Introduction to Political Science

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
POLI 1101
Introduction to Political Science
Political Science
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 2 hrs. per week/semester Seminar: 2 hrs. per week/semester
Method Of Instruction
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.

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.

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.

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%

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).

Which Prerequisite

POLI 2200, 2201, 2209, and 2210