Houston Baptist University Catalog

Government (GOVT) Course Descriptions

GOVT 2313 American and Texas Government
A survey of the structure and operation of the national and Texas governments. This course is required for certification to teach in the public schools of Texas.

GOVT 2334, Campaigns and Elections
An analysis of the American electoral system and political campaigns. This course focuses on political parties, campaign strategy, the electoral process, public opinion, and voter turnout.

GOVT 2343 Public Policy
This course will examine policy issues at the national level including crime, welfare, healthcare, the environment, taxation, immigration, defense, and education. The course will not only emphasize policy content, but also will focus upon the policy process, the influence of various political personalities on shaping public policy, and policy evaluation.

GOVT 2350, Introduction to Criminal Justice
This course is designed to provide an introduction into criminal justice. It will improve one's basic understanding of crime and the criminal justice systems and familiarize one with the key concepts and terminology utilized in the field by discussing the role of the core elements: police, courts, and corrections. It will force students to examine individual rights protected by the constitution and balance them against a community's need for public safety and public order. It highlights the complexities of the criminal justice discipline and encourages students to think critically and employ ethical reasoning by presenting real-life examples faced by criminal justice practitioners and asking the student to balance values, criminal procedures, and the law when coming up with solutions. (This course is usable under the Public Law Option of the Degree Plan.)

GOVT 2360, Understanding Politics
This course explores the purpose and function of government from both theoretical and applied perspectives. Students will read various foundational theories of government, understand different ways in which governments can be designed and implemented, and examine the working governments of countries other than the United States.

GOVT 3340, Legal Aspects of Criminal Justice
This course is designed to provide an in-depth look into the aspects of law which are relevant to and essential for a better understanding of the criminal justice system and its related processes. Laws that govern policing are primarily based upon the United States Constitution, United States Supreme Court decisions, and statutes passed by the United States Congress and state legislatures. This course focuses on these sources but will present the material in a format and in language designed to meet the needs and interests of non-lawyers while preserving the meaning and content of the law as interpreted by the courts. This class will force students to examine individual rights protected by the constitution and balance them against a community's need for public safety and public order. It highlights the complexities of the criminal justice discipline and encourages students to think critically and employ ethical reasoning by presenting real-life examples faced by criminal justice practitioners and asking the student to balance values, criminal procedures, and the law when coming up with solutions. (This course is usable under the Public Law Option of the degree plan.)

GOVT 3341, Ethics, Crime, and Criminal Justice
This course is designed to provide a comprehensive study of ethics, crime, and criminal justice by exploring different themes and issues, including concepts such as good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, duty, obligation, virtue, freedom, rationality, and free will. The themes that ethics explores underlie many circumstances we routinely confront as individuals, groups, organizations, communities, and cultures. Ultimately, if the criminal justice aim of ethics is realized, the student will be equipped to adopt more informed beliefs, to make better decisions, to undertake healthier actions, to be a better citizen, and consequently, to live a more rewarding and fulfilling life in the United States or any country on earth. The study into criminal justice ethics concludes by discussing why faith matters and how it could matter more.

GOVT 3342, Foundations of Criminal Law
The course will focus on introducing students to the substantive criminal law and the criminal justice system. The course will include a treatment of the origin of laws, the penal code, the definition of law and crime, general principles of criminal responsibility, elements of major crimes, punishments, conditions or circumstances which may excuse one from criminal responsibility or mitigate punishment, and introduce students to the court system. Although the course will familiarize students with federal criminal law, the main emphasis will be on the penal laws of Texas (Texas Penal Code).

GOVT 3344, The American Court System
Survey of state and federal court systems, the U.S. Supreme Court, introduction to civil and criminal law, the role of lawyers, judges, and juries in the American court system. This course is basic to pre-law.

GOVT 3345, Ancient and Medieval Political Thought
An examination of classic dilemmas and recurrent problems in political theory and how they are dealt with by ancient Greek, Roman, and feudal thinkers. This course will focus on the original writings of philosophers who have made a substantial contribution to political theory, from Plato to Machiavelli.

GOVT 3348, American Political Thought
This course covers American political thought from the colonial experience, the Revolution, the drafting of the Constitution, the Civil War, the Civil Rights movement, to the present - an analysis of ideas that shaped the American political system.

