History & Political Science

The program in history and political science prepares students for professional work in the disciplines and supports the liberal arts mission of the College. Whether serving the major or a core curriculum requirement, courses are characterized by attention to careful reading of texts, analysis of important issues of interpretation and meaning, and effective writing. Most classes are moderate in size, which allows ample opportunity for discussion and the development of critical thinking. These habits of mind are essential for success in professional life and prepare students for an active and engaged life as a citizen of our region, the nation, and the world.

The history and political science majors prepare students for graduate study or for careers in teaching and public service. In recent years, the program has sent students to law school, graduate study in history and political science, political consulting, and careers in government and public service.

Learning Outcomes

History
Students who graduate with a major in history will be able to:

  1. Express historical literacy in a specified field;
  2. Interpret primary documents;
  3. Sort and weigh different historical interpretations;
  4. Ask significant historical questions;
  5. Demonstrate proficiency in the mechanics of historical research;
  6. Demonstrate competence and clarity in writing.
History and Political Science
Students who graduate with a major in history and political science will be able to:

  1. Analyze, interpret, and critically evaluate major political issues and/or historical events;
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with the major theories and thinkers in the field;
  3. Understand the intellectual importance of academic research;
  4. Frame research questions designed to produce independent and cogent analysis;
  5. Assess, use, and synthesize different kinds of evidence from a variety of academic sources;
  6. Understand the difference between opinions and substantiated scholarly claims;
  7. Effectively utilize and appropriately cite academic sources;
  8. Write papers essentially free of errors in grammar, mechanics, and spelling.

Major in History

A minimum of 33 semester hours is required, including:
Choose two of the following:
HST 103: History of Civilization I
HST 104: History of Civilization II
HST 232: The World Since 1945
HST 303: Reformation, Absolutism, and Enlightenment Europe, 1500-1789
HST 304: The Age of Revolution Europe, 1789-1914
HST 313: Europe Since 1914
HST 324: History of Russia to 1861
HST 325: History of Russia and the Soviet Union Since 1861
HST 370: Medieval History

Choose two of the following:
HST 211: American History I
HST 212: American History II
HST 260: Montana and the West
HST 309: The United States in World Affairs
HST 311: History of Western America
HST 356: Native Resistance and Survival
HST 363: Recent America
HST 365: American Environmental History

One 400-level history seminar course
One 400-level history or political science seminar course
Fifteen elective semester hours from history chosen in consultation with program faculty

Major in History & Political Science

A minimum of 33 semester hours is required, including:
POL 101: Introduction to Political Science
POL 321: History of Political and Social Thought

Choose one of the following:
HST 211: American History I
HST 212: American History II
HST 260: Montana and the West
HST 309: The United States in World Affairs
HST 311: History of Western America
HST 363: Recent America
HST 365: American Environmental History

Choose one of the following:
HST 103: History of Civilization I
HST 104: History of Civilization II
HST 232: The World Since 1945
HST 303: Reformation, Absolutism, and Enlightenment Europe, 1500-1789
HST 304: The Age of Revolution Europe, 1789-1914
HST 313: Europe Since 1914
HST 324: History of Russia to 1861
HST 325: History of Russia and the Soviet Union Since 1861
HST 356: Native Resistance and Survival
HST 370: Medieval Europe

Choose two of the following:
HST 490: Seminar
POL 405: Mass Movements and Global Terrorism
POL 422: Revolutions and Revolutionaries
POL 427: The Crisis of Modernity
POL 490: Seminar

Fifteen elective semester hours from political science or history are also required.

Major in History Education

A minimum of 35 semester hours is required. In addition, students must complete the professional education program for secondary teaching as described in the “Education” section of the catalog.

