequently by policy makers and evaluators. Students will be introduced to the major theories and applications so as to be able to use the techniques of evaluation in assessing projects and programs in terms of impact, process, and cost.
411. Greek, Roman, and Medieval Political Theory (3 units)
An analysis of the major political theories and ideologies from the Sophists, Plato, and Aristotle through the Epicureans, Cynics, Stoics, Cicero, St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas.
412. Modern Western Political Theory (3 units)
An analysis of the major political theories and ideologies from Machiavelli and the Renaissance through Hobbes, Locke, the Enlightenment, Rousseau, Burke and Marx. Regular written assignments will be required.
413. American Political Thought (3 units)
American political ideologies from the colonial period, through the Revolution and the period of the Constitution, to the end of the nineteenth century.
414. Western Political Theory in the 20th Century (3 units)
A study of major contemporary theories in Western Europe and the United States. Included are such theorists as Sarte, Camus, Easton, Lasswell, Dewey, McLuhan, Marcuse, and Fanon, among other existentialists, behavioralists, Marxists, structuralists.
420A-H. International Relations of Selected Areas (3 units)
An intensive study of the international relations and impact on the world of nations or areas of special interest which are not included in other courses.
  1. Latin America
  2. Western Europe
  3. Eastern Europe
  4. Middle East
  5. Africa
  6. South Asia
  7. Southeast Asia
  8. Northeast Asia
421. The Politics of Development (3 units)
An examination and critical analysis of the problems, both internal and international, of countries that are undergoing political and economic modernization. Specific issue areas covered may include: human rights, the global economy, women in the global workplace, poverty and world hunger, environmental degradation, and militarism. Selected countries will be studied to determine historical trends in specific issue areas. Extensive examination of the paths and obstacles to world peace.
422. International Politics (3 units)
An advanced study of international politics from the standpoint of theories of international politics, individual, group and state behavior; the relation between continuity, conflict, and change in the international order; and an extensive examination of the paths and obstacles to world peace.
426. International Law (3 units)
Case studies of legal precedents affecting the regulation of the international community; together with an evaluation of the efficacy of international judicial sanctions.
427A/L. Model United Nations I and Lab (1 and 2 units)
The Fall semester of the Model U.N. Program begins with a general analysis of the role of the U.N. in world politics and comparative foreign policy. Particular emphasis is then placed on the foreign policy of the country to be represented and the internal and external factors on which that policy is based. Seminar format with group presentations and simulations. This course may not be taken more than once. One hour of seminar and four hours involving group presentations and simulations. (take concurrently with POLS 427AL).
427B/L. Model United Nations II and Lab (1 and 2 units)
Prerequisite: POLS 427A/L and consent of instructor.
The Spring semester of the Model U.N. program is intended to undertake the in-depth preparation of the delegation on the specific issues to be dealt with at the conference, and to conduct an evaluation of the year's experience. This course may not be taken more than once. One hour of seminar and four hours involving group presentations an simulations.
428. International Organization (3 units)
An analysis of the roles of various types of international organizations in contemporary world politics. Focus is on the United Nations, specialized (functional) agencies, regional organizations, and non-governmental organizations such as multinational corporations, foundations, and other "transnationals".
429. United States Foreign Policy (3 units)
An analysis of the contemporary declaratory and action policies pursued by the U.S. in the conduct of its foreign relations. Various conceptual models such as ends/means analysis, decision-making, and economic determinist will be tested and evaluated in terms of their descriptive, analytical and predictive utility.
430. Government and Politics of Selected Nations (3 units)
An intensive study of the governmental organization, domestic policies, and political structures of a major nation or group of nations which are not included in other courses. Topics will vary from semester to semester. (Course may be taken for credit three times only.)
432A. Government and Politics of Mexico and the Caribbean (3 units)
Introduction to the political process in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean; political behavior within its institutional and cultural context; detailed study of the factors underlying current political instability in the region.
