• 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
    • Dr Shawn Treier
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2015
    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. Tuition fees are indexed annually. 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
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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
2740 16 Feb 2015 06 Mar 2015 31 Mar 2015 29 May 2015 In Person N/A

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