GOVT 3353, Contemporary Political Thought
A study of the major political doctrines of the present day, with primary emphasis upon Marxism, Fascism, and the doctrines of the modern democratic state.

GOVT 3374, The United States Congress
An analysis of the institutional behavior, procedures, and organization of Congress. Special attention paid to the roles of representatives, senators, lobbyists, and the legislative process.

GOVT 3384, The Presidency
Analysis of the nation's chief executive, including the origins of the office, electoral process, powers and duties of the office, organization and staffing of the White House, and influence on national and world politics.

GOVT 3390, Law and Justice: Great Trials of the Western Legal Tradition
An analysis of the great trials that shaped the Western legal tradition, from ancient Athens to contemporary America. This course focuses on the formation and justification of three principles of justice (reason, autonomy, and consent) which define the natural law jurisprudence underlying the legal and governmental institutions of England and the United States. This course also examines the horrific consequences of abandoning these principles of justice in three 20th century legal systems: the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and the United States. (This course is usable under the Public Law Option of the degree plan.)

GOVT 3394, Law and Religion in the United States
This course provides the historical background for the development of the separation of church and state and the subsequent development of secularism. Law and religion is designed to teach students to think in sophisticated ways about religious liberty and the interaction of religion and politics.

GOVT 4310, Jurisprudence, Law, and Legal Theory
This course presents an introduction to jurisprudence. It surveys (1) the rudiments of the common law system, (2) the existence conditions (essential elements) of law, and (3) what determines the legal validity (enforceability) of law. These issues necessarily involve a number of fundamental philosophical issues, including: 1) the appropriate relationship between law and morality, 2) the appropriate relationship of the individual to the state, and the appropriate limits and boundaries of governmental coercion, 3) the nature of justice, and the principles of reason, autonomy, and consent, 4) the relationship between individual liberty and the protection of property, freedom of expression, and freedom of religious belief and practice., 5) the appropriate limits and boundaries of judicial discretion, and 6) constitutional interpretation. The course also addresses important substantive issues of tort law, property law, contract law, and constitutional law. The course concludes by examining the recent emergence of the economic approach to law, a judicial philosophy that evaluates the morality of law by its ability to generate profits. (This course will be included in the Political Theory Option of the degree plan.)

GOVT 4313, Constitutional Law
A study of judicial review, the political role of the courts, American federalism, the jurisdiction of and the limitations on the judicial branch, the power of taxation, the commerce power, the substantive and procedural rights of the individual, and the powers of the President.

GOVT 4333, United States Foreign Policy
A survey of the foundation of foreign policy and the major diplomatic developments from the founding period to the present. Emphasis will be placed on the means and methods by which United States foreign policy is formulated and executed.

GOVT 4343, Intelligence and National Security
An analysis of the role played by the American intelligence community (CIA, NSA, DIA, etc.) in the assessment and realization of U.S. national security interests, with special attention to methods, duties, and prerogatives of the various agencies that make up the intelligence community.

GOVT 4353, International Relations
A survey of contemporary international political conditions. Along with the analysis of the forces and pressures behind contemporary events, the principles, origin, and development of international law and international organizations will be given consideration.

GOVT 4363 , Political Economy of Latin America: Revolutions, Reform, and Resistance
This course explores the political dynamics involved in economic decision-making and action in contemporary Latin America. In examining the relationship between politics and economics in the region, the course will focus on issues of dependency and development, neo-liberalism, authoritarian rule and transition to democracy, and religious and social mobilization in revolution.

GOVT 4381, Individual Study/Special Topic
font color=red>Prerequisite(s): Permission of the instructor and dean of the college/school.
Directed study of a minimum of thirty clock hours for each hour of credit. Topics and projects are selected based on student interest and need. Open to Government majors only.

GOVT 4383, Internship in Political Science
Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor
Directed work experience in a variety of public and private organizations. The primary objective of this course is to provide students with opportunities to apply what they have learned in class in a career-oriented setting. Also provides students with the opportunity to attain applied research experience and develop analytic skills.

GOVT 4392, Independent Research Project
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
This course is designed to provide a mentoring experience for students interested in producing a research paper related to government/political science. The instructor will help students develop their research question and then will meet with them periodically throughout the semester to supervise the progress of their papers.