module specification

GI5070 - Comparative Politics (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Comparative Politics
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
117 hours Guided independent study
33 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Research Essay 2000 words.
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

This module aims providing an intermediate level examination of comparative politics, one of the key sub-disciplines of political science, aims to:
• equip students with the analytical and conceptual skills  required for critical evaluation of comparative politics and its associated theories and models
• critically compare political, governmental and non-governmental concepts, structures and institutions both within and between states
• comparatively analyse politics, government and governance with reference to different actors and levels of government and governance
• develop the research and communication skills required for effective and informed presentation of knowledge, information and analysis by students in workshops, seminars and the summative report. The subject matter will aid the development of critical skills which are transferable to a variety of contexts, thus assisting employability prospects.

Prior learning requirements

Successful completion of level 4


Introduction: The nature of Comparative Politics; LO1
Approaches, Methods and Methodologies for the Comparative study of politics and government; LO1
Socio-Economic Development; LO2,LO4
Executives and Bureaucracies;LO2,LO4
Parties, Elections, Electoral Systems & Behaviour, Referendums;LO2,LO3,LO4
Social Movements, Protest and Revolution; 
Political Communication and Media;
Public Management;
Welfare and Regulatory States;
Regions and Regionalism;
Conclusion: Comparative Politics in the twenty-first century. LO3,LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module will be delivered through lectures, workshops and seminars. There will be a blended approach to learning so that contact time with academic staff is complemented by a range of on-line resources, particularly delivered by using Weblearn. As well as exploring the subject matter and concepts of comparative politics students will be encouraged to utilise methods applicable to the sub-discipline, and will be given advice to further develop effective written and oral communication skills. Employability is an ongoing theme throughout the module drawing on the transferable and practical skills gained through understanding of concepts, theories, institutions, and processes.
Teaching consists of a weekly one hour lecture followed by a one hour workshop and then a one hour tutorial. Lectures will involve a combination of taught lectures, workshops exploring particular themes of comparative politics, 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 potentially 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, governmental and non-governmental websites. All lectures are recorded to provide an additional resource for students on Weblearn

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.

Further skills development will form a central component of the module, including specific workshop sessions on research essay preparation and writing.

There will be one activity week 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 the research 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 comparative politics 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

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. demonstrate critical knowledge of comparative politics and cognate theories, models and approaches
2. provide empirically informed analysis of political, governmental and non-governmental behaviour, structures and institutions
3. comparatively analyse politics, government and governance with reference to different actors and levels of government and governance
4. present and defend their views and findings clearly and coherently in different, workshop, seminar discussion and research essay contexts.

Assessment strategy

Formative feedback will be provided in workshops and seminars and in feedback and advice office hours. The module has a single summative assessment. A 2000 word research essay chosen from a list of topics provided at the commencement of the module. The deadline is in week 12.


Core Reading
Caramani, Daniele (ed.) (2017) Comparative Politics, 4th edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hague, Rod and Harrop, Martin (2016) Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction,10th edition, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Morlino, Leonardo et al. (2017) Political Science: A Global Perspective, London: Sage.
Additional Reading
Bingham Powell, G. et al. (2012) Comparative Politics Today, 10th edition, London: Pearson.
Bovaird, T. & Loffler, E. (Eds.) (2015) Public Management and Governance, Third Edition, Abingdon: Routledge.
Daddow, Oliver, Jones, Bill and Norton, Philip (eds.) (2018) Politics UK, 9th edition, London: Routledge.
Gallagher, M. and  Mitchell, P. (2005) The Politics of Electoral Systems, Oxford: OUP, E-book.
Inglehart, R. and Welzel, C. (2005) Modernization, Cultural Change and Democracy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Leach, Robert and Lightfoot, Simon, (2018) The Politics and IR Companion, Second Edition, London: Palgrave.
McCann, Dermot (2018) The Political Economy of 21st Century Europe, London: Palgrave.
Zirakzadeh, C. (1997) Social Movements in Politics: A Comparative Study, London: Longman.
CIA World Fact Book
Civic Practices Network
Civitas International
Communist Party of China
Comparative Study of Election Systems
Conservative Party (UK)
Green Party (UK)
International Foundation for Electoral Systems
International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
Inter-Parliamentary Union
Partido Comunista de Cuba
Parties and Elections in Europe
Political Studies Association
Political Studies Association (EPOP Specialist Group)
Putnam, Robert D.
Scottish National Party
United Progressive Party (Antigua and Barbuda)
World Values Survey
Where possible, the current version of reading materials is used during the delivery of this module.  Comprehensive reading lists are provided to students in their handbooks.  Reading Lists will be updated annually.