Course Offerings

Political Science and International Relations Course Offerings



Fall Courses

POLS 1200-U.S Politics
U.S. Politics is an introductory course into the many facets of American Politics. During the semester we  will  broadly  study  government  institutions,  political  behavior,  political  participation,  voting behavior, and political representation. This course is heavily focused on the role of race in politics, therefore, each of the aforementioned topics will be analyzed through a racial lens. US Politics will focus on the different analytical frameworks scholars use to understand American politics. Therefore, our job will be to pay close attention to the arguments and evidence these scholars use in their work to help us understand the study of political science.

Course Times:
MWF 2:00pm-3:00pm ONLINE
MWF 3:30pm-4:30pm ONLINE
TR 10:00am-11:30am IN-PERSON

POLS 1400- Comparative Politics
Comparative politics is the study and practice of comparing political units and systems, in whole and in part. This course introduces you to many of the central puzzles, themes, and approaches of comparative politics with the goal of helping you understand and analyze domestic and international political events. The material is organized by topic not by country though we will illustrate each topic or theme using country examples.

The course begins with a broad overview of comparative methodology and the major theories and concepts of comparative politics. We then explore broad political phenomena including statehood and state failure; political economy and economic development; variation in types of governance; democratic transition, consolidation, and breakdown; participation and activism. For each country's case, we will look at key historical events, current political institutions, the country’s unique political culture, and “hot button” issues of today.

Course Times:
TR 12:00pm-1:30pm IN-PERSON
MWF 11:00am-12:00pm IN-PERSON
MWF 9:30am-10:30am IN-PERSON

POLS 1600- International Relations
This is a theoretical course. And this is so because,to explain anything in this world (and relations among international actors are no exception),you need theories. Master some theories about international relations, and you’ll get considerably closer to explaining and thinking critically about much of what we observe goes on in world affairs today.Indeed, this course serves as an introduction to the main theories available to explain international politics. These are guided by paradigms—particular ways of looking at international relations—and most debates over substantive and empirical issues—whether scholarly or in media outlets—are seen and constructed through these lenses. The course is organized around—and moves beyond—such paradigms and understanding such theories will give you the necessary foundation for explaining some of the most important issues in contemporary international politics.After successful completion of this course, you should have a strong sense about how to approach any issue in international relations from multiple angles as well as a good notion of how to develop carefully crafted arguments on any such topics. You will develop analytical, writing and oral communication skills that you will find useful no matter what profession you choose to enter. The course systematically connects and uses different analytical approaches to current global events; thus, showing you how to make sense, and come up with your own arguments, on what is currently going on in the world. Students are required to read newspapers and follow the news on a daily basis.


1. To introduce you to the main theories, debates, core issues, actors and processes shaping contemporary international relations.

2. To learn how to use analytical tools to critically engage with any substantive claim and issue in international affairs.

3. To improve your ability to communicate your ideas effectively in writing and through speaking.

4.To acquire healthy work habits—e.g. eagerness to learn and keep learning, teamwork, punctuality, problem-solving and critical thinking—that you will find useful no matter what profession you eventually enter.

Course Times:
MW 2:00pm-3:30pm IN-PERSON
TR 12:00pm-1:30pm IN-PERSON
TR 10:00am-11:30am IN PERSON
MWF 12:30pm-1:30pm IN-PERSON

POLS 2000- Foundations of Political Theory
FLAGS: Writing

“Foundations” is a reading, writing, and discussion intensive course that will introduce students to the history of political thought and develop students’ critical reading and writing skills. Through an engagement with “classic”texts spanning the ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary periods in the “west,” we will ask hard questions about justice, truth, value, happiness and the good life, individual and common good, the foundations of political societies,the origins and work of inequality, the value of freedom, subjection, subjectivity and citizenship, violence and morality, and many others. Above all, we will ask what it means to make something “foundational” at all, and what we have “built” upon that foundation.


1. Students will develop a solid grounding in the major concepts, arguments, and key thinkers in political theory.

2. Students will develop an appreciation for how theory informs the discipline of political science. 

3. Students will improve their skills of deliberation and logical argumentation.

4. Students will improve their critical, argumentative, and interpretive writing skills. Most importantly, students will develop their critical thinking skills and apply them to their political and social lives, allowing them to grow as persons and as critical citizens.