432B. Government and Politics of South America (3 units)
General survey of the political structures of the South American states, with particular emphasis upon Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay; institutional and non-institutional means of organizing political power; contemporary political trends within the region.
433A. The Politics of Central America (3 units)
A study of the politics of Central America emphasizing current socio-economic and political crises and U.S. involvement in those crises.
433C. The Church and Politics in Latin America (3 units)
A study of the role of the Catholic Church in contributing to change in the politics of Latin American societies. The Church will be viewed as a political value bearer as well as an evolving institution.
434A. Government and Politics of South Asia (3 units)
A study of contemporary problems, political organization and governmental institutions of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Special attention to the development of nationalism and the process of modernization in the region.
434B. Government and Politics of Southeast Asia (3 units)
Comparative analysis of political processes, political change, and major national problems (i.e., poverty, population, and foreign economic penetration) in selected Southeast Asian states: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam.
435A. Government and Politics of China (3 units)
Analysis of the People's Republic of China, including its ideology, revolutionary origin, party organization, central and local government, role of the military, mass participation, economic modernization, cultural policies, and foreign policy. Changes from the Maoist to the post-Mao period will be emphasized. The question of Taiwan will be discussed.
435B. Government and Politics of Japan (3 units)
Analysis of continuity and change in political economy, society, and culture; state institutions, political power, and political issues; political competition; key national issues, policies, and their outcomes.
436A. Government and Politics of Europe (3 units)
Prerequisite: POLS 156 or permission of instructor.
A comparative analysis of recent and contemporary European politics, focusing on the political, economic, and social structures that have shaped European affairs since the end of World War II. Particular emphasis is given to the role played by the modern state, the interstate system, nationalism, and the world economy in shaping postwar European politics.
438. Governments and Politics of the Middle East (3 units)
A study of contemporary social and political movements and of governmental institutions and politics of the Arab states, Israel, and Iran.
439A. Government and Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa (3 units)
A study of the national governments, emerging political patterns, and problems of new states of west and east Africa. Study includes an overview of traditional societies and the politics of cultural sub-nationalism. Major focus on contemporary nationalism, modernization, and ideological developments, and on single-party, military, and other political structures. Seminar format with individual presentations.
439B. Government and Politics of Southern Africa (3 units)
A study of the national political structures and international politics of southern Africa. Analysis will focus upon the dynamics of race relations, African liberation movements, forms of government and politics, development of white and black nationalism, attempts at regional organization and international involvement in southern Africa. Seminar format with individual presentations.
440. American Political Parties and Politics (3 units)
A study of the rise of American political parties, their structure, operation, control, and political leadership.
441. Interest Groups (3 units)
A study of the tactics and aims of interest groups in their efforts to mold public opinion and to influence legislators, executives, judges, and administrators.
442. Government and Business (3 units)
A study of the exercise of public power to regulate business, industry, and agriculture; the significant effects of a federal system upon business enterprise; inquiry into "doctrines in competition" through the use of decisions of the United States Supreme Court.
443. The Legislative Process (3 units)
A detailed analysis of the structure, operations, and activities of the legislative bodies, including Congress, state legislatures, and municipal councils.
444. Elections and Voting Behavior (3 units)
A study of the electoral process in the United States, presented in terms of the history of elections, election and campaign techniques, and patterns of voting behavior.
445. Political Behavior (3 units)
Introduction to political behavior; influences of culture; ideology and social structure on political life; group influences on political behavior and major factors in leadership; psychological bases of participation in normal and extreme politics.
446. The Presidency (3 units)
Analysis of the evolution of the Presidency since 1789, with regard to the President's role as party leader, chief administrator, chief legislator, and national symbol. Analysis of major characteristics of the Presidency, issues concerning the President's constitutional powers and limitations, his present responsibilities, and the political and administrative tools available.
448. Women and Politics in the United States and the World (3 units)
This course examines feminist theories and public politics as they shape the various political possibilities and strategies for women in the United States and other selected counties.
449. Politics of Community Action (3 units)
Prerequisite: Upper division standing.
