Undergraduate Academic Policies and Information
Graduate Academic Policies and Information
Politics and International Relations
Departmental Mission Statement
Course Descriptions (PSCI)
Course Descriptions (IR)
Course Descriptions (PACS)
Chair, Associate Professor Bryan McGraw
Professors Mark Amstutz, Amy Black
Associate Professor David Iglesias
Assistant Professors Kristin Garrett, Michael McKoy, Timothy Taylor
The Department of Politics and International Relations aims to foster a deeper appreciation for domestic and international politics through the study of political behavior, governmental institutions, and the international system. In fulfillment of this aim, the department offers courses that: 1) expose students to the major areas of the discipline, including American politics, international politics, comparative politics, public policy, law, and political philosophy; 2) emphasize concepts, theories, and tools that are essential in political analysis; 3) address key issues involved in the building of just and peaceful political communities; and 4) examine the relationship of Christianity and politics. The department offers majors in Political Science and International Relations that are firmly rooted in the traditional liberal arts curriculum of Wheaton College. Due to the large overlap between the two majors, department policy does not allow a double major in Political Science and International Relations.
The major in political science serves as preparation for: a) graduate study in politics, government, and related fields, including area studies, public policy, and public administration; b) law school; c) careers in government and public affairs; and d) work in the private and non-profit sectors that require knowledge of government and politics.
Requirements for the Political Science major are 34 hours of Political Science and International Relations courses and 4 hours of Statistics. Core requirements are PSCI 135 American Politics and Government, PSCI 145 Political Philosophy, either IR 155 Comparative Politics or IR 175 International Politics, MATH 263 or a department-approved equivalent, PSCI 494 Senior Seminar and PSCI 496 Internship. Elective requirements are 16 hours of PSCI and/or IR courses at the 200-level and above, of which at least 8 hours must be taken at the 300-level.
Requirements for a Political Science minor are 20 hours, PSCI 135; PSCI 145; either IR 155 or IR 175; and an additional 8 hours of upper division electives in either Political Science or International Relations, of which at least 4 hours must be taken at the 300-level.
Political Science Courses (PSCI)
PSCI 135. American Politics and Government. An introduction to the foundations and institutions of the United States' political system. Explores the political behavior of individuals and groups and engages contemporary political debate. SI
PSCI 145. Political Philosophy. An exploration of some of the major themes in the tradition of western political thought, to include the nature of politics, freedom, equality, justice, and virtue. The course will center around some of the tradition’s most significant texts, including works by Plato, Augustine, Hobbes, Mill and more contemporary authors. PI, SI
PSCI 201x. U.S. Education Policy: Problems and Possibilities. See EDUC 201. SI
PSCI 215. Political Research. An introduction to the discipline of political science and the various methods of qualitative research used by political scientists. Special attention is given to research design and ethics. (2)
PSCI 231x. Chicago. An introduction, see URBN 231. (2)
PSCI 232. Campaigns in Context. An examination of federal, state, and local campaigns with an emphasis on the politics and context of the November election. Wheaton-in-Washington Program. (2)
PSCI 233. Washington Workshop. Reflections on the meetings, briefings, and excursions in Washington, D.C. Wheaton-in-Washington Program. (2)
PSCI 234. Interest Groups and American Politics. An examination of the role of interest groups in the American political process. Wheaton-in-Washington Program. (2)
PSCI 235. Iowa Caucus. A hands-on exploration of the presidential nomination process including campaign work and observation of Iowa precinct caucuses. (2) Presidential election years.
PSCI 236. Intercollegiate Trial Advocacy. A hands-on exploration of the theory and practice of trial advocacy through competition in intercollegiate mock trial tournaments. Graded pass/fail. One credit hour per year based on full participation in the fall and spring semesters. Register for credit in the spring semester. Prerequisite: Instructor permission. (0 or 1)
PSCI 237. Women and Politics. An exploration of the role of American women and politics in the late nineteenth century and its transformation into the role of American women in politics by the late twentieth century. (2) Legacy diversity designation.
PSCI 243. Political Ethics. This course brings philosophical ethics and normative political theory into dialogue with the distinctive practical problems associated with contemporary American politics and policy. Topics to be considered include abortion, euthanasia, affirmative action, war, distributive justice, deception and manipulation, and the ethics of roles.
