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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Political Science (PL SC)

PL SC 001 (GS) Introduction to American National Government (3) Introduction to development and nature of American political culture, constitutional/structural arrangements, electoral/policy processes; sources of conflict and consensus.

PL SC 001 Introduction to American National Government (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

This course takes a broad look at American national government and American politics. It begins with a discussion of founding principles and documents and concludes by looking at how government uses its power. Readings and discussions cover the governing institutions-Congress, Executive, and Courts-and the institutions that link the American people to these-political parties, interest groups, and the media. Throughout, contemporary political events are placed in the context of theories, concepts, and arguments presented in class. By the end of the course students should have an understanding of how American national government is organized; a sense of what political scientists do, the types of questions they ask and the methods they employ; and the ability to make more informed choices in the political arena.

Class meets for two lectures and one discussion section each week. The recitation is led by a graduate teaching assistant and is used to review lecture material, do exercises based on the lectures and reading, and discuss current events and course materials. Grading is based upon multiple choice (or identifications) and essay exams, short papers (some based on applying course concepts to New York Times articles), and participation in section. The course is a prerequisite for most upper level American Politics courses. It fulfills a lower level requirement for Political Science majors, and may be used by non-majors to fulfill General Education and Social/Behavioral requirements. It is generally taught every semester.

General Education: GS
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Social and Behavioral Science
Effective: Spring 2002

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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