Department of Political Science

205 Ruby Jones Hall
Frauke Schnell, Chairperson

PROFESSORS: Bernotsky, Loedel, Polsky, Schnell

ASSOCIATE PROFESSORS: Kennedy, Milne, Sandhu, Stevenson


The department offers a bachelor of arts degree in political science with four concentrations. The objective is to provide programs tailored to each student's career goals and still to allow a wide range of options after graduation. All four B.A. programs are intended for students with an interest in government and public service, journalism, business, education, and the law.

The department offers qualified students the opportunity to do an internship and earn academic credits for it. The main goal is for students to complement their classroom learning with experiential learning through their work in an organizational setting. To start the process, students should speak with the department chair.

Mission Statement

Department Mission
The mission of the Department of Political Science is to promote scholarship and civic engagement among students at West Chester University. The department provides a comprehensive curriculum that exposes students to the principle subfields and knowledge of the discipline and encourages critical analysis, information literacy, and communication skills. As globalization increases the interdependence of nations, the department also envisions part of its mission as educating students to view politics from diverse global perspectives. The department prepares students for careers in government/public service, law, teaching, business and international affairs, and admission to various advanced-degree programs. Through internship programs, service learning, simulations, and other curricular and co-curricular activities, the department offers students experience in politics, government, and the law. Actively involved in research, teaching, and applied scholarship, the political science faulty serve as mentors to students seeking academic challenge and civic involvement in an environment that values diversity. Overall, the department provides students with an excellent foundation for a broad range of career and professional goals.

Learning Goals and Outcomes

The Department of Political Science strives to provide students with the following:

  1. Knowledge: Students will demonstrate knowledge of the discipline of political science and its subfields in terms of content, purpose, and methods and will be able to transfer and apply this knowledge in applied settings inside and outside the classroom.
  2. Information literacy: Students will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to identify the information needed for a task, critically evaluate the sources and content of information, and use that information efficiently and effectively within appropriate ethical and legal limits.
  3. Critical and analytical thinking: Students will develop and master critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills. This includes the ability to apply major methodological tools in political science to effectively describe, explain, and predict political phenomena.
  4. Oral and written communication skills: Majors will demonstrate the necessary oral and written skills to convey their knowledge about political science to others.
  5. Global perspectives: Students will develop the ability to view politics from diverse global perspectives and will understand the interconnectedness of political processes, cultures, and institutions.

The following rules apply to all B.A. students in political science:

  1. Students must complete the last 15 hours of their political science program at West Chester University, including one of the following courses: PSC 400 or 401. Exceptions may only be granted by the chair of the department for compelling personal reasons. (Examples: A student’s family has moved a great distance, and he or she needs to complete only one or two courses; the student and/or the student’s spouse has been relocated to another state by his/her employer.)
  2. Students must have a C average or better in all political science courses, and no more than two grades below C in political science courses. A grade of C- is considered a grade below C.

  3. Internal transfers must have an overall cumulative average of 2.0 to enter any political science programs.


  1. The B.A. POLITICAL SCIENCE – GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS is a liberal arts program exposing students to specific areas of political science, which include the study of “institutions” (government) and “behaviors” (politics).
  2. The B.A. POLITICAL SCIENCE - APPLIED PUBLIC POLICY is for students who are interested in the practical application of political science in a variety of professional settings.

  3. B.A. POLITICAL SCIENCE - INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS is for students with a primary interest in international affairs and includes relevant cognates in several disciplines.

  4. B.A. POLITICAL SCIENCE - ELECTIVE SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER CERTIFICATION is designed for students with an interest in earning a political science degree and becoming certified to teach at the secondary education level.

The department also sponsors pre-law advising, the Law Society, and the Political Science Club.


