Department of Political Science

Department Chair: Terri B. Davis

201 Social and Behavioral Sciences Building, phone (409) 880-8526, fax (409) 880-1710
email politicalscience@lamar.edu

Pre-Law Advisor: Terri B. Davis

Distinguished Professors Emeritus: Drury, Utter

Professors: Castle, Vanderleeuw

Associate Professors: Davis, Lanier, Sandovici, Sowers

Assistant Professors: Easterly, Nelson, Sides

Visiting Instructors: Gubala, Rogers

Instructors: Owen

The Political Science Department provides all university students with knowledge and appreciation of national and state political processes and equips undergraduate majors with a wide knowledge of the various substantive areas of the discipline, including American politics, comparative politics, public administration and public policy, and international relations. Students receive instruction in social science research methodology, critical analysis, and methods of effective communication to prepare them for appropriate professional, educational, and occupational opportunities. Political Science faculty members have earned doctorates in a wide range of specializations within the broad areas of the discipline. Departmental instruction is energized and informed by faculty involvement in research, scholarly publication, and professional activities at political science and social science organization meetings. Department faculty serve the larger community by participating in civic organizations, commissions, and task forces, and offering professional expertise as consultants and advisors to local governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

Bachelor of Science in Political Science

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Political Science with Legal Studies Minor

Bachelor of Science in Political Science with Social Studies Certification

Additionally, the Department offers a Pre-Law Program leading to Bachelor of Arts or Science degrees.

Bachelor of Science/MPA Fast Track

Master of Public Administration

Minors Offered

Minor in Political Science

Minor in Legal Studies

Minimum Academic Standards for Political Science Majors

The following minimum academic standards apply to students enrolled as majors in the Department of Political Science:

  1. A grade of C or better in English composition courses is required.
  2. A grade of C or better in all Political Science courses is required.
  3. A grade of C or better in all courses in the minor is required.
  4. A 2.0 grade point average in the major is required for graduation.
  5. An overall grade point average of 2.0 is required for graduation.

Political Science – Pre-Law

One of the traditional routes to law school is a four-year undergraduate degree in Political Science. Students may pursue either the Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science or Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science as candidates for admission to a school of law. Both degrees retain the values of a liberal education (such as instruction in history, English, and a foreign language) and the enhancement of technical skills (including accounting and mathematics). With several free electives and an 18-hour minor, the Bachelor of Arts or Science in Political Science affords considerable flexibility in meeting each student’s unique educational and career needs. The Political Science Department pre-law advisor assists students in selecting appropriate undergraduate courses, applying for admission to law school and maximizing the chance for success on the Law School Admission Test.

Juniors and seniors who meet the required academic standards may also apply for participation in the State of Texas Legislative Internship Program and various legal, legislative and local government internships.

Texas Legislative Internship Program (TLIP)

The Texas Legislative Internship Program (TLIP) is an educational internship program sponsored by Senator Rodney Ellis, administered by the Mickey Leland Center on World Hunger and Peace, and funded through the Beaumont Foundation. TLIP provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students attending Texas colleges and universities to serve as interns in the Texas Legislature during regular legislative sessions.

Students receive a minimum of six and a maximum of twelve academic credit hours for participating in the program, which combines academic study and research with supervised practical training. TLIP internships cover one spring academic semester and allow students an opportunity to experience public service firsthand.

Juniors and seniors from any academic discipline who meet the required academic standards may apply for participation in TLIP.  The application process is rigorous and highly competitive. A committee of Lamar University Ph.D. holding faculty select five internship nominees from among the applicants and forward their applications to the state TLIP program.  Applications are accepted and awards made in each fall semester prior to the state legislative regular session

Legal Internships – Pre-Law

Exceptional students may qualify for a cooperative education program available in the legal profession. They earn up to six semester hours of elective internship credit in their junior and senior years while working half-days in local law firms. Law office experience is combined with academic assignments to develop skills useful to the potential lawyer. Admission to the program is by permission of the chair of the Department of Political Science and the pre-law advisor.

