Introduction to Political Science


Updated September 08, 2011

  • State Approval Code: 45.1001.52
  • Semester Credit Hours: 3
  • Lecture Hours per Week: 3
  • Contact Hours per Semester: 48

Catalog Description

Introductory survey of the discipline of political science focusing on the history, scope, and methods of the field, and the substantive topics in the discipline.



Course Curriculum

Basic Intellectual Compentencies in the Core Curriculum

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Critical thinking

Perspectives in the Core Curriculum

  • Establish broad and multiple perspectives on the individual in relationship to the larger society and world in which he/she lives, and to understand the responsibilities of living in a culturally and ethnically diversified world.
  • Stimulate a capacity to discuss and reflect upon individual, political, economic, and social aspects of life in order to understand ways in which to be a responsible member of society.
  • Recognize the importance of maintaining health and wellness.
  • Develop a capacity to use knowledge of how technology and science affect their lives.
  • Develop personal values for ethical behavior.
  • Develop the ability to make aesthetic judgments.
  • Use logical reasoning in problem solving.
  • Integrate knowledge and understand the interrelationships of the scholarly disciplines.

Core Components and Related Exemplary Educational Objectives

Communication (composition, speech, modern language)

  • To participate effectively in groups with emphasis on listening, critical and reflective thinking, and responding.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • To examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods, social structures, and cultures.
  • To use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
  • To develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.
  • To analyze the effects of historical, social, political, economic, cultural, and global forces on the area under study.
  • To differentiate and analyze historical evidence (documentary and statistical) and differing points of view.
  • To recognize and apply reasonable criteria for the acceptability of historical evidence and social research.
  • To recognize and assume one's responsibility as a citizen in a democratic society by learning to think for oneself, by engaging in public discourse, and by obtaining information through the news 4 media and other appropriate information sources about politics and public policy.
  • To identify and understand differences and commonalities within diverse cultures.

Instructional Goals and Purposes

Panola College's instructional goals include 1) creating an academic atmosphere in which students may develop their intellects and skills and 2) providing courses so students may receive a certificate/an associate degree or transfer to a senior institution that offers baccalaureate degrees.

General Course Objectives

  • To introduce the major political thinkers who shaped the political theories that have dominated human history.
  • To examine the foundations of Ancient Greek Political thought
  • To examine the foundations of Roman Political thought
  • To investigate the political ideologies of the Christian church
  • To study the foundations of Islamic political thought and modern Islamic law
  • To study the roots of traditional liberalism, natural rights, and free government
  • To examine the ideologies of communism and socialism
  • To investigate the theories of population politics
  • To study at the philosophy of fascism
  • To compare modern liberalism and modern conservatism

Methods of Instruction/Course Format/Delivery

Lecture, discussions, web-based research, note taking and proactive listening, selected guest speakers, examination of relevant current events, including primary and secondary documents.

Service Learning: During the course of the semester, a service-learning project may be offered to replace the written assignment portion of the grade.  This project will vary between semesters, but will consist of active involvement in the local government system.

Field Trips: Periodically, a field may be offered for the class.  When built into the class curriculum, students are required to participate in the trip.  While the trip may change the method of evaluation (such as a journal rather than a paper) students must still demonstrate their knowledge of the course objectives.  The students will still be evaluated via an exam or written assignment to ensure the course objectives are still achieved.


Assessment will include exams, quizzes, class participation, and written work assignments delivered by the instructor to the student. Multiple choice, listening, matching, journaling, research papers, discussions, and other methods may be employed to properly assess the students’ learning.

The course grade is determined and distributed as follows:

A=100-90, B=89-80, C=79-70, D=69-60, F=59 and below


Grading Distribution

Exams = 30%, Written Assignment = 35%, Class Participation = 35%

Text, Required Readings, Materials, and Supplies

T. Ball and R. Dagger, Ideals and Ideologies: A Reader, 8th Edition, Pearson Education, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0-205-77997-0 ISBN-10: 0-205-77997-2
Further readings may be handed out in class.