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American Politics (POLS30030)

Undergraduate level 3Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 3
Subject codePOLS30030
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject examines the key actors, ideas, interests and institutions in USA politics, including the Constitution, the President, Congress, the bureaucracy, political parties and ideologies, the courts, elections, the federal system, interest groups, the policy making process and political culture. It includes an examination of theoretical debates about the nature of US democracy, key controversies in US political history, such as the civil rights movement, as well as contemporary political debates and developments, such as the role of religion in US politics and the issue of political polarisation.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject students should:

  • Be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of the key institutional arrangements and actors of the American political system, in particular the three branches of US federal government: the Congress, the President and the Supreme Court;
  • Be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of the key issues that shape American politics;
  • Be able to demonstrate an understanding of the Constitution of the United States and how far it bounds American political discourse;
  • Be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of how the American political system as a whole responds and adapts to social, cultural, and security challenges, including the differing roles of the various major political institutions.

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

Politics and International Studies at Levels 1 & 2

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


Additional details

  • A research essay of 2000 words (50%) due mid-semester.
  • A 2000 word take-home exam (50%) due during the examination period.
  • Hurdle requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject. Regular participation in tutorials is required.
  • Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10 marks per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Dates & times

  • Semester 2
    Principal coordinatorAdam Hannah
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours30 contact hours per semester. 2 x one hour lectures and 1 x one hour tutorial per week for 10 weeks. The lecture and tutorial programs are staggered and cover the 12 weeks of semester.
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period29 July 2019 to 27 October 2019
    Last self-enrol date 9 August 2019
    Census date31 August 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail27 September 2019
    Assessment period ends22 November 2019

    Semester 2 contact information

Time commitment details

Total of 170 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Readings will be provided online through the subject's LMS site prior to the commencement of semester.

  • Subject notes

    This subject is available as Breadth to non-Bachelor of Arts students.

  • Breadth options
  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 11 October 2019