Pre-Law

Law School Preparation (Pre-Law)

Students interested in the pre-law emphasis will gain law school advising. Traditionally, about 1/3 of our graduates continue on to law school. Professor Brian Bernhardt is a LSAC advisor (Law School Admissions Council) and works with students one-on-one to prepare for the LSAT and law school admission. Our students have attended law school at the University of Denver, University of Colorado at Boulder, American University, Willamette University among many others. After law school our alumni have pursued careers as environmental lawyers, state legislators, lobbyists and many more diverse careers.

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Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western State Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

 ACC 201 - Introduction to Financial Accounting (3 credits)

An introduction to the field of accounting with emphasis on corporate financial statements. Financial statements are viewed as a communication device conveying the financial health of a business to interested parties. The objective of this first course is to teach students to read, analyze, and interpret these financial statements. The emphasis is on developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills using accounting concepts. Students are exposed to the steps used by accountants to record, measure, and process financial information. Cash flow analysis is contrasted with the accrual basis of accounting; the concepts of asset valuation and income measurement are discussed. Accounting majors must pass this class with a minimum grade of "C." Prerequisites: completion of the College Mathematics Course Requirement with minimum grade of "C-", or instructor permission.

 ACC 350 - Income Tax (3 credits)

An introduction to the federal income tax system. Emphasis is on the ways in which the U.S. income tax laws influence personal and business behavior and decision making, and how the tax laws can be used to accomplish various economic and social objectives. Topics covered include an introduction to tax research, principles of income and deduction, tax liability, and tax credits. Individual taxation is the primary focus, but the basic principles apply to most forms of business organization as well. Accounting majors must pass this class with a minimum grade of "C." Prerequisite: minimum sophomore standing.

 BUAD 210 - Legal Environment of Business (3 credits)

Provides students an ability to sense the occasions when a lawyer should be consulted for guidance in avoiding legal mistakes. A study is made of the ordinary legal aspects of common business transactions, including the topics of social forces, contracts, personal property, and agency.

 BUAD 315 - Business Law (3 credits)

Study includes: sales, commercial paper, secured transactions, corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts, and agency. Prerequisite: BUAD 210.

 COM 371 - Small Group and Conflict Management (3 credits)

An exploration of various concepts and types of conflict and the role of argumentation in managing and/or resolving conflict. The study examines the theory and practice of communication within small groups, as well as problem solving and decision making as common contexts in which argument occurs and conflict arises, and a continuum from formal to informal modes of conflict management/resolution is discussed and practiced by the students. Examples of specific areas covered include formal debate, negotiation, and arbitration. Prerequisite: COM 202.

 COM 372 - Issues Management (3 credits)

An exploration of the communication practices and strategies used by organizations to react to current events, publicity, and society. Emphasis is placed upon persuasion, media relations, and information campaigns. Prerequisite: junior standing.

 ECON 201 - Macroeconomics (3 credits)

An introduction to the methods, models, and approaches used by economists to analyze and interpret events and policies related to the overall operation of the economy. The course endeavors to make sense of unemployment, inflation, recessions, debt and deficits, economic growth, the expanding role of the Federal Reserve, and policies to provide stability to the economy. Additional attention is given to the making of economic policy in an era of globalization. Finally, students are exposed to multiple schools of thought regarding macroeconomic reasoning. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 19 or above; SAT math score of 500 or above; pass MATH 099; or Accuplacer Elementary Algebra test score of 85 or higher, or university-level math requirement with a minimum grade of C-. Prerequisite or corequisite: ENG 102.

 ECON 202 - Microeconomics (3 credits)

The theory of microeconomics makes use of the tools of marginal cost-benefit analysis to provide a framework for the economic analysis of decision-making. The focus is on the choices of individual firms and consumers, and the resultant outcomes in individual markets. The social implications of the functioning of competitive markets are examined, as well as the causes of market failure and the potential roles of government in correcting them. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 19 or above; SAT math score of 500 or above; pass MATH 099; or Accuplacer Elementary Algebra test score of 85 or higher, or college-level math requirement with a minimum grade of "C-."

