Political Science

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science


The heart of modern Political Science is the systematic study and analysis of politics, government, and governance. It is widely considered to be both a core discipline in a classic liberal arts education as well as one of the most recently developed social sciences.  Aristotle famously called politics “the queen of the sciences” and the scientific understanding and methodical mapping of political power and  its exercise is a foundational focus.  Thus, Political Science examines and explores politics at the individual, group, local, state/provincial, national, and international levels. Political science studies the dynamics of politics and government in the United States and around the world. The discipline’s origins go back as far as the first large-scale human civilizations. From its earliest roots to its place in contemporary universities, Political Science has always examined questions about the nature of government, the nature of political change, and the patterns and tendencies that can be found in political life.  Historically, the general divisions of the discipline of Political Science have been most commonly conceptualized as focusing on four primary fields: Political Theory, American Politics and Government, International Relations, and Comparative Politics.  

In CSU Stanislaus’ Political Science Program, students are taught by and learn from experienced professors who are strongly committed to effective teaching and advising and who are also accomplished and published scholars. Some of our faculty focus on fundamental ideas about politics and governance, ranging from going back thousands of years to the ancients and up to and including contemporary political thought. Others on the faculty examine the conduct, operations, and institutions of politics  and government in the United States and other nations from around the world, as well as the intersections and interactions between nation-states, including foreign policy, economic trade relations, and war.

In addition to conventional Political Science course offerings, the Department also administers a carefully structured internship program allowing students to engage in direct experiential and hands-on learning for academic credit by working for government agencies, non-profit entities or political campaigns—such internship settings have been based locally, at the state capitol in Sacramento, and back in Washington DC.

Our graduates follow varied career paths, with a number going to law school and becoming practicing attorneys, serving in and affecting government, working for and running nonprofit organizations, and teaching in high schools and colleges.

Program and Learning Objectives

Program Objectives of the BA in Political Science: 

  • To expose students to diverse concepts and theories in the major fields of the discipline.
  • To encourage students to think critically and creatively about politics.
  • To provide appropriate pre-professional instruction to students who intend to enter graduate school, pursue a career in law or governmental affairs, or study for a teaching credential.

Learning Objectives of the BA in Political Science:

The undergraduate program in Political Science has five key objectives applicable to both Political Science majors and students in its General Education and service courses:

  • To ensure students have a sound and appropriately comprehensive knowledge of modern political institutions and dynamics
  • To ensure students have a sound and appropriately comprehensive knowledge of the history of political thought and its key concepts
  • To ensure students are able to successfully analyze complex issues and problems
  • To ensure students are able to successfully analyze complex texts and arguments
  • To ensure students are able to successfully formulate and evaluate policy options

Three additional objectives apply especially to students majoring in Political Science:

  • To ensure students have an appropriate working knowledge of the scope and methods of political science
  • To ensure students have a sound and appropriately comprehensive knowledge of global and comparative political institutions and dynamics
  • To ensure students have the ability to successfully design and conduct research in political science

Four of the program’s objectives have particular application to students in General Education and service courses offered by the department:

  • To ensure that students have a sound and appropriately comprehensive knowledge of US and California political institutions and dynamics
  • To ensure that students have a sound and appropriately comprehensive knowledge of multicultural political dynamics
  • To ensure that students have an appropriate working knowledge of civics pedagogy
  • To ensure students have the information-gathering, deliberative, and communicative skills necessary in the exercise of citizenship

Careers and Political Science

The Political Science major offers substantive and analytic preparation that can fruitfully lead to a variety of professions, providing students subsequent access to a wide range of future careers. The curriculum of the Political Science major works to hone for students their writing, communication, analytical, and computer skills that are critical in a liberal arts education. This kind of academic training prepares students to think critically, analyze independently, and research effectively and improves their ability to more successfully communicate their understanding of and insights into political, social, and economic events and phenomena. This is precisely why the Political Science major is the most common route to law school, where these skills and capacities are highly valued.