PSCI 244. Film and Political Theory. This course explores how films develop, offer, and apply arguments about human nature, human flourishing, and other topics central to normative theorizing about politics. (2)
PSCI 245. Politics and Pop Culture. An exploration and evaluation of portrayals of political themes and concepts in various forms of popular culture including film, television, and plays. (2)
PSCI 251. Topics in Political Science. Selected topics, designed to explore an important topic in American politics and/or political behavior. This course will be an intermediate course that provides a bridge between the 100-level introductory courses and the 300-level research-oriented courses.
PSCI 252. Topics in Political Science. Selected topics, designed to give added breadth and depth to the understanding of American politics and/or political behavior. (2)
PSCI 255. Race and the Politics of Welfare. This course examines the evolution of welfare politics with particular attention to the social, historical, and philosophical dynamics that rendered welfare a racially-charged issue. Legacy diversity designation. (2)
PSCI 262. Politics and Public Policy. Far from mundane, public policymaking is rife with conflict. This course will explore and analyze public policy – the true substance of politics, as well as the actors and institutions relevant to public policy making.
PSCI 271. Introduction to Law. A study of the nature and function of law in society. Various disciplinary perspectives employed. (2)
PSCI 334. Politics and Policy. A detailed exploration of the policy process including a simulation of legislative work on Capitol Hill. Wheaton-in-Washington Program.
PSCI 336. Campaigns and Elections. Explores the structures and institutions of American electoral politics, including the nomination process and general elections. Gives special attention to the elements of the modern campaign, including campaign finance, research, polling, advertising, and media use. Alternate years.
PSCI 345. Between Athens and Jerusalem: Classical and Medieval Political Thought. The western political tradition rests on the interplay between the claims emerging out of classical Greece and Rome on the one hand and out of Christianity on the other. This course explores that interplay by engaging both classical (Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle) and Christian political thinkers (Augustine, Aquinas).
PSCI 346. Renaissance and Modern Political Thought. This course chronicles the replacement of the Christian order and the development of its theoretical alternative, modernity. Thinkers considered include: Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, Mill, Nietzsche, and Freud.
PSCI 348. American Political Thought. An analysis of central ideas in the history of American political thought, from the founding to the present.
PSCI 349. Christian Political Thought. An engagement with the varieties of Christian thinking about politics, including both its historical development and the contemporary alternatives. Thinkers explored will include Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Locke, Niebuhr, Hauerwas, and a number of others.
PSCI 351. Topics in Political Science. Selected topics, designed to give added breadth and depth to the understanding of American politics and/or political behavior. (4)
PSCI 352. Interest Groups and Political Advocacy. This course explores the nature of interest groups including the formation and maintenance of interest groups, various types of interest groups, the tactics employed by interest groups and the impact and influence of interest groups in the political system broadly and public policy specifically.
PSCI 362. Global Cities: Cities and the World. This course examines the effects of globalization on major urban centers in the world system, comparing and contrasting cities in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Students will study the economic, political and social impact, as well as responses of government and civil society.
PSCI 373. Environmental Politics. The discourses, institutions, and practices that govern our relations with ‘nature’ and environmentally-medicated social relations are considered. Examining local, national, and global levels of environmental governance, the course focuses on four issues: cities and the environment, energy, biodiversity, and climate change. In so doing the course engages such themes as sustainable development and environmental justice and explores various perspectives on nature-society relations. (2)
PSCI 381. Constitutional Law. An examination of the American constitutional system, with special emphasis given to the role of judicial institutions and the impact of Supreme Court decisions.
PSCI 382. Media & Public Opinion. This course explores the interrelationship between the mass media (including print, broadcast, and new media), public opinion, and American politics. Prerequisite: PSCI 135 or equivalent.
PSCI 383. Religion and American Politics. An assessment of the role of religion in American politics, focusing especially on the contemporary era. Particular attention is given to the role of evangelicals. Periodic.
PSCI 384. The Presidency. Examines the role of the presidency in the U.S. political system, focusing on such themes as leadership, decision-making, and Congressional-Executive relations. Alternate years.
PSCI 385. Urban Politics. An analysis of the politics of urban areas, including relationships with state and national governments, decision-making, and urban public policy. Legacy diversity designation. (2)
PSCI 386. Congress and the Policy Process. An examination of the role of Congress in the American political process, including historical development, structure and functions, and decision-making. Recommended for those seeking Washington internships. Alternate years.
