Law and Politics (BA)

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Paul Barresi

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Go for a Career in Law or Politics

Whether you’re fascinated by politics or intrigued by the law, the B.A. in Law and Politics at SNHU will provide you with the knowledge and skills essential for success across a broad spectrum of careers that lie at the interface of these two dynamic and exciting fields. Our unique interdisciplinary program will provide you not only with a solid foundation in the art and science of politics, but also with insight into what it means to “think like a lawyer,” both in the United States and around the world. We emphasize the development of critical thinking and analytical skills in political and legal contexts, as well as the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, on topics of political and legal concern. These skills are essential for political and legal professionals, and are transferable to many other professional fields.

The range of career options for students with a B.A. in Law and Politics is very broad, encompassing careers in politics, government, diplomacy, business, journalism, consulting, teaching, and many other fields. Our program also prepares students for graduate study in political science, international relations, public policy, or public administration, and for law school, as well as for a lifetime of citizenship in a politically and legally complex and increasingly globalized world. Students interested in earning the B.A. in Law and Politics as a stepping stone to law school also may earn a Certificate in Pre-Law within the same 4-year course of study.

Program Benefits

New Hampshire's Presidential Primary Election

SNHU is a great place to study law and politics because of New Hampshire's unique role as host of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary election, which often is the most crucial stop for the many men and women who seek to be elected President of the United States. The candidates start their primary election campaigns as early as a year and half before the general election, meeting face-to-face with ordinary voters throughout New Hampshire in their homes and workplaces, in restaurants and diners, and on the street. Two recent presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton, have chosen SNHU as their primary election night campaign headquarters. In 2007, Barack Obama delivered the commencement speech at SNHU's graduation ceremony shortly before launching his own presidential campaign.

Semester in Washington, D.C.

Beginning in their junior year, students pursuing a B.A. in Law and Politics at SNHU may choose to spend a semester in our nation's capital in SNHU’s Semester in Washington, D.C. Students may pursue either a politics track or a pre-law track within the program, which promotes experiential learning through civic engagement and other activities. The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, which hosts SNHU's program, provides students with housing and places them in internships appropriate to their interests. The range of internship options is very broad, including placements in executive branch agencies, both houses of Congress, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit firms.

Our Faculty

Our law and politics faculty brings a wealth of experience to the classroom. For example, as a lawyer at one of Boston's biggest law firms, Dr. Paul Barresi helped to advise Fortune 500 companies in complex legal compliance matters. As a political scientist, he's an expert on American political culture. Dr. Dean Spiliotes is an SNHU Civic Scholar, veteran political analyst, and blogger whose expertise on presidential politics and the New Hampshire presidential primary election is sought out by major media outlets from throughout the United States and around the world. The array of faculty teaching law or politics courses at SNHU also has included a former mayor of New Hampshire's biggest city; a former World Bank and Ford Foundation consultant with experience working in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere; a former research associate in the civil litigation and criminal appeals divisions of the Florida state attorney general's office; and more.

Required Core Courses

General Education Program

School of Arts and Sciences Required Courses

HIS-114: United States History II: 1865-Present
The second half of the United States history survey course covers the period following the Civil War. The economic, political and ideological developments that allowed the United States to attain a position of the world leadership are closely examined. Required for majors in History and Social Studies Education with a concentration in History.
HIS-118: World Civilizations, 1500 to Present
An introductory survey of major civilizations from 1500 to the present, with particular emphasis on interactions and conflicts between Western and non-Western parts of the world. Key societies will be examined from political, socio-economic, and cultural-intellectual perspectives.

Select one of the following:

ENV-101: Environmental Science
This course provides an introduction to the scientific aspects of the environmental field. The first part of the course introduces students to the foundations of environmental science, while the second part concentrates on the application of these foundations to real life environmental problems. Therefore, the course not only engages the fundamentals of environmental science but also shows students how science informs sustainability, environmental policies, economics and personal choice.
SCI-219: Environmental Issues
This course covers a variety of environmental topics in a manner specifically designed for the non-science major. It provides a fundamental understanding of the various processes necessary to support life on Earth and examines how human activities and attitudes (individual, traditional, cultural, and others) generate environmental issues that threaten these processes. Topics include ecology, populations, agriculture, desertification and deforestation, water and ocean pollution, air pollution including ozone depletion, solid and hazardous wastes, energy including fossil fuels and nuclear power, economies and sustainability. This course is cross-listed as ENV-219.