120 semester hours

  1. General ed. requirements, see pages 38-44 (48 semester hours)

  2. Language/culture cluster (0-15 semester hours)
    Students must complete or exempt an approved language through the 102 level; then they have the choice of either continuing through the 202 level or completing three relevant culture cluster courses, which must pertain to the language studied. Only one of them can be a PSC course; no more than two can have the same prefix.
  3. Political science core (21 semester hours)
    Other than the Capstone Seminar, the core courses should be taken during the first and second year.
    PSC 100, 200, 202, 213, 230, 240, and 401
  4. Government and politics core (18 semester hours)
    1. Two courses in the institutional area: PSC 350, 352, 355, 359
    2. Two courses in the behavioral area: PSC 301, 322, 323, 325, 329
    3. Two additional PSC courses at the 300-level, including any not taken above. Three credits of internship (PSC 412) can be used in this area.
  5. Cognates distributed as follows: (12 semester hours)
    1. GEO 101 or 103
    2. HIS 150, 151, or 152
    3. SOC 200
    4. An ECO course taken under advisement
  6. Electives (6 semester hours)


120 semester hours

  1. General ed. requirements, see pages 38-44 (48 semester hours)
  2. Language requirement (0-12 semester hours)
    (must be completed through the 202 level)

  3. Political science core (21 semester hours)
    Other than the Capstone Seminar, the core courses should be taken during the first and second year.
    PSC 100, 200, 202, 213, 230, 240, and 401
  4. PSC 317 or 320 (3 semester hours)
    PSC 213 and 240 should be completed prior to taking PSC 317 or 320.
  5. Two courses from the comparative group (6 semester hours)
    PSC 340-349
  6. Two courses from the international group (6 semester hours)
    PSC 310, 311, 312, 317, 318, 319, and 330
  7. Additional course (3 semester hours)
    Any one additional course from 4, 5, or 6 above; Study Abroad course with PSC prefix; or PSC internationally focused internship
  8. Cognates distributed as follows: (15 semester Hours)
    1. GEO 101 or 103

    2. HIS 101 or 102
    3. An ECO course taken under advisement
    4. Two “international-themed” courses from outside the major
      Courses with an international focus, with adviser approval, can overlap with related courses for culture clusters or a related minor (e.g., business, ethnic studies, finance, geography, history, languages and cultures, Latin American and Latino studies, marketing, peace and conflict studies, and women’s and gender studies.
  9. Electives (6 semester hours)


120 semester hours

  1. General ed. requirements, see pages 38-44 (48 semester hours)
  2. Language/culture cluster (0-15 semester hours)
    Students must complete or exempt an approved language through the 102 level; then they have the choice of either continuing through the 202 level or completing three relevant culture cluster courses, which must pertain to the language studied. Only one of them can be a PSC course; no more than two can have the same prefix.
  3. Political science core (21 semester hours)
    Other than the Capstone Seminar, the core courses should be taken during the first and second year.
    PSC 100, 200, 202, 213, 230, 240, and 401
  4. Applied/public policy track concentration core (12 semester hours)
    PSC 322, 356, 357, and 358
  5. Two additional PSC courses chosen from the following: (6 semester hours)
    PSC 301, 304, 350, 351, 352, 353, 354, 355, 359, 371, or 375
  6. Cognates distributed as follows: (9 semester hours)
    1. An ECO course selected under advisement
    2. A GEO course selected under advisement
    3. A SOC course selected under advisement
  7. Electives
    Taken to complete the 120 degree requirements