Course Times:
MWF 11:00am-12:00pm IN-PERSON
TR 10:00am-11:30am IN-PERSON
TR 12:00pm-1:30pm IN-PERSON

POLS 2100- Empirical Approaches
This course is an introduction to research methods and is designed to: (1) expose students to various approaches for conducting political science research, and (2) provide students with a framework for developing focused research questions and designing plans to best answer those questions. We will cover a range of topics, starting from the formulation of research topics and questions, the development of theory and empirically testable hypotheses, the design of data collection activities, and basic qualitative  and quantitative data analysis techniques. We will address a variety of empirical approaches including experimental designs, large-N and survey research, small-N case studies, and content analysis. In short, this course will train students to think and work like a social scientist.

Course Times:
TR 2:00pm-3:30pm ONLINE
MWF 11:00am-12:00pm IN-PERSON
MWF 9:30am-10:30am IN-PERSON

POLS 3010 Classical/Christian Political Theory
This course surveys the Western tradition of political thinking from antiquity to the Renaissance.  Major attention will be devoted to Plato and Aristotle; other theorists considered will include figures from ancient Greece and Rome (Thucydides, Sallust, Cicero, Tacitus), the early Christian and medieval periods (Augustine, Aquinas, and others), and the Renaissance and Reformation (Niccolo Machiavelli, Desiderius Erasmus, Thomas More, and Martin Luther). A prominent feature of the course will be two extended role-playing simulation exercises designed to apply these theoretical frameworks to concrete contexts. The course gives substantial attention to philosophical and political analysis, written and oral argumentation, and active and engaged learning using the two extended role-playing simulations.

TR 10:00am-11:30am IN-PERSON

POLS 3020 Modern Political Theory
This course surveys the tradition of political thinking that defines and reflects the rise of the “modern” era, roughly from the beginnings of European colonialism to the 20th century.

MW 4:00pm-5:30pm IN-PERSON

POLS 3210 Congressional Politics
The U.S. Congress is made up of five hundred and thirty-five men and women who are sent to Washington to represent very different constituents from very diverse parts of the country.  Members of Congress are pressured to act in certain—and sometimes contradictory—ways by a number of factors, including their own re-election, the needs of their constituencies, organized interests, the president party leaders, and more.  In addition, the two chambers of Congress are each organized and managed by a complex web of rules, committees, and norms.  Despite these obstacles, members of Congress are expected to come together to pass legislation that affects the entire nation.  Is this a reasonable expectation?
The purpose of this course is to evaluate how the U.S. Congress operates, with particular emphasis on how the individual members make decisions. What factors influence the decision-making process of members of Congress? How well does Congress represent the interests of the people? How is legislation formed and compromise reached? How does Congress interact with the other components of the political system? Why is there so much gridlock? Is the Trump Presidency posing unique challenges to the functioning of the Congress?
In exploring these questions, the majority of the class will be run as a simulation of the U.S. House of Representatives. The intent is to immerse students into the experience of being a member of Congress and to learn firsthand the central operating procedures and the norms of the institution.  Students will play the roles of Representatives, journalists, and members of the executive branch.  Former students from the class will return to play the role of lobbyists. The course instructor will play the role of the electorate.
Student Learning Outcomes:  As a result of taking this course, students should be intimately familiar with the procedures and norms that dominate the functioning of the U.S. Congress.  Students should also come to understand the psychological nature of politics and how that influences the decision-making of political actors.  A substantial component of the class will focus on helping to develop oral and speech making skills.  Students will be required to meet with the instructors individually at least two times throughout the semester for direct feedback on their progress in the class and the development of their oral skills

MWF 11:00am-12:00pm IN-PERSON

POLS 3220 Presidency
This course is designed to give the students an introduction to the presidents and the presidency. We willlook at the problems and prospects of presidential leadership within a complex and often contradictory system: the separation-of-powers.We will pay special attention to the post 9/11 presidency of George W. Bush.

