Political Science

Program Learning Outcomes

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College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences    

Department of Political Science


Bachelor of Arts

General Political Science Concentration





David Dixon, Department Chair

Salvatore Russo, Hamoud Salhi, Annie Whetmore

Department Office: SBS G-322, (310) 243-3435

Emeritus Faculty

Lyman Chaffee, Alan Fisher, Linda Groff, George Martin Heneghan, Jay Kaplan, Wayne Martin, Richard Palmer, O.W. Wilson


Program Description

The Political Science Program at CSU Dominguez Hills offers excellent opportunities for the study of government and politics.

Over 30 courses cover all the major aspects of the discipline. Students develop an understanding of human behavior as it relates to politics. They learn to discuss and analyze critically current public policy issues facing the United States and the world. They are taught how to critically observe and understand world affairs and comparative politics. They are trained in appropriate research techniques for the study of political processes.

The General Political Science Concentration is a relatively "open" one, allowing students to choose from a wide range of courses and subjects within a general framework. It is designed for students seeking broad exposure to the diverse subjects of the discipline. 

A five-course minor in political science also is available. While the minor most often is used in conjunction with such majors as communications, human services, history, economics and sociology, it can be paired with almost any major offered at this university.


The political science faculty is an interesting and diverse group of scholars actively involved in their own research projects. Most have traveled extensively in this country and abroad.

Political science internships are available. One opportunity at the state level is the Sacramento Semester Program, which brings students from all 23 California State University campuses to Sacramento for one semester to take advantage of a unique learning experience at the State capital. Another is The Washington Center program in the nation's capital. Through the International Education Center, students can participate in study abroad programs.

The Department of Political Science is classified as an "Engaged Department" for outstanding work in the community.  This classification is granted by the campus office of community engagement (Center for Service Learning, Internships and Civic Engagement).

The department offers annually the Lori Cardenas Memorial Scholarship and Michael O'Hara Memorial Scholarship to outstanding students majoring in political science, sponsors the active Association of Political Science Students, and participates in Model United Nations conferences.

Students who work during the day should know that class scheduling permits completion of a political science major in the late afternoon and evening hours.

Academic Advisement

Political Science faculty recommend that new and continuing students visit the department for information regarding graduation requirements, transfer of credit, program planning, lifting of academic holds, and graduation approval. Student records and graduation change of major, add/drop, and other forms are kept in the department office.

Students needing assistance for more specialized interests should see specific faculty members for supplementary academic advising. For pre-law preparation contact Salvatore Russo; for internship opportunities, see Salvatore Russo; for American politics see Jay Kaplan, Salvatore Russo or Annie Whetmore, and for international and comparative politics see chair of the department.


High school students are encouraged to take English composition and social science courses, including civics, economics and history. Experience in journalism, debating activities and student government are helpful. A foreign language is not required for the degree. However, students who plan further study at the graduate level are encouraged to take a foreign language.

Community college transfer students should contact their counseling office or the CSU Dominguez Hills Political Science office to identify appropriate lower division major/minor preparatory courses. Typically, these would include a basic course in American political institutions, which would fulfill the state code requirements for U.S. Constitution and California state and local government. Transfer students must take POL 300 (Quantitative Methods of Political Analysis) at CSUDH as community colleges do not offer an equivalent course. Other lower division courses introducing students to the discipline of political science, international relations and comparative politics also are highly recommended.

Students at CSU Dominguez Hills should complete both POL 100 and 101 as a preparation for the major.

Career Planning

Graduates with Political Science majors or minors from CSUDH have pursued a broad variety of careers. These include teaching, law, law enforcement, public administration, business, journalism, and international service. CSUDH graduates, including those with advanced graduate and law degrees, are employed as attorneys, public administrators, business executives, and teachers in schools and universities. Others work as labor union officials and a few have been elected to public office. Graduates from our program are employed both within and outside the United States.

The best undergraduate education for all careers develop critical thinking, communication and research skills. Course work and extra-curricular activities such as participation in Model United Nations conferences, writing for the campus newspaper and experiential internships will improve these skills. Some professions require graduate or law school training after the Bachelor's degree. Faculty advisers in the department will help you select the courses and an academic program most appropriate for your career goals. They also will explain interesting extra-curricular opportunities supported by the department.


