• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science

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.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Essay 1 (1500 words) (25) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Essay 2 Topic Proposal, (500 words) (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Essay 2 (2500 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  4. Final Exam, take-home (25) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  5. Tutorial Participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 24 hours of lecture over 12 weeks;

b) 12 hours of tutorial over 12 weeks;

c) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

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.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2022 $4200
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $5700
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.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
7338 24 Jul 2023 31 Jul 2023 31 Aug 2023 27 Oct 2023 In Person View

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