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 350
Course Title: Legislative Process
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Study of Congress, its structure, procedures, role, and impact in American Government. 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 textbook on Congress or legislative process covering all topics in the Topical Outline. Suggested texts are:

Congress Reconsidered
By Dodd and Oppenheimer (C Q Press)
Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process
By Oleszek, Walter (C Q Press)
Congress and Its Members
By Davidson (CQ Press)
The American Congress
By Smith, Roberts, and Wielen (Cambridge)
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Explain the historical development of the U.S. Congress and how the institution has evolved over time.
  2. Describe the process whereby members of the House and Senate are elected and critique those processes.
  3. Describe how committees, parties, leadership roles, interest groups, and informal groups such as caucuses affect Congresses behavior. 
  4. Explain the process of producing legislation from introduction to final passage.
  5. Describe the relationship between Congress and the other branches of government as well as between Congress and external entities such as interest groups and the media.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:

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

  • The Development of the American Legislature
    • Development of structures
    • Development of rules
    • Development of parties
  • The Election of Legislators
    • Typical winners
    • Districting and apportionment
    • Primaries and general election rues
    • Campaigning and fund-raising
  • Organization and Power
    • Leadership
    • Parties and other factions
    • Committees (structures, membership, responsibilities)
    • Legislative bureaucracy (Congressional Budget Office, Library of Congress, etc.)
    • Rules and norms of behavior
  • Congress and the President
    • President as legislator
    • Veto
    • Executive/Legislative cooperation and competition
  • Congress and the Courts
    • Judicial review
    • Courts as referee between executive and legislative branches
  • Congress and organized interests (lobbying, etc)
  • The legislative “game” (how a bill becomes a law)
  • The major criticisms of Congress

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 30

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 Karr Date: February 13, 2017
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 learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. 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