MWF 9:30am-10:30am ONLINE

POLS 3340- Urban Politics 
Urban Politics is the study of people and politics at the ground level of policy. This course introduces the political history and major policy issues in cities, metropolitan areas, and local governance. In Part I, we examine political, social, and economic explanations for the origin and evolution of urban environments. We trace the historical development of local government institutions, investigate distribution of power, and analyze urban coalitions. In the second part of the course, we transition into what we will refer to in this course as “The Urban Crisis.” During this part of the course, we will examine how the circumstances of Part I set the stage for various forms of urban contestation; and we will contextualize the themes of the course by looking at two single case study books of individual cities; New York and Detroit. Finally, in Part III we build off our previous two parts and analyze policy issues and challenges facing American cities and other urban areas across the world in the 21st century. We will also focus on a variety of urban policy issues including poverty, growth, cultural strategies of development, gentrification, and law enforcement.

We will be using mediums of several kinds to understand a complex blend of urban politics, people, and spaces. This includes a blend of films, lectures, and discussions that are designed to encourage inquiry and objective analysis.

TR 2:00pm-3:30pm IN-PERSON

POLS 3620-International Security
This survey course is designed to provide a broad introduction to the international relations subfield of international security. As such, it explores the key concepts and theories of international relations and applies these to the new and enduring security challenges facing individual nation-states and the global political system. We will seek answers to several big questions in the subfield, including: Should the object of security be states or individuals? Have security threats and their solutions transformed, and in what ways? In what ways do governments attempt to acquire and preserve their security? How secure can states and citizens expect to be,and at what price? 

TR 2:00pm-3:30pm IN-PERSON

POLS 3800- Political Internship
This course is designed to combine your experiences working in a political internship with coursework relating to the broader study of politics in an academic setting. Designed to give students direct experience in the world of politics, internships will most commonly be held with elected officials, political consultants, non-governmental organizations, state and local government agencies, environmental organizations, political parties, and interest groups, among others. Internship opportunities also help students obtain practical experience and build relationships with potential future employers while earning college credit.

Thegoal of the course is toassiststudents in obtaining skills, experiences, and contacts that enhance employment prospectsand options after graduation. By the end of the semester,students will (1) gain experience working ina field related to political scienceor international relations, (2) develop professional connections and strategies for maintaining those connections,(3) identify and cultivate additional skills that will need to be developed to ensure career readiness, and (4) reflect on and evaluate what it means to not only “do” an internship, but to excel and make themselves competitive.

TR 4:00pm-5:30pm IN-PERSON

POLS 3998.03 Politics of Age
(Formerly "Generations in Politics")
Politics and Policy of Age is a course in political gerontology. This specialized subfield takes the multi-disciplinary approach of focusing on the concepts and theories of both political science and gerontology (the study of aging). We will explore how age and generations affect the political system through their political behaviors, political attitudes, age-based policies, demographic compositions, economic circumstances, and their social trends. This course centers around the five generations of the Silent Generation (b. 1928-1945), Baby Boom (b. 1946-1964), Gen X (b. 1965-1979), Millennials (1980-1994), and Gen Z (b. 1995-2012 and also known as iGen). Each of the five generations has experienced its own set of important socializing events, especially those during their relevant coming-of-age years, that left indelible marks and created their varying political perspectives. Yet, at the same time significant critical events, such as COVID-19, cut across all generations and impact every generation.

This Fall semester is a presidential election year which to political science is like the Super Bowl when all its key aspects, concepts and theories are on full display. Therefore, this course will unfold in real time and is designed to incorporate the election into our study of political gerontology. How timely that the two presidential candidates are in their 70s and will demonstrate a number of aspects we will be studying. Note that we are NOT taking a partisan perspective to any of the developments in the campaign or election. Rather, in this course and in all discussions, we are ONLY applying an age and generations lens to current politics.

Politics and Policies of Age, to use an analogy, can best be described as an “everything but the kitchen sink” course because we will be doing a little bit of a lot of things related to age. Political gerontology elements included as a foci are elections, public policy, politics, polls (an important tool in a political scientist’s tool box), methodology (remember POLS 2100), campaigns, political film, demography, age/period/cohort effects and challenges.

