US Government I

Course Number: PS 201
Transcript Title: US Government I
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: August 15, 2019
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0


MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121.

Course Description

Examines the development of constitutional traditions in the United States. Includes topics such as the Bill of Rights, interest groups, parties, and elections, as well as, national institutions including the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of government. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

  1. Apply an understanding of diversity of human experience and culture in relationship to how we think and interact with others with regards to interest groups, political parties and other political realities in the United States.
  2. Employ different methods of inquiry and analytical skills to conceptually organize experiences and discern meaning from ongoing study of U. S. Constitutional traditions involving national political institutions, including the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of U. S. Government.
  3. Analyze the roles of individuals and political institutions as these relate to contemporary problems and issues associated with the Bill of Rights, and equal rights under the law, and other political issues.
  4. Reason quantitatively and qualitatively in both written and oral communication to address national problems within US national political institutions.
  5. Develop and articulate personal value judgments, respecting different points of view, while practicing ethical and social requirements of responsible citizenship by participating in elections, accessing the various government institutions, and engaging in other opportunities for action in a democratic society.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

Major 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. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)


4. Use an understanding of cultural differences to constructively address issues that arise in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)


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

To establish an intentional learning environment, Core Learning Outcomes (CLOs) require a clear definition of instructional strategies, evidence of recurrent instruction, and employment of several assessment modes.

Major Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed recurrently in the curriculum, regularly enough to establish a thorough understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a thorough understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Minor Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed adequately in the curriculum, establishing fundamental understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a fundamental understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Tests, research papers, discussion, quizzes, homework, group projects, and other forms of assessment all may be used for this course at the instructor's discretion.

Course Activities and Design

The determination of teaching strategies used in the delivery of outcomes is generally left to the discretion of the instructor. Here are some strategies that you might consider when designing your course: lecture, small group/forum discussion, flipped classroom, dyads, oral presentation, role play, simulation scenarios, group projects, service learning projects, hands-on lab, peer review/workshops, cooperative learning (jigsaw, fishbowl), inquiry based instruction, differentiated instruction (learning centers), graphic organizers, etc.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, and Issues

  1. Constitutional government
  2. Elitist and pluralist theories
  3. How federalism works and its implications for national/state relations
  4. Rights and responsibilities associated with the Bill of Rights and the major court decisions that have affected these rights.
  5. Current Supreme Court cases related to this portion of the course
  6. Equal Rights under the law, Due Process, 14th Amendment
  7. The consequences of the Patriot Act
  8. Major elements of American political culture, political socialization
  9. The role of interest groups, money and the media in politics
  10. Impact of new campaign finance laws, voting problems
  11. How political parties are organized and how they operate in the US
  12. How public opinion and political participation are manifested in this country
  13. The major elements of campaigning and elections
  14. Add relevant videos

Competencies and Skills

Students should develop the following skills:

  1. Support generalizations/arguments with examples or evidence.
  2. Accurately articulate ideas in written and oral presentation.
  3. Articulate original applications and synthesis of academic theories/frameworks, supporting them by citing valid sources.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of political system in written and oral work.
  5. Critique own assumptions and those of others, validating them with substantial thinking and application of appropriate arguments.
  6. Use of standard research techniques and acceptable formats in written work and oral presentations.