120 semester hours

  1. General ed. requirements, see pages pages 38-44 (48 semester hours)
    1. Academic foundations: In addition to other writing requirements, for teacher certification: MAT 103 (recommended) or other MAT 100-level course; and SPK 208 (recommended) or SPK 230
    2. Diverse communities: May simultaneously fulfill another degree requirement, so PSC diversity courses recommended, such as PSC 301, 323, 340, or 343
    3. Interdisciplinary: An interdisciplinary requirement may not be used to fulfill a general education, distributive, diverse communities, or language culture cluster course requirement. Recommended PSC interdisciplinary courses: 304, 318
    4. Behavioral and social sciences: PSY 100 and SOC 200 recommended
    5. Humanities: HIS 101 and LIT course required
    6. For teacher certification, an additional math course required: MAT 104 (recommended) or a second MAT 100-level course
  2. Language/culture requirement (0-15 semester hours)
  3. Political science core (18 semester hours)
    PSC 100, 200, 202 or 240, 213, 230, 401 (research paper must focus on educational issue)
  4. An additional course from American or (3 semester hours)
    behavioral area
    PSC 301, 323 (recommended), or PSC 322, 324-329
  5. An additional course from the comparative area (3 semester hours)
    PSC 340, 343 (recommended), or PSC 240-249 or 340-349 range
  6. Electives (6 semester hours)
    Any two additional political science courses at the 200 level or above. Electives should be chosen to reflect the themes from the social studies education standards. It is recommended that these courses simultaneously fulfill another degree requirement, such as the diverse communities or writing emphasis requirements.
  7. Cognates distributed as follows (9 semester hours):
    1. ECO 101 or 111 and 112
    2. GEO 101 or 103
    3. HIS 151
  8. Other courses required to obtain the social studies teaching certificate

    In the social sciences: HIS 102, 152; in education: EDA/EDR 341, EDF 300, EDM 300, EDP 250, 351; EDS 306, 411, 412; and SSC 331 (Contact the Department of Political Science for additional information on course prerequisites and required sequences, timing of Praxis I and II exams, and any other updates in the certificate program.)
  9. In order to complete the required 120 credits for graduation, additional free electives may be necessary.

Additional Requirements for Student Teaching and Certification

To apply for formal admission to the Department of Professional and Secondary Education and to register for the last three semesters of education methods and student teaching courses, students must 1) complete at least 48 credits, including the academic foundation requirements of writing, literature, and two math courses; 2) attain an overall GPA of 2.80 or better; 3) successfully pass the reading, math, and writing sections on the Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessments (PAPA).

To receive the social studies teaching certificate, students must 1) complete all of the required education courses listed above with a "C" or better; 2) complete the required courses for the political science major; 3) attain an overall GPA of 3.0 or better; 4) successfully pass the Praxis II social studies major content exam.

* Students in the international relations concentration are encouraged to take PSC 240.

See the Educator Preparation Programs section of this catalog for an explanation of related requirements.

Minor in Political Science (18 semester hours)

  1. Core courses (12 semester hours)
    1. PSC 100
    2. Choose three courses: PSC 200, 202, 213, 230, or 240
  2. Electives (6 semester hours)
    Two elective courses at the 300-level chosen from within one of three area concentrations:
    1. Government and politics: PSC 301, 304, 320, 322, 323, 324, 325, 329, 338, 339, 350, 352, 353, 355, 356, 359, 371, or 373. Students in this area should take PSC 230 as part of their core and complete it prior to taking 300-level PSC courses.
    2. International relations: PSC 310, 311, 317, 318, 319, 320, 330, 340, 342, 343, 346, 348, or 351. Students in this area should take PSC 213 and 240 as part of their core and complete these courses prior to taking 300-level PSC courses.

    3. Applied public policy: PSC 301, 304, 322, 351, 353, 354, 356, 357, 371, 373. Students in this area should take PSC 200 and PSC 202 as part of their core and complete these courses prior to taking 300-level courses.

Students must complete their political science courses for the minor with an overall GPA of 2.0 in order to complete the program. Internship credits in political science (PSC 412) may not be used as credits toward the political science minor.

Minor in Public Management (18 semester hours)

Note: As of January 2014, no new students are being accepted into the minor. Students take PSC 100 and PSC 202 plus four additional courses in public administration under department advisement. This minor may be taken as one of the minors in the bachelor of arts or bachelor of science liberal studies general degree program.