Lastly, this course is designed with extensive and extended emphasis on Gen Z. The goal is to give you members of Gen Z an opportunity to learn more about your own generation and to give you a voice to complain about your special circumstances and/or about other generations (i.e., OK Boomer – said first by a Gen Z).  

MWF 12:30pm-1:30pm ONLINE

POLS 3998.05 Negotiation Skills (Model United Nations)
This course will cover the history and development of the United Nations and related organizations broadly and deeply. Significant time will be spent on key member states and within the United Nations and in the international community. In preparation for Model United Nation conference attendance, students will learn the rules of procedure, the art of diplomacy, negotiating skills, and public speaking.

The Model UN course is designed to acquaint students with the operations of the United Nations through the study of political positions of member nations. Additionally, students should achieve a level of understanding in the use of simulation activities as a means for teaching and learning about the political perspectives of different nationalities on contemporary world issues. Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to:
-Articulate the foreign policy of the selected country
-Define the structures and general procedures of the United Nations
-Describe important historical issues affecting the UN and evaluate the organization’seffectiveness
-Analyze an issue currently before the United Nations from the selected member nation’s perspective
-Understand and competently use the rules of procedure, diplomatic protocol, and negotiating techniques common to UN delegates
-Explain the rationale, format, and instructional methods of the Model United Nations simulation. 

R 7:30pm-8:30pm IN-PERSON

POLS 3998.11 Global Health Policy
This is a course in the comparative politics of health policy. We will cover diverse topics such as the social nature of disease, comparative health systems, health service delivery in a developing state context, the political economy of health goods, global health cooperation, and the politics of public health emergencies (including pandemics). We will also devote some time to understanding the United States’ health system in comparative context. The course combines perspectives and tools from political science, sociology, economics and public health to understand these diverse phenomena. Learning objectives for students include developing localized expertise in one region or country through course assignments and projects as well as practice in the application, analysis and critique of existing theories to make sense of case specifics.

MW 2:00pm-3:30pm IN-PERSON

POLS 3998.12 Nationalism and War
Why did the nature of war change so dramatically after the rise of the modern nation-state? What role has non-material factors played this change? How does the increasing saliency of national identity impact the future of conflict in international relations? The aim of this course is to examine the phenomenon of war in its broader socio-economic that emerged after 1815. By examining forces as disparate as map-making and universal literacy and the rise of merit-based promotion in officer corps students will understand the historical role national identity played in shaping conflict as well as better understand contemporary conflict.

TR 6:30pm-8:00pm IN-PERSON

POLS 4210- U.S. Constitutional Law: Case Method I
This semester we will be studying the power of the Judiciary, Congress and the President as well as the “substantive due process rights,” which cover abortion, sexuality, assisted suicide, same-sex marriage, voting, and other areas of personal freedom. As society changes and becomes more complex, so does the law in these controversial areas.

Learning objectives:
--to better understand the law and political theory at the heart of our constitutional system;
--to develop the skills necessary to understand and apply complex constitutional law;
--to help students who are considering law school to decide if they want to go and to prepare them to succeed once they get there.

We will study the legal rules themselves, the history of how they developed, and how suitable these principles still are for today's world.

TR 8:00am-9:30am IN-PERSON

POLS 4390 Politics of Los Angeles
This course examines the past, present and future of Los Angeles. The semester is divided into three parts. The first revolves around theories, concepts, and academic literature associated with Los Angeles. The second part is the StudyLA/Bellarmine Lecture Series. The third part will be led by students focusing on public opinion and the future of significant issues in Los Angeles.

