Department of Political Science

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What courses are good for first-year students?

Posted on June 5, 2012

Welcome to campus! This post provides information about which courses it is appropriate to take as a first-year student (most of them) and which might better be postponed or require specific background (a few). We view our topic as something in which anyone can be interested, because politics is part of all our lives. So we design our courses both to be part of a major and to stand on their own.

We have three introductory courses, which we think are very useful. They are not, however, official prerequisites for the rest of our courses. In a few cases students would benefit from having the background provided by introductory courses, or the class is very intense and particularly challenging for first semester. Yet politics is part of everyone’s life, like it or not, so we want our other courses to be interesting to non-majors as well as majors. They all have 300-numbers, but that only means the topic is specialized compared to the three introductory courses. Some of these courses will be particularly interesting to non-majors who are interested in that part of the world (such as China) or aspect of life (such as health politics and policy, offered in the Spring).

In addition to our courses, the department and the Center for Policy Studies also bring occasional speakers to campus to talk about policy issues and political conflicts. We announce them on this homepage, but also by e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter. If you would like to be notified, please e-mail sharon.skowronski@case.edu, “like” the department on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Fall, 2012 Courses

POSC 109. The American Political System Two Sections,
Professor White and Mr. Major. Recommended for all first-year students

POSC 260. Introduction to Comparative Politics.
Professor McMann. Recommended for all first-year students

POSC 272. Introduction to International Relations
Two Sections, Professors Moore and Schroeder. Recommended for all first-year students

POSC 310. The Legislative Process
Professor Buchler. Recommended if students have AP or transfer credit for POSC 109. A logical next step for studying U.S. government.

POSC 321. News Media and Politics
Mr. Major. Fine for first-year students.

POSC 325, American Constitutional Law
Professor Tartakoff. We recommend that first-year students consult with Professor Tartakoff about the class expectations and what background is useful, to determine if they wish to register for the course.

POSC 334, Violence and the Political System
Professor McHale. Fine for first-year students.

POSC 343, Public Opinion and American Democracy
Professor Buchler. Fine for first-year students.

POSC 349, Political Science Research Methods
Professor McMann. This is a SAGES departmental seminar, intended to be taken after the First and University seminars, so in junior year or second semester of sophomore year.

POSC 363, Comparative Analysis of Elections and Electoral Systems

Professor McHale. This is a SAGES departmental seminar, intended to be taken after the First and University seminars, so in junior year or second semester of sophomore year.

POSC 370D, The Politics of China
Professor Schroeder. Fine for first-year students.

POSC 370F, Financial Politics in the United States and the World
Professor Lavelle. We recommend that first-year students consult with Professor Lavelle about the class expectations and what background is useful, to determine if they wish to register for the course.

POSC 373, Politics of the European Union
Professor Posner. We recommend that first-year students consult with Professor Posner about the class expectations and what background is useful, to determine if they wish to register for the course.

POSC 376, U.S. Foreign Policy
Professor Lavelle. Fine for first-year students.

POSC 379, Introduction to Middle East Politics
Professor Moore. Fine for first-year students.

A few further notes about putting together a schedule: The Office of Undergraduate Studies provides templates for building a schedule, depending on your major. You will notice that the template for Political Science majors is pretty open. That is because our major does not require the kind of sequencing of courses that is required for, for example, engineers.

We believe our POSC 109 and POSC 260 courses give background and orientation that are superior to the vast majority of A.P. and I.B. classes. So students who are committed to the field as a major might consider taking those courses even if they have the option of using A.P. or I.B. tests to get credit for them. But that is entirely up to the student, and we fully understand that it makes a lot of sense for many students to use A.P. or I.B. credit either to reduce the load of classes they would otherwise take or to make room for other classes that interest them.

For further information about the Political Science major and related minors (Political Science and Public Policy), click on http://politicalscience.case.edu/undergraduate/undergraduate-programs/

Page last modified: January 30, 2015