Instructor's office location: FH 5A-10
Phone numbers: (270)762-2662 (o); 753-0126 (h); 762-2688 (fax)
Office hours: 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. MF
9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., 1:45 - 3:30 p.m. TTh
Classroom location and meeting time: FH 509, 9:30 - 10:20 Wednesdays, January 18 - May 3, 2006.
Catalog description: The capstone course in political science required of all majors with senior standing. The course has three objectives: (1) the submission of a research paper which demonstrates sound research, reasoning, and writing skills; (2) the examination of career opportunities in political science and use of the University Placement Office; and (3) an evaluation of student competence in the discipline through a series of assessment examinations. Offered spring semester only. Graded pass/fail.
Purpose and objective of the course: The purpose and objective of Senior Seminar in Political Science is to assess students' knowledge of their major field. Graduation should signify the possession of the "Characteristics of the Murray State University Graduate," and characteristic # 8 is "Demonstrate mastery of their chosen field of study in preparation for a successful, productive life." Senior Seminar, then, is a comprehensive, capstone exit rite of passage, so to speak, from pre- to post-graduation. To understand what we are attempting to accomplish and what you are responsible for demonstrating, please refer to the "Characteristics" statement adopted by the Board of Regents some years ago and published in all official bulletins since then. It also is available on the internet; click here to access.
Course motto: If not now, when? If not now, when will you demonstrate competence in your chosen field of study?
Course requirements (no exceptions):
(1) Attendance. Unexcused absences in excess of two will result in a failing grade. Excused absences will be determined according to the University's class attendance policy published in the University Bulletin.
(2) The submission of a research paper. More specific instructions are given later in this syllabus.
(3) The preparation and submission of a copy of your resume.
(4) Taking and making a minimum score of 65 on a multiple-choice, objective comprehensive POL 499 final examination. Your score will be ranked with those of your classmates.
(5) Taking the Educational Testing Service major field test in political science (click here) assessment test at the officially designated final examination time, 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 9, 2006. The department will pay the fee, so there will be no cost to you. We hope you will do your best but your score will have no bearing on your graduation. (Not taking the test, however, will give you an E in POL 499.) The purpose of this test is to tell us where you stand (and where we stand) when compared to students and political science majors all over the country.
Grading procedure: Failure to satisfactorily comply with any of the above will affect your grade for the course.
Teaching method: Weekly classes will be devoted to
and then discussing practice tests. One week you will take a
the next week it will be returned and discussed. We will repeat
procedure seven times. Your scores will not be recorded and
not count toward your final grade but they will give you an idea of
where you stand with regard to the fundamental knowledge of the
and what you need to do to prepare for the final examination.
Practice tests will cover the following subfields:
(1) American government and politics (general)
(2) international relations
(3) comparative government
(4) research methods
(5) public administration
(6) political philosophy
(7) public law and (8) state & local government (combined)
(1) In addition to the class tests, you are welcome to take the tests I use in my POL 140 class; my 140's meet at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. MWF in FH 509. The Educational Testing Service provides on-line access to various practice tests for such examinations as the GRE and GMAT and the Law School Admissions Council offers an LSAT question of the day and a complete, downloadable free practice LSAT. Other publishers have practice quizzes on line as well; an example is InternationalPolitics on the World Stage by John T. Rourke.
(2) Since one of the characteristics the Murray State University graduate should possess is the ability to "Understand the nature of responsible citizenship and pursue an active role in a democratic society," download from my homepage and read my essay "On the Nature of Good Citizenship in a Democratic Society."
(3) You should be familiar with the following websites:
American Political Science Association
American Society for Public Administration
Political Science Research Resources
Political Science Internet Resources
The purpose of this requirement is to affirm that you know how to write a scholarly research paper by demonstrating that you have done so. It should represent your very best effort. You may submit a paper you are writing this semester for another class, or you may submit a revision of a paper you have written in a previous semester (in this case, submit the original or a xerox copy of the original along with your revision). Since the objective is competence in research and writing, the topic of the paper need not be strictly political science but it should be appropriate; if you have any doubt about the appropriateness of your topic, you should check with me. Our class meets at 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays; I will be in my office at that hour on Mondays and Fridays.
If the above is not applicable, you will need to select a topic which is both important and interesting to you, and then research and analyze it. Clear your topic with me before you begin work.
In either case, go to the "Characteristics" statement and use this paper to demonstrate your mastery of its eight parts as much as you can. Also, in either case, let me know what you have decided to do and your topic no later than February 1.
Please note: a book review is not a research paper and a scholarly
book is not a novel.
If you are submitting a revision of a previously-written paper,
do so by March 29. If not, your deadline is April 19.
Your paper should be 15-20 pages in length. It should be
correctly referenced, with a bibliography of at least 15 sources, not
all of which
come from the internet (and be careful about those), and written in
with the American Political Science Association style manual which
may be purchased at the bookstore. You should also adhere to
"Tips on Good Writing"
as well as "Citation Guide for Internet Resources,"
"Evaluating Web Resources," and "Plagiarism" which can be downloaded
my homepage. Any paper which does not meet these minimal criteria
will not be accepted. Please remember, this paper should
your best work. It will be placed in your permanent departmental
Resumes and Interviews:
If you would like for me to review your resume and help you prepare for job interviews, I will be happy to do so.
Academic Honesty: The policy adopted by the Board of Regents and reprinted in all university bulletins is hereby incorporated into this syllabus.
Students with Disabilities: Students with bona fide disabilities should inform me privately and appropriate arrangements will be made.