POL 460: Senior Seminar in Political Science and International Relations

Dr. John J. Quinn
Senior Seminar in Political Science and International Relations
POL 460
McClain 206D


I.  Course Objectives  [This is a truncated syllabus only]

The senior seminar in Political Science is the result of cooperative and collaborative effort by the faculty of the political science department.  While different teams offer sections of this course, we have worked closely together to establish a writing enhanced course that will accomplish the following objectives in the areas of knowledge and skills:

Knowledge:  Students will…

  1. understand and appreciate the development of the methods and approaches to the findings of the discipline of political science.
  2. read and analyze seminal readings in political science’s several subfields.
  3. review and integrate concepts central to the discipline.
  4. master literature that both addresses and raises research questions central to political scientists.
  5. analyze and synthesize political science’s use of and contributions to other social sciences.
  6. examine the role of political science in understanding human behavior and in solving social problems.
  7. develop a deeper knowledge of a specific research question through one’s own research project.

Skills:  Through thoughtful completion of assignments, students will…

  1. demonstrate proficiencies in extemporaneous and formal speaking.
  2. become proficient in distilling and synthesizing several readings on a related topic.
  3. engage in a sustained commitment to a research project, demonstrating both an ability to work independently while simultaneously working under faculty tutelage.
  4. develop one’s thinking about a problem by writing and revising a multistage paper that results in a polished, professionally-oriented product.


II. Course Requirements and Evaluation

The final grade will be based on cumulative point totals, with the points to be allocated in the following manner:

The final grade will be based on cumulative point totals, with the points to be allocated in the following manner:


Weekly Writing Assignments                                                175                   A= 100-91%
Critique/ presentation of a Daily Assignment
(2 @ 50 each)             100                  B= 90-81%
Research Design:

Preliminary papers             (3 @ 50 points each)                  150                  C= 80-71%

Completed design                                                                 200

Oral Presentation of the Research Design                            50                   D= 70-61%

Research Design Discussant                                                  25

Final Comprehensive Examination                                       200                  F = 60%-0

Class Participation                                                                 100

Total Points:                                                                       1,000