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Course Objectives

  • To assist students in formulating their personal philosophies as citizens.
  • To provide information and perspectives that will assist students in understanding and evaluating important current events and issues, especially those that involve constitutional issues.
  • To satisfy the mandate of the Utah State Legislature that "A student shall demonstrate a reasonable understanding of the history, principles, form of government, and economic system of the United States prior to receiving a bachelor's degree or teaching credential."


The organizing theme used to provide continuity for this course is the U.S. Constitution--its origins, its evolution, and its impact in today's world. Using the Constitution as a focal point, students will gain an understanding of basic governmental and economic principles and institutions in the United States. The course will also include extensive discussion of current events.


  • USU 1300: U.S. Institutions This text was designed specifically for this course and is available at the USU Bookstore.
  • To Destroy You is No Loss . A true account of the atrocities committed by the Kymer Rouge in Cambodia during the 1970s.  Available at the USU Bookstore and at

Tips for Success

  • Attend class every period. This is not a course where you can read the text and skip class. Much of the material to be covered is not found in any of the readings. In particular, examinations and quizzes will include questions on current events discussed in class.
  • Complete Reading Assignments. The assignment should be read before you come to class on the day that it is assigned. This will assist you in understanding the material presented in class.
  • Use the Lecture Notes. Download the lecture notes found on the course web site. Then use a word processor to spread out the material so that there is space for you to write between the lines of text. Print the pages out and use them for taking notes in class. The advantage will be that you can write less and listen better.
  • Ask Questions. A lot of material will be covered in the course and we will move rapidly, but there is always time to stop and answers questions. Don't be afraid to ask. If you don't want to ask in or after class, use the on-line office hours. I will respond as quickly as possible.
  • Do Your Own Work. Cheating on examinations will result in a failing grade for the course.
  • Relax. USU 1300 is intended to be an interesting, useful, and enjoyable experience for students. Although I do have the responsibility for grading you, I am not your adversary. My primary goal is to help you learn the material and have a positive experience as you start your college career.
Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . factpetersen. (2007, October 12). Syllabus. Retrieved January 08, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License