PIR-20071 - U.S Government and Politics
Coordinator: Jonathan H Parker Room: CBB2.029 Tel: +44 1782 7 33547
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2022/23


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2022/23

The US is one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world today. Little aspect of politics, culture or public discussion does not touch on events in the U.S. in some way. There is much made of the 'special relationship' between the US and UK which suggests that the political systems have much in common. This assumption can be deceptive, as the two countries have almost polar opposite approaches to politics in the structure of their governmental institutions and rationale for the way they are organised. Presidents are nothing like prime ministers and the US system is not designed with the efficient pursuit of public policy in mind. Instead, it seeks to check and limit governmental power in an attempt to protect people's liberty.
This module analyses how the US government is structured and how it operates in practice. You will come away more able to fully understand the way in which complex issues play out in the US and why that policymaking seems so different from the UK.

1. To give students a basic introduction to US Government and politics to prepare them to take more advanced courses in US politics provided by the School.
2. To enable students to analyse the interrelationships between US political institutions, the electoral system, public opinion and the making of public policy.
3. To enable students to develop a critical perspective on the scholarly debates in the current literature and to develop their own perspectives on modern American politics.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Interpret and distinguish between different theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of US politics: 1,2
Acquire, assess, organise and engage with a variety of sources as a part of conducting research: 1,2
Effectively and fluently communicate complex arguments supported by the appropriate evidence in written form: 1,2
Analyse key problems in the US political system integrating theoretical concepts and empirical material: 1,2

Study hours

Lecture attendance - 10hours
Tutorial attendance - 10 hours
Preparation for tutorials - 40 hours
Research and Preparation for short essay - 20 hours
Research and Preparation for long essay - 70 hours

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Short Paper weighted 30%
Review Essay written as a take home test.
Students complete a 1000 word essay with a 24 hour time limit from when they are assigned questions.

2: Essay weighted 70%
A 2000 word essay based on the core themes of the module.