Program Focus

This mini field program allows students from all different majors to experience first-hand the dynamic and politically crucial January, 2016 Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.  Campaigns place enormous importance on these states whose premier placement in American presidential elections is protected by the rules of our nation’s two major political parties.  To be in Iowa and New Hampshire in an election year that will not involve a sitting president would be a signature experience in an individual’s engagement with the democratic experience.

Through the courses and field experience, students will analyze the key processes of presidential elections, including the role of primaries and caucuses and the development of grassroots campaign efforts that are particularly essential to states such as Iowa and New Hampshire.  This program will allow you to experience these processes and directly observe candidates, their campaigns and citizen behavior.

The main questions we will ask ourselves are:  Does the unique status accorded to these two states make positive contributions to the democratic process of selecting a president? Despite their diversity in certain respects, is there something about Iowa and New Hampshire that contributes to the selection of qualified nominees?


A total of six and a half (6.5) semester hours credit will be earned with this program: 4 SH during Fall 2015, 2 SH during January 2016 and 0.5 during Spring 2016.  Final grades for all courses will be determined by the program directors.

POLS 221: Presidential Elections

Semester Hours: 3       Attribute: GESS

Taught and completed on-campus during Fall 2015, this course is an examination of modern U.S. presidential election laws and processes that influence candidate and voter behavior.  Specific topics include: primary elections and nominations, campaign finance law, voter turnout, debates, the Electoral College, media coverage, and the role of political parties.

SPST 280: Orientation Seminar: Presidential Program

Semester Hours: 1

SPST 284: Field Studies: Presidential Program

Semester Hours: 2       Attribute: none

Taught during the program in January, this course provides an interdisciplinary survey of contemporary issues in Iowa and New Hampshire.

SPST 281: Reentry Seminar: Semester Hours: 0.5

Attribute: None

Taught Spring 2015, this seminar is an opportunity for students to internalize, integrate, and formulate the personal and academic learning gained from their field program.  Through reflection, writing assignments, and the creation of a presentation for the college community, students will interpret and articulate their growth and experiences.  Technical and organizational skills needed to create a successful presentation will also be developed.