About POLS 021 B

Institutions, processes, and problems of American government.


Open to Degree and CDE students

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 COVID-19 pandemic to the 2020 presidential election.

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.


The bulk of your grade will be determined by two in-class examinations, each of which is weighted as 35% of your final grade. The content of these exams will be drawn from class lectures, discussions, and reading assignments. There will also be five short, multiple-choice quizzes. 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. Finally, your active participation and attendance is essential to the effectiveness of this class. It will account for the remaining 10% of your grade. Please note, the weights given to these assignments is subject to change depending on the course modality that is assigned.

Course Dates



Lafayette Hall L403 (View Campus Map)


to on Tuesday and Thursday

Important Dates

Note: These dates may change before registration begins.

Note: These dates may not be accurate for select courses during the Summer Session.

Last Day to Add
Last Day to Drop
Last Day to Withdraw with 50% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw with 25% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw


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