Bachelor of Science/Master of Public Administration Fast Track Program

The Fast Track BS/MPA allows exceptional undergraduate political science majors to earn dual-credit for graduate courses taken during the senior year, and successful students will meet all department and university requirements for both degrees in five years.  Students admitted to the Fast Track Program take the graduate version of four cross-listed courses during their senior year, and students who successfully complete these courses will receive both the undergraduate credit and institutionally awarded graduate credit.  This affords Fast Track students the opportunity to complete their MPA degree in one year including some summer work.

In order to continue in the program, Fast Track students must maintain a GPA of 3.3 throughout the program, meet all requirements of both the BS and MPA degrees, and take no less than four graduate courses having no undergraduate counter-part.

Political science majors interested in applying to the Fast Track Program should meet with the Department Chair or Department Academic Advisor early in their junior year to discuss the application requirements

Bachelor of Arts – Political Science Major

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science emphasizes a traditional liberal arts or humanities curriculum and includes the following requirements:

A. General Requirements: See General Education Core Curriculum for the Bachelor of Arts. Students must have ENGL 1302, ENGL Lit, and PHIL 1370 or 2306. BA students may satisfy science requirements with 3 hour courses;

B. Major (33 semester hours, exclusive of POLS 2301, 2302 Introduction to American Government I/II in the General Education Core Curriculum) POLS 1301 Introduction to Political Science, POLS 3351 Statistics for Social Scientists and POLS 3352 Advanced Research Methods;

Six semester hours selected from American politics (POLS 3313 Judicial Process, 3314 Legislative Process, 3317 American Presidency, 3318 American Political Parties, 4312 American Constitutional Law).

Three semester hours from each of the following fields: International relations (POLS 3320 International Politics, 3321 Politics of American Foreign Policy, 4322 International Law and Institutions), Comparative politics (POLS 3330 Introduction to Comparative Politics, 3332 Politics of Western Democracies, 4331 Politics of Developing Nations);

Three semester hours in either International Relations or Comparative Politics;

Six semester hours selected from Public administration and policy (POLS 3341 Introduction to Public Policy, 3342 Environmental Policy, 3343 Urban Politics, 4340 Formulation of Public Policy, 4341 Organization Theory and Behavior);

Three semester hours in an advanced POLS elective;

C. Minor (Minimum of 18 semester hours). An approved minor of 18 semester hours, including at least 12 advanced hours.

D. Additional requirements: BA Core (12 semester hours) Completion of the 2312 level in a foreign language, normally 12 semester hours;

E. Electives: Sufficient electives to total 120 semester hours, including 45 advanced hours (at least 24 in the major); 24 of the advanced hours must be completed at Lamar University.

Suggested Program of Study

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science – Total Min. Hours: 120

First Year
Fall Spring
ENGL 1301 3 ENGL 1302 3
Modern Language 3 Modern Language 3
MATH 1314 3 MATH (MATH 1316 or above) 3
POLS 1301 3 PHIL 1370/2306 3
HIST 1301/2301 3 HIST 1302/2301 3
TOTAL 15 15
Second Year
Fall Spring
POLS 2301 3 POLS 2302 3
ENGL Literature 3 COMM 1315/1321 Language 3
Modern Language 3 Modern Language 3
Social/Behavioral Science (from BULW 1370, ECON 1301, 2301, 2302, INEN 2373, PSYC 2301 or SOCI 1301) 3 Creative Arts (from ARTS 1301, 1303, COMM 1375, DANC 2304, MUSI 1306 or PHIL 1330) 3
Minor 3 Minor 3
TOTAL 15 15
Third Year
Fall Spring
Political Science (advanced) 3 Political Science (advanced) 3
Political Science (advanced) 3 Political Science (advanced) 3
POLS 3351 3 POLS 3352 3
Minor (advanced) 3 Minor (advanced) 3
Science 3 Science 3
TOTAL 15 15
Fourth Year
Fall Spring
Political Science (advanced) 3 Political Science (advanced) 3
Political Science (advanced) 3 Political Science (advanced) 3
Minor (advanced) 3 Minor (advanced) 3
Elective 3 Elective 3
Elective 3 Elective (advanced) 3
TOTAL 15 15

