The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


This course will survey U.S. politics and international relations, with special attention to the interplay between domestic and international issues. It will cover the institutions and processes of U.S. politics with primary focus on foreign relations. Some of the major late 20th and early 21st century events in U.S. relations with the rest of the world will be used as examples and case studies, with special attention to their causes and their social and political impact. The enduring contradictions between ideals and power will be emphasized in the examination of covert action and other policies.

Workshops and readings will examine prominent concepts and theories that have been developed to explain why the U.S. political system operates as it does and why the U.S. behaves the way it does internationally. Frameworks, concepts, and theories are the basic components of political science, and students will learn about some of the most interesting and powerful explanations of U.S. politics and foreign policy decision making. Students should develop a firm grasp of both fact and theory in this module.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2019.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic institutional structure of the U.S. political system, with special focus on the federal executive and legislative institutions.

2. Demonstrate an understanding of how the political culture of the U.S. population has been characterized and how it differs from that of other developed democracies.

3. Demonstrate an understanding of how the patterns and recurring themes in U.S. domestic politics, especially regarding elections and interest groups.

4. Demonstrate an understanding of the connections between domestic politics and foreign policy in the United States.

5. Use a range of concepts and theoretical frameworks to analyze and explain major events of domestic politics and foreign policy, especially since 1945.

6. Critically analyse existing concepts and debates in political science about U.S. politics and foreign policy, such as the ability of voters to make meaningful choices, the role of the mass media, agenda setting dynamics in representative democracy, and the relative power of the federal executive.


The topics in this course include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Introduction to US Politics and International Relations
  2. The structure and culture of the American Political System
  3. Domestic politics and the popular surge of Right and Left
  4. The Presidency and presidential decisions
  5. State, Pentagon & C.I.A., is there a Deep State?
  6. Congressional roles in fund allocation, war powers, treaties, etc.
  7. Models of US policy making in foreign affairs
  8. Diplomacy, the international community, soft power
  9. Trade, finance, globalisation
  10. Military dimensions, power projection, geopolitics
  11. Porxy wars in Middle East, Afghanistan, Ukraine, etc.


This course has similarities to POLI3190. If you have successfully completed POLI3190 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

10 units in Politics at 1000 level or equivalent.

Assessment items

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Workshop engagement exercises and map exercise

Essay: Individual Essay

Presentation: Group Presentation

Formal Examination: Final Exam