Skip to main content

Search Bar Icon Close Menu

Master Syllabus

Print this Syllabus « Return to Previous Page

Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: POSC 340
Course Title: Judicial Process
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Study of the state and federal court systems and the impact those systems have on American politics and society. Prerequisite: POSC 111.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

POSC 111.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered Odd Spring.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Any current edition of a text on judicial process covering all topics in the Topical Outline. Suggested texts:

Introduction to the Law and the Legal System
By Schubert, Frank A. (Houghton Mifflin)
Judicial Process in America
By Karp and Stidham (Congressional Quarterly Press)
Judicial Process: Law, Courts, and Politics in the United States
By Neubauer and Meinhold (Thompson/Wadsworth)
Course Objectives
  • To understand the structure and functions of the American court system on both the national and state levels.
  • To understand the role of judges, lawyers and litigants.
  • To understand trial and appellate processes.
  • To understand the types of American law and the role of law in the American political and legal system.
  • To understand the structure, processes and power of the U.S. Supreme Court and the impact that Court has had in America’s historical development.
    Measurable Learning

  • Describe and explain the development of the various types of American law.
  • Describe the structure of both state and national court systems.
  • Explain the basic processes for trials and appeals.
  • Explain the basic rules of evidence used by civil and criminal trial courts.
  • Describe the legal profession and the various ways judges are selected.
  • Describe the historical development of the U.S. Supreme Court and the procedures it employs.
  • Evaluate the role of courts in American society.

    Topical Outline:

    Note: A significant writing component is required for this course. The requirement may be satisfied by requiring students to submit a single type-written paper of twelve pages in length, properly cited, or by multiple assignments of equivalent length.

  • Law - Types of law - Theories of law - Sources of American law
  • Court structure and organization - Typical structure of state courts - Structure of U.S. Article III courts - Structure of U.S. “specialized” courts
  • The legal profession - American Bar Association role in school accreditation - Becoming an attorney - State bar requirements
  • The selection of judges - Appointment - Election - Missouri Bar Plan
  • Basic trial procedures - Criminal trials and rules of evidence - Civil trials and rules of evidence - Discovery
  • Appellate Procedure
  • The U.S. Supreme Court - Historical development - Judicial Review - Power and influence


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: David Roebuck Date: August 5, 2014
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

    Office of Academic Affairs


    Request info