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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PIED1110 Comparative Politics

20 creditsClass Size: 452

Module manager: Dr Jocelyn Evans

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

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..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 logic of comparative political analysis - how social and political scientists create and test theories about political life; 2) understand the value in comparing political behaviour and institutions across time and space;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. The module also acts as an introduction to quantitative data in the first year, enabling them to understand and use secondary data interpretation. 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. Lectures will be a combination of introductory asynchronous online lectures, reviewing the key points for each week, and face-to-face lectures to deepen specific areas, particularly in empirical terms.


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 interpretation 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 demonstrate initiative, self-organisation and effective time-management.


1. Theories & Methods in Comparative Politics
2. Culture and Democracy
3. Constitutions
4. Legislatures and Executives
5. Federalism and Decentralization
6. Electoral Systems
7. Political Parties and Party Systems
8. The Media and Political Participation
9. Interest Groups and Social Movements
10. Political Communication

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours30.00
Private study hours140.00
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, 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 week’s topics and a list of further readings (a mix of books, book chapters, and articles) for those particularly interested in a given topic, and for the final assignment.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student involvement in seminar discussions will allow the tutors to monitor student comprehension of the material. The non-assessed multiple choice question exam (week 6) will reveal the extent to which students understand the fundamental political ‘rules of the game’ and competence in interpreting data tables and figures. The final assignment will assess students’ understanding of the comparative approach to political systems, their capacity to construct a conceptual argument relating to multiple political systems, and their ability to use relevant simple data to support this argument.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2000 Word Final data-driven Essay100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

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 mins0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)0.00

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: 25/08/2023 11:46:05


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