PSCI 387. Law and Religion. This course is designed to introduce students to the moral, legal, and constitutional questions surrounding religion and its place in democratic public life. Students will have an opportunity to gain a familiarity with the development of American constitutional law as it relates to religion, explore the alternatives to those developments, understand the contending side of contemporary controversies, and articulate their own considered views on each via both presentations and writing exercises.
PSCI 494. Senior Seminar. An analysis of the interrelationship of politics and the Christian faith, focusing on vocational, conceptual, legal, and domestic public policy issues. Senior majors only. (2)
PSCI 495. Independent Study. A guided individual reading and research problem. Junior and senior majors, or discretion of professor. (2-4)
PSCI 496. Internship. A series of programs designed for practical experience in professions frequently chosen by Political Science majors, such as law, government, and public service. Prerequisite: Political Science major with junior or senior standing and a minimum of 16 credits in the department.
PSCI 499. Honors Thesis. An independent research project requiring original research, developed into a scholarly paper and culminating in an oral examination. By application only. The honors thesis may not be counted toward the total hours to complete the major.
Trends toward interdependence and globalization through greater integration and expansion of world markets have provided opportunities for international cooperation and conflict. The increased importance of international relationships between governments, corporations, and nongovernmental organizations has created a considerable demand for individuals trained to understand this complex environment. The major in International Relations stresses integrated knowledge in the areas of politics, economics, history, and languages. The International Relations major provides focused training for students who plan to work in a wide variety of international career fields, including international diplomacy, international business, development work, non-profit sector work, international law, and graduate study in law, policy, international relations, and comparative politics.
Requirements for the International Relations major are 30 hours of IR and PSCI courses plus 16 hours of required supporting courses for a total of 46 hours. Core major requirements (18 hours) include IR 155 Comparative Politics, IR 175 International Politics, PSCI 135 or 145, IR 494 Senior Seminar, IR 496 Internship and a zero credit overseas experience of at least 5 weeks that is approved by the department. Once a student is admitted to the major, all core requirements must be taken at Wheaton. The major also requires 12 hours of elective, upper division IR courses, of which at least four hours must be taken at the 300 level.
The major requires 16 hours of supporting courses from other departments. This includes 8 hours or its equivalent of a modern language beyond the 201 level. Students who plan to complete the language requirement off-campus, who are bilingual, or who have advanced proficiency in a second language other than English should see the Politics and IR Department for detailed guidelines about meeting the foreign language requirement. The other 8 hours of supporting courses must be taken from two of the following three categories: Economics (IR 379, ECON 212, 325, 361, 362, 364, 365, 366 or 378 - please note that ECON courses may have prerequisites), History (HIST 101 only the sections title Memoir/History in Modern Latin America, HIST 292, 331, 334, 349, 361, 364, 365, 491, department-approved sections of HIST 391) or Statistics (MATH 263). IR 379 International Political Economy may be applied toward either the economics requirement or the upper division IR elective requirement, but not both.
Requirements for an International Relations minor are 20 hours including IR 155, 175, and 12 hours of approved electives, of which at least 4 hours must be taken in the IR department.
International Relations Courses (IR)
IR 155. Comparative Politics. An introduction to the comparative analysis of the political systems of countries around the world. The course will examine the role of political institutions, political participation, and economics in shaping societies. Disciplinary terminology will be combined with case studies of diverse countries from regions such as Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Europe. Legacy diversity designation. GP, SI
IR 175. International Politics. An introduction to the politics among states. Themes emphasized include: international security, diplomacy, conflict resolution and war, human rights, international law and organization, and global political economy. SI
IR 251. Topics in International Politics. Selected topics, designed to explore an important topic in international relations or comparative politics. This course will be an intermediate course that provides a bridge between the 100-level introductory courses and the 300-level research-oriented courses.
IR 258. Middle East Politics. In this course, we will learn about and analyze the political cultures and political conflicts of the Middle East. GP, SI
IR 312. Islam and Politics. This seminar course focuses on central Islamic concepts relating to politics and the role of Islam in political movements and individual political action. Legacy diversity designation.
IR 331. International Experience. A department-approved five week or longer continuous, cross-cultural experience residing outside the United States. (0)
IR 351. Topics in International Politics. Selected topics, designed to give added breadth and depth to the understanding of international politics. Topics courses at the 300-level will focus on developing methodological knowledge and research skills as relevant to the course content. ( 4)
IR 352. Topics in International Politics. Selected topics, designed to give added breadth and depth to the understanding of international politics. Courses at the 300-level will include methodological and research training relevant to the course content. (2)
IR 353. Comparative Public Policy. An examination of key public policies, such as health, education, environment, and family in advanced industrial democracies. (2)
IR 356. European Politics. A comparative assessment of the politics and government of selected European nations.
