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Political Science




4 Weeks


About the Course

Get a Political Science Certificate

Are you interested in learning about why and how political realities unfold? In this part-time Political Science Certificate Course you will receive a comprehensive introduction to political science, from political theories to real-world contemporary political issues.

With information from classic studies and current research in the field of political science, this course will help you to develop a strong foundation of political science, including: political parties and ideologies; international relations theories; how different political systems work; and so much more.

What to Expect

The Political Science Certificate Course is an online learning program with recommended readings from the textbook (Introduction to Political Science). This course is self-directed, which means you may study and complete assignments at times that are most convenient for you from the comfort of your own home.

This part-time Political Science Certificate Course has a recommended completion date of 8 weeks from the start of the program, however, you may choose to complete the course in as little as 4 weeks or as long as 16 weeks, depending on your schedule.

The Political Science Certificate Course has been created to allow you to complete it without teaching assistance. However, if you have questions or need assistance, you can receive help from a Faculty Member throughout the 8 weeks of the course. Your Faculty Member is a valuable resource person who can provide you with personal teaching assistance to help you succeed in the course.

Course Topics

The Political Science Certificate Course has been developed to meet high academic standards, ensuring that as a graduate you can display with pride the Political Science Certificate you will earn from the United States Institute of Leadership and Diplomacy

What is Politics and What is Political Science?

  • Defining Politics: Who gets What, Where, When, How and Why?

  • Public Policy, Public Interest, and Power

  • Political Science: The Systemic Study of Politics

  • Normative Political Science

  • Empirical Political Science

  • Individuals, Groups, Institutions and International Relations

Political Behavior is Human Behavior

  • What Goals Should We Seek in Politics?

  • Why do Humans Make the Political Choices They Do?

  • Human Behavior is Partially Predictable

  • The Importance of Context for Political Decisions

Political Ideology

  • The Classical Origin of Western Political Ideologies

  • The Laws of Nature and the Social Contract

  • The Development of Varieties of Liberalism

  • Nationalism, Communism, Fascism and Authoritarianism

  • Contemporary Democratic Liberalism

  • Contemporary Ideologies Further to the Political Left

  • Contemporary Ideologies Further to the Political Right

  • Political Ideologies that Reject Political Ideologies: Scientific Socialism, Burkeanism, and Religious Extremism

Civil Liberties

  • The Freedom of the Individual

  • Constitutions and Individual Liberties

  • The Right to Privacy, Self-Determination, and the Freedom of Ideas

  • Freedom of Movement

  • The Rights of the Accused

  • The Right to a Healthy Environment

Political Participation and Human Behavior

  • What is Political Participation?

  • What Limits Voter Participation in the United States?

  • How do Individuals Participate other than Voting?

  • What is Public Opinion and Where does it Come From?

  • How do we Measure Public Opinion?

  • Why is Public Opinion Important?

The Fundamentals of Group Political Activity

  • Political Socialization: The Ways People Become Political

  • Political Culture: How People Express their Political Identity

  • Collective Dilemmas: Making Group Decisions

  • Collective Action Problems: The Problem of Incentives

  • Resolving Collective Action Problems

Civil Rights

  • Civil Rights and Constitutionalism

  • Political Culture and Majority-Minority Relations

  • Civil Rights Abuses

  • Civil Rights Movements

  • How do Governments Bring About Civil Rights Changes?

Interest Groups, Political Parties, and Elections

  • What is an Interest Group?

  • What are the Pros and Cons of Interest Groups?

  • Political Parties

  • What are the Limits of Parties?

  • What are Elections and Who Participates?

  • How do People Participate in Elections?


  • What do Legislators Do?

  • What is the Difference between Parliamentary and Presidential Systems?

  • What is the Difference between Unicameral and Bicameral Systems?

  • The Decline of Legislative Influence

Executives, Cabinets and Bureaucracy

  • Democracies: Parliamentary, Presidential, and Semi-Presidential Regimes

  • The Executive in Presidential Regimes

  • The Executive in Parliamentary Regimes

  • Advantages, Disadvantages, and Challenges of Parliamentary and Presidential Regimes

  • Semi-Presidential Regimes

  • How do Cabinets Function in Presidential and Parliamentary Regimes?

  • What are the Purpose and Functions of Bureaucracies?

Courts and Law

  • What is the Judiciary

  • How does the Judiciary Take Action?

  • Types of Legal Systems around the World

  • Criminal versus Civil Laws

  • Due Process and Judicial Fairness

  • Judicial Review versus Executive Sovereignty

The Media

  • The Media as a Political Institution: Why does it Matter?

  • Types of Media and the Changing Media Landscape

  • How do Media and Elections Interact?

  • The Internet and Social Media

  • Declining Global Trust in the Media

Governing Regimes

  • Contemporary Government Regimes: Power, Legitimacy and Authority

  • Categorizing Contemporary Regimes

  • Recent Trends: Liberal Representative Regimes

International Relations:

  • What is Power and How do we Measure it?

  • Understanding the Different types of Actors in the International System

  • Sovereignty and Anarchy

  • Using Levels of Analysis to Understand Conflict

  • The Realist Worldview

  • The Liberal and Social Worldview

  • Critical Worldviews 

International Law and International Organizations

  • The Problem of Global Governance

  • International Law

  • The United Nations and Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs)

  • How do Regional IGOs Contribute to Global Governance?

  • Non-State Actors: Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

  • Non-State Actors Beyond NGOs

International Political Economy

  • The Origins of International Political Economy (IPE)

  • The Advent of the Liberal Economy

  • The Bretton Woods Institutions

  • The Post-Cold War Period and Modernization Theory

  • From the 1990s to the 2020s: Current Issues in IPE

  • Considering Poverty, Inequality and the Environmental Crisis

Your Instructor

Camilla Jones

Camilla Jones

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