MSU Billings Catalogs

Graduate Studies Course Descriptions

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POLS ― Political Science


POLS 523 Constitutional Law:  Civil Liberties (crosslisted with PSCI 472)

3 cr. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.  Examines major Supreme Court decisions in the field of individual rights; provides an overview of civil liberties decisions with an emphasis on the Bill of Rights, e.g., speech, religion, privacy, and administrative law.


POLS 527 Constitutional Law:  Powers and Structures (crosslisted with PSCI 473)

3 cr. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.  Introduces the evolution and structure of the United State constitutional system, focusing on the federal relationship, the separation of powers, and judicial review, relying upon the case method.  Includes aspects of administrative law.


POLS 530 Financial Management and Analysis in Nonprofits

3 cr.  Prepares students for financial management and analysis in the nonprofit sector.  Topics include legal and audit requirements for financial planning and reporting, donor integrity, disclosure laws, state and federal registration requirements, endowment management, and grant management.  Students will also learn interpreting financial statements and assessing and managing for financial health.


POLS 531 Nonprofit Resource Development and Marketing

3 cr.  Prepares students to be future nonprofit leaders and board members.  Students will learn to utilize resource development and marketing fundamentals that help nonprofits prosper.  The course also focuses on the development of strategic relationships with funders, potential funders, and the media.  Students will learn human resource management, how to develop a board, manage volunteers, and utilize information technology and social media.  Students will learn data driven decision making and all aspects of fund development, marketing, and communications throughout the course.


POLS 532 Nonprofit Governance and Leadership

3 cr.  Examines the legal foundations and responsibilities of nonprofit boards, including ethics, public attitudes, and contemporary legislative and regulatory issues.  Students will explore theories of effective governance and executive leadership that have had wide influence, and how ethical considerations relate to perceptions of excellence and efficacy.  Students will also learn mentorship and how to create and manage an effective organizational culture.


POLS 533 Influences and Impact of Nonprofits

3 cr.  Covers the history, size, and impact of the nonprofit and philanthropic sector in the United States as well as a comparative global perspective.  The growth and culture of the nonprofit sector is intertwined with America’s legal and tax systems, interest groups, social service delivery, foreign aid, rising wealth, and perceived threats to internal security.  Students will examine the scope and status of nongovernmental organizations, as well as their influences.


POLS 551 Research Methods

3 cr. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.  Acquires knowledge by means of a research process that is reliable and relevant to the making of public management decisions.  Students will prepare and submit a research design that meets social scientific standards.


POLS 554 Foundations of Public Administration

3 cr. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.  Explores the theoretical, historical, and intellectual foundations of public administration.  Examines the relationship between public administration theory and practice, the political contest, and the intellectual heritage of the field.  Examines basic functions and processes of public administration.


POLS 555 Human Resource Management

3 cr. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.  Focuses on the essential elements of human resource management, including analysis and evaluation of work, and the selection, management, and evaluation of public employees.


POLS 557 Public Budgeting & Finance (crosslisted with PSCI 459)

3 cr. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.  Focuses on budgeting in the public sector as a tool for financial management and the implementation of fiscal and programmatic policy, with emphasis on the political context.  Graduate students will be expected to read substantially more in the public administration literature, to produce more in-depth research in their term papers, and to make at least one, possibly two, classroom presentations.


POLS 558 Public Organization Dynamics

3 cr. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.  Examines alternative organization structures for public management and the influence of those structures upon organization behavior and performance.  Influence of management styles and individual differences are examined, as well as issues relating to personal development and organization mission.  Public and non-profit organizations are contrasted.


POLS 559 Program Evaluation and Policy Analysis

3 cr. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.  Provides methods of program evaluation and policy analysis for public programs.  Quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis are contrasted.  Implementation, utilization, and political context of the analysis and evaluation process are examined.  Philosophical and ethical issues underlying alternative methods are examined.


POLS 560 Ethics and Public Policy (crosslisted with PSCI 469)

3 cr. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.  Explores ethics and selected issues in public service and policy making through theoretical and case study approaches.  Emphasis on the relation of continuing issues and problem areas to individual careers in policy making and administrative decision making.  Graduate students will be expected to read substantially more in the public administration literature, to produce more in-depth research in their term papers, and to make at least one, possibly two, classroom presentations.


POLS 562 Local Government Administration (crosslisted with PSCI 464)

3 cr. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.  Focuses on contemporary issues affecting small towns and counties.  Discussed topics include public works departments, economic growth, human resource development, and parks and recreation.


POLS 574 Applied Research Project

V3-9 cr. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.  Entails preparation of a project design, implementation of the research design, and completion of a professional paper.


POLS 576 Internship

V1-9 cr. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.  Provides an opportunity for students to gain practical experience beyond the material covered by regular Public Administration courses.


POLS 580 Special Topics (crosslisted with PSCI 491)

3 cr. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.  Provides Masters of Public Administration students an opportunity for them to investigate contemporary topics related to the field.  Staffing needs will largely involve local practitioners in government and not-for-profit organizations.  The course will be offered on an irregular basis.


PSCI 587 Advanced Political Science

9 cr.  (9 lec/wk)  Prerequisite:  Master’s degree. (Su)  Serves high school teachers who hold a master’s degree and who require content-area education to support dual enrollment.  This course explores the structure and dynamics of American national government, providing a broad-based introduction to the ideas and institutions that shape politics in the contemporary United States.  Students will develop an understanding of foreign affairs and the fundamental principles of international relations as well as issues in American foreign policy.  This course will also broadly address political science research methods to acquaint students with the fundamentals of survey and research design, quantitative methods, and qualitative methods.


POLS 589 Professional Development

V1-3 cr.  Designated course number for professional development credit bearing courses offered by Extended Campus.  These credits do not count toward any degree at MSU Billings.