 ECON 476 - American Economic Development (3 credits)

An inquiry into sources and character of American economic development. A survey is provided of several key moments in American political economy such as the market revolution, reconstruction, populism, progressivism, the Great Depression, the New Deal, and globalization. Students are asked to engage the ideas, social movements, and institutions that have shaped the modern American economy. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.

 ENG 237 - Women and Literature (3 credits)

Critical study of selected topics, themes, or issues about women as they are interpreted in popular and classic literary works. Specific titles to be announced each time the course is offered. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of "C-".

 ENG 238 - Literary Culture of the American West (3 credits)

A study of traditional and nontraditional forms of Western literature. Specific titles to be announced each time the course is offered. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 ENG 255 - Ancient World Literature (3 credits)

A study of ancient texts and their relation to their own time, and to ours. Since an understanding of these writings is important for reading English literature, the focus of the course is on Western texts central to that tradition. However, students may also read selected works from non-Western cultures in order to give them a taste of the diversity of the ancient world. Works studied may include selections from the Bible (Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament), Homer's writings, poetry and theatre of Classical Greece, Chinese poetry from the Book of Songs, a selection from the Mahabharata, and Roman poetry, particularly Virgil and Ovid. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 HIST 333 - American Revolution and the Early Republic (3 credits)

A study of the economic, social and political causes of the American Revolution. Focused attention is given to the Articles of Confederation, Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian America, the Constitutional Convention, Bill of Rights, Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democracy, Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clarke expedition and the early national era. Prerequisites: minimum sophomore standing or instructor permission. HIST 200 recommended.

 HIST 336 - U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction (3 credits)

A study of the causes of the Civil War with emphasis on the differing worlds of the North and the South and the social, intellectual and economic movements of the time. The military actions of the war are examined and the legacy of the war considered. The challenges and issues of the post war years of Reconstruction are explored. Prerequisites: minimum sophomore standing or instructor permission. HIST 200 recommended.

 HIST 340 - Emergence of the Modern U.S. (3 credits)

A study of U.S. history from the end of Reconstruction in 1877 to the Great Depression in 1929. Topics include industrialization, immigration, the Progressive movement, the causes and impact of World War I and the exciting but troubled 1920s all leading to the Great Depression. Prerequisites: minimum sophomore standing or instructor permission. HIST 200 recommended.

 HIST 343 - Depression and World War II (3 credits)

An exploration of the ramifications that the economic collapse had on AmericaÀs social, economic, cultural, and political life. The United StatesÀ entrance into the World War II is also discussed, with major focus on the changes that took place, both internally and abroad, because of the conflict. Prerequisites: minimum sophomore standing or instructor permission. HIST 200 recommended.

 PHIL 101 - Introduction to Philosophy (3 credits)

An introduction to the central philosophical questions that have historically spanned and conceptually founded Western civilization. The course surveys key thinkers, philosophical movements, and academic fields of the discipline. Questions regarding the meaning of existence, the freedom of the self, the nature of a just society, and the workings of human knowledge expose students to the pursuits of metaphysics, ontology, epistemology, philosophy of science, moral and political philosophy, and ethics.

 POLS 117 - Introduction to Political Ideas (3 credits)

An introduction to political analysis through a study of important political concepts and theories, as well as their historical development. Students study the ideas and practices of the public and philosophical development of concepts such as citizenship, democracy, equality, justice, liberty, or power.

 POLS 180 - Introduction to American Politics (3 credits)

Introduces institutions and processes of American politics, including themes such as constitutionalism, representation, participation, political development, political economy, civil liberties and rights, public policy, and the ideas and values of American democracy.

 POLS 250 - Politics of the Environment (3 credits)

A survey of key issues of national and international environmental politics, the course introduces students to the historical foundations and ongoing debates concerning the environment. A specific political lens informs our discussions while students analyze theoretical, cultural and political domains of various political systems and the ways in which they have gained importance on the international scene. Some of the main issues discussed in class involve a survey of international environmental treaties, government responses to environmental disasters and crises, environmental justice movements, environmental causes of war and displacement, democratic participation as a tool for environmental change, indigenous modalities of treating the environment, and the politics of environmental agreements and developments in the United States. Students learn to examine the connections between the environment and politics in a critical, engaged and broadly-informed way. Prerequisite: POLS 117 recommended.

