Political Science (POLI) 345
American Government and Politics (Revision 2)
In POLI 345, we explore US politics and political culture, the US Constitution and federalism, and the various participants in the American government, which include public opinion, public participation, media, political parties, campaigns and elections, and interest groups. We also explore the major institutions of the American government, which include Congress, the president, the bureaucracy, and the courts, specifically the United States Supreme Court. In the last part of the course, after becoming familiar with the operation of the American government and the various participants in the governmental system, we explore five specific outcomes or public policy areas of the American government: personal liberty, civil rights, the economy, social welfare, and national security.
When you have completed the course, you should be able to achieve the following course objectives:
- Identify, define, and explain key terms and concepts used in the study of democratic governance in the United States, including: federalism, separation of powers, checks and balances, liberalism, conservatism, gerrymandering, civil disobedience, filibusters, impeachment, executive privilege, veto, judicial review, judicial activism, judicial independence, separation of church and state, the right to privacy, equality of opportunity, segregation, and affirmative action.
- Compare and contrast democratic governance in the United States and Canada.
- Recognize and explain the complexities of the U.S. federal system and the interplay of the three branches of government at the national level.
- Apply knowledge of the structure and operation of the U.S. political system to elections, court decisions, and social conflict.
- Explain how an individual or group might attempt to affect public policy in the United States.
- Describe how and why politics and law affect daily life in the United States.
POLI 345 comprises the following 18 units:
Part I: Politics
- Unit 1: Politics
- Unit 2: Political Culture
Part II: Constitution
- Unit 3: The Constitution
- Unit 4: Federalism
Part III: Participants
- Unit 5: Opinion and Participation
- Unit 6: Mass Media
- Unit 7: Political Parties
- Unit 8: Campaigns and Elections
- Unit 9: Interest Groups
Part IV: Institutions
- Unit 10: Congress
- Unit 11: The President
- Unit 12: The Bureaucracy
- Unit 13: Courts
Part V: Outcomes
- Unit 14: Politics and Personal Liberty
- Unit 15: Politics and Civil Rights
- Unit 16: Politics and the Economy
- Unit 17: Politics and Social Welfare
- Unit 18: Politics and National Security
To receive credit for POLI 345, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least a D (50 percent). You must achieve a minimum grade of 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:
|Assignment 1 Two Telephone Quizzes||10%|
|Assignment 2 Analytic Thinking Exercise||10%|
|Assignment 3 Research Paper Proposal||15%|
|Assignment 4 Major Research Paper||30%|
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.
Gaddie, R. K., & Dye, T. R. (2017). Politics in America (11th ed.). New York: Pearson Education (Revel e-edition).
All of the course materials for POLI 345 are available online through the myAU portal.
Challenge for Credit Overview
The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, and intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.
Full information about the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.
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 2, July 11, 2018.
View previous syllabus