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Module

POL2022 : Government and Politics of the USA

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr James Bilsland
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

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

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1137:00137:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials181:0018:00Recorded, non-synchronous; personal capture (PCap) videos;
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities93:0027:00Annotated readings
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Synchronous (present in person for estates purposes for semester 2 only)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time91:009:00Synchronous; Q&A Office Feedback Hour with Module Leader
Total200:00
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. Structured, guided learning activities include annotated readings to encourage deeper reflection on key issues in US politics.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M10072 hour timed essay and skills assessment. 3500 words.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay2MOptional 1500-word essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The timed essay consists of two parts. The first part is composed of a series of short answer questions. These test relevant factual knowledge and the student’s understanding of the basics of the US political system. The second part is composed of two longer essay type answers. These test the student's grasp of specific issues in American politics, and their ability to discuss them in a relevant, knowledgeable, critical and coherent manner under time constraint.

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 any student wishes to receive additional feedback, they will have the opportunity to submit an optional 1,500 word essay which will be returned with a mark and detailed written feedback. Although this mark will not contribute to the final grade, it will allow the student to more comprehensively understand their progress.

Reading Lists

Timetable