Economics and Political Science

Studying economics and political science at St. Catherine University stimulates thinking about the United States' economy, government and politics, and also its relationship to the other countries of the world, the global economy, and the international community.

The economics and political science department emphasizes the development of analytical abilities and a global perspective. Students will look at issues through a social justice lens: learning about current problems and controversies, all the while thinking about potential solutions to persistent problems. In doing so, they take their first steps to becoming leaders in their fields.

St. Catherine University's economics and political science faculty areas of expertise include economic development, comparative politics, social movements, urban politics, labor economics, program evaluation, environmental economics, monetary economics, discrimination, and health economics. The majority of our professors are women — excellent role models as students develop their career plans.

Department Mission Statement

The department of economics and political science at St. Catherine University mission is threefold: to excel in teaching, advising, and research in economics and political science. In all three, we strive to model the commitment to social justice and ethical leadership that we hope to instill in our students.

We teach courses that focus on the theory, methods, and practice of economics. Our political science courses address the most pressing political issues confronting the world today. Our curriculum helps students hone their quantitative skills and their ability to think critically and proactively about the world around them. Our majors are rigorous programs of study that provide a solid foundation for a wide range of careers in business, finance, healthcare, government, NGOs and advocacy, and public policy. Students who major in economics and political science leave St. Catherine University career-ready and well prepared for graduate school.

Our faculty members produce original research which applies the theories and methods of economics and political science to a diverse set of problems and settings. Their research informs their teaching and students benefit from working closely with faculty who are engaged leaders in their field.

 

ECON 1080 Statistical Analysis for the Social Sciences — 4 credits

This course provides an introduction to entry level statistical reasoning. Focus is placed on logical underpinnings of statistics to help students understand and evaluate research in popular and academic sources, with less focus on the use of software and mathematical formulas. This course fulfills the liberal arts core math and logic requirement and is appropriate for students who require a statistics course for their program, but do not intend to go further in statistics or economics. There is no math prerequisite for this course, but students should have a solid understanding of basic mathematical concepts. This course does not meet the statistics requirement for all majors and minors. Consult the academic catalog. Offered in the College for Adults. Credit is given for only one of the following courses: ECON 1080, ECON 1090, HLTH 1090, PSYC 1090 or STAT 1090.

ECON 1090 Statistical Analysis for Decision Making — 4 credits

This course covers the basic theory and practice of using statistics to guide decision making. Topics include descriptive statistics, probability, sampling, hypothesis testing, and regression. Focus is on real world public policy and business examples. The course also develops students' Excel skills to prepare them to conduct statistical analysis in government, advocacy, business, and industry settings. This course fulfills the liberal arts core mathematics/statistics requirement and is appropriate for students majoring in business, economics, political science, sociology, or any major that requires statistics. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.
Prerequisites: High school higher algebra and appropriate level on mathematics/statistics placement assessment or ACT math score or a grade of C- or better in MATH 1010. Credit is given for only one of the following courses: ECON 1080, ECON 1090, HLTH 1090, PSYC 1090 or STAT 1090.

ECON 1120 Economics of Social Issues — 4 credits

This course involves the study of important relationships between economic growth, equity and public policies. It offers an economic perspective on current domestic and global social problems. Topics include crime, discrimination, inequality, the welfare system, social security, education, poverty, unemployment, health care, international trade and globalization. Also offered as WOST 1121, CRST 1120. Offered in the College for Women.

ECON 2610 Principles of Microeconomics — 4 credits

Economics is a social science that constructs and analyzes models of human behavior, particularly as it pertains to the consumption and production of goods and services in a world of scarce resources. This course will focus on the foundational concepts in microeconomics, such as market structures, prices, consumer and firm behavior, spillovers, and trade. Students learn how to apply economic reasoning to business and public policy decisions making this course an excellent foundation for upper-level study in economics, business and policy. This course is required for all economics-related majors and for most business-related majors. It is also an excellent social science elective for students from any major. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.

ECON 2620 Principles of Macroeconomics — 4 credits

Economics is the only field in which two people can share a Nobel Prize for saying opposing things. This course will teach students basic of macroeconomic vocabulary and theories and provide a foundation for understanding conflicting views on important policies. Students will learn about rising prices, interest rates, unemployment, the size of the economy, why recessions occur and what central banks do. This course is required for all economics-related majors and for many business and political science majors as well. It is also an excellent social science elective for students from any major. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.
Recommended: ECON 2610.