 

Bachelor of Science — Political Science Major

The Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science emphasizes quantitative skills in the applied social sciences and includes the following requirements:

A. General Requirements: See General Education Core Curriculum for the Bachelor of Science. Students must have ENGL 1302 and ENGL Lit., PHIL 1370 or 2306. BS students must satisfy Science requirements with 4 hour courses (including lab);

B. Major (33 semester hours, exclusive of POLS 2301, 2302 Introduction to American Government I/II in the General Education Core Curriculum) POLS 1301 Introduction to Political Science, POLS 3351 Statistics for Social Scientists and POLs 3352 Advanced Research Methods;

Six semester hours selected from American politics (POLS 3313 Judicial Process, 3314 Legislative Process, 3317 American Presidency, 3318 American Political Parties, 4312 American Constitutional Law).

Three semester hours from each of the gfollowing fields: International relations (POLS 3320 International Politics, 3321 Politics in American Foreign Policy, 4322 International Law and Institutions), Comparative politics (POLS 3330 Introduction to Comparative Politics, 3322 Politics of Western Democracies, 4331 Politics of Developing Nations);

Three semester hours in an advanced POLS elective;

C. Minor (Minimum of 18 semester hours). An approved minor of 18 semester hours, including at least 12 advanced hours.

D. Additional requirements: BS Core (12 semester hours), ACCT 1301, ECON 2301, 2302 and 3 hours chosen from ECON 3340 Intermediate Macro Economics, ECON 3320 Money and Banking, or MATH 3312 Probability, Stats and Statistical Modeling;

E. Electives: Sufficient electives to total 120 semester hours, including 45 advanced hours (at least 24 in the major); 24 of the advanced hours must be completed at Lamar University.

Suggested Program of Study

Bachelor of Science in Political Science – Total Min. Hours: 120

First Year
Fall Spring
ENGL 1301 3 ENGL 1302 3
BS Core Course 3 BS Core Course 3
MATH 1314 3 MATH (MATH 1316 or above) 3
POLS 1301 3 Elective 3
HIST 1301/2301 3 HIST 1302/2301 3
TOTAL 15 15
Second Year
Fall Spring
POLS 2301 3 POLS 2302 3
ENGL Literature/PHIL 1370/2306 3 COMM 1315/1321 3
BS Core Course 3 Elective 3
Social/Behavioral Science (from BULW 1370, ECON 1301, 2301, 2302, INEN 2373, PSYC 2301 or SOCI 1301) 3 Creative Arts (from ARTS 1301, 1303, COMM 1375, DANC 2304, MUSI 1306 or PHIL 1330) 3
Minor 3 Minor 3
TOTAL 15 15
Third Year
Fall Spring
POLS 3351 3 POLS 3352 3
Political Science (advanced) 3 Political Science (advanced) 3
Political Science (advanced) 3 Political Science (advanced) 3
Laboratory Science 4 Laboratory Science 4
BS Core Course (advanced) 3 Minor (advanced) 3
TOTAL 16 16
Fourth Year
Fall Spring
Political Science (advanced) 3 Political Science (advanced) 3
Political Science (advanced) 3 Political Science (advanced) 3
Minor (advanced) 3 Minor (advanced) 3
Minor (advanced) 3 Elective  3
Elective 3 Elective 3
TOTAL 15

15

 

Bachelor of Science in Political Science with Social Studies Teacher Certification

Students wishing to earn the Bachelor of Science in Political Science and at the same time certify with Social Studies as a teaching field must meet the following requirements:

A. General Requirements: See General Education Core Curriculum for the Bachelor of Science. Students must have ENGL 1302, and ENGL Lit., PHIL 1370 or 2306. BS Students must satisfy Science requirements with 4 hour courses (including lab). Lab Science must be in the same science; Communication must be 1315 or 1321. Social Science course must be ECON 2301. History must include HIST 2301.