Symbol: PSC, unless otherwise indicated

100 U.S. Government and Politics (3) Devoted to understanding how the system works: political action, elections, interest groups, civil liberties, Congress, the presidency, and the courts are among the topics considered. Seeks to provide a framework in terms of which process and current issues become meaningful.

101 The Politics of Diversity in the United States (3) Uses contemporary issues as a means to investigate the effects of race, class, and gender on the political experiences of citizens while providing an overview of American political institutions.
Diverse communities course

200 Political Analysis (3) Incorporates techniques for analyzing political questions logically and systematically, and introduces basic research design and methodological and library usage skills appropriate to the political science discipline. Required course for B.A. majors in political science, applied/public policy, and international relations, and the B.S. in education with a political science concentration. Optional course for minors in political science and public administration. PREREQ: PSC 100. Writing emphasis course.

202 Elements of Public Administration (3) Considers public administration in the United States as a process of implementing public policy. Uses case studies and projects with texts focusing on organizational theory, human behavior and motivation, budgeting, personnel, and administrative responsibility.

213 International Relations (3) Politics among nations, including politics carried on through international organizations. Examines power politics, techniques of diplomacy, and methods of current international organizations. Special attention to U.S. interests and policies.

230  Introduction to Political Thought (3) Examination of key ideas that animated the great thinkers of Western thought. Special emphasis is placed on specific historical context and the continued relevance of considered ideas. Class will conclude with in-depth case study of a contemporary dilemma that forces students to examine what extent past ideas can aid the understanding of the present political landscape. Writing emphasis course.

240 Introduction to Comparative Politics (3) An introduction to the comparative study of political systems at various stages of cultural, social, economic, and political development.

301 Women and Politics (3) Examines the role of women in politics and examines how the perspectives of marginalized groups gives access to new interpretations about the U.S. political system. Specific topics include socialization, the media, political campaigns, elections, and public policy.
Diverse communities course

304 Urban Politics (3) This course examines the politics of governing American urban areas. In doing so, a number of social science perspectives are explored. Particular attention is paid to theories of urban power and democracy and the politics of urban development.
Approved interdisciplinary course

310 The United States and Latin America (3) This course examines U.S. relations with the nations of Latin America. Emphasis is on understanding the goals of U.S. policies and the real impact of those policies. U.S. views of Latin America, both contemporary and historical, are explored as are Latin American attitudes and views toward the United States. The extent to which the United States has been motivated in its dealing by great power hegemonic concerns, economic self interests (dollar diplomacy), cultural imperialism, human rights, and desire to champion democratic governance are all examined. Contemporary concerns with promoting market economics, narcotic trafficking, and immigration are also considered.

311 Russian Foreign Policy (3) Emphasis on Russian and Soviet-American relations since 1945. Topics treated include the influence of Marxism, Great Russian nationalism, and historical experience on Soviet and Russian foreign relations. PREREQ: PSC 213 or permission of instructor.

315 The European Union (3) This course examines the politics, policies, and institutional processes of the European Union. Theoretical and analytical approaches will be employed to understand the historical and institutional development of the EU as well as current EU-US relations. Experiential learning via a simulation will be part of the course.

317 Contemporary International Relations (3) Recent issues and problems with special emphasis on superpower behavior around the world. Also, third world revolutions, international terrorism, human rights, international law and the United Nations, and the changing international economic order.

318 International Political Economy (3) The focus is the politics of international economic relations. Alternative analytical and theoretical perspectives will be examined for their value in helping to understand and evaluate the historical developments and current operation of the global economy. Special attention is given to system governance (international regimes such as the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund) and the ability of the nations of the world to provide stability to the international political economy. The primary objective of this course is to develop analytical and theoretical skills in the application of various international political economy perspectives (liberalism, mercantilism, Marxism/structuralism) which examine the interrelationship between states and markets.
Approved interdisciplinary course

319 Middle Eastern Politics (3) Topics include the Arab-Israeli conflict, the politics of the Persian Gulf, the role of OPEC, and the superpower conflict in the region.

