POL 101

Introduction to American Government and Politics

4 Undergraduate credits
Effective May 3, 2016 – Present

Graduation requirements this course fulfills

This course introduces students to the structure of American government, the core ideas and values that underlie it, and approaches to effective civic engagement. Through reading, class exercises, and case studies students gain an understanding of how American political institutions function and how to engage in meaningful political action.

Learning outcomes


  • Can compare and contrast various perspectives on civil rights and liberties, the role of government, social and individual rights.
  • Can critically reflect on one's own values as a citizen and participant in public life.
  • Understands the constitutional foundations and basic structure of American government.
  • Understands the processes of American democracy: elections, political parties, interest groups and civic organizations.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 5: History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
  • Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
  • Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
  • Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.

Goal 9: Ethical and Civic Responsibility

  • Examine, articulate, and apply their own ethical views.
  • Understand and apply core concepts (e.g. politics, rights and obligations, justice, liberty) to specific issues.
  • Analyze and reflect on the ethical dimensions of legal, social, and scientific issues.
  • Recognize the diversity of political motivations and interests of others.
  • Identify ways to exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.