Political Science (POLI) 278

Introduction to Political Science II: Political Processes and Political Behaviour (Revision 6)

POLI 278

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: POLI 278 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained in POLI 214.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Political Science home page

POLI 278 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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POLI 278 is the second half of Athabasca University’s two introduction to politics courses. It can be taken alone for students requiring 3 credits in political science, but not wishing to take both introductory courses. For students desiring a thorough introduction to political science and those intending to take other political science courses, both introductory courses are recommended. Together with POLI 277, the first of the two introductory courses, POLI 278 is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in politics and government to enable them to go on to other courses in political science.

In this course students will be introduced to some of the fundamental concepts and processes of political science, including political culture and political participation; electoral systems; political parties and elections; interest groups and social movements; political conflict; the role of the media in politics; political regimes; globalizing justice; and international relations.


  • Unit 1: Introduction
  • Unit 2: Ideas of Politics
  • Unit 3: Political Culture, Political Participation, and Political Socialization
  • Unit 4: Representation and Electoral Systems
  • Unit 5: Political Parties and Elections
  • Unit 6: Interest Groups and Social Movements
  • Unit 7: Political Conflict and Violence
  • Unit 8: Media
  • Unit 9: Regimes—Democratic, Non-Democratic, and Hybrid
  • Unit 10: Globalizing Justice
  • Unit 11: Governing the World Community


To receive credit for POLI 278, you must complete the following assignments and achieve a course composite grade of at least “D” (50 percent) and a grade of 50 percent or more on the final examination. The weighting of the assignments is as follows:

Assignment 1: Telephone Quizzes (2) Assignment 2: Short Essays Assignment 3: Annotated Bibliography Assignment 4: Research Essay Final Exam Total
10% 10% 15% 30% 35% 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators that can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Brodie, J., S. Rein, and M. Smith, eds. 2014. Critical Concepts: An Introduction to Politics, 5th ed. Toronto: Pearson.

Mintz, E., D. Close, and O. Croci. 2015. Politics, Power, and the Common Good: An Introduction to Political Science, 4th ed. Toronto: Pearson.

A print version of the eText can be purchased from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided in the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Other Resources

All course materials are available online.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the POLI 278 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “D” (50 percent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 6, May 8, 2015.

View previous syllabus

Updated May 26 2016 by Student & Academic Services