Law and Politics Major Courses

GEO-200: World Geography
This course examines the implications of global location and topography for the people of planet Earth. Students will explore how geography shapes the dynamics of human societies, with an emphasis on the geoenvironmental, geopolitical, and geosocial phenomena that help to define the modern world. Global marker.
MAT-240: Applied Statistics
This is a fundamental course in the application of statistics. In this course, students will learn to apply statistical techniques to a variety of applications in business and the social sciences. Students will learn how to solve statistical problems by hand and through the use of computer software. Topics include probability distribution functions, sampling distributions, estimation, hypothesis testing and linear regression.
POL-210: American Politics
This course offers a broad introduction to the structure and function of the American political system at the national level, including the roles played by the president, Congress, the courts, the bureaucracy, political parties, interest groups and the mass media in the policy- making and electoral processes. This course places special emphasis on how the efforts of the framers of the Constitution to solve what they saw as the political problems of their day continue to shape American national politics in ours.
POL-211: International Relations
This course offers a broad introduction to the study and practice of international relations, including the roles played by states and nations, non-state actors, national interests, power, morality and international law. This course places special emphasis on realism and idealism as alternative approaches to the study and practice of international relations and on their implications for ongoing efforts to construct a peaceful and prosperous global political system in the aftermath of the Cold War. Global marker.
POL-306: The American Legal Tradition
This course offers a broad introduction to the American legal tradition, including the structure and function of the courts, the legal profession, legal education, and the politics of judicial selection. As an introduction to what it means to "think like a lawyer" in the United States, students learn how to write parts of a predictive legal memorandum of the type that first-year law students learn how to write, in which they analyze a legal issue of concern to hypothetical clients by applying the reasoning and conclusions in selected judicial opinions to the facts of the clients' case.
Prerequisites:
GOV-110 or POL-210
POL-314: Political Theory
This course explores the diversity of conceptions of the individual, the state, and "the good life" that animate contemporary societies and their critics, with an emphasis on the contributions of Western political theorists of both ancient and modern times to contemporary currents of political thought. This course places special emphasis on the social and cultural contexts in which these theorists lived and worked as factors that helped to shape their political ideas. The theorists covered may vary from semester to semester. Writing intensive course.
Prerequisites:
ENG-121 or ENG-200 and POL-210
POL-326: World Legal Traditions
This course explores the history and contemporary significance of the world's major legal traditions, including the common law, civil law, and other municipal legal traditions, and the international law tradition. Students compare and contrast the essential features of these traditions, and explore how they shape what it means to "think like a lawyer" in the United States, in many foreign countries, and internationally.
Prerequisites:
POL-211 and POL-306
SCS-224: Social Science Research Methods
This course offers a broad introduction to research methods in the social sciences, including surveys, case studies, experiments, and quasi-experiments. Students learn to spot design flaws in research intended to generate scientifically sound conclusions about social phenomena, and to evaluate critically the interpretations of social science research results by third-party observers, such as reporters. Students also learn how to draft a research proposal that would satisfy the requirements of peer review within the community of professional social scientists.
Prerequisites:
MAT-240
SCS-444: Capstone Colloquium
This colloquium serves as the capstone course for students in the sociology, law and politics, and environmental management majors. Students learn from their instructor and from each other as they apply the knowledge and skills acquired in their other course work to a directed research project in the appropriate discipline or field. Prerequisite: Senior standing in the sociology, law and politics, or environmental management major.
Prerequisites:
Senior prereg status

Select 12 Credits of the Following:

