Political Science Capstone Seminars

Application Requirement

The capstone is a senior requirement for the major, designed to be completed within the last nine semester hours of POLI coursework. You must complete POLI 205 before taking a capstone course. Capstones are filled on a first-come, first-served basis and enrollment is limited to 25 students to ensure a high-quality culminating experience. It is your responsibility to plan and to complete the application for permission to enroll in a timely manner. Registration for capstone courses is not available through MyCharleston. You must complete an application and if you are eligible, the department will enroll you in the course. See the advising newsletter for link to application.

Regardless of the topic, all Capstone seminars include: intensive writing, independent research, opportunities to apply theories and concepts to new problems and cases, and the opportunity to go beyond comprehending the views of others to articulate and defend one’s own view.

Fall 2020 Capstone Seminars

POLI 405.1 Climate Change (Nowlin)

Why have a political science capstone about climate change? Because climate change is fundamentally a political problem. In this course we will discuss climate change in the context of US politics and policymaking. Through readings and class discussions, we will examine such topics as how the various institutions of the US government have (or haven’t) addressed climate change and why; possible climate policy options and their potential effectiveness; interest groups and climate change; and public opinion about climate change, among other topics. Students will be required to complete an independent research project related to climate change politics and/or policy. No prior knowledge of climate change is required.

POLI 405.2 Leadership and Statecraft (Liu)

Political leadership is essential for meeting historical and contemporary challenges. Statecraft is the art of conducting government and diplomacy. This capstone seminar examines leadership and statecraft in a globalizing world. Our focus will be on political development in China and the United States, and the dynamic relationship between the two countries. We will explore contending perspectives of political leadership, and key domestic and international policies. Our critical theoretical inquiry will be combined with empirical analysis of U.S.-China relations in the historical, bilateral, regional, and global context. Through such multi-dimensional analysis, we will gain a better understanding of principles, ethics, and practices of leadership and statecraft.