Whether you want to try something for the first time, or dive deep into your area of study, our courses offer you the opportunity to shine a light on what interests you. 

Please note: The Course Catalog should be used for all official planning. 

INRE - International Relations

GOVT 110: Introduction to Political Science

An introduction to the nature of contemporary politics and government. Topics drawn primarily from American national, state, and local government and politics, with other political systems introduced for comparative purposes. Emphasis on such major concepts as power, legitimacy, political culture, conflict, and rational choice and on an examination of how a political system manages problems related to political change.
Units: 6

GOVT 140: Introduction to International Relations

An introductory study of the cultural, political, and economic interactions among states and non-state actors in global politics. Special attention is paid to key issues, including international security, foreign policy decision-making, and the role of diplomacy in promoting cooperation. Required for the interdisciplinary area in international studies.
Units: 6
Also listed as Global Studies 140

GOVT 200: Politics and Human Nature

What activities are most appropriate for human beings? What is the purpose of political activity? What is the best practicable constitution for a political community? This course examines several philosophers’ arguments concerning the best political regime in light of their respective visions of human nature and happiness.
Units: 6
Prerequisite: sophomore standing

GOVT 211: Flexibility and Freedom: American Federalism in Transition

Federalism is a compromise between freedom and equality. How much authority should member states have over elections? Education? The environment? Immigration? Observers characterize federalism both as a bulwark against tyranny and a perpetrator of inequality. This course considers federalism's development in the United States and Europe, its contradictions, and its survival in a global society.
Units: 6
Prerequisite: GOVT 110 or consent of instructor

GOVT 215: Democracy in Comparative Perspective

This course examines variations in the institutional design and practice of democracy drawing on a range of national and historical cases. Course materials will address the following questions: Are there social, cultural, or economic prerequisites for democratic stability? How and why does the design of democratic institutions vary across national borders? Why does democracy sometimes produce undesirable social, political, and economic outcomes? And why and how do democracies collapse?
Units: 6

GOVT 220: American Elections, Candidates, and Political Parties

A study of the development, organization, structure, and activities of American political parties, with special attention to the recruitment and selection of presidential candidates.
Units: 6
Prerequisite: GOVT 110 or consent of instructor

GOVT 245: Comparative Politics of Less-Developed Countries

This course provides an introduction to politics in less-developed countries, paying close attention to differences within the so-called “developing world” and the impact of economic realities on politics. In doing so, it addresses questions about the relationship between economic development and democracy and the impact of globalization on poor countries.
Units: 6
Also listed as Global Studies 246
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing and one of GOVT 110 or GOVT 140

GOVT 271: Research Methods in Political Science

Considers research approaches and methods political scientists use to create knowledge. The course will explore quantitative and qualitative techniques with theory and hands-on applications. The goal of the course is to improve students’ ability to read research critically and to make and test their own arguments in political science. Students should take this course in their sophomore or junior year.
Units: 6
Prerequisite: GOVT 110 or consent of instructor; seniors must obtain consent of instructor

GOVT 315: Founding the Just Regime

Can a corrupt people create a just regime? What role must violence, deception, persuasion, and reflection play in promoting political justice? What are the ground and scope of citizens’ political obligations? This course studies the difficulties of creating and reforming political communities.
Units: 6
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing

GOVT 340: Theory of International Relations

An analysis of patterns of interactions of state and non-state actors in a system without supreme authority, focusing on alternative theoretical frameworks rather than substantive problems. Special emphasis on “realist” and “liberal” theories; the nature and uses of power in international politics; and issues of security, including conventional war, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, environmental decay, and migration.
Units: 6
Also listed as Global Studies 340
Prerequisite: GOVT 110 or 140 or sophomore standing

GOVT 360: The American Presidency

An examination of the politics of the American presidency, including the constitutional foundations of the office, elections, and the president's relationships with Congress, the courts, the public, media, and the executive branch. The main theme of the course is the difficulty of assessing presidential leadership, in particular sorting the effects of presidents' individual characteristics and strategies from contextual constraints and opportunities.
Units: 6
Prerequisite: GOVT 110 and GOVT 271, or consent of instructor

GOVT 370: Congressional Politics

This course covers the basics of congressional politics, including elections, the constitutional framework, committees, parties, and legislative procedures. Thematic focuses include strategies of legislative coalition building and the relative importance of partisanship, constituent pressures, and policy expertise in congressional politics.
Units: 6
Prerequisite: GOVT 110 or consent of instructor

GOVT 380: Introduction to Public Policy

This course considers economic and democratic models for structuring the collective choices that become public policy. It then explores how major American institutions balance political control and technical expertise in the design, enactment and implementation of public policy.
Units: 6
Prerequisite: GOVT 271 or MATH 107 or consent of instructor

GOVT 401: Field Experience in Development

Students engaged in this course will have the opportunity to do field research in a developing country. Each student will develop and implement a project that concerns a political, economic, social, or environmental issues that is important in the country visited. Past Field Experiences have taken place in Sierra Leone, Ghana, Jamaica, and Morocco. Students will also have the opportunity to learn from both national and local leaders in the country of research, and to participate in community engaged learning through volunteer activities. Class members will actually travel during either winter or spring break. Students should register for GOVT 401 in the term prior to the planned travel. They should also register in the subsequent term, when they will present their research to the wider Lawrence community. [ Note: two terms of GOVT 401 are considered the equivalent of a six unit 400-level GOVT course].

Planned location for 2021-22- To be determined- during spring break March 2022. Admission is by application; contact Prof. Skran for more information about the application process.



Planned Location for 2022-23 To be determined
Units: 3
Also listed as Global Studies 401, Economics 206, Environmental Studies 311
Prerequisite: ENST 300, GOVT 248, GOVT 500 and RLST 240

GOVT 440: Practice of International Relations

This course examines the ways in which international relations is practiced on a local, national, and global scale. The course will cover important topics related to the conduct of international affairs, including diplomacy, the exercise of military and economic power, and the impact of individuals on international issues.
Units: 3
Prerequisite: Junior standing or GOVT 340

GOVT 446: Topics in Comparative Politics

This course will address an advanced topic in the sub-field of Comparative Politics, such as democracy and authoritarianism, politics of the city, political participation and social movements, gender and politics, or the comparative method.

Topic for
This course
Units: 6
Also listed as Global Studies 446
Prerequisite: GOVT 215, or GOVT 245, or consent of instructor.

GOVT 475: Games and Strategy in Politics

Political scientists often interpret politics as a game between strategic actors. This course surveys applications of game theory and social-choice theory to a wide variety of political phenomena,
Units: 6
Prerequisite: Junior standing or consent of instructor

GOVT 500: Senior Seminar in Government






Topic for Fall 2021: Senior Seminar in Comparative Politics and International Relations
This seminar is intended to help students conceptualize and complete a senior experience project. Readings from comparative politics and international relations will be used to model the various stages of, and approaches to, conducting research.

Units: 6