Department of Sociology and Political Science

Acting Department Head: Dr. Paige McKerchar

210 Brewer Hall 

The Department of Sociology and Political Science offers a variety of courses for students in the liberal arts, pre-law, and professional education curricula. The goals of the Sociology program are to acquaint the student with the nature of social behavior, social relations, culture, the structure of society, and the tensions and conflicts produced by changes, expanding technologies, and knowledge.  The Political Science program offers a wide range of courses for those preparing for careers in law, government, politics, international affairs, business, communications, and many other fields.

Political Science

PSC 100  Introduction to American Government  (3)  

Structure and organization of the American national government. Evolution of the United States Constitution and the federal system, civil rights, voting and elections, Congress, the President, and the federal courts

PSC 101  Introduction to Political Science  (3)  

(American Government) Nature and scope of political science, basic concepts and terminology, nature of the state and government, types of political systems, comparative political institutions.

PSC 102  Introduction to State and Local Government  (3)  

(American Government) A study of the organization, functions, and powers of state, county, and municipal governments in the United States.

PSC 103  Honors Introduction to American Government  (3)  

(American Government) Structure and organization of the American national government. Evolution of the United States Constitution and the federal system, civil rights, voting and elections, Congress, the President, and the federal courts.

PSC 203  Introduction to the Law  (3)  

(American Government) An examination of the American legal system, court procedures, appeals procedures, and the use of legal reference materials with selected cases.

PSC 230  Politics and Film  (3)  

(American Government) Current impact and historical influence of film upon American politics and policy. Includes scholarship about the movie industry and civic values. Students view political films.

PSC 232  Introduction to International Relations  (3)  

(Global Studies) Background and basic principles of international politics with emphasis on the modern state system, nationalism, changes in international politics from World War II to the present, and domestic influences on foreign policy.

PSC 301  Political Science Methods  (3)  

(Theory and Methodology) The scope and approaches to political science with considerable attention to research methods, techniques, and current research problems.

PSC 303  Probate Courts and Administrative Law  (3)  

Studies the duties and operations of Alabama probate courts as applied to adoptions, commitments, conservators, elections, eminent domain, estates and wills, guardians, legitimations, licensing, marriage licenses, name changes, and recording activities. Provides practical knowledge of the context and nature of administrative law at the state and local level. (American government)

PSC 310  Introduction to Public Policy  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): PSC 100.

(Public Administration and Policy) A survey of the functions and major programs of the United States federal government including federal taxes and spending, the regulation of business, national labor policy, public health and welfare programs, conservation and the environment, and national defense and foreign policy.

PSC 320  Introduction to Public Administration  (3)  

(Public Administration and Policy) Surveys the public administration literature. Examines the field's development and key concepts. Introduces core topics such as organizational theory and culture, bureaucratic structure, policy process, public finance, personnel policy, ethics, reform movements, managerial performance and accountability, and public sector drivers of local economic development. Public service values are emphasized.

PSC 342  Political Parties (WI)  (3)  

(American Government) Composition, organization, and function of American political parties on the national, state, and local levels. (Writing Intensive Course)

PSC 352  The Legislative Process  (3)  

(American Government) American legislative bodies with emphasis upon recruitment, composition, structure, procedures, functions, role of parties and pressure groups, and problems of legislative reform.

PSC 373  Governments of Europe  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): PSC 100.

(Global Studies) Examines the political systems and political cultures of Europe with major emphasis on Great Britain, France, Germany and Russia.

PSC 375  Governments of Latin America  (3)  

(Global Studies) Political organization and structure of the principal Latin-American countries with emphasis on constitutional development and present-day issues.

PSC 377  Governments of the Middle East  (3)  

(Global Studies) The government and politics of the Middle East with attention to present developments and the role of these countries in world affairs.

PSC 410  Religion, Politics and Policy  (3)  

(American Government) Explores the historical development and constitutional foundations of religious freedom in America. Probes First Amendment jurisprudence. Examines current debates about free exercise, public interest religion, elections, religion in global affairs.

PSC 412  Inter-governmental Relations  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): None.

Undergraduate Prerequisite: PSC 100. Graduate (Public Administration and Policy) Examines the development, institutions, processes, and problems of state and local government in the United States and their interaction with each other and with the federal government.

PSC 423  American Foreign Policy  (3)  

(Global Studies) Traces main streams of American foreign policy from the twentieth-century to the present. Major American foreign policy decisions are used in the analytical development of American foreign policy processes. The various influences upon foreign policy decision-making are identified and evaluated.

PSC 430  Governments of Asia  (3)  

(Global Studies) Examines the political systems and political cultures of Asian countries from Afghanistan to Southeast Asia, with major emphasis on India, China, and Japan.

