Course Descriptions

Academics / Colleges & Schools / College Liberal Arts Education Science / Liberal Arts Programs / Political Science / Homeland Security Policy Minor / Course Descriptions
Course Descriptions and Titles

The minor requires the following two foundation courses:

POL/HLS 100 Introduction to American Politics (3 credits)

This important introductory course examines the basic principles of the U.S. constitutional system. Students learn about the democratic process; the organization, powers and procedures of Congress, the presidency and the federal judiciary; and the functions, services, and financing of the national government.  Emphasis is on public issues, national priorities, and civil liberties.

POL/HLS 202 The Political System:  Theories & Themes (3 credits)

A gateway course into the subfields of comparative politics and international relations. Attention will focus on the various methods used to examine the dynamics of the  political system, its interrelations with the external world and reaction to pressures emanating from its environment.

The minor also requires any three of the following four courses:

POL/HLS 203 Homeland Security (3 credits)

The course is designed to help students increase their knowledge and understanding of homeland security policy.  The course considers why and how homeland security problems impact the public agenda, why some solutions are adopted and others rejected, and why some policies appear to succeed while others appear to fail.  The course closely examines U.S. policy making at the national level, while also analyzing state and local examples. Students also have the opportunity to compare U.S. policy to overseas practices.

POL/HLS 204 Development and Structure of U.S. Intelligence Agencies (3 credits)

Intelligence — accurate, up-to-date information about unfolding world events — is crucial to U.S. national security. The course provides an historical review of intelligence during and after World War II. It examines the major functions of intelligence, including collection, analysis, counterintelligence, and covert action, and its role in the foreign policy process. Students are introduced to a range of intelligence gathering methods, including human, open source, electronic, photographic, and signal, with emphasis placed on interpreting and writing intelligence summaries.

POL/HLS 301 Civil Liberties in the United States (3 credits)

This course examines the American doctrine of civil liberties in theory and practice. Emphasis is placed on analyzing the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and religion, the right of privacy, and the problem of discrimination in the context of contemporary issues and problems. The course focuses particular attention to the role of the Supreme Court on protecting civil liberties.

POL/HLS 325 Public Sector Policy Analysis (3 credits) 

Students examine public sector policy in modern society with an emphasis on the formation and implementation of public policy. The course looks closely at who gets what, when, and how — and the role administrators have in policy-making, as compared to elected legislators, chief executives and judges. Students also learn about the impact of administrators on security and other public benefits on the one hand, and on public behavior on the other.

Additionally, students are required to take any two of the following courses.

POL/HLS 219 Terrorism, Revolution and Political Violence (3 credits)

“Revolutions are the mad inspiration of history.” Trotsky’s characterization calls attention to three important dimensions of violent political participation: the historical settings, ideology and emotional fervor of the practitioners. This course focuses on these dimensions by analyzing terrorist leaders and  movements in the latter part of the 20th and the early 21st centuries. Special attention is given to the motivations of leaders and sub-leaders of terror movements and their justifications of the use of violence against non-combatants. 

POL/HLS 220 Terrorism and Counter Terrorism  (3 credits)

Students are introduced to arguments about the definition of terrorism, the historical use of terrorism and the roles of ideology, religion, and psychological factors that help explain and predict it. The course seeks to identify the components of national security policy aimed at countering such elements and their cost, both in financial and civil right terms. Finally, to illuminate both the definition and the policies discussed, the course will offer brief comparisons with other states, especially Israel, the UK, and Russia.

POL/HLS 300   U.S. Constitutional Law (3 credits)

The role of the Supreme Court in the American political system is assessed. Topics include the staffing and functioning of the Supreme Court and the federal judicial bureaucracy, the origins and development of judicial review, and the role of the Supreme Court in national policy-making.

POL/HLS 304 Political Behavior: Fear, Risk and Crisis (3 credits)

The course focuses on various analytical approaches in behavioral political science. It does so by advancing students’ knowledge of the cognitive aspects of whether citizens engage in various types of political behavior—e.g., voting/non-voting, the formation of political partisanship and ideology, issue perceptions, responding to risk and uncertainty in the political environment, and engaging in civic political participation.

POL/HLS 314 Congressional Power and Security Policy  (3 credits)

The purpose of this course is for students to identify, examine, analyze, and interpret the role of Congress in shaping national security policy with a particular emphasis on the institution’s role in the Global War on Terror. In addition to an in-depth analysis of the US Congress, we also look comparatively at how legislatures in other nations have dealt with crafting their own security policies.

POL/HLS 316  Presidential Power and National Security Policy (3 credits)

An examination of the development of the National Security State since the World War II and the ways in which it has affected, and been affected by, the federal executive branch. Topics to be covered will include the post-World War II redefinition of “national security”, the Cold War (with a special focus upon war powers during Korea and Vietnam) and the changes that have occurred with the “War on Terror.”

POL/HLS 346 Liberal Democracy in Times of Stress  (3 credits)

This course inquires into historic and present day cases, ranging across Europe and the U.S. in which liberal democratic governments under stress because of subversion, terrorism, invasion, rebellion or the effects of economically caused chaos, take on emergency powers to become so called "states of exception." While in some cases such states have imposed mild emergency measures, others have employed more draconian measures, suspending, if not dissolving , constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties, often for indeterminate and protracted periods. How various states have behaved in emergency situations and consequently what could be expected in such will be the major content of this course.

POL/HLS 350 U.S. Foreign and Security Policy (3 credits)

This course covers the principles, institutions and processes involved in the formulation and implementation of policies regarding the nation’s military, economic, and environmental security within the global framework. It includes strands, trends and problem areas in U.S. foreign policy, with a focus on the changing global environment of the post-Cold War world.

POL/HLS 351 Critical Views of Global Security (3 credits)

Students will examine the foundations of international security, including the concept of security from both the macro and micro levels. Discussions will cover a mix of security strategies (balance of power, alliances, rearmament, collective security, deterrence); theoretical perspectives on security (Neorealism, Neoliberalism, Critical Theory and the Copenhagen School); great power and third world security; democratic and non-democratic security; classic threats (changes in relative power, proliferation) and new threats (environment, population movements, terrorism); and concepts of security ranging from state survival and societal security, to unit level-variables such as human security.

POL/HLS 361 The Judicial Process

This in-depth examination of the nature of judicial decision-making and the impact that judicial decisions have on society considers the sources of judicial authority, judicial fact-finding, statutory and constitutional interpretation, individual and collective processes of judicial decision-making, relations between judges and other government officials, and the political consequences of judicial decisions with particular emphasis on federal courts and judges.

POL/HLS 363 Human Rights in Global Context

Human rights — droits de l'homme, derechos humanos, the rights of man — are, literally, the rights that one has because one is human. What does it meant to have a right? How are being human and having rights related? This course provides an introduction to theory and global practice of human rights. Human rights claims play and increasingly central role in political and social struggles across the world. 

The adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 signaled a proliferation of international human rights law and transnational non-governmental activism. While the promotion of human rights has become global, adherence to these standards remains uneven and gross violations and atrocities continue to occur. The course will first focus on the role of states, NGOs and transnational networks in the promotion of human rights. We will also discuss political, socio-psychological and other explanations for gross violations and explore the limits of human right language in effectively addressing injustices around the world. The course will then be organized around specific human right issues, including the death penalty, women's rights, torture, the right for food, genocide and racial discrimination.

POL/HLS 491  Internship in New Jersey Homeland Security Policy

Based on student eligibility and availability.