An undergraduate degree in Political Science is recommended for entrance to graduate school in Political Science, with the doctorate essential for teaching at the four-year college or university level. Students may prepare for a career in teaching History/Social Science at the secondary level (junior high or high school) by completing an approved "Subject Matter Preparation Program." Completion of such a program is the first step in meeting the state requirements for a teaching credential. As the program requirements for the "Subject Matter Preparation Program" in Social Science have changed recently, interested students should contact the History Department for current information.


Many Political Science majors intend to practice law as a career. We advise pre-law students to select the General Political Science Concentration and work closely with a pre-law adviser who will explain law school undergraduate preparation, entrance requirements, school choice and career possibilities.

Public Administration

A major in Political Science with a public administration or public policy emphasis can prepare students for civil service careers at international, national, and local levels of government. These careers require both specialized skills and a general understanding of political processes. The General Political Science Concentration, internship experience and possibly graduate training are recommended for those interested in public administration.


A Political Science major can prepare students for an attractive career in journalism. The General concentration along with practical experience working on the university newspaper is highly recommended.


Many Political Science graduates have found employment in business. Preparation for this career involves a broad liberal arts background, combined with knowledge of governmental processes and organization, public administration, finance, decision-making, organizational behavior and the processes by which political decisions are made about economic policy. Political Science majors interested in business should consider selecting a business minor.


Enterprising individuals can use their Political Science degree to pursue a variety of interests in the field of politics. These include international and foreign service as well as political campaign management, speech writing, survey research, policy research, public relations, lobbying, fund raising and so forth. Opportunities result from the initiative of the individual, proper skill development and academic advising. All students should make a regular habit of discussing their academic and career plans with faculty advisers and fellow students including members of the Association of Political Science Students. The Association maintains a small library of materials on career and internship opportunities, law and graduate school catalogs and courses texts.

Graduation with Honors

An undergraduate student may be a candidate for graduation with Honors in Political Science provided the student meets the following criteria:

  1. A minimum of 36 units in residence at CSU Dominguez Hills;
  2. A minimum grade point average of at least 3.5 in all courses used to satisfy the upper division requirements in the major;
  3. Recommendation by the faculty of the Political Science Department.


Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

Total Course Requirements for the Bachelor's Degree

See the "Requirements for the Bachelor's Degree" in the University Catalog for complete details on general degree requirements. A minimum of 40 units, including those required for the major, must be upper division.

Elective Requirements

Completion of elective courses (beyond the requirements listed below) to reach a total of a minimum of 120 units.

General Education Requirements (55-62 units)

See the "General Education" requirements in the University Catalog or the Class Schedule for the most current information on General Education requirements and course offerings.

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement

See the "Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement" in the University Catalog.

Minor Requirements

Single field major, no minor required.

Major Requirements (39 units)

The following courses, or their approved transfer equivalents, are required of all candidates for this degree.

Political Science Concentration (39 units)

Degree Roadmap

Upper Division Requirements

A.  Core Requirements (15 units)

1.  Quantitative Methods (3 units):

POL 300. Quantitative Methods of Political Analysis (3)

Note: POL 300 must be completed by the student within the first two semesters of taking any upper division course for the major.

2.  History of Political Thought: Select one course from the following (3 units):

POL 350. History of Political Ideas (3)

POL 351. Modern Political Thought (3)

POL 354. American Political Thought (3)

3.  American Politics (3 units):

POL 315. Congress and the President (3)

4.  Comparative Politics (3 units):

POL 340. Political Change in First and Third World Countries (3)

5.  International Relations (3 units):

POL 335. International Politics (3)


B.  Depth in Political Science (9 units)

1.  American Politics: Select one course from the following (3 units):

POL 310. Current Issues in American Government (3)

POL 312. State and Local Government: Organization and Problems (3)

POL 314. American Political Parties and Elections (3)

POL 320. Urban Government and Policy Choices (3)

POL 360. American Constitutional Law: Distribution of Power (3)

POL 361. American Constitutional Law: Civil Rights (3)