320  U.S. Foreign Policy (3) Principles of U.S. foreign policy; process of policy formulation; roles and influence of the president, Congress, State Department (and other government agencies), media, and interest groups. Topics include national security and intelligence analysis, terrorism, Cold War, economics/trade, and international organizations.
Writing emphasis course.

322  Public Opinion, Media, and Politics (3) This course examines the dynamics of public opinion and public policy, as well as the nature of public opinion measurement and the vital role national and international media play in forming and changing public opinion. Various theories about media effects are analyzed.

323 The Politics of Race, Class, and Gender (3) This course examines the relationship among race, class, and gender as they relate to people's political behavior and experiences. Also examines the American political system's response to them in terms of its public policies.
Diverse communities course

324 U.S. Political Parties (3) Patterns, functions, and history of the American political party system at national, state, and local levels. Theoretical and empirical studies of political interest groups, public opinion, and voting behavior.

325 Campaigns and Elections (3) This course analyzes American elections and voting behavior, with an emphasis on recent presidential elections. Course objectives include understanding American voting patterns in elections.

329  Judicial Decision Making (3) Analysis of different schools of thought regarding the interpretation of legal texts. Course will address questions such as: What does it mean to say the Constitution is a "living document"? How can we determine what the framers of the Constitution intended the document to mean? How do judges’ political beliefs affect their understanding of  the cases before them? Analysis will focus on specific cases and more general writings and will culminate with in-class simulation.

330 The Politics of the Holocaust and Genocide (3) This course examines the political causes of the Holocaust and genocide both in a historical and current context. Case studies include the Jews in Europe as well as the Armenians and Cambodians.

338 U.S. Political Thought (3) Examination of animating ideas behind most influential dilemmas that affected the political development of the United States. Emphasis on historical context and continuing relevance.

339  Contemporary Political Thought (3) Consideration of the most influential political thinkers over roughly the last 100 years. While emphasis will be placed on particular thinkers, the course will be organized around key topics such as: What is justice and how much should the government do to ensure it?  To what extent are humans – and, by extension, collection of humans that wield political power – capable of rational behavior? In what ways can competing values clash and how do we decide which ones to promote forcefully?

340 Latin American Culture and Politics (3) Comparative analysis of contemporary Latin American systems. Political cultures, decision making, ideologies, and political processes. Emphasis is on Mexico and Central America. Offered each semester.
Culture cluster. Diverse communities course.

342  European Politics (3) Comparative analysis of political cultures, parties, and decision-making processes in principal European political systems. Strong focus on major European nation states: France, Germany, U.K. and Italy. Additional attention given to the European Union.
Culture cluster

343  Culture and Politics of Asia (3) Study of cultural, philosophical, and political systems of modern Asia with special emphasis on China, Japan, and India.
Diverse communities course. Writing emphasis course.

346 Russian Government and Politics (3) Analysis of the Russian political system with a strong emphasis on the old Soviet system. Some focus on Russian foreign policy.
Culture cluster

348 African Culture and Politics (3) The political nature and practices of individuals, organizations, and governments of Black Africa are examined in the cultural context of the contemporary independent period.

350  Constitutional Law I: Government Institutions: Power and Constraints (3) Survey of power relationships among branches of government (checks and balances) and between levels of government (federalism). Course will focus on important constitutional provisions and historically critical Supreme Court decisions, as well as areas of high contemporary interest (detainee treatment and the war on terror, globalization and the U.S. economy, taking of private property).

351 Energy and the Political Process (3) Stresses the process of policy making and implementation in the field of energy. Emphasis also is given to foreign policy and national security implications.

352  Constitutional Law II: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights (3) Examination of the relationship between government and its citizens, including restrictions on interference with the individual freedom (civil liberties) and obligations to prevent discrimination and ensure equality (civil rights). Heaviest focus will be on the constituent clauses of both the First (free speech, free press, free assembly, and the religion clauses) and the Fourteenth Amendments (equal protection and due process).

