AP® U.S. Government and Politics

Course Description

Advanced Placement® Government and Politics is single-semester course worth one-half credit in Social Studies. The purposes of this course are to increase understanding of the U.S. political system, its framework, traditions and values and enable each student to pass the AP® Exam.  This course is concerned with the nature of the American political system, its development over the past two hundred years, and how it works today in the 21st century.  We will examine in detail the principle processes and institutions through which the political system functions, as well as some of the public policies that these institutions have established and how these policies are implemented.

Advanced Placement (AP®) courses are equivalent to college-level courses. We highly recommend that you read the College Board’s AP® U.S Government and Politics Course Overview before beginning this course.

Course Objectives

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe and compare important facts, concepts, and theories pertaining to U.S. government and politics.
  • Explain typical patterns of political processes and behavior and their consequences (including the components of political behavior, the principles used to explain or justify various government structures and procedures, and the political effects of these structures and procedures).
  • Interpret basic data relevant to U.S. government and politics (including data presented in charts, tables, and other formats).
  • Critically analyze relevant theories and concepts, apply them appropriately.

Required Course Materials

  • Notebook
  • free online textbook at cnx.org, OpenStax at Rice University
    (directions for downloading this text are on the Course Materials page)

Course Organization

This one- semester course consists of:

  • 5 Units with 3-5 lessons each
  • 16 Graded Assignments
  • 1 final exam (taken in-person)

You must take and pass the final exam to receive credit for the course. After taking the final exam, you may take the AP® U.S. Government and Politics exam offered by the College Board, but it is not required to receive credit for the course from UT High School.

Final Examination

The final examination is comprehensive; it covers the material from all of the units. To pass the course, you must receive a grade of 70 percent or better. You can apply to take the final exam after 100 percent of your graded assignments have been submitted, and at least 70 percent have been graded and returned to you.

Time Allowed: 3 hours

Semester Topics

  1. Constitutional Democracy
  2. Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
  3. American Political Culture and Beliefs
  4. Political Participation
  5. The Institutions of Government: Interaction Among the Branches