 POLS 255 - Introduction Comparative Politics (3 credits)

An introduction to the challenges and problems encountered in the study of comparative politics. Students examine various issues of local and national governance through a comparative lens. By looking at similar political phenomena in several contexts, students explore the question of why some countries have successfully developed their political, economic and social systems while others are lagging behind. Some of the issues examined in the class deal with womenÕs rights, poverty, underdevelopment, the environment, and democracy. Prerequiste: ENG 102 with a grade of C- or above.

 POLS 260 - Introduction to World Politics (3 credits)

An introduction to some of the more important concepts and approaches to understanding world politics. Students examine the politics between different countries and seek to answer questions about the promise and peril of the global future. Quest- ions contemplated include: What are the sources of political conflict and how can they be minimized? Under what conditions will nation states cooperate with each other to accomplish common goals? Should tyranny and human rights violations justify humanitarian intervention? Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a grade of C- or above.

 POLS 282 - Issues in State and Local Government (3 credits)

Using the foundations of American Federalism, the class examines policy issues at the state and local levels. With a comparative perspective and, at the same time, with particular attention paid to Colorado, some of the themes examined in states and localities include: budgets and economic policy, education, energy, and environmental Policy. Prerequisite: recommended POLS 180.

 POLS 300 - Constitutional Law I (3 credits)

A study of the historical development of the United States Constitution and Supreme Court through the most important Supreme Court decisions. The course focuses on the areas of jurisdiction of the courts, development of the common law, the separation of powers, federalism, and the inter-state commerce power. Prerequisite: POLS 180.

 POLS 301 - Constitutional Law II (3 credits)

A continuation of POLS 300. An examination of the constitutional protections ofindividual liberties as defined by the Supreme Court. Students study the historicaldevelopment of the Supreme Court's point of view in such areas as freedom of speech, subversion and disloyalty, religious freedom, church-state separation, and equal protection of the law. Prerequisite: POLS 180 recommended.

 POLS 309 - Political Theory I- Ancient to Early Modern (3 credits)

A survey of the historical development of western political theories from their origins in ancient Greece to the development of early modern political theories such as liberalism and republicanism. Students study thinkers such as Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, William Shakespeare, Niccolo Machiavelli, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Prerequisite: POLS 117 recommended.

 POLS 310 - Political Theory II- Late Modern and Contemporary (3 credits)

A survey of the historical development of modern and contemporary political theories since the French Revolution. Issues investigated might include the rise of liberal democracy and its critics, the impact of the industrial revolution on modern politics, and how technological change and environmental limitations have affected contemporary political thought. Students study thinkers such as Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hannah Arendt, and Michel Foucault.POLS 117 recommended

 POLS 331 - Politics of the Presidency (3 credits)

After more than two centuries of change and development, the presidency stands not only as the nationÀs preeminent public office but also its most problematic. This course examines the design and creation of the office, the impact various officeholders have made on shaping future expectations, and the problems of contemporary leadership.Prerequisite: POLS 180 recommended.

 POLS 340 - Politics of Social Movements (3 credits)

A study of social movements, past and present, in both domestic and international contexts. Students examine theories on why social movements develop, spread, and decline, while considering the factors that lead to their successes and failures. Through an examination of transnational movements, students consider the roles of social networks and participatory democracy in a globalized world. Prerequisite: ENG 102.

 POLS 350 - Human Rights (3 credits)

An engagement with the history and current developments in international human rights practices, offering a justification and critique of universal human rights through the lens of various schools of thought, discussing pre and post-WWII developments with attention to specific cases, and examining the relationship between culture, globalization and human rights violations in the 21st century. Prerequisite: ENG 102.

