American Government

GOVT 30.02 (Identical to PBPL 52)

Leadership and Political Institutions

Course Description

GOVT 30.12 (Identical to PBPL 027)

Affirmative Action in Higher Education

Course Description

GOVT 30.14

Health Politics and Policy

Course Description:

Is health care a right? Why does the United States spend more than comparable countries on health care but experience worse outcomes, and also lack universal coverage? How might the health care system be reformed to increase access and quality, and reduce costs? We consider these fundamental questions and explore a range of key issues, including health equity, mental health care, overdiagnosis and overtreatment, drug regulation, state policies, comparative health care systems, and the COVID-19 pandemic.


Campaigns and Elections

Course Description:

Do campaigns change election outcomes? When do they matter and when do they not? How should campaigns be conducted for optimal results on Election Day? This course will seek to answer these questions from both academic and practical perspectives. Particularly, it will investigate campaign strategies; issues, money and communications in political races; the behavior of voters; and possible election reforms. Students should leave this class with a deep understanding of political campaigns for elective office.


Polling and Public Policy

Course Description:

The results of public opinion polls frequently dominate political news coverage and they often alter the behavior of politicians; moreover, political polls have started becoming news in their own right in recent years.  In this course, we will explore the techniques that pollsters use to examine public attitudes and we will consider how that information can, and should, be used to formulate public policy.  We will engage questions such as: To what degree can the public form meaningful preferences about complex political issues?  What does a political opinion consist of, and how can it be measured?  How can potential errors in polls be avoided?  How does partisanship influence public opinion, and where do Americans stand on key policy issues?  To what extent should politicians try to change public opinion rather than respond to it?  How has the nature and role of public opinion shifted in an era of rapidly advancing polling technology and a changing media environment?  In addition to examining the pertinent literature on topics such as these, we will conduct and analyze an actual public opinion survey as a class.  Through a combination of theoretical and hands-on learning, students will leave the course with a firm understanding of these dynamics.


Political Psychology

Course Description:

This class examines the psychological origins of citizens' political beliefs and actions. We analyze different aspects of human psychology, including personality, motivation, values, information processing and emotion. This course is for anyone who has ever wondered how people form their political opinions, why they vote the way they do, and whether ordinary citizens are well suited to democracy.  Readings will be drawn from political science and psychology. GOVT 3 is a prerequisite for this class.