ECON 2900 Topics in Healthcare Economics — 4 credits

This course provides a broad overview of the institutions that provide healthcare and examines some of the economic factors that affect the provision of healthcare in the United States. Government policies toward the healthcare sector and government interventions in the sector are examined and compared to alternative models around the globe. Designed for non-economists who plan to work in the healthcare field or who wish to study the economics of healthcare. A good elective course for social sciences and/or nursing majors. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.

ECON 2994 Topics — 4 credits

The subject matter of the course is announced in the annual schedule of classes. Content varies from year to year but does not duplicate existing courses.

ECON 3050 Quantitative Impact Evaluation: Applied Research Skills — 4 credits

Stakeholders need to know whether projects, policies or programs are producing the intended effect. Quantitative program evaluation is the collection, analysis and use of data to assess effectiveness and efficiency. In this course students will design, execute and present data-based analyses. We will use statistics to isolate causal impacts using both experimental and quasi-experimental methods. We will study projects, policies and programs in the United States and abroad and draw examples from many disciplines including education, public health, economics, business, sociology and political science. The quantitative skills developed in this course are highly sought after by employers in both non-profit and for-profit settings. This course is open to students from any major and is good preparation for upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses that have research components. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.
Prerequisite: One of the following - ECON 1080, ECON 1090, PSYC 1090, STAT 1090. Also offered as WOST 3051.

ECON 3350 Financial Markets and Institutions — 4 credits

This course covers the nature, evolution and functions of money; the role of depository institutions; the structure of financial markets; the principles of central banking; monetary theory; and the instruments of monetary policy. Required for financial economics majors and an excellent elective for other social science and business majors. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.
Prerequisite: ECON 2620.

ECON 3450 Development Economics: Examining Poverty and Inequality — 4 credits

This course explores the role of poverty and inequality in the process of economic development and growth. Students will examine the impact of social, political, and economic factors on poverty and how these factors relate to economic growth in developing countries. Topics include international financing of economic development, human and natural resources and their role in the development of economies, monetary policy and international aid. The emphasis of this course is on the role of women in national development and how this can impact the overall economy and economic stability of a developing country. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.
Prerequisite: ECON 1120 or ECON 2610 or ECON 2620. Also offered as CRST 3451 and WOST 3452.

ECON 3460W Global Financial Issues — 4 credits

This course covers institutional and theoretical issues in international finance; foreign exchange markets, currency futures and options markets, balance of payments and international economic linkages. It also examines foreign exchange risk management, multinational finances and foreign investment analyses. Required for financial economics majors and an excellent elective for other social science and business majors. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.
Prerequisites: ECON 1090, ECON 2610, ECON 2620.

ECON 3480W International Economics: Trade and Immigration — 4 credits

This course provides an in depth exploration of the economics of international trade and immigration. The first half of the course covers the foundations of trade theory and also examines international trade agreements, tariff and non-tariff trade barriers, and U.S. trade policy as well trade policy of other nations. The second half of the course studies international factor movements primarily focusing on economic and political forces that shape the flows of people across borders. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.
Prerequisites: ECON 2610, ECON 2620.

ECON 3610 Microeconomic Theory — 4 credits

Microeconomics is the study of how households and firms make choices. We will examine choices related to consumer behavior (as prices and income change how do buying habits adjust?), producer behavior (as technologies change how do production decisions adjust?), worker behavior (if wages go up do people work more or less?) and choices made under uncertainty (how do households and firms deal with risk?). We will use calculus-based models of constrained choice to examine the tradeoffs faced when making these and other economic decisions. We will also use basic game theory to explore competitive strategies and develop a model of general equilibrium and economic efficiency. Required for economics majors and an excellent upper level elective for other social science and also math majors. Offered in the College for Women.
Prerequisites: MATH 1130, ECON 2610 (will allow high school calculus and/or high school economics to meet these prerequisites).

ECON 3620 Macroeconomic Theory — 4 credits

Should we cut taxes or increase government spending to solve recessions? Should we invest in education or infrastructure to promote growth? This course is a treatment of such macroeconomic questions, answering them with theories and data. Topics include growth, money, interest, income, government expenditures, inflation, and unemployment. We will use calculus-based models of constrained choice to examine the tradeoffs faced when making economic policy decisions. Students will assess the factors contributing to different countries’ growth using real-world data. The course focuses on fiscal and monetary policy options for achieving economic goals. Offered in the College for Women.
Prerequisite: ECON 2620.

