Introduction to Political Science

Humanities & Social Sciences
Political Science
Course Code
POLI 1101
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered


Course Description
This course provides an introductory overview of the nature of politics and government, how to create good governments, and how best to structure political institutions (and limit their powers). The course examines basic political concepts, theories and ideologies, institutions of government, and the structures and processes of politics and policy-making. The course also prepares students for further study in political science by providing conceptual and analytical tools appropriate to the field.
Course Content

1. Introduction: basic concepts such as politics, government, power, influence, coercion, state, authority, civil society, and democracy, and the rudimentary methods of political science will be discussed.


2. Ideas and politics: great political thinkers will be explored in the context of the development of mass political ideas and ideologies such as liberalism, conservatism, socialism, environmentalism, and feminism.


3. State and government: the role and functions of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches will be explained, and various political regimes such as democratic and authoritarian governments will be explored.


4. Political processes: the role and evolution of electoral systems, interest groups, and political parties will be reviewed and assessed.


5. Governing and policy-making: the function of the civil service and the role of other decisional actors in terms of policy formulation and implementation will be explored.

Methods Of Instruction

Instructor presentation of the course will involve the use of formal lectures, structured group work, and in-class discussion of assigned materials. Additional readings may be assigned for each course unit and placed on library reserve or via selected websites. Audio-visual and interactive materials may be used.

Means of Assessment

The course evaluation will be based on course objectives and in accordance with the policies of Douglas College and the Department of Political Science. A minimum of 40% of the student’s course grade will be assigned to examinations, a minimum of 30% will be assigned to the various components of a formal research essay, and a maximum of 30% will be based upon components such as quizzes, short essays, participation, and class presentations. Specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor in course outlines.


One example of an evaluation system:


Quizzes                                           10%

Participation                                     10%

Mid-term exam                                 25%

Term essay                                      30%

Final exam                                       25%

                                Total:              100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Identify various areas of specialization in political science and the general scope and methods of the discipline at an introductory level;


2. Define selected concepts such as government, law, power, democracy, state, society, freedom, and equality;


3. Explain the basic features of political ideologies such as liberalism, conservatism, and socialism;


4. Identify and describe the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government;


5. Explain basic political processes such as elections and interest articulation, aggregation, and communication;


6. Pursue further studies in subfields such as political theory, Canadian government, international relations and world politics, comparative politics, and American government, among others.

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:


Textbooks and readers will be selected based on instructor expertise and preference, and in consultation with the Department of Political Science. There are a range of textbooks and readers that can fulfill course objectives. Some examples include:


Dyck, Rand. Studying Politics: An Introduction to Political Science. Third edition (Toronto: Nelson, 2008).


Johnston, Larry. Politics: An Introduction to the Modern Democratic State. Third edition (Toronto:

     University of Toronto Press, 2009).


Mintz, Eric, David Close, and Osvaldo Croci. Politics, Power and the Common Good: An Introduction

     to Political Science. Third edition (Toronto: Pearson Canada, 2012).



No prerequisite courses.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

Institution Transfer Details Effective Dates
Athabasca University (AU) AU POLI 2XX (3) 2012/05/01 to -
Camosun College (CAMO) CAMO PSC 105 (3) 2013/01/01 to -
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU POL 100 (3) 2004/09/01 to -
Coast Mountain College (CMTN) CMTN POLI 101 (3) 2004/09/01 to -
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR POLI 100 (3) 2012/05/01 to -
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU POLI 1125 (3) 2004/09/01 to -
Langara College (LANG) LANG POLI 1100 (3) 2004/09/01 to -
LaSalle College Vancouver (LCV) LCV GE 240 (3) 2012/05/01 to -
Okanagan College (OC) OC POLI 101 (3) 2009/05/01 to -
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU POL 100 (3) 2004/09/01 to -
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU POLI 1210 (3) 2010/09/01 to -
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU POLI 121 (3) 2004/09/01 to 2010/08/31
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU POLS 101 (3) 2004/09/01 to 2018/12/31
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU POLS 1XX (3) 2019/01/01 to -
University Canada West (UCW) UCW POLI 102 (3) 2012/05/01 to -
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO POLI 1st (3) 2005/05/01 to -
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV POLI 2nd (3) 2004/09/01 to 2012/04/30
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV POLI 100 (3) 2012/05/01 to -
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC POLS 100 (3) 2004/09/01 to -
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV POSC 1XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2006/12/31
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV POSC 100 (3) 2007/01/01 to -
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC POLI 1XX (1.5) 2004/09/01 to 2012/04/30
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC POLI 103 (1.5) 2012/05/01 to -
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU POLI 100 (3) 2012/05/01 to -
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU POLI 1st (3) 2004/09/01 to 2012/04/30

Course Offerings

Fall 2021

There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.