This course examines the role of community organizing and community action as it translates into social movements and public policymaking. Students will be required to perform either fieldwork or an internship and to integrate their experiences with literature and research on community organizing, social movements and/or public policy making for their final paper. This course will qualify as an internship to substitute for one of the two proseminars required for the Political Science major.
450. Jurisprudence (3 units)
A critical survey of the modern schools of jurisprudence and their treatment of law and such legal concepts and problems as obligation, responsibility, punishment, and the limits and purposes of law. The works of students of jurisprudence or legal philosophy will be supplemented with descriptive accounts of the nature and operation of modern legal systems.
455. Criminal Procedures (3 units)
A critical examination of the law and practices of the criminal process. Emphasis is placed on the major problems involved in pretrial procedures. These include search and seizure, self-incrimination, bail, plea-bargaining, and the enforcement of constitutional rights.
457A. Constitutional Law I (3 units)
General principles of federal and state Constitutional Law; powers of the national government; federal-state relations. A study of the leading decisions of the United States Supreme Court.
457B. Constitutional Law II (3 units)
Limitations on the national government; the scope of constitutional rights and liberties. A study of the leading decisions of the United States Supreme Court.
458. Administrative Law (3 units)
An intensive study of the administrative process, with particular emphasis on legal requirements affecting administrative adjudication and rule-making.
460. Welfare Policy (3 units)
This course introduces students to the development of welfare policy and the evolution of the welfare state in western industrialized nations by inquiring into the philosophical and political debates surrounding social policy and implementation.
461. Environmental Policy (3 units)
A study and evaluation of the political process governing the making of environmental policy. Specific issues covered will include energy policy, land use, air and water pollution, and hazardous and toxic waste disposal.
462. Ethics in Politics and Administration (3 units)
An examination of the various kinds of ethical problems faced by elected and non-elected government personnel. The focus is on the scope and limits of individual responsibility in the practice of politics and the management of public organizations.
463. Public Personnel Administration (3 units)
Analysis of the decline of the spoils system and development of the civil service, and analysis of practices and problem issues concerning such topics as recruitment, position classification, fringes, morale, in-service training, public-service unions, and civil liberties of public employees.
464. Comparative Public Policy (3 units)
Prerequisite: At least 1 upper division course in Public Policy or Comparative Politics.
This course examines why different nations formulate and implement different public policies for similar problems. It is a systematic and critical approach to understanding the effect of ideological orientations, political institutions, and governmental processes on the public policies of modern states.
465. Administrative Behavior (3 units)
Analysis of classic theories and case studies in administrative behavior; relations of organizational structure and personality types; survey of approaches to rationality in decision-making through study of the factors influencing administrative choices.
466. The Politics of Public Spending (3 units)
Critical analysis of how government financial policies are formulated and controlled within a setting of conflicting views and interests. Examines the influence of the system of checks and balances, the effects of cooperation between chief executives, administrators, budget bureaus, legislators, pressure groups, and the general public, and the impact of government spending on the private economy.
467. Urban Administration (3 units)
An analysis of public executives, including mayors, city managers, and chief administrative officers, and their relationships to the structures of urban government and the public priorities and programs of urban areas. The focus of the course will include the executive's relationships with the formal structures, councils, civil servants, budgets, political parties, interest groups, independent agencies, the media, and other levels of governments.
469. City Planning (3 units)
Prerequisite: POLS 403 or 404 or URBS 400 or 410 or GEOG 450 or 452.
A seminar which deals with the role of government in guiding the development of the urban physical environment. Nature, history, objectives, and methods of city planning. Organization for city planning. Political dynamics of policy formulation and control. Two hours seminar and two hours field activity.
471A-F. Proseminar (3 units)
Prerequisite: POLS 372, 372L, and one upper division course in the subfield in which the proseminar is listed.
Advanced research in a subfield in Political Science. Intended for seniors only. (Juniors may enroll with consent of instructor.)
