American Politics

Subject POLS30030 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Thirty contact hours per semester. 2 x one hour lectures and 1 x one hour tutorial per week for 10 weeks. The lecture and tutorial programs are staggered and cover the 12 weeks of semester.
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:

Politics and International Studies at Levels 1 & 2

Non Allowed Subjects:

166-016 American Politics and Society

672-368 American Politics and Society

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:

Subject Overview:

This subject examines the key actors, ideas, interests and institutions in USA politics, including the Constitution, the President, Congress, the bureaucracy, political parties and ideologies, the courts, elections, the federal system, interest groups, the policy making process and political culture. It includes an examination of theoretical debates about the nature of US democracy, key controversies in US political history, such as the civil rights movement, as well as contemporary political debates and developments, such as the role of religion in US politics and the issue of political polarisation.


Upon successful completion of this subject students are expected to:

  • have a critical understanding of the US's domestic political institutions and policy making process, including the challenges facing democracy;
  • have a critical understanding of the key actors, ideas, issues and interests that shape domestic politics in the USA;
  • have a critical understanding of the distinctive political culture of the USA;
  • have critical understanding of a selection of key political controversies and debates in the USA.

A research essay of 2000 words (50%) due mid-semester, and a 2-hour exam (50%) to be held during the examination period.

Hurdle Requirement: This subject has a minimum Hurdle Requirement of 75% tutorial attendance. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reading pack will be available for purchase from the University Bookshop

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to research through the competent use of the library and other information sources, and be able to define areas of inquiry and methods of research in the preparation of essays
  • be able to conceptualise theoretical problems, form judgements and arguments and communicate critically, creatively and theoretically through essay writing, tutorial discussion and presentations
  • be able to communicate knowledge ideologically and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion
  • be able to manage and organise workloads for recommended reading, the completion of essays and assignments and examination revision
  • be able to participate in team work through small group discussions

This subject is available as Breadth to non-Bachelor of Arts students.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: International Studies Major
Political Science Major
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Related Breadth Track(s): Politics and International Studies

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