POL-305: State and Local Government
This course explores the structure and function of state and local governments in the United States, with an emphasis on their roles as partners with the federal government in a system of cooperative federalism. Students spend much of the course playing and critiquing their own performance in Camelot, a role-playing simulation game in which they assume the roles of civic leaders, representatives of organized interests, and other interested parties in a hypothetical city to try to resolve controversial policy dilemmas like the ones with which local communities are confronted routinely in the United States. This course is not offered online.
Prerequisites:
GOV-110 or POL-210
POL-316: Legal Reasoning and the Constitution
This course explores the reasoning process by American courts in resolving constitutional disputes. It is modeled on a first-year law school course. The readings consist almost exclusively of abbreviated U.S. Supreme Court opinions in civil liberties and civil rights cases. Students learn how to write brief, formal summaries of these opinions of the type that first-year students in American law schools learn to write, and are expected to participate actively in the type of in-class Socratic dialogues that are the standard method of instruction in American law schools.
Prerequisites:
POL-306
POL-317: Campaigns and Elections
Campaigns and elections are central features of the American democratic process. This course will provide students with a deeper appreciation of how campaigns and elections set the rhythm of American political life and shape the functioning of our governmental system. Students will develop an in-depth understanding of the mechanics of political campaigns, with a special emphasis on electoral strategy, media relations, and voter mobilization. Students will use these concepts to analyze key elections during pivotal moments in our nation's political history. The course will also include considerable discussion of the role that our own New Hampshire Primary plays in the electoral process.
Prerequisites:
GOV-110 or POL-210
POL-319: US Environmental Law and Politics
How can businesses, governments, and public interest groups achieve environmental sustainability goals in legal and political contexts that were designed with other goals in mind? This interdisciplinary course explores the options in the United States, and provides a comprehensive point of comparison for topics explored in POL 329 and POL 349. Students spend about half of the course learning how to spot facts that give rise to compliance issues for businesses and other private parties under a full spectrum of federal environmental laws, and to identify opportunities for achieving broader sustainability goals within the constraints imposed by the law. In the other half, students learn both how to predict environmental law and policy outcomes and how to shape them adaptively in pursuit of sustainability goals in a fragmented system of governance that was designed to privilege special interests and to favor the status quo.
Prerequisites:
ENV-101 or SCI-219 and either POL-210 or at least junior standing
POL-324: Congress and the Legislative Process
This course explores the structure and function of the Congress of the United States, with an emphasis on its role as a legislative body in a system of government characterized by the separation of powers and checks and balances. The topics covered include the congressional leadership structure, the committee system, major rules and procedures, legislative-executive relations, congressional elections, and representation, and may vary from semester to semester.
Prerequisites:
POL-210
POL-329: Int'l Environmental Law and Negotiation
How can we resolve environmental disagreements without picking winners and losers or merely agreeing to disagree? This interdisciplinary course explores the most effective strategy for doing so in negotiating environmental agreements of all kinds, using the multi-country agreements that are at the center of international environmental law as illustrative examples. Students spend most of the course building "win-win negotiation" skills in a series of increasingly complex computer-assisted and other role-playing simulation games, including an unregulated international common pool resource negotiation, an International Whaling Commission negotiation, and a global climate change negotiation using C-ROADS, an award-winning computer simulation used by governments, corporations, and nongovernmental organizations worldwide to model the long-term climate impacts of alternative greenhouse gas emission policy scenarios.
Prerequisites:
ENV-101 or SCI-219 and either POL-211 or at least junior standing
POL-336: Advocacy and the Law
This course aims to dispel some of the myths about lawyers as advocates that are perpetuated by popular culture and the mass media in the United States. Students spend much of the course exploring case studies that illustrate the ethical dilemmas faced by lawyers as advocates in the American legal system, the ethical rules that govern their behavior as a condition of their license to practice law, and the fates that befall them when they fail to fulfill their ethical obligations. In addition, students learn how to write parts of an appellate legal brief of the type that first-year law students in American law schools learn how to write, and how to make an appellate oral argument on behalf of hypothetical clients in a moot court setting.
Prerequisites:
POL-306
POL-349: Comparative Environmental Law and Sustainable Development