IR 357. Third World Politics and Development. A comparative examination of the nature and processes of political change and development in Third World countries. Emphasis is given to the political economy of national development.
IR 359. Forgiveness and Political Reconciliation. This class explores the potential role of forgiveness in confronting and overcoming systemic regime crimes. The course emphasizes theory and case studies and focuses on processes that foster political reconciliation. (2)
IR 361. Post-communist Politics. A comparison of the post-communist political development of a select number of Central and East European states. Examination is given to both the common “Leninist legacies” of communism and the great diversity of political practice now found across the region. Special emphasis is given to political institutions, European Union integration, and select contemporary political issues.
IR 362x. Global Cities: Cities and the World. See PSCI 362.
IR 372. International Law. Analyzes the nature and role of law in the international community through leading case studies. (2)
IR 376. Ethics and Foreign Policy. An examination of the role of moral values in foreign policy, with special emphasis on war, human rights, and foreign intervention. Prerequisite: IR 175. (2)
IR 378. U.S. Foreign Policy. An analysis of the processes and institutions involved in making U.S. foreign policy. Emphasis given to understanding the development of contemporary issues.
IR 379. International Political Economy. An analysis of the interaction of economics and politics at the international level. Topics covered will include the origins and nature of the World Bank, IMF and WTO, regionalization, trade policy, and the world monetary system. Prerequisite: ECON 211.
IR 382. Global Warming Politics. This course examines the problems, politics, and policies of climate change in light of its impacts upon marginalized and vulnerable populations in developed countries. Some of the assigned authors write from these perspectives. (2)
IR 494. Senior Seminar. An analysis of the interrelationship of politics and the Christian faith, focusing on vocational, conceptual, legal, and international public policy issues. Senior majors only. (2)
IR 495. Independent Study. A guided individual reading and research problem. Junior and senior majors, or discretion of professor. (2-4)
IR 496. Internship. A series of programs designed for practical experience in professions frequently chosen by International Relations majors, such as law, government, and public service. Prerequisite: International Relations major with junior or senior standing and a minimum of 16 credits in the department.
IR 499. Honors Thesis. An independent research project requiring original research, developed in a scholarly paper and culminating in an oral examination. By application only. The honors thesis may not be counted toward the total hours to complete the major.
Peace and Conflict Studies Certificate Program
Coordinator, Bryan McGraw
The certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies is an interdisciplinary program that examines the causes of violent conflict; mechanisms and models for dealing with violent conflict; and norms, practices, and institutions for building a just and sustainable peace. The Peace and Conflict Certificate prepares students to think critically in the midst of geopolitical complexities like war, genocide, terrorism, and human rights violations. The program combines theoretical rigor with theological, moral, and ethical reflection on topics related to war and peace.
Requirements for a Certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies are 24 hours of coursework according to the following distribution. Students from all majors are eligible to receive a certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies.
Peace and Conflict Studies Courses (PACS)
PACS 101. Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies. This course will explore the fact of violence and the biblical imperative for peace. This survey course will identify causes and conditions that contribute to violence; mechanisms for dealing with violence; and strategies for building peace. Multiple disciplinary lenses and methodological approaches will be examined in these endeavors. SI
PACS 494. Senior Seminar in Peace and Conflict Studies: Peace, Reconciliation, and Justice. This two-hour course will explore the prospects for peace and reconciliation given the fact of violence. The course will consider various ideals of justice, various methods of peacebuilding, and limitations associated with methods and movements for peace, reconciliation, and justice. The extent and efficacy of religion and religionists in peace, reconciliation and justice efforts will be considered, as well secular humanist approaches to peace, reconciliation and justice. Since students from the Community Transformation concentration and from the Global Justice concentration will coalesce in this course, students will debate the strengths and weaknesses of various units of analysis and of various disciplinary and methodological approaches to conflict resolution and peace building. (2)
PACS 496. Internship. Allow students with opportunities to apply theoretical and theological knowledge by engaging in strategic peacebuilding, conflict resolution and conflict management in a variety of contexts to organizations. In addition, internships provide valuable insight into careers related to peace building and conflict management. Exploration of faith and vocation is a crucial component.
Revision Date: June 1, 2017
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