POL 370. Public Opinion and Propaganda (3)

2.  Comparative Politics: Select one course from the following (3 units):

POL 341. Government and Politics of East Asia (3)

POL 342. Government and Politics of the Middle East (3)

POL 343. Political Behavior in Latin America (3)

POL 344. Latin America: The Revolutionary Tradition (3)

POL 349. Government and Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa (3)

3.  International Relations: Select one course from the following (3 units):

POL 331. International Terrorism (3)

POL 334. American Foreign Policy (3)

POL 336. Theories of International Relations (3)

POL 338. Global Planning and the Future (3)

POL 339. Model United Nations (3)


C. Electives (15 units)

Select five additional upper division political science courses with departmental advisement.


D. Capstone Research Requirement

With the consultation and approval of the instructor, the student shall designate one of the Elective courses to meet the program capstone research requirement. The Capstone Research Requirement involves a 15 page (minimum) research paper. Completed papers will be reviewed by a committee of program faculty as part of the student outcomes assessment plan for the program.


Minor in Political Science (15 units)

Upper Division Requirements (15 units)

1.  Select three upper division courses from three of the four categories:  Political Thought, American Politics, Comparative Politics, or International Relations (9 units).

2.  Select any two additional upper division courses in political science. No course may be repeated for credit toward the minor (6 units).


Course Offerings

The credit value for each course in semester units is indicated for each term by a number in parentheses following the title. For course availability, please see the list of tentative course offerings in the current Class Schedule.

Lower Division

POL 100         General Studies Political Science: World Perspectives (3).

An introduction to world affairs and the role of the individual in an increasingly complex and interdependent international system. Both the conceptual and practical aspects of problem solving and decision making are examined as they relate to international cooperation and conflict.

POL 101         American Institutions (3).

A study of contemporary political institutions, with emphasis on the philosophy, structure, and behavior of the American political system, including the State of California. Meets State requirement in U.S. Constitution and California State and Local government.

Upper Division

POL 300         Quantitative Methods of Political Analysis (3).

An introduction to the techniques of quantitative political analysis, including the design, execution, and analysis of research.

American Institutions

POL 310         Current Issues in American Government (3).

Analysis and critical evaluation of recent major issues, conflicts and problems in American government and institutions. Current issues might include social and health services, energy, environment, multinational corporations, military spending, taxation, political economy, criminal justice, and civil rights.

POL 312         State and Local Government: Organization and Problems (3).

Analysis of functions of state and local government with particular emphasis on California. Examination of state-federal and state-local relations and the policy choices available for solving current problems. The course meets the statutory requirement for state and local government.

POL 313         Introduction to Public Administration (3).

A study of the development and practice of public administration in the United States and abroad, focusing on the theoretical and practical concerns of administration, with special attention to the relationship of public administration and democratic government.

POL 314         American Political Parties and Elections (3).

A study of the dynamics of American political behavior, including the legal regulation of parties and of elections. Analysis of voting behavior and public opinion. Study of political party organization, membership, and leadership in the context of the contemporary political scene.

POL 315         Congress and the President (3).

An analysis of development and operation of the elected decision-making structures of the United States government. Particular focus on the interrelationships between the Congress and the President.

POL 318         Public Policy Choices: Distribution of Wealth (3).

Political analysis of the distribution of wealth in the U.S. Attention to the political influence of special interest groups, political parties, and public opinion on policies relating to the tax structure; government subsidies, credits, and controls; the Social Security system and income problems of the aged; and the welfare system. Public policy reforms of the process of wealth distribution.

POL 320         Urban Government ­and Policy Choices (3).

A survey of the structures of American municipal, county, and special districts within the context of a systematic evaluation of the public policy choices facing these units of government.

POL 323         Black Politics (3).

An analysis of the structure of power within the Black community and political interaction between "activists," "moderates," and "conservatives." Evaluation of styles within the Black sub-political culture and manipulative aspects and tactics; e.g., coalition, confrontation, "establishment" politics.

POL 325         Women and Politics (3).

Examination of the expanding role of women in politics and the legal, cultural, and socio-psychological difficulties encountered therein. This course will also look at leading female political figures.

