American Government and Politics

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The course offers a theoretical and empirical introduction to the US political system with topics emphasizing the constitution, separation of powers, federalism, cleavages, party system, political participation, and economic policy. Students will acquire basic knowledge on and understanding of the organization and operations of the political system of the United States.

Learning Outcomes

A candidate who has completed his or her qualification should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


  • Define and explain important aspects of the constitution, federalism, political institutions, political behavior, interest groups, party systems, and public policies.


  • Discuss the content of the Constitution.
  • Demonstrate how the Constitution facilitates and constrains political behavior, how the constitution governs the interaction between the states and the federal government, and between the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary.

General competence

  • Critically analyze and evaluate the complexity of the political world in United States, explain patterns of political behavior, and discuss political outcomes.
  • Engage in a discussion of how policies are the result of individual goals, institutional rules and collective action.
  • Reconstruct how decisions and actions in the past influence political actors and outcomes today.

Semester of Instruction

Autumn - irregular
Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Total credit reduction with SAMPOL112 and SAMPOL217
Access to the Course
The course is open for students at the University of Bergen who fulfill the general admission requirements.
Teaching and learning methods

Hours per week: 2

Number of weeks: minimum 10

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Forms of Assessment

Take home exam, 10 hours

The exam will be given in the language in which the course is taught.

The exam can be submitted in English, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish.

Grading Scale
Grading A-F
Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester.

Re-take exams are arranged for students with valid absence according to § 5-5 of the Study Regulations at UiB. If a retake exam are arranged for students with valid absence, students with the following results can also register:

  • Interruption during the exam
  • Fail/Not passed

If you qualify for the retake exam and a retake exam is arranged for students with valid absence, you can register yourself in Studentweb after January 15.

Course Evaluation
All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.