 POLS 355 - Politics of Development (3 credits)

A historical and case-specific examination of development and underdevelopment debates waged about, against and by countries in the Global South, examining assumptions about poverty, sustainability, liberal democratic regimes and free-market economy. The class engages students in a critical examination of what our assumptions about development are and how we can work toward broadening and refining them with the end goal of greater equity, political agency, and empowerment for populations within and outside the Global South. Particular focus on political regimes, their role in promoting development, and the scope of their relationship to economic, cultural, and social processes informs class objectives. Specific topics include malnutrition, food security, rights of indigenous populations, international aid and donors, disease, democratization processes, human rights, and the environment. Prerequisites: POLS 255 and/or POLS 260 recommended.

 POLS 360 - American Foreign Policy (3 credits)

Not since the Roman Empire has any nation had as much economic, cultural and military power as the United States does today. Yet, as has become all too evident through the problems of terrorism, environmental degradation and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, that power is not enough to solve many global issues. This course examines the way in which U.S. foreign policy is made and the variety of ongoing and emerging foreign policy problems the U.S. faces in the context of their evolution. Prerequisites: POLS 255 and/or POLS 260 recommended.

 POLS 370 - Political Economy (3 credits)

A study of economic systems that focuses on the structure and uses of economic power and the relationship between economic and political power. Students think about questions such as: What is capitalism? What varieties of capitalism exist around the world? How has capitalism changed over time? Ultimately, students consider the relationship between capitalism, freedom, and democracy. Prerequisite: ENG 102.

 POLS 376 - American Political Thought (3 credits)

A study of American political thought from the colonial period to the present day through a survey of key thinkers and social movements. Students gain an appreciation for dominant views and key controversies within American political thought, as well how the ideas of challengers, such as Abolitionism, Populism, Progressivism, the Labor Movement, the WomenÕs movement, the New Deal, and the Civil Rights Movement, have reshaped the accepted order. Prerequisite: POLS 117 or POLS 180.

 POLS 380 - The United Nations (3 credits)

A study of the United Nations, focusing on the relationship between the UN, the proliferation of human rights regimes and international human development. Students think about the importance of creating international norms, working toward a sustainable world peace, political efficacy, and human rights in the world. A Model UN simulation is part of the course requirements. Prerequisite: ENG 102.

 POLS 485 - Studies in Political Theory: (3 credits)

Senior seminar in political theory with varying topics. This course meets the Capstone requirement. Prerequisite: senior standing or instructor permission.

 POLS 487 - Studies in International Relations: (3 credits)

Senior seminar in International Relations with varying topics. This course meets theCapstone requirement. Prerequisite: senior standing or instructor permission.

 POLS 499 - Internship in Politics and Government (1 to 12 credits)

Credit earned in an internship may be applied to the Major or Minor with advisorapproval.

 PSY 368 - Psychopathology (3 credits)

A systematic study of the etiology, symptoms, assessment, and treatment of major forms of psychopathology. An interdisciplinary approach is employed as a basis for understanding mental disorders and mental illness. Prerequisites: PSY 100, PSY 258, or PSY 270.

 SOC 259 - Introduction to Criminal Justice (3 credits)

An introduction to the history and contemporary issues of the criminal justice system (law enforcement, courts, and corrections) in the United States. Topics surveyed include the systemÀs history, constitutional limitations, philosophical background, and the systemÀs process. Prerequisite: SOC 101 with a minimum grade of "C."

 SOC 349 - Law Enforcement (3 credits)

An examination of issues affecting American law enforcement. Students are exposed to the historical underpinnings of the American policing experience, police operations and applications at the local, state, federal, and international levels, law enforcement subculture, police structure and organization, ethics, selection and training, and career opportunities. Prerequisite: SOC 259 with a minimum grade of "C."

 SOC 367 - Corrections (3 credits)

An in-depth look at corrections in the United States. Topics include history of corrections, jails, prisons, community corrections, offenders and inmates, women in corrections, juvenile corrections, correctional officers and treatment professionals, and special inmate populations. Prerequisites: SOC 101, SOC 259 and SOC 285 all with a minimum grade of ÒC.Ó

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Brian Bernhardt headshot
Assistant Professor of Politics and Government
B.A., James Madison University, M.A., University Colorado at Boulder , Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder
Phone: (970) 943-3025
Office Location: Kelley 205