ECON 3650 Investment Theories — 4 credits

This course is an introduction to the world of investment decision making and portfolio management. It also covers the general environment for the investment process; different portfolio and asset allocation approaches; and security valuation. Required for financial economics majors and an excellent elective for other social science and business majors. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.
Prerequisite: ECON 2620.

ECON 4150 Econometrics — 4 credits

This course covers basic econometric methods, sampling distribution, test of hypotheses, estimation, simple and multiple regression, restricted estimation, generalized linear regression, simultaneous equations systems, and application of economic theory in research using computers.
Prerequisites: ECON 1090, ECON 2610, ECON 2620.

ECON 4602 Internship — 2 credits

Structured out-of-class learning experience that takes place on or off campus and includes a substantial work component. An internship involves students in a particular profession in an exploratory way to test career interests and potential. To initiate an internship experience, meet with the internship coordinator in the Career Development Office.
Prerequisites: Faculty sponsorship and approval by department chair.

ECON 4604 Internship — 4 credits

Structured out-of-class learning experience that takes place on or off campus and includes a substantial work component. An internship involves students in a particular profession in an exploratory way to test career interests and potential. To initiate an internship experience, meet with the internship coordinator in the Career Development Office.
Prerequisites: Faculty sponsorship and approval by department chair.

ECON 4684 Directed Study — 4 credits

Directed study is provided for students whose unusual circumstances prohibit taking a regularly scheduled course but who need the material of that course to satisfy a requirement. Availability of this faculty-directed learning experience depends on faculty time and may be limited in any given term and restricted to certain courses.
Prerequisites: Faculty, department chair and dean approval.

ECON 4850 Seminar in International Business and Financial Economics — 4 credits

This is a seminar offered to seniors who have already finished coursework in introductory and intermediate economics and business including courses in economics, international trade, global financial management, accounting, marketing and management. This capstone course will help students integrate learning from previous courses in the program, and develop a broad perspective on the discipline of financial economics and international business and economics. The seminar involves directed readings, case study applications and discussions on economic aspects of the international system. This course relies heavily on participation by guest lecturers in business, finance and economics. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.
Prerequisites: ECON 3450, ECON 3460W, ECON 3480W.

ECON 4914 Research — 4 credits

A senior thesis written under the direction of a member of the faculty: literature search, data collection, statistical analysis, writing of text.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

ECON 4952 Independent Study — 2 credits

Independent study offers students the opportunity for specialized research not covered in a course offering, by the action project or thesis. Students work with a faculty advisor to develop a learning contract, which specifies the content and objectives of the study as well as the requirements and procedures for evaluation. The amount of credit earned for the study also is included in the learning contract.
Prerequisites: Permission of the faculty and department chair or program director.

ECON 4954 Independent Study — 4 credits

Independent study offers students the opportunity for specialized research not covered in a course offering, by the action project or thesis. Students work with a faculty advisor to develop a learning contract, which specifies the content and objectives of the study as well as the requirements and procedures for evaluation. The amount of credit earned for the study also is included in the learning contract.
Prerequisites: Permission of the faculty and department chair or program director.

ECON 4994 Topics — 4 credits

The subject matter of the course is announced in the annual schedule of classes. Content varies from year to year but does not duplicate existing courses.

POSC 1710W Introduction to Political Science — 4 credits

This class starts by examining big questions in political science. What is justice? Where does the authority to govern come from? In the first half of this class, we will discuss various answers to these questions and how they relate to different political ideologies. While some of the readings we will do in this class were written hundreds of years ago, they still reverberate through today’s debates on many political issues. Students explore this connection in short writing assignments that examine current policy debates and political philosophy. The second half of this course begins with students learning how to write a policy memo, an important writing style that is commonly used when working in politics, advocacy, or the nonprofit world. Students will write a policy memo on a topic of their choice. We discuss the institutions of U.S. government and explore their strengths and weaknesses. This includes exploring the branches of government, political parties, social movements, the roles of voters and constituents, and who decides to run for office. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 2010 American Government and Politics — 4 credits