Political Science typically serves as a useful launching point for careers in politics and government with a number of students going on to become civic leaders, city and county planners, city managers, budget specialists, foreign service officers, analysts and clandestine service officers in the Central Intelligence Agency, special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, policy researchers, and a variety of management/administrative positions in local, state, federal, and international agencies and organizations. Graduates with a BA in Political Science are also able to pursue careers in law, business, consulting, journalism and communications, finance, polling and campaign management, community service and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and high school and college teaching.

Of note, Stanislaus graduates have been accepted at reputable and selective schools of law, including Columbia University, Georgetown University, University of Virginia, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Davis, George Washington University, Santa Clara University, University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law, Pepperdine University, Lewis and Clark College, University of San Francisco, Hofstra University, Golden Gate University, and Humphreys College. The Department Pre-law Advisor is Dr. Stephen Routh, please contact him directly at srouth@csustan.edu for any questions about law school and its training and curriculum,  the law school application process, and career trajectories of lawyers and those with such legal training.   

Class Schedule Fall 2015

COURSE                                                                   DAY           TIME                            INSTRUCTOR

PSCI 1201-01/American Government                        MWF         10:00-10:50 am           Abukhalil

PSCI 1201-02/American Government                        Online                                            Myers

PSCI 1201-03/American Government                        Online                                            Ghuman

PSCI 1201-04/American Government                        TR              12:30-1:45 pm             Hudspeth

PSCI 1201-05/American Government                        R                7:20-10:00 pm             Randall

PSCI 1201-06/American Government                        TR              4:30-5:45 pm               Randall     

PSCI 2000-01/Introduction to Political Science          TR              2:00-3:15 pm               Randall

PSCI 3000-01/Ancient & Medieval Polit. Thought      MWF          10:00-10:50 am            Myers

PSCI 3320-01/Executive-Legislative Relations           TR              12:30-1:45 pm             Routh

PSCI 3430-01/Comparative Politics: Middle East       MWF-Hybrid 1:00-1:50 pm             Abukhalil

PSCI 3444-01/Gender & Sexuality in Middle East      MWF            11:00-11:50 am          Abukhalil

PSCI 4230-01/The Presidency                                     TR              11:00-12:45 pm           Routh

PSCI 4318-01/Environmental Policy & Politics           MW               2:00-3:50 pm               Colnic        

Class Schedule Spring 2016

COURSE                                                                   DAY           TIME                            INSTRUCTOR

PSCI 1201-01/American Government                        MWF         10:00-10:50 am           Abukhalil

PSCI 1201-02/American Government                        Online                                            Myers

PSCI 1201-03/American Government                        TR              2:00-3:15 pm              Wellman

PSCI 1201-04/American Government                         M               4:30-7:10 pm               Colnic

PSCI 1201-05/American Government                         R                6:00-8:40 pm               Randall

PSCI 1250-01/State & Local Government Exam        R               7:20-10:00 pm              Colnic

PSCI 2030-01/Global Politics                                      TR              2:00-3:15 pm               Randall

PSCI 3011-01/Polit. Thought in Modern World            MWF           11:00-11:50 pm          Myers

PSCI 3210-01/Legislative Process                              TR              11:00-12:15 pm           Routh

PSCI 3225-01/Civil Liberties                                        TR              9:30-10:45 am              Routh

PSCI 3304-01/Introduction to Public Admin.                TR              12:30-1:45 pm              Ghuman

PSCI 3600-01/International Relations                          MWF           10:00-10:50 am            Abukhalil

PSCI 4325-01/Land Use Planning                                R                6:00-8:40 pm                Hudspeth

PSCI 4326-01/Agricultural Policy & Regulations         T                6:00-8:40 pm                 TBA

PSCI 4654-01/Politics of the Arab-Israeli Conflict       MWF-Hybrid 1:00-1:50 pm             Abukhalil

PSCI 4940-01/Public Administration Internship           R                      6:00-8:40 pm          Ghuman

Contact Us

Department Office Location: Bizzini Hall, Room 132

Office Staff:

Denise Jenkins, Temporary Administrative Support Coordinator
e-mail -- djenkins2@csustan.edu
telephone – (209) 667-3388
office – Bizzini 132

Office Telephone: (209) 667-3388
Office Fax:  (209) 667-3724

Department Chair:

Stephen R. Routh, PhD
e-mail -- srouth@csustan.edu
telephone – (209) 667-3363
office – Bizzini 130-C

MPA Program Director:

David Colnic, PhD
e-mail – dcolnic@csustan.edu
telephone – (209) 667-3520
office – Bizzini 130-B

Department Mailing Address:

Department of Political Science and Public Administration
California State University, Stanislaus
One University Circle
Turlock, CA 95382

The Department Office is open during the academic year Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Wintersession and Summer hours may vary.

