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POL 305 Elections and Political Parties

This course uses the current campaign as the basis for studying voter behavior, polling, the impact and role of the media, political parties, and general election strategy on behavior. Special emphasis is placed on the role of race, class and gender in shaping political participation. Campaign involvement is encouraged.


Special information

Note: Offered only in the fall of election (even-numbered) years.

Learning outcomes


  • Understand and critically evaluate the components of the U.S. election system at an upper division college level.
  • Apply and evaluate social science data relevant to understanding specific campaigns and the U.S. election system more generally.
  • Evaluate contending ideas about the fairness and democratic efficacy of contemporary electoral practices at an upper division college level.
  • Reflect on one's own values in relationship to political candidates and political party principles.
  • Write essays and case studies that are clear, well organized and demonstrate critical thinking and analytic abilities consistent with upper division college standards.

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.