POLS-155: State and Local Government

Liberal Arts
Political Science & Comm Ldrsh
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
ENG-079 eligible
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. Politics in States and Communities
  2. Democracy and Constitutionalism in the States
  3. States, Communities, and American Federalism
  4. Participation in State Politics
  5. Parties and Campaigns in the States
  6. Legislators in State Politics
  7. Legislators in State Politics
  8. Bureaucratic Politics in States and Communities
  9. State Court Systems and Criminal Justice
  10. Community Political Systems
  11. Participation in Community Politics
  12. Metropolitics: Relationships within Metropolitan Areas
  13. Community Power and Land Use Control
  14. The Politics of Education, Welfare, Health, and Environment
  15. The Politics of Fiscal Policy at the State and Local Level
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, health, and environment 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.

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.


Politics in States and Communities, 11th edition (2003), by Thomas R. Dye and Susan A. MacManus. Prentice Hall Publishing.

Credit for Prior College-Level Learning

Options for Credit for Prior College-Level Learning
Other Details

Determined by department

Approval Dates

Effective Term
Winter 2014
ILT Approval Date
AALC Approval Date
Curriculum Committee Approval Date