Current Course Offerings

Fall 2022


Core Competency 1: American Politics

PSCI 0200 Introduction to American Politics

This class was formerly listed as PSCI 130.

Michele Margolis (TR 1:45 pm - 2:45 pm)

This course is intended to introduce students to the national institutions and political processes of American government. What are the historical and philosophical foundations of the American Republic? How does American public policy get made, who makes it, and who benefits? Is a constitutional fabric woven in 1787 good enough for today? How, if at all, should American government be changed, and why? What is politics and why bother to study it? If these sorts of questions interest you, then this course will be a congenial home. It is designed to explore such questions while teaching students the basics of American politics and government.

Core Competency 2: Statistics

PSCI 1800 Introduction to Data Science

This class was formerly listed as PSCI 107.

Matt Levendusky (MW 10:15 am - 11:15 am)

Understanding and interpreting large, quantitative data sets is increasingly central in political and social science. Whether one seeks to understand political communication, international trade, inter-group conflict, or other issues, the availability of large quantities of digital data has revolutionized the study of politics. Nonetheless, most data-related courses focus on statistical estimation, rather than on the related but distinctive problems of data acquisition, management and visualization--in a term, data science. This course addresses that imbalance by focusing squarely on data science. Leaving this course, students will be able to acquire, format, analyze, and visualize various types of political data using the statistical programming language R. This course is not a statistics class, but it will increase the capacity of students to thrive in future statistics classes. While no background in statistics or political science is required, students are expected to be generally familiar with contemporary computing environments (e.g. know how to use a computer) and have a willingness to learn a variety of data science tools. You are encouraged (but certainly not required) to register for both this course and PSCI 1801 at the same time, as the courses cover distinct, but complimentary material.

PSCI 1801 Statistical Methods PSCI

This class was formerly listed as PSCI 338.

Marc Meredith (MW 1:45 pm - 2:45 pm)

The goal of this class is to expose students to the process by which quantitative political science research is conducted. The class will take us down three separate, but related tracks. Track one will teach some basic tools necessary to conduct quantitative political science research. Topics covered will include descriptive statistics, sampling, probability and statistical theory, and regression analysis. However, conducting empirical research requires that we actually be able to apply these tools. Thus, track two will teach us how to implement some of these basic tools using the computer program R. However, if we want to implement these tools, we also need to be able to develop hypotheses that we want to test. Thus, track three will teach some basics in research design. Topics will include independent and dependent variables, generating testable hypotheses, and issues in causality. You are encouraged to register for both this course and PSCI 1800 at the same time, as the courses cover distinct but complementary material. But there are no prerequisites nor is registering for PSCI 1800 necessary, in order to take this course. The class satisfies the College of Arts and Sciences Quantitative Data Analysis (QDA) requirement.


PSCI 1290 Race and Ethnic Politics

This class was formerly listed as PSCI 231.

Daniel Gillion (TR 10:15 am - 11:15 am)

This course examines the role of race and ethnicity in the political discourse through a comparative survey of recent literature on the historical and contemporary political experiences of the four major minority groups (Blacks or African Americans, American Indians, Latinos or Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans). A few of the key topics will include assimilation and acculturation seen in the Asian American community, understanding the political direction of Black America in a pre and post Civil Rights era, and assessing the emergence of Hispanics as the largest minority group and the political impact of this demographic change. Throughout the semester, the course will introduce students to significant minority legislation, political behavior, social movements, litigation/court rulings, media, and various forms of public opinion that have shaped the history of racial and ethnic minority relations in this country. Readings are drawn from books and articles written by contemporary political scientists.

PSCI 1202 Changing American Electorate

This class was formerly listed as PSCI 234.

Daniel Hopkins (MW 10:15 am - 11:45 am)

In 1960, a Democratic candidate won a very narrow Presidential victory with just 100,000 votes; in 2000, the Democratic candidate lost but received 500,000 more votes than his opponent. Still, contemporary scholars and journalists have made a variety of arguments about just how much the American political landscape changed in the intervening 40 years, often calling recent decades a transformation. This course explores and critically evaluates those arguments. Key questions include: how, if at all, have Americans political attitudes and ideologies changed? How have their connections to politics changed? What has this meant for the fortunes and strategies of the two parties? How have the parties’ base voters and swing voters changed? What changes in American society have advantaged some political messages and parties at the expense of others? Focusing primarily on mass-level politics, we consider a wide range of potential causes, including the role of race in American politics, suburbanization, economic transformations, the evolving constellation and structure of interest groups, declining social capital, the changing role of religion, immigration, and the actions of parties and political elites. For three weeks in the semester, we will take a break from considering broader trends to look at specific elections in some depth.

