• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Jeffrey Karp
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2014
    See Future Offerings

This course provides an introduction to U.S. political behaviour and institutions. We will discuss the design and rationale for the U.S. political system and the implications it has for both citizen involvement and governing. We will also examine how reforms to governmental institutions and processes influence the way citizens interact with government. Throughout the course we will make comparisons between the U.S. system and other democracies around the world.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Having successfully completed this course, students should have acquired the following skills:


1. Knowledge: a good working knowledge of the American political system and its institutions, public opinion and elections


2. Empirical: ability to integrate evidence from different sources in order to generalise about American politics and behaviour


3. Analysis: ability to explain the consequences of America’s unique design


4. Evaluation: ability to explain how political attitudes and behaviour are affected by institutional arrangements.

Indicative Assessment

Participation through online discussion forum (10%) [Learning Outcomes 1-4]

Seminar group presentation (10%) [Learning Outcomes 1-4]

One 2,000-2,500 word essay (40%) [Learning Outcomes 1-4]

Take home exam (40%) [Learning Outcomes 1-4]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Three hour workshop each week.  Students are expected to undertake 7 hours of independent study a week including reading and preparing essays.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have completed POLS2013 and POLS2013B

Prescribed Texts

Selected readings from:

Brunell, Thomas L. 2008. Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections are Bad for America. Routledge. (available as an ebook through the library)

Dahl, Robert A. 2002. How Democratic is the American Constitution? New Haven: Yale University Press.

Dalton, Russell J. 2008. The Good Citizen: How a Younger Generation is Reshaping American Politics. CQ Press.

Fiorina, Morris P. 2010. Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America. 3rd Edition. Longman Press.

Gelman, Andrew. 2008. Red State, Blue State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do. Princeton University Press.

Streb, Matthew J. 2008. Rethinking American Electoral Democracy. Routledge

Wattenberg, Martin P. 2008. Is Voting for Young People? Longman Press. 




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1164
2014 $2478
2013 $2472
2012 $2472
2011 $2424
2010 $2358
2009 $2286
2008 $2286
2007 $2286
2006 $2286
2005 $2286
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $2574
2014 $3246
2013 $3240
2012 $3240
2011 $3240
2010 $3240
2009 $3240
2008 $3240
2007 $3132
2006 $3132
2005 $3132
2004 $2916
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4578 17 Feb 2014 07 Mar 2014 31 Mar 2014 30 May 2014 In Person N/A

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