B. Major (33 semester hours exclusive of POLS 2301, 2302 Introduction to American Government I/II in the General Education Core Curriculum), 12 are found in the Social Studies Foundation (POLS 1301 Introduction to Political Science, POLS 2330 Political Geography, POLS 3318 American Political Parties or POLS 4312 American Constitutional Law and POLS 3352 Advanced Research Methods;

Three hours from each of the following fields:

American politics (POLS 3313 Judicial Process, 3314 Legislative Process, 3317 American Presidency, 3318 American Political Parties, 4312 American Constitutional Law),

International relations (POLS 3320 International Politics, 3321 Politics of American Foreign Policy, 4322 International Law and Institutions),

Comparative politics (POLS 3330 Introduction to Comparative Politics, 3332 Politics of Western Democracies, 4331 Politics of Developing Nations);

Three additional semester hours from either International Relations or Comparative Politics;

Six semester hours selected from Public administration and policy (POLS 3341 Introduction to Public Policy, 3342 Environmental Policy, 3343 Urban Politics, 4340 Formulation of Public Policy 4341 Organizational Theory and Behavior);

POLS 3351 Statistics for Social Scientists;

C. Composite Social Studies 36 semester hours, 30 advanced (excluding HIST 2301 in the General Education Core Curriculum), HIST 3301, HIST 3302, HIST 3303, HIST 3321, HIST 3322, ECON 3340, FINC 3306, SOCI 3306 and 12 hours of POLS described in B. above;

D. Pedagogy (24 semester hours). PEDG 2310, 3300, 3351, 3380 and 4620; READ 3326

F. The minimum number of semester hours required for the Bachelor of Science in Political Science with Social Studies teacher certification is 125 including 72 hours advanced, at least 24 of which must be completed at Lamar University.

Suggested Program of Study

Bachelor of Science in Political Science with Social Studies Certification – Total Min. Hours: 125 hours

First Year
Fall Spring
ENGL 1301 3 ENGL 1302 3
POLS 1301 3 POLS 3320 3
MATH 1314 3 Math (MATH 1316 or above) 3
Soc/Behavioral Science ECON 2301 3 Creative Arts (from ARTS 1301, 1303, COMM 1375, DANC 2304, MUSI 1306 or PHIL 1330) 3
COMM 1315/1321 3 HIST 1301 or 1302 3
TOTAL 15 15
Second Year
Fall Spring
POLS 2301 3 POLS 2302 3
ENGL Lit/PHIL 1370/2306 3 PEDG 2310 3
HIST 2301 3 ECON 3340 3
HIST 3301 3 HIST 3302 3
Laboratory Science 4 Laboratory Science 4
TOTAL 16 16
Third Year
Fall Spring
POLS 3351 3 POLS 3352 3
Political Science (advanced) 3 Political Science (advanced) 3
Political Science (advanced) 3 Political Science (advanced) 3
SOCI 3306 3 FINC 3306 3
READ 3326 3 PEDG 3300 3
PEDG 3380 3 PEDG 3351 3
TOTAL 18 18
Fourth Year
Fall Spring
Political Science (advanced) 3 POLS 3318 or 4312 3
Political Science (advanced) 3 PEDG 4380 3
HIST 3303 3 PEDG 4620 6
HIST 3321 3 .
HIST 3322 3
TOTAL 15 12

Minor in Legal Studies

Minors in Legal Studies must complete 21 semester credit hours of required courses and approved electives. A grade of C or better is required in all courses in the minor. At least 15 hours must be advanced and taken in residence.

