POLS-155: State and Local Government

Liberal Arts
Social Sciences
Political Science
Academic Level
Course Subject
Political Science
Course Number
Course Title
State and Local Government
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
Eligible to take ENG courses at HFC.
Catalog Course Description

Examines political institutions and processes in the fifty states, including their cultures and constitutions, as well as the public policies of state governments in areas such as education, social welfare, and the environment. Uses Michigan and Metropolitan Detroit as a basis for comparison to study state and local governments. This course is appropriate as a lead-in for those interested in the fields of political science, public administration, and criminal justice.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Core Course Topics
  1. Capacity of State and Local Government
  2. Federalism and the States
  3. State Constitutions
  4. Elections and Citizen Participation
  5. Parties, Interest Groups, and Campaigns
  6. State Legislatures
  7. Governors
  8. Public Administration and State and Local Bureaucracies
  9. State Judiciaries
  10. Community Political Systems
  11. Forms of Local Government
  12. State and Local Relations
  13. Taxing and Spending at the State and Local Level
  14. Economic Development
  15. Education Policy
  16. Criminal Justice Policy
  17. Social Welfare and Health Policy
Core Course Learning Objectives (Separated)
  1. Categorize state constitutions among the fifty states.
  2. Describe the models of judicial selection.
  3. Describe Federalism and the relationship between the states and the federal government.
  4. Compare and contrast the part-time legislature versus the professional legislature and its relationship with the executive branch of the state.
  5. Compare and contrast the powers of state governors.
  6. Describe city charters and different structures of local government.
  7. Describe bureaucratic politics in states and communities.
  8. Describe the politics of fiscal policy at the state and local level.
  9. Explain the development of policies for criminal justice, education, social welfare, and health at the state and local Level.
  10. Compare and contrast Michigan’s culture, policies, constitution, and governmental structure with other state and local governments.
  11. Compare and contrast the political and governmental relationship between the city and suburbs within major metropolitan areas (e.g. Metro Detroit).
  12. Explain the financing and activities of campaigns and political parties at the state level.
  13. Explain various economic development strategies used by states and local communities around the United States.

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement

Each instructor will identify and implement appropriate methods to assess the achievement of the learning objectives for the course.


Each instructor will choose an appropriate textbook for the course.


General Education Categories
  • Social Sciences
Institutional Outcomes
  • Civil Society and Culture - U.S. and Global
MTA Categories
  • Category 4: Social Sciences
Satisfies Wellness Requirement

Credit for Prior College-Level Learning

Other Details

Determined by department

Approval Dates

Effective Term
Winter 2022
ILT Approval Date
AALC Approval Date
Curriculum Committee Approval Date
Review Semester
Winter 2022