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POL2022 : Government and Politics of the USA

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr James Bilsland
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 120 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


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
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00Present-in-person lecture
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Present-in-person seminar
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00Online synchronous Q&A drop-in surgery feedback hour with module leader
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1167:00167:00N/A
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 Examination901A50Unseen written exam - see rationale.
Digital Examination901A50OLAF Exam - Multiple Choice Paper
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 assessments available. The alternative assessment for the OLAF exam is a 24 hour take home exam with a word limit of 1,500 worth 40%. The alternative exam for the unseen written exam is a 48 hour take home exam with a word limit of 2,000 worth 60%.

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