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POLS630 - The Presidency: Institution and Performance

Course Details

Course Code: POLS630 Course ID: 3556 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course offers a perspective on the U.S. presidency that examines the institutional development while assessing the leadership behavior of office holders from George Washington through the present. Through reading, studying, and reflecting upon Presidential administrations and Presidential leadership styles, students will examine the development of the presidency and the role of the President in U.S. government and abroad.





Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
01/28/19 - 06/28/19 07/01/19 - 08/25/19 Summer 2019 Session B 8 Week session
04/29/19 - 10/04/19 10/07/19 - 12/01/19 Fall 2019 Session B 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

Course Objectives:

  1. Explain the historical evolution of the presidency.
  2. Examine the effects of the Progressive Era on the role of the president.
  3. Assess the power of the executive branch in relation to the legislative and judicial branches.
  4. Analyze presidential actions available to address a major policy issue.
  5. Judge whether the imperial presidency construct has been affected more by the actions of individual presidents or by growing US global prominence.
  6. Appraise the significance of the Vesting Clause in the Constitution.
  7. Critique presidential leadership in forming legislation.
  8. Generate an original hypothesis to explain relationships between presidential actions and historical events.

There are three evaluative components to this course: (1) eight Forum assignments (40% of total grade), (2) a mid-term essay exam (20%), (3) a research project (20%), and (4) a final essay exam (20%).

(1) Forums. There are eight weeks of forum discussion questions based on readings. For full credit and to facilitate the best learning environment please follow these guidelines.

Weekly Forum Guidelines:

  • You are expected to post an initial response to each forum question by 11:55 pm ET on Fridays. All Forums should be at least 500 words in length. Note: This is a guideline to help avoid last minute posts and optimal discussion.
  • You must post replies, of at least 150 words, to your fellow classmates by Sunday, 11:55 PM Eastern Time. See the forum rubric for details.

(2) Mid-term Essay Exam. In Week 4, a mid-term essay exam consisting of 2 questions will be assigned. The mid-term exam represents 20% of your grade. Access to the mid-term exam is limited to Week 4 only.

(3) Research Project: Alternative Explanation for Presidential Actions. At the end of Week 7 (11:55 pm ET), your research project is due. This project represents 20% of your grade. Several milestones will be announced throughout the course to keep you on track.

(4) Final Essay Exam. In Week 8, a final essay exam consisting of 2 questions will be assigned. The final exam represents 20% of your grade. Access to the final exam is limited to Week 8 only.

1. Milkis, Sidney M. and Michael Nelson. The American Presidency: Origins and Development, 1776-2011. CQ Press. 6th edition, 2011.

2. Fred I. Greenstein. The Presidential Difference: Leadership Style from FDR to Barak Obama. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 3rd edition, 2009.

3. Additional articles and journals assigned throughout the class.

Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Links provided inside the classroom in the Lessons section.
Author: No Author Specified

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.