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Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: LSTD300 Course ID: 4189 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

This undergraduate course is the study of the work of administrative agencies in the executive branch of the United States government with some additional material on administrative agencies in state and local governments. Administrative law and policy touches virtually every person in the United States virtually every day of the year. It is the administrative agencies that fill in the "details" of government policy. Indeed, administrative agencies are so important and so powerful that they are frequently referred to as the "fourth branch of government. "This course will examine the position that agencies occupy in our constitutional system of government by carefully detailing the respective roles of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. The course will be mainly concerned with administrative procedure (i.e., agency rulemaking and adjudication, agency investigations, agency sanctions) but because it is almost impossible to distinguish between substance and procedure, the procedural elements of administrative law will be illustrated and discussed in the context of a specific agency action--e.g., the Environmental Protection Agency's actions on carbon emissions and global warming. The course will analyze the work of the "independent regulatory commissions" as well as those agencies that are completely under the control of the President of the United States. Both the legislative and judicial branches of our government have a large impact on administrative law, so the actions of Congress in creating and watching over the agencies and the actions of the courts in adhering to the rule of law for agency action ("judicial review of agency action") will be vital components of the course.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/30/20 - 04/30/21 05/03/21 - 06/27/21 Spring 2021 Session I 8 Week session
01/25/21 - 07/02/21 07/05/21 - 08/29/21 Summer 2021 Session B 8 Week session
03/29/21 - 09/03/21 09/06/21 - 10/31/21 Summer 2021 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

1. Examine how and why agencies are created by Congress;

2. Effectively analyze the workings of particular administrative agencies by understanding the basic legal principles that affect all agencies;

3. Identify and apply the procedural vehicles used by agencies for making agency policy, including agency investigations and subpoenas, agency rulemaking and agency adjudication;

4. Extrapolate the important elements of judicial review of agency action and appreciate why so many agency actions are taken to court and the manner in which courts assess agency action; and

5. Interpret the impact of substantive agency work in specific cases involving such vital issues as global warming, coping with terrorism, ensuring public health and safety.

The grading will be based on assignments including weekly Forum postings, a case essay, a research paper, and an open book midterm and final examination.

1. Assignments: There will be several assignments during the course. They are selected to provide the student with hands on experience in applying the law and theories being discussed.

2. Research Paper: Each student will prepare and submit an 8-10 page research paper on a topic of administrative law, of their choice, with instructor approval. Students will select the topic by the end of Week 2 and turn in the paper by the end of Week 7. Students MUST have a topic approved or they may not get credit for their paper.

For the research paper students will be graded using a Rubric. This will help with understanding what constitutes the grade assigned to each paper. A copy of the Rubric can be found in the Assignment. Note that all papers will be reviewed by Turnitin. Students should look at this report! It is a tool for students as well as the instructor.

3. Exams: The Midterm and Final examinations cover selected sections of the textbook and assigned reading. They will consist of True/False, multiple choice, fill in the blank, and essays and will be open book. Please coordinate with the professor for any special arrangements.

4. Weekly Forums due during the course count as 25% of the final grade.

Questions and topics posed in the Forums are designed to promote thought and insight. Students must provide a critical review of the questions, topics and issues posed and substantively reply to the contributions of at least three peers. Individual postings should include a full discussion of the content of the question posed and explain how it relates to the concepts in the weekly text readings and other resources. The postings should be analytic in nature and include comparisons/contrasts, and examples that can bolster your point. The Forum is for your benefit and it is important to respond to the discussion topic and to engage others in a running dialogue.

Your initial post should be made by Wednesday this week. You should then respond to 3 or more posts. Note that at least one response to your classmates must be made before Sunday. If you make all of your responsive posts on Sunday, you will not earn full points for timeliness.

This can be accomplished by

· Validating with additional evidence from the literature.

· Posing a thoughtful question with commentary which generates further discussion.

· Providing an alternative point-of-view, with evidence and examples.

· Offering additional insight into how the concept might be understood, with evidence provided with real world examples.

You should be active in the classroom throughout the week and actively engaged in the back-and-forth discussion between your colleagues and the professor.

The forum grading rubric can be found in gradebook by clicking on the forum entry.

5. Grades: See link in the classroom. Under “APUS Policies,” click on “Grading Policy” for detailed information.

NameGrade %
Final Exam 20.00 %
Final Exam 20.00 %
Forums 24.00 %
Week 1 4.00 %
Week 2 4.00 %
Week 3 4.00 %
Week 5 4.00 %
Week 6 4.00 %
Week 7 4.00 %
Research Paper 25.00 %
Week 7 - RESEARCH PAPER 25.00 %
Case Brief 10.00 %
Week 5 - Supreme Court Case Essay 10.00 %
Introduction Forum 1.00 %
Intro 1.00 %
Midterm Exam 20.00 %
Midterm 20.00 %
Extra Credit 3.00 %
Extra Credit 3.00 %

Additional Resources:

*Recommended, but not required: The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, 20th ed., (2015).

The bluebook can be accessed through APUS at The APUS Library has a number of seats for students to use the bluebook concurrently. Students should click on the link then enter their APUS login information. Once the session is complete, click on the orange "release seat" button in the top righthand corner.


In addition to the required course text the following public domain Websites are useful. Please abide by the university’s academic honesty policy when using Internet sources as well. Note web site addresses are subject to change.

Site Name

Website URL/Address

Oyez Supreme Court website

ABA Administrative Law Section

Administrative Law Review

Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.*

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.