Choose one of the following:
HST 103: History of Civilization I
HST 104: History of Civilization II
HST 232: The World Since 1945
HST 356: Native Resistance and Survival

Choose two of the following:
HST 303: Reformation, Absolutism, and Enlightenment Europe, 1500-1789
HST 304: The Age of Revolution Europe, 1789-1914
HST 313: Europe Since 1914
HST 324: History of Russia to 1861
HST 325: History of Russia and the Soviet Union Since 1861
HST 370: Medieval History

Choose one of the following:
HST 260: Montana and the West
HST 311: History of Western America

Choose two of the following:
HST 211: American History I
HST 212: American History II
HST 309: The United States in World Affairs
HST 363: Recent America
HST 365: American Environmental History

HST 422: Methods and Materials: Teaching History/Social Studies in the Secondary School
One 400-level history seminar course
One 400-level history or political science course
Nine elective semester hours from history chosen in consultation with program faculty

Major in Social Studies Broadfield Education

This major serves those who desire to teach in smaller school districts. A minimum of 26 semester hours in history, 15 in political science, and 12 psychology are required. In addition, students must complete the professional education program for secondary teaching as described in the “Education” section of the catalog.

The following courses are required:
History:
HST/POL 490: Seminar
HST 422: Methods and Materials: Teaching History/Social Studies in the Secondary School

Choose one:
HST 103: History of Civilization I
HST 104: History of Civilization II

Choose one:
HST 260: Montana and the West
HST 311: History of Western America

Choose one of the following:
HST 303: Reformation, Absolutism, and Enlightenment Europe, 1500-1789
HST 304: The Age of Revolution Europe, 1789-1914
HST 313: Europe Since 1914

Choose two of the following:
HST 211: American History I
HST 212: American History II
HST 363: Recent America
HST 365: American Environmental History

Choose six semester hours of history electives.

Political Science:
POL 101: Introduction to Political Science
POL 203: American National, State, and Local Government
POL 321: History of Political and Social Thought

Choose six semester hours of upper-division political science electives.

Psychology:
PSY 101: General Psychology
PSY 206: Human Development II

Choose six semester hours of upper-division psychology electives.

Minor in History

A minimum of 18 semester hours chosen in consultation with faculty in the program.

Minor in Political Science

A minimum of 18 semester hours is required, including:
POL 101: Introduction to Political Science
POL 321: History of Political and Social Thought

Choose one of the following:
POL 405: Mass Movements and Global Terrorism
POL 422: Revolutions and Revolutionaries
POL 427: The Crisis of Modernity
POL 490: Seminar

Three elective courses from political science are also required.

Minor in History Education

A minimum of 21 semester hours is required, including one course in world history, one course in European history, two courses in American history, one course in western regional history, HST/POL 490, and electives chosen in consultation with faculty in the program. In addition, students must complete the professional education program for secondary teaching as described in the “Education” section of the catalog.

Minor in Political Science (Government) Education

A minimum of 21 semester hours is required, including POL 101, POL 203, POL 321, and 12 semester hours of electives. In addition, students must complete the professional education program for secondary teaching (grades 5-12) as described in the “Education” section of the catalog.