PSCI 4200 Political Psychology

This class was formerly listed as PSCI 436.

Michele Margolis (R 10:15 am - 1:15 pm)

How do campaign advertisements influence voters' perceptions and behavior? What roles do emotions play in politics? Do we all harbor some measure of racism, sexism, or homophobia, and what role do these stereotypes play in political behavior? How and why do ideologies form, and how does partisanship influence the way that voters understand the political world? How do people perceive threat, and what are the psychological consequences of terrorism? These questions, and many others, are the province of political psychology, an interdisciplinary field that uses experimental methods and theoretical ideas from psychology as tools to examine the world of politics. In this course, we will explore the role of human thought, emotion, and behavior in politics and examine the psychological origins of citizens' political beliefs and actions from a variety of perspectives. Most of the readings emphasize politics in the United States, though the field itself speaks to every aspect of political science.

PSCI 1207 Who Gets Elected and Why? The Science of Politics

This class was formerly listed as PSCI 320.

Edward Rendell and Ruth Moyer (M 5:15 pm - 8:15 pm)

What does it take to get elected to office? What are the key elements of a successful political campaign? What are the crucial issues guiding campaigns and elections in the U.S. at the beginning of the 21st century? This class will address the process and results of electoral politics at the local, state, and federal levels. Course participants will study the stages and strategies of running for political office and will discuss the various influences on getting elected, including: campaign finance and fundraising, demographics, polling, the media, staffing, economics, and party organization. Each week we will be joined by guest speakers who are nationally recognized professionals, with expertise in different areas of the campaign and election process. Students will also analyze campaign case studies and the career of the instructor himself. Edward G. Rendell is the former Mayor of Philadelphia, former Chair of the Democratic National Committee, and former Governor of Pennsylvania.

COMM 3130 Computational Text Analysis for Communication Research

This class was formerly listed as COMM 313.

Matthew O’Donnell (TR 12 pm - 1:30 pm)

In this 'big data' era, presidents and popes tweet daily. Anyone can broadcast their thoughts and experiences through social media. Speeches, debates and events are recorded in online text archives. The resulting explosion of available textual data means that journalists and marketers summarize ideas and events by visualizing the results of textual analysis (the ubiquitous 'word cloud' just scratches the surface of what is possible). Automated text analysis reveals similarities and differences between groups of people and ideological positions. In this hands-on course students will learn how to manage large textual datasets (e.g. Twitter, YouTube, news stories) to investigate research questions. They will work through a series of steps to collect, organize, analyze and present textual data by using automated tools toward a final project of relevant interest. The course will cover linguistic theory and techniques that can be applied to textual data (particularly from the fields of corpus linguistics and natural language processing). No prior programming experience is required. Through this course students will gain skills writing Python programs to handle large amounts of textual data and become familiar with one of the key techniques used by data scientists, which is currently one of the most in-demand jobs.

MKTG 2120 Data and Analysis for Marketing Decisions

This class was formerly listed as MKTG 212.

Zhenling Jiang (TR 10:15 am - 11:45 am)

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of data-driven marketing, including topics from marketing research and analytics. It examines the many different sources of data available to marketers, including data from customer transactions, surveys, pricing, advertising, and A/B testing, and how to use those data to guide decision-making. Through real-world applications from various industries, including hands-on analyses using modern data analysis tools, students will learn how to formulate marketing problems as testable hypotheses, systematically gather data, and apply statistical tools to yield actionable marketing insights.

ECON 2310 Econometric Methods and Models

This class was formerly listed as ECON 104.

Xu Cheng (TR 3:30 pm - 5 pm)

This course focuses on econometric techniques and their application in economic analysis and decision-making, building on ECON 2300 (formerly 103) to incorporate the many regression complications that routinely occur in econometric environments. Micro-econometric complications include nonlinearity, non-normality, heteroskedasticity, limited dependent variables of various sorts, endogeneity and instrumental variables, and panel data. Macro-econometric topics include trend, seasonality, serial correlation, lagged dependent variables, structural change, dynamic heteroskedasticity, and optimal prediction. Students are required to perform several econometric analyses in a modern environment such as R.

STAT 4750 Sample Survey Design

This class was formerly listed as STAT 475.

Elaine Zanutto (T 5:15 pm - 8:15 pm)

This course will cover the design and analysis of sample surveys. Topics include simple sampling, stratified sampling, cluster sampling, graphics, regression analysis using complex surveys and methods for handling nonresponse bias. This course may be taken concurrently with the prerequisite with instructor permission.