Global Politics

POL 330         Cultural Pluralism in Global Politics (3).

Discusses from an international perspective the issues facing various national, racial, tribal and religious groups—power, ideology, political socialization, integration, nationalism, cultural differences and separatism. Analyzes the problems of resolving conflict among different cultural groups.

POL 331         International Terrorism (3).

Analysis of the concept of terrorism, root causes and forms. Examination of theories of terrorism and counter-terrorism strategies at different levels of analysis: individuals, groups, societal, states and transnational. Special emphasis on specific terrorism cases, terrorist organizations and cyber-terrorism in the Digital Age.

POL 332         International Security Studies (3).

Analysis of the theory and practice of international conflict, crisis, and war management. Special emphasis on the contemporary concerns of deterrence, limited war, guerrilla warfare, foreign commitments, arms races, and arms control.

POL 333         Asian International Relations (3).

Analysis of the international political behavior, foreign policies and conflicts of Asian nations — China (Peoples Republic of China), Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, India, Pakistan and Indonesia. Regional and foreign policy conflicts and wars such as the Vietnam War, the India-Pakistan-Bangladesh War, and the Philippine Civil War will be analyzed.

POL 334         American Foreign Policy (3).

The formulation and execution of foreign policy in the United States, including an analysis of competing ideological concepts, the role of President and Congress, and the influence of public opinion.

POL 335         International Politics (3).

Study of basic international political theories, principles, and practices including the examination of international system characteristics, foreign policy decision-making, nationalism, security and defense, alliances, law and organization, and war.

POL 336         Theories of International Relations (3).

Analysis of action and interaction of states, decision-making, capability analysis, balance and imbalance, systems analysis, communication, crisis, and game theory.

POL 338         Global Planning ­and the Future (3).

Examination of assumptions, concepts, and models for monitoring, forecasting, speculating, and predicting events and conditions affecting public policy in the international arena. Evaluation of the human and nonhuman issues and interactions that will affect both industrial and nonindustrial societies.

POL 339         Model United Nations (3).

Examination of the role of international organizations and the issues addressed by these international actors while preparing students to participate in intercollegiate Model United Nations simulations. May be repeated for credit to a maximum of 9.0 units.

Comparative Politics

POL 340         Political Change in First and Third World Countries (3).

Study of the sources and patterns of political continuity and change in selected countries of the First World (Western Democracies) and selected newly emergent states of the Third World. Cross-national comparisons within and between each world will be made.

POL 341         Government and Politics of East Asia (3).

China, Japan, and Korea: political behavior, ideas, and institutions of societies of East Asia. Political parties and organizations, role of competing ideologies and systems 
of behavior, interaction of domestic and foreign policies.

POL 342         Government and Politics of the Middle East (3).

Analysis and explanation of political processes, governments, political issues and foreign relations of the Middle East. Discussion of influence of religion, oil, revolutions and conflicts on Middle East politics.         

POL 343         Political Behavior in Latin America (3).

Analysis of political and cultural behavior in South America with a focus on Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. Their sociopolitical institutions, elites, and interest groups; and the impact of national and cross-national cultural pluralism upon political life in the region.

POL 344         Latin America: The Revolutionary Tradition (3).

A comparative analysis of the revolutionary process in Mexico, Central America and Cuba, encompassing the dimensions of the socio-political, cultural and economic characteristics. An emphasis on post-revolutionary developmental politics in Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, and on the current social unrest in Central America, including an analysis of ideas, institutions, groups and economic conditions.

POL 349         Government and Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa (3).

A study of the dynamics of government and politics in Africa south of the Sahara Desert with special emphasis on South Africa. Imperialism and colonial administration, nationalism, and decolonization treated as background to the problems of modernization and nation-building in the region.

Political Thought

POL 350         History of Political Ideas (3).

A critical analysis of the major political philosophies and schools of thought from Plato to the sixteenth century. Examination of the political concepts of Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Machiavelli.

POL 351         Modern Political Thought (3).

A study of principal political philosophers from the seventeenth century to the present. Special emphasis is given to writers such as John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx, whose concepts of political criticism have become predominant in the modern world.

POL 354         American Political Thought (3).

