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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PIED1110 Comparative Politics

20 creditsClass Size: 400

Module manager: Dr Kris Dunn/Dr Christos Vrakopoulous

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Comparative politics involves two separate yet integrated components: it compares the nature of politics and processes across different political systems, and it studies how and why we make these comparisons. As such, this course is organized along both theoretical and substantive lines, taking advantage of case studies to provide context and example.This course is designed to introduce major concepts and issues in the comparative study of politics and government. By the end of the course, students will 1) understand the value in comparing political behaviour and institutions; 2) understand the logic of comparative political analysis - how social and political scientists create and test theories about political life; 3) be familiar with the basic varieties of political institutions, processes, and political cultures in the world; and 4) possess a basic understanding of how and why some political systems are more democratic than others.As the introduction to quantitative data for all first-year students, enabling them to understand and use secondary data analysis as part of the programme's Q-Step initiative, the lectures and seminars will include specific reference to the logic of such analysis, as well as using tabular and graphical analysis in developing students’ understanding of how to use empirical evidence. This will provide sufficient grounding for those wishing to move on to the Q-Step ‘quantitative methods' pathway in the second year, as well. Please note that lectures for this module will continue to be delivered online in 2022/23.


1. To provide students with an awareness of the variety of political systems that exist across the globe.
2. To explore similarities among and differences between various political systems.
3. To cultivate methodological and analytical skills of comparison.
4. To introduce students to quantitative data through tabular and graphical content, and develop familiarity and competence in using these to inform their understanding.

Learning outcomes
1. Knowledge of the general features of various political systems across the globe.
2. Awareness of similarities among and differences between those systems.
3. Knowledge of analytical and comparative techniques, including quantitative approaches
On completion of this module students should be able to develop reasoned arguments, extract and synthesise relevant information, exercise critical judgement, manage and self-critically reflect on their own learning and make use of constructive feedback. They should feel comfortable in using secondary data analysis as evidence to justify their arguments. They should be able to communicate effectively and efficiently and use communication and information technologies to retrieve and present information. Students are expected to work independently and in groups and demonstrate initiative, self-organisation and effective time-management.


1. Theories & Methods in Comparative Politics
2. Culture and Democracy
3. Constitutions and Multi-Level Government
4. Legislatures and Executives
5. Electoral Systems
6. Political Parties and Party Systems
7. The Media and Political Participation
8. Interest Groups and Social Movements
9. Policy-Making and the Welfare State

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours33.00
Private study hours137.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students are encouraged to monitor world news related to module topic. Students will have access to numerous online resources (including videos, self-administered quizzes, and extra readings) to extend and reinforce lecture and reading material. Students will be required to read two book chapters per week as well as to prepare for lectures (topics dealt with in lectures are posted at the beginning of the module). Students will also be directed to two optional readings per week (usually journal articles) that elaborate on that weeks topics and a list of further readings (a mix of books, book chapters, and articles) for those particularly interested in a given topic.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student involvement in seminar discussions will allow the tutors to monitor student comprehension of the material. The assessed constitution project will reveal whether students are synthesising constitution-building-relevant material well enough to integrate various aspects of a political system in working order and to put together and empirically defend a simple, but coherent constitution. The final exam will assess whether students have developed a base-level of knowledge and understanding of those concepts and institutions that are central to political science and a general understanding of the political world.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Group Project1 x 3500 Word Midterm Constitution Project Report40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

Resit exams will draw on an entirely new set of questions from a test-bank of questions developed by the module leaders.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:29:43


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