How effective is environmental law as a strategy for achieving sustainable development? How does its diversity across countries and cultures constrain the ability of businesses, governments, and civil society organizations to achieve environmental sustainability goals in an increasingly globalized world? This interdisciplinary course examines the many legal, political, cultural, and other factors that shape the answer to these questions, using China, India, Russia, the European Union, and the United States as illustrative examples. Students explore the implications of these factors not only for businesses, governments, and civil society organizations pursuing sustainability goals within their own countries, but also for their counterparts in other countries to whom the former are linked through bilateral trade relationships and global supply chains.
Prerequisites:
ENV-101 or SCI-219 and either POL-210 or at least junior standing
POL-362: The American Presidency
This course highlights central themes in the historical development, organization, and functioning of the American presidency. From the origins of our Constitution through two centuries of institutional development and up to the present day, this course will provide students with an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of presidential behavior. Special emphasis will be placed on the growth of presidential power in both foreign and domestic policy and on the central role that presidential elections play in our national politics. Students will learn to view the American presidency as a complex institution, one that requires the president to simultaneously play multiple political roles, including commander-in-chief, legislator, communicator, civic leader and candidate.
Prerequisites:
POL-210
POL-410A: Semester in Washington, D.C.: Politics Field Experience
This course is the vehicle through which students receive POL course credit for participation in all but the seminar component of SNHU's Semester in Washington, D.C., in the field of politics. The program promotes experiential learning through civic engagement and other activities. The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, which hosts the program, provides students with housing and places them in internships appropriate to their interests. Space in the program is limited, so students must notify the SNHU law and politics program coordinator of their intention to enroll a year in advance of SNHU course registration for the relevant semester. For more information about the program, see the Washington Center's web site (www.twc.edu) and the SNHU law and politics program coordinator. This course is taken concurrently with POL 410B.
Prerequisites:
POL-210 or POL-211, at least junior standing and permission of the department chair or program coordinator
POL-410B: Seminar in Washington, D.C.: Politics Seminar
This course is the vehicle through which students receive POL course credit for the seminar component of SNHU's Semester in Washington, D.C., in the field of politics. The Seminar in Washington is hosted by the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars. Space in the program is limited, so students must notify the department chair or program coordinator of their intention to enroll a year in advance of SNHU course registration for the relevant semester. For more information, see the Washington Center's web site (www.twc.edu) and the SNHU law and politics program coordinator. This course is taken concurrently with POL-410A.
Prerequisites:
POL-210 or POL-211, at least junior standing, and permission of the department chair or program coordinator.
POL-413A: Semester in Washington, D.C.: Pre-Law Field Experience
This course is the vehicle through which students receive POL course credit for participation in all but the seminar component of SNHU's Semester in Washington, D.C., in the field of pre-law. The program promotes experiential learning through civic engagement and other activities. The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, which hosts the program, provides students with housing and places them in internships appropriate to their interests. Space in the program is limited, so students must notify the SNHU law and politics program coordinator of their intention to enroll a year in advance of SNHU course registration for the relevant semester. For more information about the program, see the Washington Center's web site (www.twc.edu) and the SNHU law and politics program coordinator. This course is taken concurrently with POL 413B.
Prerequisites:
POL-306, at least junior standing, and permission of the department chair or program coordinator.
POL-413B: Semester in Washington, D.C.: Pre-Law Seminar
This course is the vehicle through which students receive POL course credit for the seminar component of SNHU's Semester in Washington, D.C. in the field of pre-law. The Semester in Washington is hosted by the Washington Center for internships and Academic Seminars. Space in the program is limited, so students must notify the department chair or program coordinator of their intention to enroll a year in advance of SNHU course registration for the relevant semester. For more information, see The Washington Center's web site (www.twc.edu) and the SNHU law and politics program coordinator. This course is taken concurrently with POL0413A.
Prerequisites:
POL-306, at least junior standing, and permission of the department chair or program coordinator.

GEO-200 and MAT-240 are taken as part of the General Education Program. Students who spend a semester in Washington, D.C., count nine of the fifteen credits awarded for either POL-410A and POL-410B or POL-413A and POL 413-B combined toward the requirements of the major, and the rest as free electives. 

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