PSC 431  Comparative Politics  (3)  

(Global Studies) An examination of the government and politics of a variety of different national states that includes the concepts, ideas, and analytical tools necessary to understand the structures and processes of different types of political systems. Covers western and non-western, developed and less developed, communist and post-communist, and newly industrializing countries. The impact of globalization is also examined.

PSC 439  Model Debate Team: Global Issues  (1)  

Prerequisites for undergraduate: Sophomore status and completion of one global course with a grade of C or better and permission of instructor. Students learn about global issues by representing other countries in model simulations such as Model United Nations and Model Arab League. Students research, write, debate, negotiate, and pass resolutions on issues of international concern. Repeatable up to 4 times. Course also counts toward Political Science major.

PSC 442  Legal Reasoning  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): PSC 203 or Instructor's Approval.

(American Government) An examination of American legal decision-making processes with emphasis on legal theory and application, a review of our blended statutory-common law system and the associated legal processes, and the methodology of legal research and writing.

PSC 443  Constitutional Law I  (3)  

(American Government) Fundamental principles of U.S. Constitution and its development including powers of President and Congress, federalism, interstate commerce, and others; textbook and case method.

PSC 444  Constitutional Law II  (3)  

(American Government) Relationship between individual and government as revealed through constitutional law cases; civil liberties based on interpretation of Bill of Rights and Fourteenth Amendment; textbook and case method.

PSC 445  Southern Politics  (3)  

(American Government) An examination of the party system of the Southern states in terms of its origin, nature, distribution of power and impact on national politics.

PSC 447  Politics and Public Opinion  (3)  

(American Government) Forces affecting politics, public opinion, and elections in the U.S.; examines the election structure, as well as individual and group political participation.

PSC 450  The American Executive  (3)  

(Public Administration and Policy) Role and behavior of American executives at national, state, and local levels in the U.S. political system with emphasis on American presidency.

PSC 451  Ancient and Medieval Political Theory  (3)  

(Theory and Methodology) Examines political thought from ancient Greece to the late Middle Ages in Europe. An emphasis is placed on the historical-cultural context in which these theories developed and their influence on modern concepts.

PSC 452  Modern Political Theory (WI)  (3)  

(Theory and Methodology) Examines the major trends in political thought from the Early Modern Era of the 1600's to the present with emphasis upon the development of classical (conservative) liberalism, progressive or new liberalism, socialism, Marxist communism, fascism, and national socialism. (Writing Intensive Course)

PSC 454  American Political Thought  (3)  

(Theory and Methodology) Principal ideas of leading political thinkers in America from colonial period to the present.

PSC 455  Introduction to Political Psychology  (3)  

(Theory and Methodology) This course is an overview of the interdisciplinary connection between political and psychological processes. The incorporation of political science and psychology might help in the understanding of why leaders behave as they do and why citizens support or oppose political leaders. The course will include: social cognition and decision making, personality and identity, and environmental factors that affect individual political ideologies. (PSC 455 is cross-listed with PSY 446, but only one course may be taken for credit.)

PSC 458  Theory of Political Film  (3)  

(Theory and Methodology) Examines the literature-based classical conditioning of America's founding fathers with attention to symbolism, models and conceptions of merit. Contrast civic virtue in classical republicanism to individual rights in modern liberalism. Juxtaposes theories of Machiavelli and Montesquieu as enlivened in classical film.

PSC 482  Grantwriting  (3)  

(Public Administration and Policy) Practical course instructing the steps involved in the grantwriting process. The course includes strategic planning, research, finding appropriate grant sources and writing the grant. PSC 482 is cross listed with EH 482, and only one may be taken for credit.

PSC 484  Individual Study  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Must be major or minor with advanced standing and have consent of instructor.

Involves extensive study/research upon specific topics under close supervision by instructor. Letter grades are assigned for this course.

PSC 485  Individual Study  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Must be major or minor with advanced standing and have consent of instructor.

Involves extensive study/research upon specific topics under close supervision by instructor. Letter grades are assigned for this course.

PSC 493  The Judicial Process  (3)  

Prerequisite for Undergraduate: PSC 100. Prerequisite for Graduate: None. (American Government) Procedures involved in judicial process; attendance at actual court trials in the local area.

PSC 498  Internship  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): 15 hours of Political Science.

(American Government) Involves supervised assignment of student either to the U.S. Congress or Alabama State Legislature or to an area public agency such as the East Alabama Regional Planning Commission, City of Anniston, Calhoun County District Attorney's Office, Alabama Seventh Judicial Circuit offices, or a lawyer's office. Grade: Pass/Fail.

PSC 499  Internship  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): 15 hours of Political Science.

