Introduction to American Politics

Second year module

Lecturer: Robert Watt

This module provides students with an introduction to the nature of the U.S. political system. 

The course examines the political philosophy underpinning the formation of the American Republic. It then examines the key Federal institutions of this system and how they interact with one another. The course also examines the role of political parties, pressure groups, the media and foreign policy. Finally, the role of the individual states is examined through the concept of Federalism.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module the student should be able to: 

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key institutions of US politics.
  • Provide a critical understanding of the dynamic and unique nature of US politics.
  • Realise the centrality of the US Constitution in US political processes.
  • Understand the key role that Federalism plays in the dynamics of US politics.


  • 2 x 2000 word assessed essays (30% each)
  • 2 hour examination (40%)