• Class Number 7358
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Shawn Treier
    • Dr Shawn Treier
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

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:

  1. a good working knowledge of the American political system and its institutions, public opinion and elections;
  2. ability to integrate evidence from different sources in order to generalise about American politics and behaviour;
  3. ability to explain the consequences of America’s unique design; and
  4. ability to explain how political attitudes and behaviour are affected by institutional arrangements.

Required Resources

Cal Jillson. 2021. American Government: Political Development and Institutional Change. 11th Edition. Routledge.

A few other readings (for example, from The Federalist Papers) are listed in the schedule. There will be other required readings each week, which will be available on Wattle and announced the previous week (or earlier).

We will also watch segments of the PBS documentary Vote for Me: Politics in America (1996), including the entirety of Part 4. The following links will be available through Wattle, but here are the transcripts for purposes of post-viewing study:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 (The Political Education of Maggie Lauterer)

The textbooks required in previous years will both be held on reserve at Chifley Library:

Ken Kollman.  2015.  The American Political System. Core 2ndEdition.  W.W. Norton & Company.

Samuel Kernell, Gary C. Jacobson, Thad Kousser and Lynn Vavreck.  2017. The Logic of American Politics, 8thedition. CQ Press.

The following older edition of the textbook is available as an Internet Resource from the ANU library

Cal Jillson. 2013. American Government: Political Development and Institutional Change. 7th Edition. Routledge.

Of course, a few things have changed about American politics in the last 8 years!

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  •  written comments, with occasional feedback to the whole class
  • verbal feedback is available through individual meeting.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

The information provided is a preliminary Class Outline. A finalised version will be available on Wattle and will be accessible after enrolling in this course. All updates, changes and further information will be uploaded on the course Wattle site and will not be updated on Programs and Courses throughout the semester. Any questions or concerns should be directed to the Course Convenor.

Appeals Procedures


If you genuinely believe you have received an inappropriate or incorrect result, there are steps you can take to have that result reviewed. This must be done within 30 working days of the formal notification of results. Your first point of contact should always be your tutor or the course convenor.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction; Constitution
2 Constitution and Bill of Rights
3 Federalism
4 Judiciary
5 Congress
6 Civil Rights Essay 1 due
7 Presidency and Bureaucracy
8 Public Opinion, 2016 and 2020 Elections Essay 2 Topic Proposal due
9 Presidential Elections and Electoral College
10 Congressional Elections (2018 and 2022)
11 Political Parties and Interest Groups
12 Political Polarisation Essay 2 due

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Essay 1 25 % 30/08/2021 30/09/2021 1, 2, 3, 4
Essay 2 Topic Proposal 10 % 01/10/2021 12/10/2021 1, 2, 3, 4
Essay 2 30 % 29/10/2021 19/11/2021 1, 2, 3, 4
Final Exam 25 % * * 1, 2, 3, 4
Tutorial Participation 10 % * * 1, 2, 3, 4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 30/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 30/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Essay 1

The student must write an essay (1000-1750 words). Guidelines for the essay will be issued at the beginning of the course. The essay is due Monday 30 August at 4pm.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 01/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 12/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Essay 2 Topic Proposal

Students will be required to submit a topic proposal for essay 2. It will identify which topic has been chosen from a pre-approved list, a preview of the policy issue considered, the data to be used, and the preliminary plan for the analysis. 500 words maximum. The Proposal is due Friday 1 October at 4pm.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 29/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 19/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Essay 2

The student must write an essay (2000-2500 words) explaining the failure or passage of an important policy recently in American politics. Guidelines for the essay will be issued early in the course, as will the list of the approved topics. Note, the Proposal of topic is due Friday 1 October, at 4pm (500 words). The essay is due Friday 29 October at 4pm. 

Assessment Task 4

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Final Exam

The final exam will consist of short answer and short essay questions and will be held during the examination period, scheduled by timetabling. The exam will be take-home.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Tutorial Participation

Participation is based on your involvement in group exercises and discussions during tutorial, based on the lectures of the week and/or assigned readings. There will be 11 Tutorials, with no meeting in week 1. Your worst two scores will be dropped. 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations. Where late submission is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be handed back in class (hard copy submission) or reported, with comments, on Wattle (online submission).

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Assignments may not be resubmitted. 

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Shawn Treier
02 6125 9687

Research Interests

Dr Shawn Treier

Wednesday 10:00 12:00
Dr Shawn Treier

Research Interests

Dr Shawn Treier

Wednesday 10:00 12:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions