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POLS 2050 (formerly POLS 3010) Syllabus

Course Syllabus

POLS 2050 (formerly POLS 3010) - Comparative Politics

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course is an introduction to the sub-field of comparative politics. Comparative politics examines the world’s different political systems by comparing and contrasting different aspects of them. This process of comparison and contrast is meant to lead to formation of generalizations which can used to understand a wide range of political phenomena.

Course Outcomes:

By the end of this course you will have an understanding of:

  •  Various terms used in comparative political science such as political systems, regimes, governments, states, and ideologies; 
  • The major aspects of liberal democratic and non-democratic ideologies;
  • The major political economic features of democratic and authoritarian regimes;
  • The political history, key institutions, political cultures, political parties, interest groups, political issues, cleavages, and the major political conflicts of seven contemporary political systems: The United Kingdom, Japan, the Soviet Union, post-Soviet Russia, China, India, and Iran; 
  • Some understanding of the relationship between a) political ideologies and political regimes, and b) political regimes and economic systems in the seven political systems explored in the course; and,
  • Politics as the struggle to balance freedom and equality. 
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:


Course Topics:

Key topics covered in this course include the following:

  • states
  • nations and societies
  • political economy
  •  authoritarianism and totalitarianism
  • democracy
  • ideologies
  • globalization
  • political violence
Specific Course Requirements:

Aside from general computer literacy and a desire to enhance our understanding of the world by reading, discussing, and writing about social and political issues of central importance in today's world, there are no specific requirements for this course.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:
Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

There will be several quizzes, a mid-term examination, and a final examination during the semester. During most weeks, students will also be required to participate in the online discussion forum. More information will be provided about these assignments during the weeks when they are due.

Grading Procedures:

The assignments for this course account for a total of 1000 points, which are distributed as follows:

  • Participation in Discussion Forums: 100 points
  • Quizzes: 500 points
  • Mid-term Examination: 150 points
  • Final Examination: 250 points

The mid-term will consist of essay questions, and the final exam will be multiple-choice questions covering the entire semester. The quizzes will also consist of multiple-choice questions.

Grading Scale:
900-1000 pointsA
800-899 pointsB
700-799 pointsC
600-699 pointsD
0-599 pointsF


Assignments and Projects:

Class Schedule (readings and assignments):

See Module III (Schedule) for more information.

Class Participation:

Online participation, aside from required discussion forum posts, is highly recommended but entirely optional. It has no bearing on your grade for this course.

Late Policy:

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on July 26, 2018