Areas of Study

Courses & Requirements

Summary of Requirements

Core Curriculum 43
Pre-Major Courses 3
Major and Related Courses 30
Free Elective Courses 44

Students may choose from the General Government Track or from the Government with a specialization in Law Track.

GPA requirement: Students MUST graduate with a GPA of 2.75 or higher to graduate with the law track option. Students should meet at least every semester with their academic adviser and will be asked to switch to the general government track if they cannot satisfy the GPA requirement.

Required pre-major courses 3 hours

This course covers discussion of the basic structures of American government (the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary), important processes such as elections and basic principles and theory of governance in the American system.

Required government courses 12 hours

In this course, students will be introduced to the questions that traditionally concern political theorists. In light of these questions, students will examine democratic theories of classical liberalism, conservatism, socialism, and contemporary liberalism; fascism; Marxism; communism; and nationalism.

This course is an in-depth examination of the powers of government under the Constitution. Primary focus is upon Articles I through VII and topics such as judicial, legislative and executive powers; federalism; regulation of commerce and property rights; war powers.

A course that introduces majors to methods and techniques of research in political science. Topics covered will include: the scientific method, comparative analysis, types of research and papers, library, and Internet resources, and emphasis on statistical methods and survey design.

This course will require government majors to integrate the skills and knowledge developed in their major courses. The thematic focus of the course will vary, but discussion will be centered on the major choices presented to political systems and political actors. A substantial research component of the course will enable students to produce an appropriate literature survey, research proposal, and research thesis.

Law-related courses 9 hours

This course will provide an in-depth analysis of the Bill of Rights, as interpreted by the Supreme Court. Current controversies, such as the conflict between privacy and national security, abortion rights and the death penalty will be examined in more depth

This course will provide an in-depth look at equality in the US. Amendments 13, 14, 15 and 19 will be emphasized and the evolution of their interpretation in the Supreme Court will be studied. At the same time, the influence of movements for abolition, women's suffrage and women's rights, civil rights on the interpretation will be studied. In addition, current movement for equality in the disability and GLBT communities will be discussed.

Students will learn the basics of the legal system including vocabulary, processes and roles of key personnel. Students will learn how to develop opening and closing statements, how to question witnesses on direct and cross examination, how to introduce evidence, impeach testimony and how to object. Students will apply what they learn as part of a team that participates in a mock trial.

A study of the formal and informal procedures of Congress and the relation between the legislature, the presidency, and the Supreme Court.

The diverse beliefs of nations and classes, world divisions, and the racial rivalry reflected in various systems of law and politics all give changing meaning to such phrases as human rights and fundamental freedoms. This course will look at these rights and freedoms within the different belief systems, world divisions, and racial rivalries. Special attention will be given to the deaf communities in United States and their struggle to achieve full human rights and freedom.

This course is a basic introduction to international law and organization. Students will learn how international law is different from municipal law, how international law is made, the role of international law in domestic legal systems, specific rules of international law regarding sovereignty, recognition, nationality, human rights, war, and the law of the sea. The role of international organizations relating to the making of international law, the uniqueness of the European Union as a law-making body, and a brief introduction to the role of the UN, generally in the international system, will be discussed.

Elective government courses 9 hours

This course will focus on comparative political systems in Europe, with an emphasis on the democracies of western Europe, especially the United Kingdom, France and Germany, as well as a selection of topics on the countries of southern Europe, the Nordic countries, and the more successful of the former Communist Eastern European states.

This course will explore the diverse political systems of the non-western world. Study will include established democracies such as India and Japan, political systems in transition to democracy such as Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa, and more authoritarian systems such as China. Students will be introduced to both theory and practice in these areas.

This course will introduce students to the history, politics and legal structure of the European Union. Among the topics to be covered will be: EU institutions, social policy, CAP, EU expansion, the EURO, the single market, EU foreign policy, and immigration policy.

This course introduces students to the study of state and local government and politics. This course provides students with insight into the political processes that most affect Americans' lives: state and local politics. Many of the policy innovations made on the state and local levels affect policy of other states as well as the federal government. Students will be introduced to the structures and theories of governance at the state and local levels.

