module specification

GI4008S - Politics and Government (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Politics and Government
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 70%   1,800 word essay
Coursework 30%   Seminar assessment
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

This module gives students an introduction to the main ideas underlying the study of study of government with reference to case studies including the United Kingdom.

Module aims

The module aims to provide a foundation for the understanding of government:

• It introduces students to the methods and methodologies appropriate to the study of government including comparative methodology.
• Mastering this subject matter will aid the development of critical skills which are transferable to a variety of contexts, thus assisting employability prospects.


Methods and methodologies for the study of government, Comparative Methodology, Institutions and structures of government, The policy process, Comparative government with appropriate case studies including the United Kingdom. Employability for students of government.

Learning and teaching

Teaching consists of a weekly two hour lecture followed by a one hour tutorial. Lectures will involve a combination of taught lectures, videos, skills workshops, and the use of primary and secondary documents and websites. During the module seminars will combine a variety of methods including discussion based on pre-set questions and role plays. Blended Learning will be a key component of the module, building on existing face-to-face contact time via a virtual environment, and offering additional resources for students to develop further their subject knowledge and skills. Lecture notes and primary and secondary documents for use in class will be posted on line, as will web links for academic and governmental websites, as well as video links.  Some recorded material by the module convenor may also be made available on line.

Materials for use in class will be posted at least one week in advance on line to allow students to reflect on the subject and prepare. Questions for class discussion will be available from the beginning of the module via the Module Booklet available on weblearn, which will include a list of resources students can use to answer the questions and study the subject in greater depth.

Skills development will form a central component of the module, including specific sessions on essay preparation and writing, complimenting skills workshops featured on other Level Four modules provided by PIR.

There will be one activity weeks which also form part of the syllabus, allowing further skills development and subject-specific study.

The transferable employability skills students should have developed include:

  • The ability to communicate effectively in speech (the ability to work under pressure in seminars, where students must demonstrate the ability to respond to questions orally) and writing (for example, writing an essay using commonly accepted standards of definition, analysis, grammatical prose, and documentation);
  • Research skills, including the ability to synthesise and analyse arguments, to read and understand texts on international relations, and to exercise critical judgement;
  • The capacity to work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management, as well as co-operating with other students to achieve common goals.

Learning outcomes

The ability to understand the nature and range of what is political:

To understand the workings of government as a core element of the political, with reference to relevant case studies including Britain

In broader terms, students will develop an understanding of the contested and problematic character of inquiry in this, as in any, discipline. This is a key employability skill.

Assessment strategy

One formative piece of work is required for this module.

This is a short paper, of up to 500 words, succinctly stating the key principles and claims of one of the major political ideologies explored in the first 8 weeks of the module. This will be commented on by the module tutor in order to identify key strengths and areas for improvements in writing skills (in relation to the written assignment which is one part of the summative assessment – see below) and subject awareness and understanding. The short paper will be submitted on line.

A summative assessment involving an essay, 1,800 words long due in week 14. The essay will provide students with the opportunity to submit a major piece of work of their choosing on a key topic covered in the first half of the module. This will enable students to build on the formative writing exercise and to develop further many of the employability skills introduced during the module, reflecting on what they have learnt and making use of constructive feedback.

A second component of summative assessment will be seminar assessment. There are two aspects to this assessment. Students will be required to deliver a short presentation to their seminar group, drawing from a list of topics provided by their tutor. Secondly, students will be graded for their general participation in and contribution to seminar discussion over the course of module


Axford, Barrie, et al. (2002) Politics: An Introduction, London, Routledge.
Hague, Rod and Harrop, Martin (2016 – latest ed.) Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction, edition, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.
Heywood, Andrew (2004) Political Theory: An Introduction, 3rd edition, Basingstoke, Palgrave.
Jones, Bill and Norton, Philip (eds.) (2010) Politics UK, 7th edition, Harlow, Pearson Education.
Budge, Ian(2007) The New British Politics, 4th edition, Harlow, Pearson Longman.