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Political Science: American Political System

POLS 021 ZRD (CRN: 94540)

3 Credit Hours

About POLS 021 ZRD

Institutions, processes, and problems of American government.


CDE students even after level restrictions removed; Degree students register for POLS 021 D

Section URL

Section Description

Political Science 21, ?The American Political System,? is an introductory class that surveys the vast arena of American politics from the 1780s to the present?a formidable task to be sure, but one guided by several specific goals: GOAL #1. Mastery of the subject matter First and foremost, the successful completion of this course will lead to your mastery of the subject matter. Important topics include (among others) the constitutional foundations of American government, the basic structure and operation of government institutions, and the relationship between average citizens and their elected officials. GOAL #2. The development of critical thinking skills In addition to mastering the material matter at hand, this course will also help you to develop broader skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving strategies. Our goal is to use a solid foundation of factual knowledge to probe deeper questions about the American political system, including the nature of democracy, representation, liberty, and equality. GOAL #3. Civic engagement and responsibility Finally, this class encourages an active and informed interest in politics by demonstrating the relevance of the topics we study to contemporary political events, ranging from health care reform to the ongoing war on terror.

Section Expectation

Our emphasis throughout the term will be on the development of strong analytical thinking and writing skills. Graded assignments are designed to evaluate your growth in these areas. Assignments are also designed to give you many opportunities, using different skills, to build a strong grade in this course.


1. The bulk of your grade will be determined by two essay examinations. Each of these exams are weighted as 35% of your final grade. The content of these exams will be drawn from class lectures, discussions, and reading assignments. 2. Five short, multiple-choice quizzes will be administered throughout the semester. The single lowest score you receive on these quizzes will be dropped, while the four remaining scores will be averaged to determine 20% of your final grade. 3. Finally, your active participation and attendance is essential to the effectiveness of this class. It will account for the remaining 10% of your grade.




Lafayette Hall L302 (View Campus Map)


to on Tuesday and Thursday