Comparative Political Systems

Course Number: PS 204
Transcript Title: Comparative Political Systems
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: June 7, 2017
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


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

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. Compares countries that represent various political systems, including: democracies, totalitarian regimes, dictatorships, post-communist systems in transition, newly industrializing and developing countries. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Recognize 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. Organize information conceptually while practicing ethical and social requirements of responsible global citizenship.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

Not Addressed 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. 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

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

Lectures, discussion, group activities, service learning are some of the potential activities that instructors may use at their discretion in this course.

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.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of political system in written and oral work.
  • Critique 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.