module specification

GI5009S - Political Theory (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Political Theory
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
40 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
110 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Short essay
Coursework 60%   Long essay
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

To understand the relevance of political theory to politics and international relations
To understand the different approaches to justifying and criticising political action
To explore the development of political ideas and theories
To develop an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of current political issues
To encourage students to develop transferable skill in analysis of texts and ideas, articulation of arguments, and presentation of research findings, as well as academic reading and writing.


20th century: including  Isaiah Berlin andJohn Rawls and Robert Nozick;
Political movements including; feminism, nationalism and environmentalism. LO1,LO2,LO3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Each student has 3 contact hours per week over 15 weeks: a two-hour interactive lecture and one hour seminar.
During the teaching period students are expected to devote 9 hours per week to preparation and private study.
Discussion and debate is central to the module, hence, participation in lecture-time is encouraged as well as participative seminars.
Student presentations may be included in seminars.
Research and writing skills are encouraged through classes devoted to practising writing and feedback on writing, as well as the inclusion of writing tasks that are excluded from the final module classification.
Blended learning is achieved through the use of weblearn to suggest on-line resources and activities as well as providing sources for research and writing support, lecture notes, and feedback on assessments.
Employability is addressed through the development of analytical abilities, presentation skills, research and writing practice and encouragement of the ability to think and argue clearly.

Learning outcomes

1.  Understanding of the development of 20th century political concepts
2. Appreciation of the relevance of political theory to the study of politics and international relations
3. Ability to construct an argument using appropriate texts
4. Ability to present and defend an argument
5. Development of oral and written presentation skills


(Please note: No particular year of publication is given here as political theory texts and textbooks do not change significantly from one year to the next)


Norman Barry, Modern Political Theory,
David Bouchier and Paul Kelly eds Political Thinkers
Dryzek, Honig and Phillips, The Oxford Handbook of Political Theory,
Barbara Goodwin, Using Political Ideas,
Alan Haworth, Understanding the Political Philosophers
Andrew Heywood, Political Theory.


Paul Kelly, British Political Theory in the Twentieth Century,
Andrew Vincent, Political Theory
Nigel Warburton, Jon Pike and Derek Matravers, Reading Political Philosophy
Sheldon Wolin, Politics and Vision
John Rawls, A Theory of Justice
Isaiah Berlin,
Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State and Utopia
Valerie Bryson, Feminist  Political Theory
Adam Swift, Political Philosophy