Course Syllabus for "POLSC302: Contemporary Political Thought"
Please note: this legacy course does not offer a certificate and may contain broken links and outdated information. Although archived, it is open for learning without registration or enrollment. Please consider contributing updates to this course on GitHub (you can also adopt, adapt, and distribute this course under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license). To find fully-supported, current courses, visit our Learn site.
The purpose of this course is to provide you with an overview of the major political theorists and their work from the 18th century to the present. Common themes seen in contemporary political thought include governance, property ownership and redistribution, free enterprise, individual liberty, justice, and responsibility for the common welfare. You will read the works of theorists advocating capitalism, socialism, communism, egalitarianism, utilitarianism, social contract theory, liberalism, conservatism, neo-liberalism, neo-conservatism, libertarianism, fascism, anarchy, rational choice theory, and multiculturalism. By studying the evolving constructs of political theory in the past two centuries, you will gain insight into different approaches that leaders use to solve complex problems of governance and maintenance of social order.
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Summarize the primary principles of capitalism, socialism, communism, egalitarianism, utilitarianism, social contract theory, liberalism, conservatism, neo-liberalism, neo-conservatism, libertarianism, fascism, anarchy, rational choice theory, and multiculturalism.
- Identify major the political theorists from the 188h century to the present.
- Discuss major political movements in their respective historical contexts.
- Assess the impact that various political movements have had on law, economics, international relations, and society.
- Analyze various primary sources of political theory and understand how these theories can be applied to solve problems in society.
- Understand the challenges that modern leaders face in framing political debate and public policy.
In order to take this course, you must:
√ Have access to a computer.
√ Have continuous broadband Internet access.
√ Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).
√ Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.
√ Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).
√ Have competency in the English language.
√ Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.
√ Have completed POLSC301 in addition to all courses listed in the Core Program of the Political Science discipline.
Welcome to POLSC302. Below, please find some general information on the course and its requirements.
Course Designers: Sharon Jumper and Professor Angela Bowie
Primary Resources: POLSC302 is comprised of a range of different free, online materials. However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:
- The Library of Economics and Liberty
- The Constitution Society
- Yale Course Channel: Yale University (YouTube)
Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all its assigned materials. In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.
Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of 96 hoursto complete. Each unit includes a time advisory that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit. These should help you plan your time accordingly. It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself. For example, Unit 1 should take you 9 hours. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunit 1.1 (4 hours) on Monday night, subunit 1.2 (2.5 hours) on Tuesday night, and so forth.
Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.