This course is an overview of governmental structures and political processes in the United States. It covers development of the federal system; nature of executive, legislative and judicial branches; mechanisms for popular participation; and contemporary policy issues. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 2020 State, Local and Urban Government — 4 credits

This course covers development, structure, and functions of state and local governments in the U.S. federal system, with special attention to Minnesota. It also involves intergovernmental relations, tensions, and policy issues in such areas as education, criminal justice, health, welfare, and finance. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 2200W Introduction to Comparative Politics — 4 credits

This course offers an examination of basic concepts of comparative politics such as political power, types of political systems and political development. It involves analysis of similarities and differences in the components of political systems: political culture, civil society, participation, leadership, interest groups, political parties, legislatures, executives, judiciaries, and bureaucracy. Case studies of several major political systems, which may include Great Britain, France, Russia, Japan, China, India and Kenya, will be included. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 2250 Introduction to World Politics — 4 credits

This course is an introduction to the fundamental concepts and salient issues of international politics: bases and instruments of national power; diplomacy, weapons and war; Cold War and post-Cold War rivalries; European integration; the balance of power, the U.N., the North-South conflict; and the politics of global economic relations and environmental security. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 2700 Mock Trial — 2 credits

Mock Trial is a simulated trial court experience. Students prepare and try a case playing roles of an attorney, a witness or both at invitational and sponsored tournaments as part of the American Mock Trial Association at the local, regional and national levels. The course explores the nature and process of the American legal system and legal procedure.

POSC 2994 Topics — 4 credits

The subject matter of the course is announced in the annual schedule of classes. Content varies from year to year but does not duplicate existing courses.

POSC 3010 U.S. Political Parties, Campaigns and Elections — 4 credits

Historical development, organization and role of political parties in the United States are discussed in this course, which also involves the nature of contemporary campaigns and elections, with attention to issues such as candidate selection, role of the media and campaign finances. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3030 European Politics — 4 credits

This is a comparative study of the structure and process of European political systems, current issues of public policy, and regional cooperation. The course concentrates on the industrial democracies of the European Union, but also offers a glimpse into the politics of Central and East European countries. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3070 Public Policy — 4 credits

This course introduces students to the theory and tools of public policy analysis. We begin by asking "Why do we need government?" If people acting in their own self-interest promote the common good, we shouldn’t need government involvement. This course explores when and why markets fail to provide the optimal outcome – requiring outside intervention. Following this, we discuss how to design policies and navigate the political process. The course ends by examining how to determine a policy’s effect and how to value this impact. This course is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on ideas and evidence from political science, economics, and sociology. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3150 Women and Globalization — 4 credits

This course aims to provide students with an understanding of how processes of globalization are gendered, and the politics of gender in a globalizing world. We will explore how contemporary globalization shapes national belonging, citizenship, consumption, labor, violence, and survival. Students will contrast dominant conceptions of globalization (and their critiques) with cases of globalization in practice, with particular emphasis on existing inequalities despite increased opportunities. We will explore structures of global governance and neoliberal policies, the roles of institutional agents, and responses of local actors, all through the lens of gender to understand how women are affected by global economic and political processes. The class will look critically at the changing conditions for women in the contemporary context, and will explore political responses – such as gender mainstreaming - to persistent challenges. We will investigate the relationship between women’s movement(s) and other social movements, and examine the tensions between global issues and local responses. The course concludes with thoughts on the evolving strategies of social movements, and the importance of recognizing women’s diversity and intersectionality in the face of globalized injustices. Also offered as WOST 3150. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3200 United States Foreign Policy — 4 credits

This is an examination of the basic concepts used in analysis of foreign policy and of the main issues and problems of U.S. foreign policy as it has unfolded since World War II. Issues include origins of the Cold War, containment in Europe and Asia, nuclear weapons and the arms race, Cuban Missile Crisis, U.S. policy in the developing world, Vietnam, detente and its death, U.S. interests in the Middle East, the post-Cold War world order. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3270 Women in Politics — 4 credits

This class explores the field of women in politics, focusing on topics such as political participation, representation, political parties, social movements, and organizations. Framing the course are the following central questions: why and how do women organize to influence policy making and implementation, and social and economic change? How do different groups’ approaches differ? What are the consequences of mobilization?It also looks at topics such as gendered work and sexual division of labor, sex inequality and segregation in the workplace, the struggle for familial and reproductive rights, women's place in the family, health, education and violence against women. Also offered as WOST 3270. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3300 Haves and Have-Nots — 4 credits

