PLS 101 - Intro to American Politics

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the study of politics and political institutions in America. Emphasis is given to the constitutional framework, federalism, political participation, the role of the media in the political process, the electoral system, American political parties, the presidency, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the bureaucracy. Civil rights and civil liberties are a theme throughout. This course includes an examination of the politics of race, ethnicity, and cultural diversity in America. Group 1 course.

Credit Hours


Contact Hours


Lecture Hours


Recommended Prerequisites or Skills Competencies

Placement into ENG 111/11

General Education Outcomes supported by this course

Communications - Direct, Critical Thinking - Direct

Other college designations supported by this course

Degree Req:Cultural Persp/Div, Infused: Writing Intensive

Course Learning Outcomes

  • Describe major institutions of the American political system: presidency, Congress, judiciary, and bureaucracy.
  • Describe the historical development of founding (Declaration Constitution).
  • Describe political parties and electoral systems.
  • Describe the roles of interest groups and other forms of political participation.
  • Describe the election process; campaigns, and money.
  • Compare/contrast American political culture to other political cultures.
  • Critically analyze US policy formulation and implementation.
  • Analyze how political bargaining is shaped by institutions, individuals, and American political culture.
  • Judge the success of public policy in areas such as civil rights, civil liberties, education, immigration, and health care.
  • Judge the fairness of the American political system.
  • Apply course concepts to analyze impacts of public policies; federal, state and local.
Human Dimension:
  • Appreciate the ways in which individuals are impacted by public policy.
  • Discuss the ways in which human beings are political creatures.
  • Recognize that through acting in concert with others they can and will change political systems.
Caring - Civic Learning:
  • Appreciate the need to be actively involved to benefit their own lives and the lives of others.
Learning How to Learn:
  • Use their understanding of the history of the American political system to make predictions about future developments.
  • Analyze political issues to participate civically in real-life applications.