SOC 253

Political Science


Prof. J. Joseph Jordan


In this course, from a Catholic perspective, students will be introduced to the fundamental ideas, institutions and practical issues of politics.



Week 1: Introduction: The Study of Politics

Week 2: Ideologies and isms

Week 3: Utopias  

Week 4: Various Systems of Governance  

Week 5: Monarchies and Tyrannies or Rule by One  

Week 6: Representational Democracies Compared  

Week 7: Stages of Transition  

Week 8: Development  

Week 9: Citizenship  

Week 10: Political Leaders  

Week 11: Public Policy: Security, Freedom, Crime, and a Social Safety Net

Week 12: War and Terrorism  

Week 13: International Politics  

Week 14: Politicians and Sanctity  

Week 15 Final Exam


A research essay of at least 5 pages is to be submitted no later than the end of Week 11. This essay will explore a significant governmental or political issue of the student’s choice that the Church has identified as needing attention and improvement in this world and for the next.




Basis of evaluation with explanation regarding the nature of the assignment and the percentage of the grade assigned to each item below. Students who have difficulty with research and composition are encouraged to pursue assistance with the Online Writing Lab (available at


A 94-100; A- 90-93; B+ 87-89; B 84-86; B- 80-83; C+ 77-79; C 74-76; C- 70-73 D 60-69; F 59 and below

Grading Rubric for the Summary of Presentation CONTENT

1 (F)

2 (D)

3 (C)

4 (B)

5 (A)

Absence of Understanding

Shows no awareness of the concepts addressed in the topic by shifting off-topic


Demonstrates a misunderstanding of the basic concepts addressed in the topic through an inability to re-explain them

Adequate Understanding

Demonstrates an adequate understanding of the basic concepts addressed in the topic by a re-explanation of them

Solid understanding

Demonstrates an understanding of the basic concepts addressed in the topic and uses that understanding effectively in the examples it provides

Insightful understanding

Demonstrates an understanding of the basic concepts of the topic through the use of examples and by making connections to other concepts


1 (F)

2 (D)

3 (C)

4 (B)

5 (A)

Missing Research

Summary shows no evidence of research: citation of sources missing.

Inadequate research and/or documentation

Over-reliance on few sources; poor quality of chosen sources; spotty documentation of facts in text; pattern of citation errors.

Adequate research and documentation but needs improvement

Good choice of sources but could be improved with some additions or better selection; did not always cite sources; too many citation errors.

Solid research and documentation

A number of relevant scholarly sources revealing solid research; sources appropriately referenced in paper; only a few minor citation errors.

Excellent critical research and documentation

Critically selected and relevant scholarly sources demonstrating extensive, in-depth research; sources skillfully incorporated into paper at all necessary points; all citations follow standard bibliographic format.


1 (F)

2 (D)

3 (C)

4 (B)

5 (A)

Incomplete writing

Summary is only partially written or fails to address the topic

Writing difficult to understand, serious improvement needed

Summary touches only on the surface of the topic and proceeds to talk about something else; confusing organization or development; little elaboration of position; insufficient control of sentence structure and vocabulary; unacceptable number of errors in grammar, mechanics, and usage

Acceptable writing, but could use some sharpening of skill

Summary is an uneven response to parts of the topic; somewhat conventional treatment; satisfactory

organization, but more development needed; adequate syntax and diction, but could use more vigor; overall control of grammar, mechanics, and usage, but some errors

Solid writing with something interesting to say

Summary is an adequate response to the topic; some depth and complexity in treatment; persuasive organization and development, with suitable reasons and examples; level- appropriate syntax and diction; mastery of grammar, mechanics, and usage, with hardly any error

command-level writing, making a clear impression

Summary is a thorough response to the topic; thoughtful and insightful examination of issues; compelling organization and development ; superior syntax and diction; error-free grammar, mechanics, and usage


Holy Apostles College & Seminary is committed to the goal of achieving equal educational opportunities and full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities who qualify for admission to the College. Students enrolled in online courses who have documented disabilities requiring special accommodations should contact Bob Mish, the Director of Online Student Affairs, at or 860-632-3015. In all cases, reasonable accommodations will be made to ensure that all students with disabilities have access to course materials in a mode in which they can receive them. Students who have technological limitations (e.g., slow Internet connection speeds in convents) are asked to notify their instructors the first week of class for alternative means of delivery.


Students at Holy Apostles College & Seminary are expected to practice academic honesty.

Avoiding Plagiarism

In its broadest sense, plagiarism is using someone else's work or ideas, presented or claimed as your own.  At this stage in your academic career, you should be fully conscious of what it means to plagiarize. This is an inherently unethical activity because it entails the uncredited use of someone else's expression of ideas for another's personal advancement; that is, it entails the use of a person merely as a means to another person’s ends.

Students, where applicable:

  1. Should identify the title, author, page number/webpage address, and publication date of works when directly quoting small portions of texts, articles, interviews, or websites.
  2. Students should not copy more than two paragraphs from any source as a major component of papers or projects.
  3. Should appropriately identify the source of information when paraphrasing (restating) ideas from texts, interviews, articles, or websites.
  4. Should follow the Holy Apostles College & Seminary Stylesheet (available on the Online Writing Lab’s website at

Consequences of Academic Dishonesty:

Because of the nature of this class, academic dishonesty is taken very seriously. Students participating in academic dishonesty may be removed from the course and from the program.


Even though you are not required to be logged in at any precise time or day, you are expected to login several times during each week. Because this class is being taught entirely in a technology-mediated forum, it is important to actively participate each week in the course. In a traditional classroom setting for a 3-credit course, students would be required to be in class 3 hours a week and prepare for class discussions 4.5 hours a week. Expect to devote at least 7 quality hours a week to this course. A failure on the student’s part to actively participate in the life of the course may result in a reduction of the final grade.


An Incomplete is a temporary grade assigned at the discretion of the faculty member. It is typically allowed in situations in which the student has satisfactorily completed major components of the course and has the ability to finish the remaining work without re-enrolling, but has encountered extenuating circumstances, such as illness, that prevent his or her doing so prior to the last day of class.

To request an incomplete, students must first download a copy of the Incomplete Request Form. This document is located within the Shared folder of the Files tab in Populi. Secondly, students must fill in any necessary information directly within the PDF document. Lastly, students must send their form to their professor via email for approval. “Approval” should be understood as the professor responding

to the student’s email in favor of granting the “Incomplete” status of the student.

Students receiving an Incomplete must submit the missing course work by the end of the sixth week following the semester in which they were enrolled. An incomplete grade (I) automatically turns into the grade of “F” if the course work is not completed.

Students who have completed little or no work are ineligible for an incomplete. Students who feel they are in danger of failing the course due to an inability to complete course assignments should withdraw from the course.

A “W” (Withdrawal) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the first week of a semester to the end of the third week. A “WF” (Withdrawal/Fail) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the third week of a semester and on or before the Friday before the last week of the semester.


A proud Catholic, husband, father, and educator, Prof. Jordan resides on Long Island, NY. He is currently a candidate for a Ph.D. in politics at the Catholic University of America, where he holds an M.A., in addition to also holding an M.A. and a B.A. from St. John’s University. A onetime fellow at the Ronald H. Brown Foundation’s Center for Politics and Commercial Diplomacy, Prof. Jordan has performed economic and trade analysis at the United States Department of Commerce for the promotion of trade in Africa, and he has participated in inter-agency meetings including the National Security Council and the World Bank Group. In addition to having worked in local and federal government for more than eight years, Prof. Jordan has over ten years of teaching experience.