A study of the major and minor parties in the United States, their history, composition, organization, leadership, resources, politics, distribution of power, and influence on the formation and execution of public policy. The role of pressure groups.

This course will cover the formation of interest groups; their interactions with government (lobbying, campaign donations, amicus briefs, protests, etc.); interest group theories; and their impact on the quality of democracy, policy and justice. Interest groups for specific categories of people, including Deaf people will be focused upon.

An introduction to American foreign policy from 1778 to the present, its major forms, problems, and mutations. Special emphasis on the period since 1898, role of the United States as a world leader, and the future direction of U.S. foreign policy after the Cold War. Focus is put upon changing international circumstances and American capabilities and their implications for policy.

A study of the historical development and present role of nationalism and nation-state in both theory and practice. The course deals with the growth of nationalist conceptions and movements in the 19th century, the transition from liberal to totalitarian nationalism, the principle of self-determination, and Marxist treatment of the national problem.

An introduction to the basic factors, concepts, and theory of international relations. The objectives, methods, and capabilities of modern states and other international actors will be surveyed. A study will be made of the institutional forms of international relations, ideological orientations, and objectives. Emphasis will be on the trends and transformation of the international system during and after the Cold War.

This course addresses the theoretical and practical aspects of democracy. What does democracy mean? What are its advantages and disadvantages as a form of government and what alternatives are available? How have countries become democracies in recent years and what kinds of challenges have they faced? Is there a formula for successful democratization?

To be offered every other year. During a nonelection year this course will focus on the presidency and constitutional development along with historical perspectives. During an election year it will focus on the major facets of presidential elections, the nominating process, general election activities, and campaigns.

Special topics in the discipline, designed primarily for seniors who are majors or minors. Students may enroll in 495 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

Intensive supervised study and research on topics of the student's selection.

Program Outcomes

Students will be able to:


1. Demonstrate Knowledge and skills through being able to:
      a.Describe, analyze and compare the structure and policy-making process of national, state, and local governments and federalism (in exams, research papers, and presentations)


2. Demonstrate Knowledge and skills through being able to:
     a. Describe, analyze and compare important processes in international relations (in exams, papers, presentations).


3. Demonstrate Knowledge and skills through being able to:
      a. Summarize, synthesize and critique appropriate professional literature within the field of study in research papers and presentations.


4. Demonstrate Knowledge and skills through being able to:
      a. Describe, compare & critique important aspects of American or foreign political history, ideology, and political processes. (exams, homework, discussion and participation, quizzes)


5. Demonstrate Knowledge and skills through being able to:
      a. Classify, summarize, synthesize and critique important international legal or political issues. (exams, paper/presentation/homework)


6. Demonstrate Knowledge and skills through being able to:
      a. Use statistical data to be able to describe, compare and analyze important domestic and international political issues. (homework, examinations).


7. Demonstrate Knowledge and skills through being able to:
     a. Employ appropriate sources and citation systems in research-based projects.


8. Demonstrate Values and citizenship by being able to:
      a. Describe and critique the workings of state and local politics in the communities in which they live.


9. Demonstrate Values and citizenship by being able to:
      a. Be able to identify the rights and responsibilities of citizens of their community, their country, and the world.


10. Demonstrate Values and citizenship by being able to:
     a. Identify ways in which governments impact their lives and the ways in which they can impact local and state government systems through political participation and direct democracy.


11. Demonstrate Values and citizenship by being able to:
      a. Identify and evaluate the ethical issues that political activity raises. (exams, homework, discussion and participation, quizzes)


12. Demonstrate Values and citizenship by being able to
      a. Identify and critique ethical issues in political research.


13. Demonstrate an understanding of Public and Deaf Life by the ability to
      a. Identify the opportunities for engaging in activities outside of the classroom including internships in local and state offices/agencies; political participation in non-government and civil associations; voter registration drives in the Deaf community; host town hall meetings, raise budgetary issues with local and state politicians, and development of issue awareness campaigns.


14. Demonstrate an understanding of Public and Deaf Life by the ability to
      a. Demonstrate effective presentation skills and knowledge necessary to advocate for issues and causes that can be advanced in public arenas through schools for the Deaf, Deaf education, associations for/of the Deaf, grant-writing projects, and community outreach projects.

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B.A. in Government with a Specialization in Law

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