Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

CCOG for PS 201 Winter 2024

View archive version »
Course Number:
PS 201
Course Title:
U.S. Government
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

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, the national institutions including the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of government. PS 201, PS 202, and PS 203 can be taken in sequence. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Credits from this course qualify for general education purposes at Portland Community College and may be applied toward satisfying Associates Degrees at Portland Community College .
Courses with three digit numbers may be transferable to four year colleges and universities. Students should consult with a PCC Academic Advisor and/or other institutions regarding transferability and application of credit to other institutions.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Articulate the diversity of human experience and culture in relationship to how individuals think and interact with others in interest groups, political parties and other political realities in the United States.
  2. Organize information in conceptual frameworks using different methods of inquiry and analytical skills in order to 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. Articulate personal value judgments while 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.

Social Inquiry and Analysis

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to apply methods of inquiry and analysis to examine social contexts and the diversity of human thought and experience.

General education philosophy statement

(Gen Ed) Philosophy Statement Political science is fundamental to helping students understand and act as more effective and empowered citizens. We contribute to the college and the wider community by examining critical questions about power and by preparing our students to be better citizens across the globe. Political science offers a variety of diverse approaches to the college and is strongly grounded in the sub-fields of American and Comparative Politics, International Relations and Political Theory. Our mission is to support educated and empowered students and to foster deep understandings of complex global and local issues. Our goal is to teach critical thinking and to expose students to the complex and diverse world that we live in.

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, 14 th 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

  1. Students should develop the following skills:
  2. Support generalizations/arguments with examples or evidence
  3. Accurately articulates ideas in written and oral presentation
  4. Articulates original applications and synthesis of academic theories/frameworks, supporting them by citing valid sources.
  5. Demonstrates knowledge of political system in written and oral work
  6. Critiques own assumptions and those of others, validating them with substantial thinking and application of appropriate arguments.
  7. Use of standard research techniques and acceptable formats in written work and oral presentations

Approved Texts:
Choice of texts is at the discretion of each course instructor. However, successful past offerings of this course and a desire to have some continuity of pedagogy among the faculty has encouraged the adoption of the following text—thereby encouraging students to complete the entire PS 201,202, 203 sequence using the same textbook.
Edwards, Wattenberg, Lineberry . Government In America, People, Politics and Policy, 12 th edition or later. (Pearson/Longman)
Faculty Qualifications:
Minimum of an M.A. in Political Science with graduate coursework, teaching experience, or field work directly related to this specific course. Consultation with full-time continuous contract Political Science SACC faculty regarding part-time faculty hiring decisions is expected as a matter of basic professional courtesy.