Skip to Content

Comparative Political Systems

Course Number: PS 204
Transcript Title: Comparative Political Systems
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: April 1, 2015
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: Yes
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0
Approved delivery mode: Face-to-Face, Hybrid, Online


WR 115, RD 115, MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores

Course Description

Covers the study of political systems in various countries. Includes such issues as policy-making, representation/participation, political culture, political economy and development and governance. Countries chosen will represent various political systems including, democracies, totalitarian regimes, dictatorships, post-communist systems in transition, newly industrializing and developing countries. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  1. Explore how culturally based assumptions shape any country’s perceptions, behaviors, and policies in relation to political systems in other countries.
  2. Examine historical cases for evolving political practices, including the roles played by political socialization, cultural norms, political institutions, and economic systems.
  3. Analyze how policies including issues of privilege and discrimination are impacted by diverse governmental decision making processes.
  4. Formulate and apply personal value judgments regarding social constructs and power relationships embedded in different political institutions and systems.
  5. Engage in lifelong learning that includes the ability to conceptually organize information while practicing ethical and social requirements of responsible global citizenship.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)


2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)


3. Apply the knowledge, skills and abilities to enter and succeed in a defined profession or advanced academic program. (Professional Competence)


4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)


5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Exams consisting of essay or other method that integrates and requires application of concepts, themes and issues in the course.
  • Written assignments such as papers, reviews, journals and other writing assignments that demonstrate understanding of content knowledge and appropriate application by students of content to clarification of their own views on political issues.
  • Oral presentations, summits, model-UN, discussions, debates, or role-playing that articulate views and values incorporating a comprehensive knowledge of appropriate concepts and issues.
  • Projects where students can identify resources that provide political information and can utilize these resources to evaluate the political process and identify participatory strategies.
  • Review and critique of political material from different media.
  • Use of standard research techniques and acceptable formats in written work and oral presentations.

Texts and Materials

Choice of texts is at the discretion of each course instructor. Some of the suggestions: McCormick, John. Comparative Politics in Transition, (current edition) Annual Editions, Comparative Politics (current issue) Dushkin Publishing

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Role of political socialization
  • Manifestation of political culture in class divisions
  • Sources of legitimacy
  • Participant, subject, and parochial culture
  • Structure/power of legislative branches
  • Constitutional powers
  • Electoral/party systems
  • Structure/power of executive
  • Selection and limits of executive
  • Judiciary independence
  • Adversarial/inquisitorial judiciary
  • Economic structures
  • Modernization/dependency theory

Competencies and Skills

Students should develop the following skills:

  • Support generalizations/arguments with examples or evidence.
  • Accurately articulates ideas in written and oral presentation.
  • Articulates original applications and synthesis of academic theories/frameworks, supporting them by citing valid sources.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of political system in written and oral work.
  • Critiques own assumptions and those of others, validating them with substantial thinking and application of appropriate arguments.
  • Use of standard research techniques and acceptable formats in written work and oral presentations.