Students will study the causes of international inequality in the distribution of wealth to examine why some countries are rich and others are poor. Discussions critically examine contending theories of development and underdevelopment (modernization theory, dependency and world systems theories, cultural explanations and state-centric theories). Also offered as CRST 3300. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3350 Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict — 4 credits

Students will study theories of nationalism and the aspirations of nationalist actors in both domestic and international contexts. Particular attention is given to problems of citizenship and state formation; ethnicity and nationalism; democratic institutional design and political representation; and ethnic conflict. Case studies are drawn from the industrial democracies and the developing world. Also offered as CRST 3350. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3400 International Political Economy — 4 credits

Students will study the structure and uses of power and the interrelationship between economics and politics. Students examine international economic relations in terms of their impacts on international political conflict, world order and the connection to domestic political concerns. The course focuses on trade and monetary and investment relations among industrialized states and between industrialized and developing countries. Liberal, Neo-Marxian and Mercantilist frameworks for analyzing these questions are employed throughout the course. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3500 Model UN — 4 credits

This course provides an introduction to the structure and functions of the United Nations and its agencies. It focuses on international issues such as human rights, sustainable development, environmental protection, security, conflict and cooperation. The course prepares students for participation as delegates to the annual National Model United Nations Conference in New York, where they represent an assigned country in the simulation. The conference participation helps students gain knowledge in diplomacy, negotiation, conflict resolution and the procedures of the United Nations.

POSC 3700 History of Feminism in Western Society — 4 credits

This course traces the development of feminist thought and activism in Western society from the ancient Greeks to the late 20th century in the United States. The course explores the social, political, legal and cultural status of women in Western society across time. Special emphasis is placed on the roots of modern feminism as it developed in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries in Western Europe and in the United States. Also offered as HIST 3700 and WOST 3700. Not open to first-year students.

POSC 3730 Western Political Thought: Modern — 4 credits

This course examines and evaluates the revolutionary challenge to classical and medieval political philosophy posed by such writers as Niccolo Machiavelli in The Prince and Discourses, Thomas Hobbes in The Leviathan, John Locke in his Second Treatise on Government, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau in The Social Contract and Discourses. In order to understand and evaluate the philosophical views that have shaped our own governmental structure, and our ideas about modern democracies, this class stresses the careful reading of these texts.
Recommended: POSC 1710W.

POSC 3750 American Political Thought — 4 credits

This course is an overview of American political thought from the 1600s to the present. Recurrent problems and themes and their relationship to contemporary issues in American politics are discussed. Readings include U.S. thinkers like Paine, Madison, Hamilton, Thoreau, Calhoun, Sumner, DuBois, and Dewey, Stanton, as well as Latin American thinkers including Martí, Inéz de la Cruz, Flores Magón, Bolívar, Sarmiento, Guevara, Mora, in the form of political documents, novels, plays, etc. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 4602 Internship — 2 credits

This is a structured out-of-class learning experience that takes place on or off campus and includes a substantial work component. An internship involves students in a particular profession in an exploratory way to test career interests and potential. To initiate an internship experience, meet with the internship coordinator in the Career Development Office.
Prerequisites: Faculty sponsorship and approval by department chair.

POSC 4604 Internship — 4 credits

This is a structured out-of-class learning experience that takes place on or off campus and includes a substantial work component. An internship involves students in a particular profession in an exploratory way to test career interests and potential. To initiate an internship experience, meet with the internship coordinator in the Career Development Office.
Prerequisites: Faculty sponsorship and approval by department chair.

POSC 4684 Directed Study — 4 credits

Directed study is provided for students whose unusual circumstances prohibit taking a regularly scheduled course but who need the material of that course to satisfy a requirement. Availability of this faculty-directed learning experience depends on faculty time and may be limited in any given term and restricted to certain courses.
Prerequisites: Faculty, department chair and dean approval.

POSC 4954 Independent Study — 4 credits

Advanced students research a topic of interest to them under supervision of a faculty member. Students also may take seminars offered in Washington, D.C., by the Washington Center.
Prerequisites: Instructor and department chair approval.

POSC 4994 Topics — 4 credits

The subject matter of the course is announced in the annual schedule of classes. Content varies from year to year.