Comparative Government

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PSC 201

       Course Name: Comparative Government

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course presents functional aspects and governmental structures of a variety of political systems. Content includes totalitarian, democratic, and mixed forms of government as seen against a backdrop of current issues of world politics. IAI S5 905

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Identify and describe various political systems; e.g., democracy, communism, socialism.
  2. Evaluate how closely the implementation of these systems approximates their theoretical descriptions.
  3. Analyze and explain basic functions crucial to the maintenance of all political systems e.g., political socialization, communications to and from the government, and procedures for leadership replacement.
  4. Evaluate the performance of various political systems against the backdrop of world politics.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Government: A Preliminary Survey
    1. Government and politics
    2. The nature of politics
    3. The political process
    4. Authority
    5. Comparative Government
  2. The Government of Great Britain
    1. Political Development: History and Society
    2. The Political Process
      1. Political parties
      2. Elections and voting
      3. The parties in the House of Commons
      4. Interest groups
    3. Political Institutions
      1. The Monarchy
      2. The House of Commons
      3. The Prime Minister
      4. The Cabinet
      5. The Civil Service
      6. The Judiciary
    4. Public Policy Issues
  3. The Government of France
    1. Political Development: History and Society
    2. The Political Process
      1. Interest groups and the political system
      2. Political parties
      3. Elections and voting
    3. Political Institutions
      1. The Presidency of the Republic
      2. President, Prime Minister, and Government
      3. The Legislature
      4. Executive Legislative relations
  4. The Government of West Germany
    1. Political Development: History and Society
    2. The Political Process
      1. The civic culture
      2. Political parties
      3. Interest groups
      4. Elections and voting
    3. Political Institutions
      1. The Federal Government
      2. The President
      3. The Bundestag
      4. The Bureaucracy and federalism
      5. The legal system and the judiciary
    4. Public Policy Issues
  5. The Government of the Soviet Union and Russia
    1. Political Development: History and Society
    2. Marxism‑Leninism
    3. The Political Process
      1. Party leadership
      2. Party functions
      3. Party membership
      4. Party organization
      5. Political socialization
      6. Elections
      7. Conformity, apathy, and alienation
    4. Governmental Institutions
      1. The Soviet constitution
      2. The Soviets
      3. The governmental structure
      4. The Ministries
      5. The bureaucracy
    5. Russian after the Break up of the Soviet Union
      1. Political developments
      2. Economic developments
  6. The Government of China
    1. Political Development: History and Society
    2. Marxism Moaism
    3. The Political Process
      1. Party Leadership
      2. Party membership
      3. Political socialization
    4. Government Institutions
      1. The governmental structure
      2. The bureaucracy
    5. China since the death of Mao
      1. Political Developments
      2. Economic Developments
  7. The Third World
    1. Historical Background
    2. Nation building
      1. The principle of nationalism
      2. Varieties of political cultures
      3. Varieties of political orientations
      4. Varieties of political structures
    3. Economic Development
      1. Impact of colonization
      2. Opportunities and obstacles

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Classes will include a variety of instructional methods such as: lectures, in class discussions, group activities, document and film analysis, and the use of new technologies. 

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to:

  1. Read a standard textbook and research materials.
  2. Write outside of class the equivalent of 12‑14 double‑spaced typed pages in the form of a term paper, summaries of journal articles, short research papers, and/or other kinds of writing.
  3. Participate in in-class and out-of-class activities.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

The most current editions of the following texts are being used:

Almond, Gabriel, Comparative Politics Today,
Roskin, Michael, Countries and Concepts,

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments.

Students will also be evaluated on a combination of written assignments and in- and out-of- class assignments.

XI.   Other Course Information

Support Services: Tutoring is available in the Learning Center.

Important Dates: *

XX/XX:    Last day to withdraw and have course dropped from record
XX/XX:    Last day to change to Audit
XX/XX:    Last day for students to submit materials to make up incomplete from the previous semester
XX/XX:    Last day to withdraw from classes with a "W"

*These dates differ for each semester. You'll find the correct dates on the Academic Calendar.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.