MW 4:00pm-5:30pm IN-PERSON

POLS 4650 - Politics of the Global Economy
This  course  examines  the interaction  between  international  economics,  international  politics,  and  domestic  politics.  After  an introduction to the disciplines of international and comparative political economy, the course is organized around thematic sections. The first one focuses on international trade, i.e. the movement of goods across countries. It analyzes the global trading system, the domestic political dimension of international trade, and public opinion on trade. The second section explores international finance, i.e. the movement of capital across countries. It examines the role of multinational corporations, monetary and exchange rate policies,and public  opinion  on  international  transfers.  The  third  section  examines  immigration,  i.e.  the  movement  of  people  across  countries, exploring the political economy of immigration, immigration attitudes, and the link between immigration and redistribution. The fourth section  investigates  the  domestic  political  effects  of  economic  globalization,  examining  the  effects  of  globalization on  elections, populism, the welfare state, and epidemics. The fifth section analyzes economic inequality, with a focus on the causes of inequality, its link with redistribution, and its effect on fairness and happiness. In the last part of the course, students will present their research.


-Gain knowledge.  Students will gain a greater comprehension of the major theoretical approaches to understanding political economy and how these approaches can help analyze substantive areas such as international trade,international monetary policy, globalization and other areas.

-Enhance critical thinking. Students will learn to critically examine the course material presented, including academic readings, news articles, and lectures.

-Enhance information literacy and improve research skills. Students will learn how to conduct their own largely self-directed research projects.  There is a long research paper that students must work on for most of the semester.  The paper requires students to find and use scholarly information specific to each disciplinary perspective.  Students will be able to differentiate between source types and understand how to use them effectively as evidence in an argument, which requires them to be able to assess material for reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, and bias.

Course Times
TR 10:00am-11:30am IN-PERSON
MW 2:00pm-3:30pm IN-PERSON

POLS 4750 Foreign Policy Analysis
Foreign policy is a major subdivision in the field of international relations. Though in the early
development of international relations, foreign policy focused on merely security and geopolitical issues,
in the latter part of the 20th century however, foreign policy analysis emerged as a major research topic
representative of a myriad of complex variables. This course will concentrate on the evolution of foreign
policy behavior of states, discussing both theory and practice. Initially, a short historical narrative of
foreign policy conduct will be provided before the emergence of nation-states followed by an examination of the foreign behavior of imperial powers through the end of the 19th centuries. Economic interconnectedness, two world wars and the rise of American global power brought about a transformation in the concept and conduct of foreign policy in the 20th century. Beginning in the 1950s,
new tools, frameworks, conceptualizations and theories expanded the quality of foreign policy analysis.
Past methodologies to understand foreign policy were questioned. By the 1970s, a paradigm shift had
occurred in the foreign policy literature. Alongside the traditional realist approach, positivism and
structuralism emerged as competing analytical approaches in foreign policy analysis. Moreover, theories
of decision-making, organizational behavior, small group dynamics, cognition, constructivism, national
attributes, domestic structures, international systems, and democratic peace became prevalent in
fathoming foreign policy behavior. Furthermore, environmental issues, human rights and trade have
moved to center stage in foreign policy objectives of states. This course will explain how the field of foreign policy evolved from a more or less single factor analysis before 1945 to an inter-disciplinary field of study by the early 21st century. In understanding the foreign policy behavior of countries, a comparative approach will be employed drawing on developing and developed states, small and large, new and ancient, rich and poor, cohesive and divided, democratic and authoritarian. In this plethora of diversity, every country has its own peculiarities. Foreign policy literature today provides us with a highly valuable toolbox to grasp the essence of foreign behavior of every state. This course will include both a review of foreign policy theories as well as a comparative analysis of a large number of cases of foreign policy behavior.

TR 4:00pm-5:30pm IN-PERSON

POLS 4998.02 Law and Social Change
This course deals with the complex relationship between law, courts, the political system, and social change; and is designed to focus on the role of legal strategies pursued by social movements to remedy racial and gender discrimination in the United States through legal and legislative efforts. The course takes place in three stages: Establishing a framework, then evaluating that framework through two areas of specialty. We will begin the course by setting up a theoretical framework for evaluating social and legal hierarchies. The second part of the course will focus on race, primarily on the Reconstruction Amendments and U.S. school desegregation movements of the 20th century. The final part of the course will explore the role of gender and privacy in Supreme Court rulings, with an emphasis placed on cases dealing with abortion and LGBTQ+ rights.

Along the way, we will explore the interaction between judicial institutions and other institutions, such as legislatures, executives, and state & local governments. While the course will contain traditional academic readings, we will also be utilizing a regular blend of multimedia and lively classroom activities.