  1. American Government
  2. Comparative Government
  3. International Relations
  4. Political Theory
  5. Public Administration and Public Policy
  6. Public Law
480. The Politics of Globalization (3 units)
Prerequisite: Upper division standing.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to some of the major changes that have accompanied the processes of globalization over the last thirty years and to identify and assess the positive and negative consequences of these changes. The course will discuss different approaches to globalization, its technical and historical roots, the economic, political, ethical and cultural consequences of globalization. The case of NAFTA and its three members, Canada, the United States, and Mexico will serve as a case study on which the class will focus to understand how the general trends of globalization take shape in a particular region.
481. Globalization, Gender, and Democratization (3 units)
Prerequisite: Upper division standing.
This course is concerned with three major phenomena of the modern world, globalization, democratization, and feminization, their interrelationship, and their impact on gender regimes (or gender relationships) in various parts of the world. The purpose of this course is to incorporate gender analysis into a critical study of the processes of globalization and democratization. The course will identify a number of gender regimes in the world and explore the economic, political, and interpersonal practices (including globalization) that contribute to their stability or ability to change in various institutions.
486SOC. Social Science Career Internship (3 units)
Same as Geography, History, Pan African Studies, Psychology, and Sociology.
Prerequisites: Upper Division standing in a social or behavioral science major, appropriate methods course as specified by the Department, and consent of instructor. Social and behavioral science principles will be applied to the work place. At least ten hours per week of supervised fieldwork is required. Students will complete learning contracts and submit written reports related to their internships. (See section on Academic Internships.)
490. Supervised Individual Projects (1 credit)
Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
Individual, supervised studies in selected areas of political science.
490CA. Supervised Individual Project-California Government (1 credit)
Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
Individual, supervised studies in California government. Satisfies the Title V California State and Local Government requirement (requirement 3).
494SOC. Social Science Career Internship
Prerequisite: Consent of internship coordinator.
496A-PP. Experimental Courses in Political Science (3 units)
Selected topics in Political Science with course content to be determined.
498. Internships, Field Assignments & Reports(1-6 units)
Prerequisite:Consent of instructor.
Does not carry credit for Master's degree.
499. Independent Study (1-6 units)
Prerequisite:Consent of instructor.
Does not carry credit for Master's degree.



Graduate Courses

Prospective students must consult with the Department to determine the status of the program before applying.

522A-G. Seminar in International Relations (3 units)
Prerequisite: Classified graduate status or consent of instructor.
Inquiry into major contemporary theories in international relations, including treatment of the problems of theory building and testing.
  1. Theory and Methodology
  2. International Law
  3. International Organizations
  4. Comparative Foreign Policies
  5. National Security Focus
  6. International Relations of Selected Areas
  7. Selected Topics
530A-J. Seminar in Comparative Government (3 units)
540A-J. Seminar in American Government & Politics (3 units)
Prerequisite: Classified graduate status or consent of instructor.
Special studies in the institutions of American government and the operation of political parties.
560. Seminar in Public Administration Theory (3 units)
Prerequisite: Classified graduate status or consent of instructor.
Students will study extensively the nature of public organizations and explore various analytical models, concepts, functions and techniques of administrative leadership, group dynamics and decision making which shape the procedures and policies of government in different administrative settings: national, state, local, and cross-national.
570. Seminar in Political Theory (3 units)
Prerequisite: This course is open to graduate students in the Social and Behavioral sciences and with instructor's approval, to upper division students.
This is a graduate survey seminar course in political theory. It is designed to engage students in in-depth analysis of the arguments of some of the defining figures of political theory, both ancient and contemporary.
571. Seminar in Methodology (3 units)
Prerequisite: Political Science 372/L, and consent of instructor.
A study of representative literature in the field of Political Science with emphasis upon the underlying methodological assumptions, analysis of statistical techniques employed with respect to appropriateness, evaluation of research design and application, and evaluation of validity of conclusion, with recommendations for replication or improvement.
597. Directed Comprehensive Studies (3 units)
Open by special permission to students electing to do a comprehensive examination in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts.
599. Independent Study (1-6 units)
Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.