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POL2022 : Government and Politics of the USA

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr James Bilsland
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


There are two main aims for this course. First, to develop a well-informed, critical and conceptually sophisticated understanding of US government and politics. Second, to foster an improved grasp of the discipline of politics, especially the concepts, models, theories and methods appropriate to the study of US politics.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics covered may include: 1. Background: History, Culture, Society, 2. The Constitution of the United States, 3. Federalism and the States, 4. The President, 5. The Congress, 6. The Supreme Court, 7. Elections & Voting, 8. Interest Groups, 9. The Media & Politics, 10. Foreign Policy.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1156:00156:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials221:0022:00Recorded, non-synchronous; personal capture (PCap) videos;
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Present in person seminar
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery111:0011:00Present in person Q&A Office Feedback Hour with Module Leader
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures focus on political and academic debates concerning American politics. Small group teaching seeks to deepen students' engagement with the subject matter, to provide opportunities for questions, and to facilitate learning through debate and discussion. The drop in surgery allows students to ask staff further questions. Guided independent study encourages deeper reflection on key issues in US politics.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination991A10048 hour take home exam
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The module employs a mix of assessment methods to allow the student to demonstrate their overall level of attainment in relation to intended learning outcomes for this module. The multiple choice exam tests relevant factual knowledge. The student's grasp of specific issues in American politics, and ability to discuss them in a relevant, knowledgeable, critical and coherent manner under time constraint, are tested in the unseen examination.

Feedback will be provided to students in a number of ways. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions during seminars. They will also be able to receive feedback during feedback hours.

If the public health situation deteriorates and in person exams cannot take place, then POL2022 has alternative assessment available. The alternative assessment is a 48 hour take home exam with a word limit of 3,000, worth 100%.

Mock multiple choice exam questions will be posted on Canvas to give students an opportunity to experience and practice answering the types of question they will be asked on the OLAF multiple choice exam.

Reading Lists