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Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: LSTD510 Course ID: 3850 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course provides the student with a theoretical foundation in Constitutional law. The Constitution divides power. In particular, it apportions authority along three main dimensions: between the state and federal governments; among the branches of the federal government; and between, on the one hand, all levels of government and, on the other hand, individuals. The vast majority of live constitutional questions concern a conflict along one or more of these axes. Students will study issues of policy, principle, philosophy, and constitutional implications by focusing on construction and application. This graduate course will explore advanced principles, doctrines and controversies regarding the structure of and division of powers in American government. Specific topics include judicial review, jurisdiction, standing to sue, federalism, federal and state powers and immunities, the separation of powers among the branches of the federal government, the First Amendment, and the Equal Protection Clause.

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 completing this course, the Student will be able to:

1. Distinguish the development of Constitutional Law in the areas of judicial, legislative, and executive powers;

2. Analyze the separation of powers, federalism, national and state regulation of commerce, and property rights;

3. Assess the role of the judiciary by examining landmark constitutional decisions;

4. Appraise the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution; and

5. Analyze a recent Supreme Court case.

Forums: There will be nine Forum assignments (Introduction = 1% and the eight Forums = 3% each for a total of 25 %).

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.

Research Paper Topic Approval: At the end of Week 2 each student will turn in their research paper topic (5% of final grade) for approval. Details of the assignment can be found under “Assignments.”

Case Brief: At the end of Week 4 each student will turn in a completed case brief (10% of final grade). Details on how to brief a case can be found under “Assignments.” Students are given the option to brief any of the Supreme Court cases they are assigned for reading during the course.

Literature Review: At the end of Week 6, in preparation for the final research assignment each student will turn in a literature review (15% of final grade) of the scholarly research they will be using for their research paper. Details of the assignment can be found under “Assignments.”

Research Paper: At the end of Week 8 each student will turn in a 10-15 page research paper (45% of final grade) on a controversial Constitutional Law topic. Details of the assignment can be found under “Assignments.”

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

NameGrade %
Introduction Forum 1.00 %
Introduction 1.00 %
Forums 39.00 %
Week 1 4.88 %
Week 2 4.88 %
Week 3 4.88 %
Week 4 4.88 %
Week 5 4.88 %
Week 6 4.88 %
Week 7 4.88 %
Week 8 4.88 %
Case Brief 10.00 %
Case Brief- Week #4 10.00 %
Research Paper Approval 5.00 %
Research Paper Proposal-Week#2 5.00 %
Research Paper 45.00 %
Research Paper - Week#8 45.00 %

1., The National Constitution Center

2., The

3. Various selected readings made available in the Classroom Lessons section under Reading and Resources.

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


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 Media

Supreme Court Website

Wall Street Journal

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.