Fall 2019 - POL 232 D100

US Politics (3)

Class Number: 7397

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    HCC 1425, Vancouver

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 12, 2019
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    HCC 1325, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    POL 100 or 101W or permission of the department.



An examination of the American political system, including the presidency, the congress, the courts, the bureaucracy and the party system. Students with credit for POL 332 may not complete this course for further credit. Breadth-Social Sciences.


This course will to help students to achieve a comprehensive and critical understanding of American politics in the contemporary era.

Discussion will cover the theoretical and historical underpinnings of American democracy, significant elements of its evolution over time, the functioning of its modern institutions, and the most serious challenges in American politics today. Major topics include American political concepts and culture; the role of parties; the institutions of the presidency, congress, and the courts, and the relationship between them; federalism; and the bureaucracy. It will also consider contemporary issues including the rise of populism, the debate around immigration, the role of money in politics, democracy and security, US international relations, and the evolving role of media and the internet on politics.

The three-hour class will include a mixture of lecture, group discussions, in-class assignments, and audio-visual content. At the conclusion of the course, students will understand the origins and subsequent evolution of politics in the American republic, and be able to describe and analyze the major challenges it faces today.


  • Participation 10%
  • Critical essay 15%
  • Midterm 20%
  • Major paper outline 5%
  • Major paper 25%
  • Final exam 25%



The course has one required textbook. Other readings available online.

Schmidt, Steffen et al. 2018. American Government and Politics Today, Brief. Cengage Learning.
ISBN: 9781337559706

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.
For details, see http://www.sfu.ca/politics/undergraduate/program/related_links.html and click on “Plagiarism and Intellectual Dishonesty” .

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html