Department of Political Science


The Department of Political Science provides rigorous and well-rounded undergraduate training in Pre-law, American Politics, Comparative Politics, and International Relations.

Spring 2013 Political Science courses 

Please visit the University's official Spring 2013 Course Schedule for meeting times, instructors, sections, and additional course information.

U.S. Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) visited Dr. Hardy's Campaigns & Elections class during the Fall 2010 term.PLSC C101 (3) Global Affairs
An introduction to major issues in contemporary world politics, including military security, ethnicity andnationalism, the international economy, international institutions, the environment and comparisons of a variety of countries and regions.

PLSC C102 (3) American Government
An introduction to the American political system: its foundations, institutions, political processes and policy areas.

PLSC 103 (3) Introduction to the American Political System
Introduces students to the American political system: its foundations, institutions, political processes, and policy areas.  Special focus on the role of citizens in America - how one can participate, when participation can make a difference and how one can even begin a career in government service.  Course intended for Political Science majors and minors. Credit will not be granted for both PLSC 102 and PLSC 103.

PLSC C105 (3) Law and Politics
An analysis of law, justice, rights, court procedures and legislation. Includes development of various concepts of law and individual and group rights.

PLSC 201 (3) State and Local Government
Explores inter-relationships between national, state, county and local governments. Emphasis on Illinois politics. Satisfies the Illinois constitutional requirement for teacher certification.

PLSC 205 (3) Judicial Process
An introductory course, required for all majors and minors, designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the judicial process in the US.

PLSC C215 (3) Model United Nations
Benedictine's award-winning program offers simulation techniques to develop an understanding of the processes and operations of the United Nations. The course culminates with the students participating in the National Model UN conference in New York. Students learn the art of diplomacy, negotiation and become informed on important global issues.

PLSC 218/318 (3) Nationalism and Terrorism
This course applies theoretical and analytical tools from the fields of International Relations and Comparative Politics in an attempt to understand the two most serious threats of global security in the post-Cold War world - nationalism and terrorism. Most of the death due to political violence in recent years has been directly or indirectly linked to nationalist movements of terrorist methods. It is critical that citizens in democratic states be informed on these matters, to understand what they are and are not, in order to be responsible citizens. Prerequisites: PLSC 101, 102, 105 or 210.

PLSC 231/331 Constitutional Law II
A study of the Constitution as a living and changing document underlying our entire system of government; the role played by the judiciary in developing Constitutional law. Prerequisites: PLSC 102, 105, or 210.

PLSC 397 (1-3) Internship
Federal, state and local government institutions in the area serviced by the University offer opportunities to gain practical experience. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing and the consent of Dr. Joel Ostrow, faculty coordinator.


Additional Political Science courses

The following courses are not being offered during the Spring 2013 term, but will be offered in subsequent terms.

The 2010 GOP candidate for Lt. Governor, Jason Plummer, stopped by Jim Ryan's State & Local Government class to talk about his campaign with students.PLSC 210 (3) Introduction to International Relations
Analysis of the processes of interaction among nations and groups of nations within the international political system

PLSC 213/313 (3) American Foreign Policy
An overview of recent American foreign policy and international and domestic pressures placed on foreign policy leaders. Students will participate in decision situations and debate policy options. Prerequisite: PLSC 102 or PLSC 210.

PLSC 216/316 (3) Genocide: The Politics of Hate, Fear, Terror and Power
Learn how forces repeatedly converge to produce the most deadly crime conceived by humanity. The class will study cases and the concept of genocide in the context of international relations, comparative politics and foreign policy studies

PLSC 217/317 Revolutions and Political Violence
Analyzes theories of revolution and studies a variety of 20th century revolutions. Also considers concepts of terrorism, guerilla warfare and nonviolent revolution. Prerequisites: 102, 103, 105, 201, 205 or 210.

PLSC 222/322 Russian Politics in Comparative Perspective
Analyzes the politics, economics, and social changes of post-communist states, comparing Russia's post-communist experience with that of other states in the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The fundamental focus of all discussions and readings is on the requirements of and obstacles to the creation of a democratic political system. Prerequisites: PLSC 102, 105 or 210.

PLSC 224/324 (3) Democracy and Democratization
Examines the theory and practice of democracy in the world and "transitions to democracy" through analysis of the issues of creating a democratic political system. Prerequisite: PLSC 102 or PLSC 210.

PLSC 230/330 (3) Constitutional Law I
A study of the Constitution as a living and changing document underlying our system of government, and the role played by the judiciary in developing constitutional law, focusing on separation of powers and federalism. Prerequisite: PLSC 102, 105 or 210

PLSC 236/336 (3) Women in the Law
Introduction to the history and development of feminist thought while applying the knowledge to cases and legal situations affecting women. By examining various controversies and problems, students achieve a greater awareness of how the American legal system shapes issues relating to gender. Prerequisite: 102, 103, 105, 201, 205 or 210.

PLSC 237 (1) Mock Trial
An overview of the mechanics of courtroom procedure. Usually taught in conjunction with the mock trial competition. May be repeated for credit.

PLSC 241/341 (3) Presidential and Congressional Politics
Study of the American presidency; the background, powers and relations with the other components of the political system.

PLSC 247/347 Politics and Religion in the United States and Beyond
An examination of the intersection of religion and politics from both a domestic and comparative perspective including contemporary debates about political identities, secularization, modernization, culture, conflict, and collaboration. Religious institutions will be evaluated as potential vehicles for citizen discourse and mobilization. Emphasis will be on domestic American politics, but many of these phenomena will be also considered from a comparative perspective. Prerequisites: PLSC 102. 105, or 210.

PLSC 244 Democratic Citizenship
This is a seminar in which students will discuss and analyze the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and the importance and relevance of polities, government, and public policy. The course includes a service learning component. Prerequisites: 102, 103, 105, 201, 205 or 210.

PLSC 299 (3) Research Methods in Political Science
Analysis of theoretical approaches to the study of social sciences and exploration of basic statistical methods used in political science. Students discuss and complete a social scientific research design. Prerequisite: senior standing; PLSC 102, 105 or 210.


PLSC majors and minors are also encouraged to work with faculty and staff to find internships across a number of fields within and around government.  Jim Ryan, Director of The Center for Civic Leadership, and Department Chair Dr. Joel M. Ostrow continue to develop a thriving and expanding list of internship opportunities.  Interested students should email Priya Roberts, Department Secretary, for further information about internships.