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POLS497 - Senior Seminar in Political Science

Course Details

Course Code: POLS497 Course ID: 3771 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

Analyses of specific issues addressed at the national level that would include a review of American political institutions and decision-making; policymaking in the economic, social, and security arenas; instruments of foreign and defense policy; federalism and democratic political theories; and the electoral process. This capstone course will provide students with the opportunity to complete an approved academic research exercise that demonstrates their knowledge of their selected field of study. (Prerequisite: Completion of a minimum of 106 hours towards your program)

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
12/30/19 - 05/29/20 06/01/20 - 07/26/20 Spring 2020 Session D 8 Week session
01/27/20 - 07/03/20 07/06/20 - 08/30/20 Summer 2020 Session B 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

Course Objectives:
CO-1: Implement appropriate methods of research and analysis in the field of political science.
CO-2: Evaluate the political elements of representative democracy.
CO-3: Evaluate the Supreme Court and interpretation process of the Constitution.
CO-4: Analyze contemporary issues in public policy.
CO-5: Explain lobbying in the democratic process.

Grades for this course will be based upon eight grading instruments. There are eight weekly discussion questions that are provided in the forums. The student is expected to respond to the question and reply to at least three postings of other students. Each posting must be at least 350-500 words. The mid-term exam will consist of two short essay questions. The final grading instrument will be a 15-25 page (4000-6500 words) research paper. The grade scale for each of the evaluations is provided below:

Grade Instruments: % of final grade
Forum Discussions 30%
Mid-Term Exam 20%
Research Paper 50%

Submission of Assignments:
Unless otherwise noted, all assignments are due by Sunday evening at 11:55 p.m. ET (Eastern Time) as outlined in the course outline below. Any assignments submitted late will receive a late penalty of 5% each day, unless the student contacts the instructor ahead of time about an extenuating situation and receives permission to submit work after the established course deadline. Repeated late submissions may result in failure of the course.

Though there is no single time all students must be signed into the course, this class is not an independent study course. Students will work through each week together. The forum is a weekly assignment that will allow all students to engage with others in the course in an academic and scholarly dialogue of the week’s topic. Students will post one well developed response to the instructor’s prompt for the week and reply to posts left by other students in order for the assignment to be considered complete. See the rubric for more details on scoring.

Keep in mind these tips for success:
1) Posting the minimum requirements guarantee a passing grade of a C or higher (A, B, or C). Please do not expect scores of 100% simply because minimum expectations were met regardless of the quality of work. Students are expected to be engaged in the discussion throughout the week. Posting all in one sitting does not show engagement, nor does posting at the end of the week. Every student should have the main response posted in the forum by each Friday of the week no later than 11:55 pm ET.
2) Quality and content will also be taken into consideration. Engaging in an active dialogue with other students means more than a limited exchange of a few words, but rather posting conversations that further the debate for all sides. Postings that give peer review, praise, or add simple agreement without explanation are not counted towards the assignment minimum.
3) Students should always follow up to posts that ask for clarification or more information regarding their original posts.
4) Always include the resources used and use correct citation rules. This includes in text documentation as well as a listing of sources used.
5) Posting opinions and antidotal evidence are not prohibited in your replies to classmates, but it does not offer any substantive or scholarly evidential support. Also, double check your supporting facts with a second source. Wikipedia and other encyclopedia sources do not serve as academic sources.
6) Posts are insightful, well-thought out, considerate of other points-of-view, reflective of high levels of critical thinking.

NameGrade %
Forums 30.00 %
Forum Week 1 3.75 %
Forum Week 2 3.75 %
Forum Week 3 3.75 %
Forum Week 4 3.75 %
Forum Week 5 3.75 %
Forum Week 6 3.75 %
Forum Week 7 3.75 %
Forum Week 8 3.75 %
Research Paper 30.00 %
Assignment Week 8 - Research Paper 30.00 %
Assignments 20.00 %
Week 4 Assignment 10.00 %
Week 6 Assignment 10.00 %
Quiz 20.00 %
PolSci Review 20.00 %

Assigned readings provided in the course outline.

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.