HST 103 - History of Civilization I
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 3
This course provides a survey of the origin and development of world culture, with an emphasis on basic ideas. The relevant geography of each area will be covered.
HST 104 - History of Civilization II
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 3
This course provides a survey of the origin and development of world culture, with emphasis on basic ideas. Relevant geography of each area will be covered.
HST 211 - American History I
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 3
This course is an exploration of vital issues and ideas in American history from the contact of cultures through Reconstruction. Students will consider such issues as the formation of American identities, native responses to European colonization, slavery and race relations, the growth of democracy, and United States political culture from the Revolution through the Civil War.
HST 212 - American History II
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 3
This course is an exploration of vital issues and ideas in American history from the Gilded Age to the present. Students will consider such issues as industrialism, reform movements, and the role of America in the world.
HST 231 - Aviation History
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 3
This course outlines the evolution of aviation from early glider and balloon flights to modern jets and the space age. The course examines the multiple ways that technology and warfare have advanced aviation. Topics of study include specific flights, significant aviators, and particular aircraft that have improved general, commercial, and military aviation. The course discusses current developments and future trends in aviation. This course is cross-listed with AVS 231.
HST 232 - The World Since 1945
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 3
This course explores the major developments in world society from the end of World War II to the present. Major themes of emphasis include the Cold War, decolonization, revolution, nation-building, civil war, social movements, political repression, genocide, terrorism, and globalization.
HST 260 - Montana and the West
Semester: Spring; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
Students survey the history of Montana in its regional context, focusing on the 19th and 20th centuries.
HST 299 - Independent Study
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1-3
This course allows a superior student to devise and pursue independent study in an area agreed upon in consultation with, and supervised by, a faculty member. Students should be either a major or minor and have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or greater.
HST 303 - Reformation, Absolutism, and Enlightenment Europe, 1500-1789
Semester: Spring; Alternate Years
Semester hours: 3
This course will trace the major political, economic, social, intellectual, and cultural developments in Europe from the late Middle Ages to the eve of the French Revolution.
HST 304 - The Age of Revolution Europe, 1789-1914
Semester: Fall; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
This course provides a study of the French Revolution, the Napoleonic era, the movement toward national unification in Germany and Italy, and the impact of political democracy, capitalism, socialism, and imperialism on European culture.
HST 309 - The United States in World Affairs
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 3
This course studies United States foreign policy and diplomacy, including other American international activities, from 1917 to the present. This course is cross-listed with POL 309.
HST 311 - History of Western America
Semester: Spring; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
The development of the American West from the first explorations to the 20th century is examined.
HST 313 - Europe Since 1914
Semester: Spring; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
Students examine political, cultural, social, and economic developments in Europe from the beginning of World War I to the present. Themes under examination will include nationalism, industrialization, capitalism, liberalism, imperialism, socialism, secularization, and urbanization as well as the period's major wars and revolutions.
HST 317 - Archaeology and History of the Holy Land
Semester: Summer
Semester hours: 6
This course is designed for students participating in the Bethsaida Excavation and tour of selected sites in Israel. Students will engage in activities including excavating at the site; attending poetry readings, laboratory, and evening lectures at the kibbutz; learning archaeological methodology; and learning about kibbutz living on the Galilee. Students are also expected to participate in all guided group tours of important sites and museums in Israel.
HST 324 - History of Russia to 1861
Semester: Fall; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
Focusing upon the medieval origins of early East Slavic societies and the formation of the Muscovite state and Russian Empire, this course emphasizes the political, economic, social, and cultural components of pre-revolutionary Russia from the 10th through the 19th centuries. Special attention will be given to themes of state-building, ethnicity, empire-building, and the role of gender, class, religion, and ideology.
HST 325 - History of Russia and the Soviet Union Since 1861
Semester: Spring; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
This course offers an in-depth exploration of Russian and Soviet political, social, and cultural history from the abolition of serfdom in 1861 to the present. Themes of emphasis include the rise of democratic and revolutionary movements in the late tsarist period, the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, industrialization and collectivization, political repression, late Soviet society, Cold War relations, the collapse of the Soviet empire, and post-Soviet society and culture.
HST 356 - Native Resistance and Survival
Semester: Fall; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
This course is an exploration of the variety of military, political, and cultural responses by indigenous people to colonialism, especially in response to settler societies such as those in the Americas, South Africa, Australia, or New Zealand. Topics will include violence, strategies of resistance and accommodation, the formation of racial identities, environmental degradation, and ongoing struggles for autonomy in a global context.
HST 358 - Topics in History
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 3
This course is an exploration of selected historical ideas, issues, and events. Topics will vary according to instructor interest and student demand, but will focus on central historical texts, important interpretive issues, and emerging scholarship. If the topic is different, students may take this course more than once.
HST 363 - Recent America
Semester: Fall; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
