Political Science (POLI) 309

Canadian Government and Politics (Revision 7)

POLI 309 Course cover

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook)

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: POLI 309 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained in POLI 260.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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Detailed Syllabus

POLI 309 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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POLI 309 provides an introduction to the basic structures and processes of government and politics in Canada and will help the student describe, explain, analyze, and assess contemporary issues and events in Canada.


Part 1: Introduction

  • Unit 1: Studying Canadian Government and Politics
  • Unit 2: Setting the Context: Governing in a Global World

Part 2: The Societal Context

  • Unit 3: Political Culture, Political Socialization, and Canadian Political Identity
  • Unit 4: Regional, Economic, and Class Cleavages
  • Unit 5: Indigenous Peoples
  • Unit 6: French Canada and the Quebec Question
  • Unit 7: Gender, Multiculturalism, and Representation

Part 3: Governing

  • Unit 8: The Constitutional Context
  • Unit 9: The Parliamentary System
  • Unit 10: The Executive
  • Unit 11: The Bureaucracy
  • Unit 12: The Judiciary

Part 4: Linking People to Government

  • Unit 13: Civil Society: Interest Groups, Social Movements, and the Voluntary Sector
  • Unit 14: Political Parties
  • Unit 15: Elections and the Electoral System


To receive credit for POLI 309, you must complete the following assignments and the final exam. You must achieve a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent) and a grade of D (50 percent) or better on the final examination. The weighting of the assignments is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1: Discussion Postings 10%
Assignment 2: Short Essay 20%
Assignment 3: Annotated Bibliography 10%
Assignment 4: Research Essay 25%
Final Exam 35%
Total 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 who 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.

Cochrane, C., Blidook, K., & Dyck, R. (2017). Canadian politics: Critical approaches (8th ed.). Nelson.

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


Bickerton, J., & Gagnon, A-G. (Eds.). (2019). Canadian politics (7th ed.). University of Toronto Press.

Other Materials

All other materials are available online.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you 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 about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the POLI 309 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 7, March 9, 2021.

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