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AP United States Government & Politics (Intensive, NCAA Approved)

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Open to: Grades 9 - 12
Eligibility: Advanced CTY-level reading/verbal or math score required

Prerequisites: Completion of high school US History or equivalent

Course Format: Session Based. See calendar for session dates and application deadlines.

Course Length: 12 weeks (Winter, Early Summer, Mid-Summer)

Recommended School Credit: One academic year

Student Expectations: Students are strongly encouraged to work an average of 10-14 hours per week for intensive 12-week sessions with no breaks.

Course Code: IPUS

Course Description


US Government and Politics is the study of the United States national government's policies, institutions, and foundations.

Topics include:

  • constitutional theories forming the basis of government
  • political beliefs and behaviors
  • political parties, interest groups, and the mass media
  • the Congress, presidency, bureaucracy, and Federal court system
  • public policy
  • civil rights and civil liberties

This course gives students an analytical perspective on American government and politics that prepares them to take the AP US Government and Politics exam. It has been reviewed and approved by the College Board to use the "AP" designation.

This course has synchronous virtual class meetings and students may also schedule one-on-one virtual meetings directly with the instructor to answer questions or concerns. The instructor will schedule meeting dates/times at the start of the course. Meetings will be recorded for students who are unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts.

Virtual classrooms, and student activities in the classroom, may be recorded and added to the course as an ongoing asset for all class students to review. Students may be invited to interact in CTY community spaces that include students and instructors and potentially specially invited guests that are not enrolled in their course. Videos from YouTube or other web providers may be present in the course. Video recommendations or links provided at end of videos are generated by the video host provider and are not CTY recommendations. Student contributions (e.g., projects, forum posts, etc.) may remain in the course after the student completes the course. These artifacts may be preserved to showcase student work or to continue important conversations.

Materials Needed

There are no required materials for this course.

Detailed Course Information

Course Details

I. Constitutional Underpinnings

  • Britain and the Colonies
  • The Articles of Confederation
  • The Constitutional Convention
  • Checks and Balances
  • Federalism
  • Federalism through History
  • Three Democratic Systems of Government
  • The Pros and Cons of Federalism

II. Political Beliefs and Behaviors

  • An Introduction to Political Culture
  • What is Public Opinion?
  • Political Socialization
  • What is Public Opinion?
  • Translating Opinion into Action
  • The Importance of Participation
  • Organizing to Participate
  • Social Movements

III. Political Parties, Interest Groups and Mass Media

  • Political Parties and Their Functions
  • Party Structure
  • The American Two-Party System
  • A History of Political Parties in the U.S.
  • Regulating Organized Groups
  • Interest Groups and Their Impact on Politics
  • PAC Power
  • The Art of Lobbying
  • Interest Groups and Their Impact on Politics
  • Media Influence
  • Influencing Elections and Shaping Public Opinion

IV. Institutions of National Government

  • Checks and Balances
  • A Bicameral Legislative Body
  • Being President
  • The Federal Bureaucracy
  • Court Powers and Restraints
  • Controlling Extremes
  • Translating Public Opinion into Action!
  • Lobbying the President and Congress
  • Political Parties and Money
  • Media Influence
  • The Federal Trump Card: The Commerce Clause

V. Public Policy

  • Purpose and Policymaking
  • Policy Development
  • Managing the Economy
  • Promoting the General Welfare
  • Policymakers and Implementers
  • Federalism Today
  • Parties and Money
  • Interest Groups and Their Impact on Politics
  • Translating Opinion into Action
  • Voter Turnout
  • The Issues
  • The Media and Governance
  • Changing Public Policy

VI. Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

  • The Creation of Rights
  • Equal Protection Under the Law
  • Rights Revolution: The Expansion of Rights
  • Equality of Opportunity versus Equality of Results
  • The Individual in the Criminal Justice System
  • Slavery the Civil Rights Movement
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

Zoom online virtual classroom
This course uses an online virtual classroom which can be used for instructor-student communication if the student has any questions about the course or curriculum. The classroom works on standard computers with the Zoom desktop client and also tablets or handhelds that support the Zoom Mobile app. Students will need a computer with the Zoom desktop client installed to watch any recorded meetings. The Zoom desktop client and Zoom Mobile App are both available for free download.

This course uses Respondus LockDown Browser proctoring software for designated assessments. LockDown Browser is a client application that is installed to a local computer. Visit the Respondus website for system requirements.

While Chromebook can be used to progress through the course, all exams must be completed on a PC or Mac.