Faculty and Staff

The Department has a legacy of outstanding teaching, advising, scholarship, and service that continues today in both the Political Science Program and the Master of Public Administration Program. The ranging expertise and extensive knowledge of our faculty allows the Department to offer courses in all of the major fields of Political Science and a comprehensive graduate-level curriculum in Public Administration.

As’ad AbuKhalil – Professor, Political Science: BA 1981, MA 1983, American University of Beirut; PhD 1988, Georgetown University. At Stanislaus since 1993. Dr. AbuKhalil teaches the following courses in the Political Science Program: Politics of the Middle East; Gender & Sexuality in the Middle East; Arab-Israeli Conflict; International Relations; Model United Nations & Model Arab League; and Introduction to American Government. 

(209) 667-3536 / Bizzini 126-A

David Colnic – Associate Professor, Political Science: BA 1987, University of California, Irvine; MA 1994, PhD 2003, University of Arizona. At Stanislaus since 2004. Dr. Colnic serves as Director of the MPA Program and is the Department Coordinator for both undergraduate and graduate student internships. In the MPA Program, he teaches the following courses: Public Policy; Environmental Planning, Policy & Law. In the Political Science Program, he teaches the following courses: Media & Politics; Environmental Policy & Politics; Introduction to American Government; and Introduction to Political Science.

(209) 667-3520 / Bizzini 130-B

Umar Ghuman – Assistant Professor, Public Administration: BS 2001, Excelsior College; MBA 2003, PhD 2011, Florida Atlantic University. At Stanislaus since 2012. Dr. Ghuman teaches the following courses in the MPA Program: Public Policy; Organizational Development; Human Resources; Organization Theory; Quantitative Analysis; Bureaucracy in Novels & Plays; and Non-profit Administration. In the Political Science Program, he teaches Introduction to American Government.

(209) 667-3682 / Bizzini 130-A

Lawrence L. Giventer – Professor Emeritus, Public Administration: BSME 1967, New Jersey Institute of Technology; MS 1968, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; PhD 1976, University of Pittsburgh. At Stanislaus since 1975. Dr. Giventer teaches Quantitative Analysis in the MPA Program. In the Political Science Program, he teaches Politics & Film and Introduction to American Government.

(209) 667-3388 / Bizzini 132-A

April Hejka-Ekins – Professor Emerita, Public Administration:  BA 1969, Northern Illinois University; MSW 1971, University of Illinois at Chicago Circle; PhD 1987, University of Southern California. At Stanislaus since 1988. Dr. Hejka-Ekins teaches the following courses in the MPA Program: Organization Theory; Combating Political Corruption; Public Service Ethics; Case Analysis; and Administration in Public Affairs.

(209) 667-3388 / Bizzini 132-A

Nancy Hudspeth -- Assistant Professor, Public Administration: BA & BS 1986, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; MA 1999, PhD 2011, University of Illinois, Chicago. At Stanislaus since 2015. Dr. Hudspeth teaches the following courses in the MPA Program: Public Policy Analysis, Urban & Regional Planning, Quantitative Analysis, and Public Agency Budgeting. In the Political Science Program, she teaches Introduction to American Government and Land Use Planning.

(209) 667-3285 / Bizzini 132-B

Jason Myers – Professor, Political Science: BA 1989, Columbia University; MA 1993, PhD 1998, University of California, Berkeley. At Stanislaus since 2001. Dr. Myers teaches the following courses in the Political Science Program: Ancient & Medieval Political Thought; Modern Political Thought; Political Thought in the Modern World; Political Ideologies; Money & Power; Marx on the Human Condition; American Political Thought; and Introduction to American Government.