This course is an exploration of major currents in American society since 1945, including war, reform, the rise of welfare, civil rights, Vietnam, feminism, and conservative reaction to these issues.
HST 365 - American Environmental History
Semester: Fall; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
This course examines the interrelationship of human society and nature in American history. Topics will include ecology as it relates to European conquest of the Americas, Native American peoples, public lands policies, American national character, technological society, conservation, and the modern environmental movement.
HST 370 - Medieval History
Semester: Fall; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
This course examines the history of Europe and the Mediterranean world during the Middle Ages (ca. 300-1500), beginning with the transformations of the Roman world in late antiquity and concluding with the origins of the early modern era. Special attention will be devoted to religious, social, and cultural topics, including the Roman papacy, monastic life, the crusades, the problem of heresy, the rise of persecutions, peasant society, and trends in late medieval spirituality.
HST 422 - Methods and Materials: Teaching History/Social Studies in the Secondary School
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 2
This course requires focused study and consultation with a public school history or social studies teacher or other acceptable professional. Hours will be arranged in consultation with the content area professor, the secondary education professor, the student, and the professional mentor. Methods of teaching history/social studies content appropriate for grades 5-12 are explored. Appropriate use of technology and implications of current research in history education are discussed.
Prerequisite: EDC 040, admission to the teacher education program, senior standing
HST 450 - Internship
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1-12
This course is a guided work experience in an already established place of business. The student must arrange the internship in agreement with the instructor and the Office of Career Services. The internship should relate to the student’s major or minor area of study. Contract is required.
Prerequisite: junior or senior standing
HST 490 - Seminar
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 3
This seminar explores such topics as the methods and materials of research, trends in historical research and writing, and a survey of historiography and the philosophy of history. A major research paper is required. This course is cross-listed with POL 490.
HST 499 - Independent Study
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1-3
This course allows a superior student to devise and pursue independent study in an area agreed upon in consultation with, and supervised by, a faculty member. Students should be either a major or minor and have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or greater.
Prerequisite: junior or senior standing
POL 101 - Introduction to Political Science
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 3
This course provides an examination of the basic concepts of political science in light of contemporary political events. Students approach such important concepts as freedom, power, democracy, authority, revolution, and dictatorship.
POL 203 - American National, State, and Local Government
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 3
This course provides an analysis of the American system of government on three levels. Students will examine the origins of our system of government, the nature and role of our Constitution with its functional and territorial distribution of powers, and the importance of government at the three levels.
POL 204 - Political Geography
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 3
This course introduces students to the scholarly context, core ideas, terminology, major controversies, and complexities associated with taking a geographical perspective on political issues. In addition to introducing students to the discipline of political geography, the course is designed to help students develop tools to think critically about the mutually constitutive relationship between politics and places as well as the conflict-laden politics of human-environment relations.
POL 220 - Political Leadership
Semester: Spring; Alternate Years
Semester hours: 3
This course will survey various theories of leadership as applied to politics, as well as explore the biographies of the men and women who have shaped both local as well as global events. Theory is grounded to practical application, with an emphasis on the various styles, methods, and particular contexts within which individual leaders have come to power and how the exercise thereof has altered or reinforced their original goals and programs.
POL 225 - Film and Politics
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 3
This course serves as an introduction to the study of politics and power relations through the modern medium of cinema. Films are treated as texts and cover a wide-ranging and diverse set of themes, such as electoral politics, race relations, education, censorship, political violence, capitalism, and gender issues.
Prerequisite: ENG 120
POL 299 - Independent Study
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1-3
This course allows a superior student to devise and pursue independent study in an area agreed upon in consultation with, and supervised by, a faculty member. Students should be either a major or minor and have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or greater.
POL 301 - International Relations
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 3
Students examine an analysis of the way nations interact with one another and how the necessities of power and the desire to regulate the use of power in the international arena have influenced 20th-century world politics.
Prerequisite: a lower-division history course
POL 309 - The United States in World Affairs
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 3
This course studies United States foreign policy and diplomacy, including other American international activities, from 1917 to the present. This course is cross-listed with HST 309.
POL 313 - Environmental Politics
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 3
This course examines political problems associated with the human impact on the natural environment: pollution, natural resources, public lands, land use, energy, cultural/social justice, and population.
POL 318 - Visions of Utopia
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 3
This course is an exploration of the persistent, yet elusive, quest for the ideal system of governance. The course explores how “perfect” systems have been visualized in theory, attempted in practice, and often lamented in retrospect. Readings are drawn from a variety of historical examples, dating back to the ancient world, and include several utopian and dystopian novels that illuminate the inherent conflict between necessary order and perfect freedom.
