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
114 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   2000 word research essay
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 providing an intermediate level examination of comparative politics - one of the key sub-disciplines of Political Science - and 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. It is an optional module at intermediate level for the BA International Relations and Politics degree course.

Prior learning requirements


Available for Study Abroad.


Introduction: The nature of Comparative Politics;

Approaches, Methods and Methodologies for the Comparative study of politics and government;

Executives and Bureaucracies;

Parties, Elections, Electoral Systems & Behaviour, Referendums;

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.

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 seminar. 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 such as in seminars 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. (LO 1,2,3,4) The deadline is in week 13.