(American Government) Involves supervised assignment of student either to the U.S. Congress or Alabama State Legislature or to an area public agency such as the East Alabama Regional Planning Commission, City of Anniston, Calhoun County District Attorney's Office, Alabama Seventh Judicial Circuit offices, or a lawyer's office. Grade: Pass/Fail.

Sociology

SY 221  Introduction to Sociology  (3)  

Basic concepts, principles, and methods of sociological analysis are examined. Subject areas include culture, socialization, groups, communities, institutions, social inequality, and social change.

SY 222  Honors Introduction to Sociology  (3)  

Basic concepts, principles, and methods of sociological analysis are examined. Writing intensive, the primary goal is to teach students how to critically evaluate the world around them and their place in it using the sociological imagination.

SY 223  Social Problems  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221 or SY 222.

An application of the sociological perspective to understanding important contemporary social issues and the social actions and policies that attempt to address them. Students develop critical thinking skills as they explore social problems, solutions and social change. Topics focus on inequality (race/ethnicity, class, gender, etc.) embedded in social institutions.

SY 301  Sociological Methods (WI)  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221 or SY 222.

Sociological Methods involves various methodologies researchers utilize to produce scientifically based knowledge about society. Methods are any application of methodology, and methodology attempts to answer the question: how do you know? This course is an introduction to theory, design, collection, and analysis of data in sociology with particular focus given to various techniques by which sociological data are examined. (Writing Intensive Course)

SY 303  Computers and Data Analysis  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 301 or 304 or CS 201.

Computers are used in the analysis of survey data. Commonly used software packages, such as SPSS, are employed.

SY 304  Social Statistics  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): MS 100 or higher.

An introduction to use of statistics in the social sciences, with an examination of measures of association and dispersion, scaling, probability, and tests of significance.

SY 308  American Society and Culture  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221.

A Sociological Analysis of American Society and Culture, this course will examine the basic institutions in American society such as family, education, religion, politics, and economy. It analyzes the roll of organizations in society. It discusses the origin of American culture and the nature of popular culture.

SY 309  Sociology of Disability  (3)  

This course addresses the human responses to and facilitation of the concept of disability. The emphasis will be to connect the relationship among theory, epistemology, power relationships, and the social construction of disability. When the course is over, you should have a deeper understanding of social theory, the history of disabilities, and also how the concept of disabilities impacts our lives today.

SY 310  Modern Family  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221 or SY 222.

A study of origin and evolution of the modern family as a social institution and as a social group with emphasis on how family is impacted by other institutions (economy, state, media, religion, etc.) as well as inequalities (gender, sexualities, race, class, etc.)

SY 313  Social Psychology  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221.

A survey of traditional and contemporary theories in social psychology regarding their applicability to everyday life, including such approaches as cognitive theory, reinforcement theory, symbolic interaction, and humanistic theories.

SY 315  Deviant Behavior  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221.

Introduction to the social and cultural factors related to human deviance. Special attention is given to the study of various theories of deviant behavior.

SY 320  Criminology  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221.

This course is an introduction to the study of criminology. Its focus is on the nature of crime, the nature and development of law, the criminal justice system, and theories of crime.

SY 322  Juvenile Delinquency  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221.

Popular misconceptions; delinquency trends; police and juveniles; programs of prevention; detention centers; juvenile courts, probation; theories of causation; corrections.

SY 324  Social Stratification  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221.

Causes, characteristics, and consequences of inequality are examined. Differences in wealth, power, and prestige are considered in the community, society, and between societies.

SY 325  Sociology of Organization  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221.

Simple and complex organizations are examined regarding their structures, functions, conflicts, and changes. Major theories are presented along with empirical studies of organizational behavior.

SY 326  Sociology of Education  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221.

The school is examined as a major social institution and socializing agent in American society. The formal and informal structure of the school, its influence upon the responses to the wider community institutions, and primary functions of the school system are examined. Teacher-student relationships, the classroom as a social system, and equality of educational opportunity will be considered.

SY 340  Perspectives on Death and Dying  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221.

An examination of the attitudes of differing cultures and subcultures toward death, which encourages students to supplement relevant readings by discussing personal attitudes toward death and dying. Current research in this topic will be explored by lectures, films, and readings. By better understanding death and dying, students can explore in this course opportunities for growth and for improving the quality of life. SY 340 is cross-listed with SW 371, but only one course can be counted for credit.

SY 350  Sociology of Disasters  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221 or SY 222.

The course applies a sociological perspective to trace the study of disasters, emphasizing how social inequalities constitute varying degrees of risk and destruction throughout pre, impact and post disaster stages. This course examines social structure and social process as they interact with disaster conditions.

SY 356  Collective Behavior and Social Movements  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221 or SY 222.

