Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POC2005: American Politics

This module descriptor refers to the 2022/3 academic year.

Please note that this module is only delivered on the Penryn Campus.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

1. The US Constitution

      Its origins and the compromises that allowed its passage

2. US Federalism

The history of the federal system, how it has evolved, and why it is fundamental to understanding US politics

3. Ideology and Public Opinion

      US political culture and how this manifests itself in public opinion over time.

      Debates about polarization and its consequences

4. Political Parties

      Reasons for the two party system, party competition, role of party identification

5. Voting and Elections

       Recent national elections, voter turnout, understanding vote choice

6. Congress I

      Congressional campaigns and elections

7. Congress II

      How Congress is organized; congressional committees

8. Congress III

     Congress and the presidency; divided government

9. Presidency

      The powers of the presidency

      Presidential approval and its effects

      The “two presidencies” thesis

10. The Supreme Court

       Principle of judicial review

       Activism versus restraint

       The contemporary Court

11. Public Policy

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and teaching activity 11Lectures
Scheduled Learning and teaching activity 11Seminars
Guided Independent study44About 4 hours per week reading and preparing
Guided Independent study29Group project. Around 20 hours researching, 4 hours planning, 5 hours writing.
Guided Independent study55Preparation for summative essay

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).