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Political Institutions of the United States

Module Code: PO3150

Module Name: Political Institutions of the United States 2018-19

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Michaelmas Term
  • Contact Hours: 2 lectures per week; 1 tutorial per fortnight
  • 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
  • Demonstrate strong understanding of the US electoral system
  • Show a good understanding of the organization and ideological underpinnings of the two main American parties

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 Congressional electoral campaign taking place during the term students should become familiarized with examples of how these institutions and processes interact.

Module Content

The module will introduce the students to the main institutions of the American political system: Presidency, Congress, Judiciary. In the process we will learn about the way in which the members of these institutions are selected, the functions played by each of these institutions, and the way in which they interact under the checks and balances system of the United States. Special attention will be given to the historical development of these relationships.

Additionally the module will cover other important aspects of the institutional structure of the US, such as the Constitution, the federal system, and the party system.

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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.

Assessment Details

One essay, counting 25%

One 90 minute exam, counting 75%.


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