POL 321 - History of Political and Social Thought
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 3
The development of political and social ideas from ancient Greece to the present is examined.
Prerequisite: POL 101
POL 327 - Race and Class in America
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 3
Despite substantial efforts to provide economic opportunity for all Americans, a large and ethnically diverse underclass remains. In an effort to explain this phenomenon, this course directly confronts American perceptions on wealth, poverty, and race in order to more fully understand the confluence and contradictions among them. Course materials will include historical accounts, personal narratives, and sociopolitical analyses that explore concepts such as whiteness and blackness and explain the cultural and structural factors which limit life-chances and prevent many from claiming their share of the elusive “American Dream.”
POL 343 - Bross Peace Seminar
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 3
The Drs. John R. and Helen H. Bross Peace Seminar develops a theme that stems from the mission statement of the Rocky Mountain College Institute for Peace Studies, which explores alternatives to violence in the behavior of individuals, groups, and nations. This upper-division course is interdisciplinary, inter-generational, and team taught. We have presenters from Rocky Mountain College and Montana State University-Billings, with international guest speakers and guest speakers from the professional and business communities. Enrollment is limited to 20 students and 20 auditors to allow for active discussion and exchange.
Prerequisite: junior standing
POL 405 - Mass Movements and Global Terrorism
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 3
An advanced seminar that focuses upon the sociocultural causes of violent mass movements. Terrorism is more properly understood as a specific type of political violence, and thus the course will seek to explain and understand the dynamic power struggles that underlie the phenomenon. Ultimately, strategies of counterterrorism and the prospect for peaceful reconciliation will be considered.
Prerequisite: POL 327 or permission of instructor
POL 412 - Constitutional Law
Semester: Fall; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
A case-method approach to the landmark decisions of the Supreme Court, with an emphasis on the doctrine of judicial review and the role of the Court in interpreting the Constitution and shaping American legal culture. The course will focus on the exercise and limitations of federal power in the areas of the economy, civil rights, and individual liberties, as well as the Constitutional basis on which statutes and other regulatory provisions are adjudicated. Special attention will be given to Constitutional clauses related to free speech, due process, and equal protection under the law.
Prerequisite: POL 203 or permission of instructor
POL 422 - Revolutions and Revolutionaries
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 3
An advanced seminar that seeks to answer one of the most important questions in the field: why men rebel. Relying heavily on primary sources, readings will include works of political theory, political biography, and narrative accounts of various historical examples of revolution as well as several profiles of the men and women engaged in both violent and non-violent rebellion.
Prerequisite: POL 327 or permission of instructor
POL 427 - The Crisis of Modernity
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 3
The dawn of the scientific revolution is much heralded as a turning point in world history, at which time man was emancipated from earlier forms of traditional rule. However, the divorce between tradition and the modern world is wrought with challenges and contradictions, such as the often dichotomous relationships between religion and secularism, science and faith, and technology and nature. A primary goal of this course is to question whether mankind is headed in the right direction, or if modernity has resulted in a net-negative for the human condition.
Prerequisite: POL 327 or permission of instructor
POL 450 - Internship
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1-12
This course is a guided work experience in an already established place of business. The student must arrange the internship in agreement with the instructor and the Office of Career Services. The internship should relate to the student’s major or minor area of study. Contract is required.
Prerequisite: junior or senior standing
POL 483 - Research Assistantship
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1-3
As an advanced research course designed primarily for students considering further study at the graduate level, this is an opportunity for students to work individually and in close consultation with a member of the faculty, based on the supervising advisor’s particular research agenda. Principal tasks include data collection, literature review, preliminary analysis, and/or other duties stipulated in an initial course contract.
Prerequisite: junior or senior standing
POL 490 - Seminar
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 3
This seminar explores such topics as the methods and materials of research, trends in historical research and writing, and a survey of historiography and the philosophy of history. A major research paper is required. This course is cross-listed with HST 490.
Prerequisite: POL 327 or permission of instructor
POL 499 - Independent Study
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1-3
This course allows a superior student to devise and pursue independent study in an area agreed upon in consultation with, and supervised by, a faculty member. Students should be either a major or minor and have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or greater.
Prerequisite: junior or senior standing
PSY 101 - General Psychology
Semester: Fall and Spring
Semester hours: 3
A survey of the field of psychology investigating such topics as learning, motivation, human development, personality, social psychology, and physiological psychology. In order to make inquiry into any academic discipline, the student must first learn the language and methodology of that discipline; the field of psychology is no exception. Therefore, this course will include the study of major psychological theories, terminology, and investigative methods, as well as limited opportunity to apply those methods.
PSY 206 - Human Development II
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 3
Students examine a study of human development from adolescence through the lifespan, which makes use of recent research studies in physical, cognitive, personality, and social development. The student will demonstrate a basic understanding of the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial changes that occur as people move through the stages of adulthood.