(209) 667-3388 / Bizzini 132-C

Elaine Peterson – Professor, Economics/Public Administration: BA 1982, Colby College; MS 1990, PhD 1996, University of Wisconsin-Madison. At Stanislaus since 1996. Dr. Peterson is a faculty member of the Department of Economics and in the MPA Program she teaches Public Finance and State & Local Public Finance.

(209) 667-3327 / Bizzini 101-D

Nicholas Pinhey – Lecturer, Public Administration: BA 1975, CSU Stanislaus; MPA 1989, CSU Stanislaus; DPA 1998, University of Southern California.  At Stanislaus since 1999. Dr. Pinhey teaches Public Agency Budgeting in the MPA Program.

(209) 667-3388 / Bizzini 132-A

Richard Randall – Lecturer, Political Science:  BA 1982, CSU Stanislaus; MA 1985, ABD 1991, University of California, Davis. At Stanislaus since 2011. Prof. Randall teaches the following courses in the Political Science Program:  Introduction to American Government; Introduction to Political Science; and Global Politics.

(209) 667-3359 / Bizzini 132-A

Stephen R. Routh – Professor, Political Science: BA 1986, University of California, Santa Cruz; MA 1992, San Jose State University; PhD 2000, University of California, Davis. At Stanislaus since 2002. Dr. Routh serves as Department Chair, an Associate Dean of the College of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Pre-Law Advisor. He teaches the following courses in the Political Science Program: Introduction to American Government; The Presidency; Legislative Process; Judicial Process; Political Campaigns & Elections; Constitutional Law; and Civil Liberties. In the MPA Program, he teaches Administrative Law.

(209) 667-3363 / Bizzini 130-C

Gerard Wellman – Assistant Professor, Public Administration:  BA 2003, Louisiana State University; MPA 2007, University of Memphis; PhD 2011, University of Nebraska, Omaha. At Stanislaus since 2012. Dr. Wellman teaches the following courses in the MPA Program:  Administration in Public Affairs; Public Service Ethics; Urban Affairs; Social Justice; Research Design & Public Evaluation; and Urban & Regional Planning. In the Political Science Program, he teaches Introduction to Public Administration; Ethnic & Gender Politics; and Introduction to American Government.

(209) 667-3291 / Bizzini 132-D

Major in Political Science

The specific curricular requirements of the BA in Political Science are:

Lower Division—6 units required

  • PSCI 1201 / American Government (3 units)
  • PSCI 2000 / Introduction to Political Science (3 units) or PSCI 2030 / Global Politics (3 units)
  • MATH 1600 / Statistics (4 units) (strongly recommended)

Upper Division—34  units required

  • PSCI 3000/ Ancient & Medieval Political Thought (3 units) or PSCI 3010 / Modern Political Thought (3 units) (WP); and one additional upper division course in Political Theory (6-7 units)
  • 2 upper division courses in American Politics (6-8 units)
  • 1 upper division course in Comparative Politics (3-4 units)
  • 1 upper division course in International Relations (3-4 units)
  • 16 units of upper division electives in Political Science

Fields and Courses

Political Theory

American Politics

Comparative Politics

International Relations

Specialized Courses


Minor in Political Science

The Minor in Political Science constitutes an excellent and broadening complement to a number of other majors on campus in the rounding out of a student’s undergraduate course of study.

The specific curricular requirements for the Minor in Political Science are:

Lower Division—6 units required

  • PSCI 1201 / American Government (3 units)
  • PSCI 2000 / Introduction to Political Science (3 units) or PSCI 2030 / Global Politics (3 units)

Upper Division—13  units required

  • 13 units of upper division Political Science coursework as approved by Minor Advisor in the Department.

Total for Minor—19 units required with lower division and upper division units combined

Model United Nations and Arab League

CSU Stanislaus students are given the opportunity, for academic credit, to study and directly participate in Model United Nations and Model Arab League—student conferences that simulate these two political bodies that draw attendees from universities around the country. This course, PSCI 4650/International Relations: Model UN and Arab League, is taught by Dr. As’ad Abu Khalil and it offers students both an intensive scholarly examination and practical/hands-on experience of the workings of the UN and Arab League, in addition to the close study of the country of representation.  The prior and preparatory study in the class before the conferences (both conferences are held in or near the San Francisco Bay Area) and then actual participation in the conferences work to educate participants about the structure and operations of the United Nations and Arab League, important themes in international relations and geo-politics, the extant systems of international diplomacy, and the respective missions themselves of the UN and the Arab League.  This course can be taken twice for credit and is offered only in spring. Students from all majors and programs are welcome. For more information, please contact Dr. As’ad Abu Khalil at aabukhalil@csustan.edu