Crowds, mass behavior, fashions and fads, reform movements and revolutions are examined. Current examples are used to illustrate models and theories.

SY 358  Sociology of Sports  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221 or SY 222.

This course explores the relationship between sports and social, cultural, political, and economic forces. It examines sports on multiple levels including the micro individual/interactional, organizational, and institutional.

SY 360  Ethnic and Minority Group Relations  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221.

This course focuses on relations between majorities and minorities, the conditions of minority life, and the structural, cultural, and interpersonal barriers that affect minorities.

SY 362  Global Immigration Patterns and Trends  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221 or SY 222.

This course examines the structural and individual immigration patterns and trends between country of origins and destination countries. The course examines how economic, political, and social forces lead to push and pull factors in both voluntary and forced migration routes. Course topics include illegal immigration, brain drain, refugees/asylum seekers, transnational migrants, etc.

SY 364  Medicine and Society  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221 or permission of instructor.

This course is designed to provide a brief introduction to the major themes of and current trends concerning the social causes and consequences of health and illness. Topics of interest will be to explore the social facets of health and disease; the social functions of health organizations; and the social behaviors of health personnel and consumers.

SY 365  Drugs and Society  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221.

This course presents a sociological framework for studying the ways in which societies both encourage and restrict the use of psychoactive drugs. The course will investigate the ways we think about alcohol, tobacco, prescription, and illegal drugs.

SY 366  Sociology of Religion  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221.

The study of religion in its social and cultural contexts. Comparatively examines how religious beliefs, rituals, and practices exist in close relation to other aspects of society and culture, giving to human existence coherence and purpose.

SY 367  Sociology of Sexualities  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221 or SY 222.

A study of how sexuality is perceived, defined, and experienced in the context of society. Topics include social norms, attitudes and beliefs about sexuality, public and private policies, as well as practices surrounding sexuality, and how sexuality is related to social institutions.

SY 368  Theories of Gender  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221 or SY 222.

Theories of Gender will examine various theories of gender; how gender shapes interactions in everyday life; and how gender works in various social institutions (education, work, family, politics, media, etc.) and challenges to gendered systems.

SY 370  Aging and Human Development  (3)  

An examination of aging in the United States. Primarily a sociological perspective but deals with the psychological and biological aspects of aging, as well as contemporary demographic, economic, and political trends. SY 370 is cross-listed with SW 370, but only one course can be counted for credit.

SY 399  Study Tour  (3)  

Topics, excursions, and requirements determined by department. May be duplicated for credit; however, only three (3) credits may be applied toward any major or minor. Infrequently scheduled and subject to minimum and maximum numbers. Advance deposit required.

SY 427  Classical Social Theory  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221 or SY 222 plus 12 hours of sociology courses or permission of instructor.

An examination of the major trends in social thought up to WWII.

SY 428  Contemporary Social Theory  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221 or SY 222 plus 12 hours of sociology courses or permission of instructor.

An examination of the major trends in social thought after WWII.

SY 441  Independent Study  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Students seeking admission must have advanced standing and secure approval of instructor and head of department.

An opportunity for the student with advanced standing to explore areas of special interest.

SY 442  Independent Study  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Students seeking admission must have advanced standing and secure approval of instructor and head of department.

An opportunity for the student with advanced standing to explore areas of special interest.

SY 443  Independent Study  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Students seeking admission must have advanced standing and secure approval of instructor and head of department.

An opportunity for the student with advanced standing to explore areas of special interest.

SY 452  Aging Practicum  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 370.

Field observation and experiences in agencies or organizations engaged in planning or administering programs for older people or providing direct services to older people. Seminar analysis of these experiences.

SY 460  Sociology Internship  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0; and a minimum completion of 12 hours of sociology course work at Jacksonville State University.

Instructor approval required. This course provides students the opportunity to gain work/career experience in service/learning or business/corporate settings.

SY 480  Advanced Seminar in Sociology  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221, advanced standing and approval of instructor.

An examination of current issues in sociology. The content of the course will vary each semester.

SY 481  Advanced Seminar in Sociology  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221, advanced standing and approval of instructor.

An examination of current issues in sociology. The content of the course will vary each semester.

SY 482  Advanced Seminar in Sociology  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 221, advanced standing and approval of instructor.

An examination of current issues in sociology. The content of the course will vary each semester.

SY 495  Advanced Seminar in Aging  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 370, advanced standing and approval of instructor.

An examination of current issues in aging.

SY 499  Senior Sociology Seminar (WI)  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SY 301, SY 304 and SY 427; or approval of instructor.

A summary and reintegration of fundamental concepts in sociology. Career paths are also discussed. Offered Spring only. (Writing Intensive Course)