-Understand that Constitutional debates are fluid by interpreting historical foundations and debates on law and social change.
-Analyze modern political and legal debates on race and gender rights.
-Evaluate current and upcoming Supreme Court cases by debating the purpose and meaning of Constitutional rights.
-Create strategies for facilitating and leading their own goals with respect to law and social change.

TR 12:00pm-1:30pm IN-PERSON

POLS 5600 Theories of International Relations
POLS 5600 examines issues of conflict and cooperation involving states, institutions, and non-state actors. It begins with a review of the major theories of international relations, and then engages with timely debates and prominent topics in the field, including questions related to political violence, ethnic politics, human rights, and international norms.  Additionally, the seminar is designed to facilitate independent research in international or comparative politics.  During the course of the semester, each student will develop a research question and examine it from beginning to end.  Students will be asked to identify a question, contextualize its significance, develop a literature review, and empirically examine their question.

M 6:30pm-9:30pm IN-PERSON

POLS 5700 International Relations Senior Assessment
POLS 5700 is a zero-unit course that examines majors’ feedback and evaluation of the international relations program.  Students should enroll in this course during their final year at LMU, as follows:  (1) those with an expected graduation date of Fall 2021 should enroll now (Fall 2021), and (2) those anticipating graduation in Spring or Summer 2021 should enroll during the Spring 2021 registration period.


POLS 5998.05 Politics of Immigration
This course is designed to provide students with a critical introduction to the Politics of Immigration. In order to understand why immigration is such an important process we must first understand how nations are developed. Therefore, we must first grapple with a theoretical understanding of who we are as nation and, more importantly, who we want to be. In this course we will examine how governmental institutions, political actors, and socio-political processes have both shaped and responded to immigrationto the United States from the beginning of the Republic, but with an emphasis on the post-1965 period. From discussions of a melting pot society to taxpayer concerns, this course will help us understand the myths, concerns, and policies that shape our knowledge of immigration, citizenship, and membership in the United States.

TR 8:00am-9:30am ONLINE

POLS 5998.07 Feminist Theories
Feminist political thinkers shed light on the role of gender in shaping our social position and
experience of the world. In this course, we will read authors who take up questions of
gender-based oppression in order to make visible marginalized persons and groups, and seek
out practices of political empowerment and solidarity. We consider themes and episodes
including the women’s, black feminist, and Chicana liberation movements; the evolving
problem of gender and capitalism –from women’s relegation to the domestic sphere to the
contemporary exploitation of care work in neoliberal economies; racialized sexuality and
governmental power; experiences of inheritance, depression, anxiety, and anger; and
reparative strategies of care and resistance.

TR 4:00pm-5:30pm IN-PERSON

POLS 5998.08 Politics of Water

There are no shortages of American water crises in recent years. From unprecedented drought in the West to the Austin, Texas and Jackson, Mississippi water crises of 2021, water has come front and center into the world of American political contestation. This course analyzes the policies, processes, issues, and politics of water issues and disputes within and between countries. The course takes place in four stages: First, we will establish an overall framework to understand the subject of water politics. Next, we will take a closer look on several political dimensions of water, such as, but not limited to, water and poverty, water privatization, environmental issues, gender and water, and water law. Our third section of the course will turn to topics of water justice and the human right to water. We will conclude the course by applying all of our previous work to a single case study; the Flint, Michigan water crisis.  

Along the way, we will explore the interaction between local, state, and federal governments on issues of water economics and law, transnational issues of water, and perhaps dive into reimagining community water politics for the rest of the 21st century. While the course will contain traditional academic readings, we will also be utilizing a regular blend of multimedia and lively classroom activities.


-Understand historical and current issues of water politics.
-Analyze modern political and legal debates on water rights.
-Evaluate current national and international issues of water politics by debating the purpose and meaning of water allocation.
-Create strategies for facilitating and leading their own goals with respect to water politics and justice.

T 6:30pm-9:30pm IN-PERSON


  • The LMU Bulletin maintains the most complete list of Political Science and International Relations courses with their descriptions. See all courses.