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Government and Politics of the USA

Module Code: PO3650

Module Name: Government and politics of the USA 2017-18

  • ECTS Weighting: 10
  • Semester/Term Taught: Michaelmas + Hilary Term
  • Contact Hours: 2 lectures per week; 1 tutorial per forthnight
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Dr Emanuel Coman

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • show strong knowledge of the American political institutions and the way in which they interact in the process of policy making
  • familiarize themselves with the history of the US political system
  • become aware of the main contentious policy debates that have dominated contemporary US political discourse
  • demonstrate strong understanding of the US electoral process
  • critically assess the US Presidential election campaign
  • analyse basic data pertaining to US politics.

Module Learning Aims

By the end of this module students should obtain a critical understanding and comprehensive knowledge of the government and politics in the US, as well as the processes through which policy making takes place. Through discussions of current and past events and a close following of the electoral campaign taking place during our first term students should become familiarized with examples of how these institutions and processes interact.


Module Content

In the first term we will focus on the institutional architecture, its historical development and change. We will also spend some time discussing the news related to the presidential and congressional elections taking place in autumn 2016.

In the second term, we will focus primarily on the policy making process in areas such as foreign policy, defence, immigration, the environment, women rights etc.

Recommended Reading List

David McKay: American Politics and Society. John Wiley and Sons 2013 eighth edition.

Bowles, Nigel, and Robert K. McMahon. Government and politics of the United States. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

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Assessment Details

Two essays counting for a total of 25%, plus a three hour examination counting for 75%.

PO365B & PO365C:

  • Attendance and participation: 10%
  • 2 essays: 90%

PO365B and PO365C students do not sit an examination.

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Last updated 29 August 2017 polsci@tcd.ie.