This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.
Limited places are also open for exchange students.
Please note: this course takes place in The Hague. Traveling from Leiden to The Hague takes about 45 minutes.
This course examines political institutions and democracy in North America. It discusses constitutional structures, electoral arrangements, and political parties, with a view to assessing the scope and effectiveness of democracy. While the course concentrates on the recent past, a historical overview furnishes essential context. Most of the course deals with the United States, but discussion of Canada and Mexico provides a comparative element.
Students get an overview of the historical and contemporary political developments/dynamics in their chosen area and deepen their existing knowledge and understanding of different political systems, political institutions, political processes and actors in the different regions/countries of the region, using the concepts acquired during the course Politics.
Students get acquainted with academic debates on selected topics in the specific region.
Students learn how to write a literature review (2500 words).
Students critically engage with advanced academic texts (summarise, analyse and critically reflect on the validity of the arguments made in these texts).
Students apply theories, concepts and research techniques relevant to the field of comparative politics.
The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.
Mode of instruction
Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover issues both inside and outside the readings.
Tutorials are held once every three weeks, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform your tutor in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. Being absent without notification and valid reason or not being present at half or more of the tutorial sessions will mean your assignments will not be assessed, and result in a 1.0 for the tutorial (30% of the final grade).
Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:
Attending lectures: 24 hours
Attending tutorials: 8 hours
Assessment hours (midterm and final exam): 4 hours
Study of compulsory literature: (approximately 7 pages per hour): 64 hours
Time for completing assignments, preparation classes and exams: 40 hours
Midterm exam: written examination with open questions.
Final exam: written examination with open questions.
To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:
The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of tutorial, midterm exam and final exam.
The weighted average of the midterm exam and final exam needs to be 5.5 or higher.
If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), or the weighted average of midterm- and final exams is lower than 5.5, there is a possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier midterm and final exam grades. No resit for the tutorial is possible.
Please note that if the resit exam grade is lower than 5.5, you will not pass the course, regardless of the tutorial grade.
Retaking a passing grade
Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2017 – 2018.
How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.
- Cal Jillson, American Government: Political Development and Institutional Change, 9th Edition (Routledge, 2018).
Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis can be found here.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number and tutorial group number.