Undergraduate Internships

The Department offers several avenues through which students can gain useful and practical experience in politics and government while earning academic credit at the same time.  Whether it’s living and working full time in Sacramento or Washington DC, engaging in stimulating work in the local community and government agencies, or working on a political campaign, internships are an excellent way for students to get hands-on experience in a job related to their field of interest, serving as a perfect complement to academic coursework in Political Science. The Department recommends to our students to seriously consider doing an internship during their time at Stanislaus.

Our internship offerings fall under two broad categories: (1) student-arranged internships that can be applied toward academic credit, and (2) established programs that are offered every year that can be applied toward academic credit. The first category is the most commonly followed route and it is comprised of internships that students arrange themselves with local entities, and these are conducted via students enrolling in PSCI 4940/Public Administration Internship, worth 3 units, as guided and advised by the Department’s Internship Coordinator, Dr. Dave Colnic —for further information please contact him at dcolnic@csustan.edu. The second category consists of the Sacramento Semester Program run by Sacramento State University at the state capitol every spring and the Panetta Institute Congressional Internship Program run by California State University, Monterey Bay, in Washington DC every fall.  

Some of the most common internship settings are: local offices of members of the US Congress; Washington DC offices of members of the US Congress; state legislative offices; local and state government offices; candidate campaigns for local, state, or national elective office; state political party organizations; non-governmental organizations (NGOs); issue advocacy groups;  non-profit community organizations; and law firms or legal assistance organizations.

California State and Local Government Challenge Exam

This is a 1 unit self-study, examination course—entitled PSCI 1250/State and Local Government Exam—and it allows students who are knowledgeable about California state and local government to meet the General Education course requirement in Area D1b by examination. Texts are suggested and the Department does not provide instruction or support for the course other than a syllabus.  To fulfill the GE  requirement in Area D1b that entails study of the US Constitution and California state and local government, students take at Stanislaus our PSCI 1201/American Government course—thus, if you have completed PSCI 1201, you do NOT need to take the State and Local Government exam. At the first class meeting of PSCI 1250, students will be directed to a suggested textbook. Students then study on their own and return during the scheduled exam period for the final exam. PSCI 1250 is given only on a CR/NC basis and only during spring.

The two most common reasons why students opt to take this course are: (1) A student has successfully passed the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in American government in high school and they have been given college level course credit that is generally the equivalent of our PSCI 1201, except that they still need to show appropriate levels of knowledge of California government as GE D1b mandates which the AP course and AP exam in high school do not cover, or (2) Typically out of state students who successfully passed an introduction to American government class in another state where there was no coverage of California government in that class.

Political Science Related Student Clubs

An important source of stimulating extra-curricular activity for our students are clubs that focus on elements of politics as well as the law. CSU Stanislaus has a history of partisan-based clubs with membership strengths of both Democratic and Republican Party clubs ebbing and flowing as electoral cycles and political and economic events excite and deflate student interest over time. Contact the Department Chair, Dr. Stephen Routh, at srouth@csustan.edu if you are interested in joining or re-starting one of these particular party clubs, or any other type of student association that is grounded in politics.

In addition to the political party clubs is the Political Science Honor Society, Pi Sigma Alpha, and its purpose is to recognize and promote high academic achievement in the field of Political Science. Dr. Dave Colnic, dcolnic@csustan.edu, is the faculty advisor for this club and he can readily clarify the requirements for joining this club and any related queries. 

A particularly vibrant club on campus is the Pre-Law Society. This is an association of students, mostly Political Science majors but with a healthy smattering of students with a range of different majors, who are seriously contemplating law school and who come together as a support group and active circle of colleagues who research, talk about, and visit schools of law. Dr. Stephen Routh is the faculty advisor for this club and he can be reached at srouth@csustan.edu to help direct you to the current leadership of this club.