A critical analysis of the political ideas that have emerged within the United States. Special attention is given to twentieth century political theories that aim to achieve social justice and/or alternative life styles through a restructuring of the economy.

Public Law

POL 360         American Constitutional Law: Distribution of Power (3).

An examination of the nature and development of the United States constitutional system. Emphasis on the role of the courts in interpreting the concepts of separation of powers, federalism, the police power, and the commerce clause.

POL 361         American Constitutional Law: Civil Rights (3).

A study of fundamental rights as protected by the U.S. Constitution and other legal provisions. The role of the courts in interpreting freedom of expression and conscience, due process, and equal protection of the laws.

POL 366         Criminal Law and Procedures (3).

Materials and cases treating Criminal Law and procedures within the context of the American policy. Systematic analysis of the role of the citizen in relationship to operational legal principles and procedures of Criminal Law. An emphasis on contemporary problems and recent court decisions.

Other Courses

POL 370         Public Opinion and Propaganda (3).

The nature of public opinion and its manipulation by propaganda in modern society. Relations between government and other social institutions and the opinions of groups and individuals; the press, pressure groups.

POL 371         Conflict, Violence, Nonviolence and Peace (3).

Examination of relevant theories and instances of aggression, sociopolitical conflict and conflict resolution, various types of political violence (as terrorism, revolution, urban riots) and nonviolence. Course will present an overview of all these topics, or focus on one topic in detail, such as terrorism, revolution, or nonviolence.

POL 375         Technological Policy and the Future (3).

Various humanistic, ethical, legal, and political-economic policy issues surrounding the use and future development of technology, in such areas as energy, food production, transportation, computers, communications, electronic surveillance, medicine, weaponry, and space. The issue of high technology vs. appropriate technology also global restructuring trends from technological change. Course will focus on one or more such technological topics depending upon the instructor.

POL 401         Political and Public Sector Leadership (3).

Prerequisites: 12 units of upper division course work.

This is an applied techniques, skills-development course. It blends ideas from several different sectors of political theory, public policy, public relations, conflict negotiation, and intercultural communication to teach students kills that are necessary for leadership roles.

POL 494         Independent Study (1-3).

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor and department chair.

Independent study of a particular problem under the direction of a member of the Political Science Department. Course is not repeatable for credit in the Political Science major or minor.

POL 495         Special Topics in Political Science (1-3).

An intensive study of an issue or a concept in political science that is of special interest to both the faculty member and the students. Repeatable course. Three hours of seminar per week.

POL 496         Internships in Political Science (3).

Practical application of coursework in political science through supervised work and field experience in politics, government administration, public and private paralegal agencies such as offices of lawyers and judges, and community agencies. Repeatable course.

POL 594            Independent Study (1-3).

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor and department chair.

Independent study of a particular problem under the direction of a member of the Political Science Department.

Infrequently Offered Courses

The following courses are scheduled only on a "demand" basis. Students should consult the department office for information about the next scheduled offering.

POL 304         Basic Concepts of Law: Substantive (3).

An examination of conflict situations which arise in contemporary life and the way in which the law and legal institutions address these conflicts. Statutory law and common law will be studied with an emphasis on case analysis, torts, crimes, property, contracts, and landlord-tenant.

POL 305         Basic Concepts of Law: Procedural (3).

A basic course in understanding the legal system with a focus on basic procedural law. Emphasis will be placed on civil procedure, evidence, and litigation, probate and corporation, partnership and agency.

POL 328         Cultural Pluralism­ in American Politics (3).

Discusses the issues of political socialization and cultural differences in the American political arena. Analyzes the political orientations of various ethnic groups in the United States, their cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, and their levels of political participation and interaction with American political institutions.

POL 337         European International Relations (3).

An analysis of European international relations and foreign policies including the impact of Western European economic integration, the foreign policies of the Russian Commonwealth with Eastern and Western Europe, and the changing role of NATO.

POL 346         Government and Politics of Russia/Commonwealth (3).

Analysis of Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States, their political history, the legacy and impact of Communist Party rule, the political economy, and the major political, social, and economic problems currently facing Russia and the Commonwealth leadership.