Legal Studies Minors are required to complete the following courses:

COMM 2335 Argument and Critical Thinking

CRIJ 4300 Legal Research, Brief Writing and Oral Advocacy

PHIL 2303 Introduction to Logic

POLS 3313 Judicial Process

POLS 4312 American Constitutional Law

Students may choose 6 hours from the following approved electives:

BULW 3310 Business Law

BULW 3330 Environmental Law

CRIJ 3300 Advanced Criminal Law

COMM 4310 Communication Law

POLS 4322 International Law and Institutions

Students are encouraged but not required to complete at least one Legal Internship. Legal Internships must be approved by the Pre-Law advisor and are offered only to students with junior or senior standing and with a minimum cumulative grade point average no less than 3.0.

Graduate Program

The Department of Political Science offers a program of study leading to the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree. The MPA Degree is designed to prepare students for productive and rewarding careers in public service. MPA students at Lamar University come from all walks of life and academic backgrounds, but they share an interest in becoming leaders for positive change. Students come to the program with the desire to make a difference for people, organizations, and communities, and the program gives them the practical knowledge and skills to be successful. The format of the program accommodates students currently employed in the public sector as well as students seeking entry-level positions. The MPA Program is designed to complement any undergraduate degree. When students graduate with an MPA, they have the tools necessary to be competitive in the job market of their choice—whether they pursue government, nonprofit or policy-development careers. Persons seeking admission must meet the following requirements.

MPA Admissions Requirements

All potential students must apply to the Graduate School and meet the College of Graduate Studies admission requirements as well as the following program-specific admission requirements. 

  1. Undergraduate grade point average (cumulative GPA or GPA for the last 48 hours of coursework, whichever is higher) should equal or exceed 3.0. 
  2. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is currently required for all students with a GPA less than 3.0.
  3. Each international student must achieve a score consistent with the College of Graduate Studies requirements for English language proficiency. 
  4. Proficiency in the use of personal computers, including word processing, spreadsheets, databases and social networking technologies. 
  5. To apply to the program, students must submit the following documents for the approval of the College of Graduate Studies:
    1. submit the Graduate Application online at www.applytexas.org
    2. official transcript from each college or university attended
    3. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. 
  6. In addition, all applicants must submit a 1-2 page essay that addresses the following question: “Why do you want to pursue an MPA and a career in public service? In your answer, be sure to discuss how your job, educational and life experiences relate to this goal.”

Degree Requirements

The degree of Master of Public Administration requires the completion of 36 semester hours of graduate work: 18 in the core curriculum (POLS 5350, 5351, 5352, 5353, 5354, and 5355) and 18 from an approved list of elective courses offered by the Political Science Department and other Lamar University graduate programs. An internship (POLS 5358) with local agencies is also available. Students will complete the following courses if they have not taken them, or their equivalents, as undergraduates: introduction to American government (3-6 hours); introduction to public administration (three semester hours); urban politics (three semester hours); and statistics for social scientists (three semester hours). Students must pass both written and oral comprehensive final examinations to fulfill graduate requirements.

MPA Thesis Option

Students may earn six of the 36 semester hours required of graduate work by successfully completing a Master’s thesis.  The thesis option includes completion of POLS 5390 (Thesis) in which the student constructs and presents a research design; undertakes a plan to complete research; and begins writing their thesis, and POLS 5391 during which the student completes the research, writing and defense of their Master’s thesis.

Graduate Faculty

Dr. Terri B. Davis, Associate Professor, Department Chair and Director of the MPA Program

Dr. James Vanderleeuw, Professor, Jack Brooks Chair in Government & Public Service

Dr. Elena Sandovici, Associate Professor, Coordinator Texas Legislative Internship Program

Dr. Thomas E. Sowers, Associate Professor, Department Director of Assessment and Planning

Dr. Biance Easterly, Assistant Professor, Department Director for Study Abroad

Dr. James P. Nelson, Assistant Professor

Dr. Jason Sides, Assistant Professor