353 Latino Politics (3) This is a "hands-on" course for upper-level social science students, as research methods are explored and put into practice in coordination with local organizations working with Latinos. Service-learning projects with Latinos in the region are required. Content material includes demographics of Hispanics in the United States, critical theories from Latino perspectives, interdisciplinary immigration studies, and Hispanic perspectives in relation to social welfare, education, employment, crimes and justice, and politics. PREREQ: Permission of instructor required.

354 Environmental Politics and Policy (3) This course explores the politics of governing the environment both nationally and globally. During the semester, students will investigate the policymaking process as it relates to current environmental challenges.

355 Congressional Politics (3) Deals with the internal and external factors that influence Congressional behavior, including the roles of constituents, pressure groups, parties, the committee system, rules, and the leadership. Their relationships to the president and court structure and their impact on electoral politics also are considered. Comparisons with state legislatures.

356 U.S. Public Policy (3) Policy formation and execution. Policy areas considered vary from semester to semester. May include role-playing.

357 Advanced Political Analysis (3) Discussion and application of research design, conceptualization, measurement, operalization, research models, sampling, and data analysis for political science.

358 Applied Public Policy Analysis (3) An examination of public policy issues of state or national concern. Both analysis of current policy and research resulting in new policy recommendations will be included.

359 Presidential Politics (3) In-depth analysis of the nature and significance of the American presidency, including constitutional development, presidential roles and customs, the recruitment process, the executive branch, and the politics of the presidency.

371 State and Local Government (3) Examination of the organization, functions, and politics of state and local government, including analysis of politics in states, counties, cities, and towns in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Intergovernmental relations in education, transportation, and welfare policy are examined.

372 Organization and Management (3) Introduction to public and nonprofit organization management. Broad coverage of key elements of organizational functions and structure for potential managers. Uses both macro sociological and micro psychological levels of analysis. Case studies integrated into conceptual frameworks.

373 Intergovernmental Relations (3) Designed to familiarize students with the complex network of conflict, cooperation, and interdependence among national, state, and local government units. Topic areas, among others, include an analysis of the continuing evolution of American federalism, an examination of this relationship from state and city government perspectives, and a description of specific intergovernmental fiscal programs and policies.

375 Public Policy and Budgeting (3) Introductory course to public fiscal management applicable to local, state, and national levels of government. Focus on the three major aspects of fiscal management: public services in a free market/mixed economy; revenue/taxation theory and practice; and governmental budgeting systems and concepts. PREREQ: PSC 202.

399 Political Science Special Topics (3) This course will examine topics of temporal or special interest that are not normally part of the regular ongoing political science curriculum. Students will be provided an opportunity to pursue specialized research, study, or application of knowledge and skills in an applied setting.

HBI 400, 401, 402 Harrisburg Internship Seminar (15) A full-semester internship in Pennsylvania state government. Student intern is placed in cabinet-level or legislative office. Placement (9 cr.); Policy Research Project (3 cr.); Policy Seminar (3 cr.). The internship is open to any junior or senior student, regardless of major, who has a minimum GPA of 3.5. Stipend involved.

400 Senior Seminar in Political Science (3) Research in political science. Methodology, bibliography, and presentation, both oral and written. The research paper for the seminar must be acceptable as a required departmental senior research paper.

401 Senior Project in Political Science (3) Execution of the research design constructed in PSC 399. Involves completion of a major senior paper under supervision of a staff member. Extensive independent effort.

410 Independent Studies in Political Science (1-3) Research projects, reports, and readings in political science. Open to seniors only. PREREQ: Permission of instructor.

412 Internship in Political Science (3-15) Upper-level student field placement learning. Short-term, 3- to 6-hour experiences in political settings under faculty advisement; and 9- to 15-hour placements in state, federal, local government or public service agencies. Learning contracts and faculty advisement create a whole experience from exposure to government administration and politics. Offered each semester.
This course may be taken again for credit.