• Class Number 7338
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Shawn Treier
    • Dr Shawn Treier
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
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. 2023. American Government: Political Development and Institutional Change. 12th 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.  2017.  The American Political System. Core 3rd Edition.  W.W. Norton & Company. Also on reserve: 2nd edition 2014 election update.

Samuel Kernell, Gary C. Jacobson, Thad Kousser and Lynn Vavreck.  2018. The Logic of American Politics, 8thedition. CQ Press. Also on reserve: 7th edition (2016) and 6th edition (2014).

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

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 Congress: Electoral Connection Essay 1 due
7 Civil Rights
8 Presidency and Bureaucracy Essay 2 Topic Proposal due
9 Public Opinion, Political Parties, and Interest Groups
10 Presidential Elections and Electoral College
11 Political Polarisation
12 Conclusion: State of American Democracy Essay 2 due 

Tutorial Registration

Register for tutorial on MyTimetable.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Essay 1 25 % 31/08/2023 28/09/2023 1, 2, 3, 4
Essay 2 Topic Proposal 10 % 29/09/2023 13/10/2023 1, 2, 3, 4
Essay 2 30 % 27/10/2023 19/11/2023 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 Integrity 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 Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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: 31/08/2023
Return of Assessment: 28/09/2023
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 Thursday 31 August at 4pm.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 29/09/2023
Return of Assessment: 13/10/2023
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 topic proposal is due Friday 29 September at 4pm.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 27/10/2023
Return of Assessment: 19/11/2023
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 topic proposal is due Friday 29 September, at 4pm (500 words). The essay is due Friday 27 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. No late submission are accepted. If the final exam is submitted late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

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 10 Tutorials, with no meeting in weeks 1 and 12. Your worst two scores will be dropped. 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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) 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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

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. Extensions may be granted 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

By Appointment
Dr Shawn Treier

Research Interests

Dr Shawn Treier

By Appointment

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