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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Centre for Open Learning : Social and Political Science

Undergraduate Course: Politics and International Relations (LLLJ07027)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will explore political systems and structures around the world, the relations between states and the impact of globalisation on national politics. Students will be introduced to key concepts and theoretical approaches, and learn to apply these in a real-world context.
Course description Academic Description:
The course will introduce students to the academic study of politics and international relations. The first half of the course will consider political institutions and processes in Britain and other countries, adopting a comparative perspective. Topics may include elections and other forms of political participation, political parties, government and devolution. The second half of the course will introduce key concepts and theoretical approaches in the study of international relations. We will discuss the impact of globalisation and assess policy issues such as security, human rights, global trade and finance, and the environment.

Outline Content:

Politics and political analysis
An introduction to the contested definition of politics, approaches and subfields of the discipline and the comparative method.

Political institutions
In this section, we will examine political institutions and processes including elections, parliaments, political parties, executives, civil society and the media.

Dynamics of political change
We will look at changing political systems and consider issues such as European integration, devolved government and the democratisation of authoritarian regimes.

Theories of international relations
This section introduces the main theories of international relations, including realism, liberalism, constructivism, Marxism and critical approaches, as well as contemporary debates on power structures and globalisation.

Issues in international relations
In the final section, we will apply theories to analyse global issues such as security, humanitarian intervention, global governance and institutions, international trade and climate change.

Student Learning Experience:
The main focus of this course is on introducing key concepts and approaches, which will allow students to expand and deepen their understanding of political institutions and processes. Each session will combine lecture, tutorial discussion and practical tasks. Students will be expected to read relevant material before each class, including background readings from the textbook and short academic articles or news reports. The tutor will then develop discussions based on the reading, and encourage the students to engage critically with the course material. Formative assessments will strengthen students┐ academic skills, preparing them for the assessed components of their coursework.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  20
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 40, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 156 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) A 2000-word critical review at the end of term 1
A 2000-word essay at the end of term 2
Feedback Students will have the opportunity to submit a 1000-word practice critical review mid-way through term 1, on which feedback will be provided. Students will also be encouraged to submit a formative essay plan mid-way through term 2. This will be returned with feedback to help students prepare for the final essay.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. recognise the diversity of political systems around the world
  2. appraise the value of the comparative method for studying political processes and institutions
  3. demonstrate a critical awareness of global influences on national politics and policies
  4. identify key agents and structures that constitute international relations
  5. apply theories of international relations to explain contemporary issues in global politics
Reading List
Garner, R., Ferdinand, P. and Lawson, S. 2016. Introduction to Politics. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Baylis, J., Smith, S. and Owens, P. eds., 2010. The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations. 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Harrison, L., Little, A. and E. Lock eds., 2015. Politics: The Key Concepts. Abingdon: Routledge.
Heywood, A., 2014. Global Politics. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Leftwich, A. ed., 2004. What Is Politics? The Activity and Its Study. Cambridge: Polity.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course students should have strengthened their skills in: critical thinking; articulation of complex ideas; participation in group discussion; essay planning and academic writing.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Maximillian Jaede
Course secretaryMs Kameliya Skerleva
Tel: (0131 6)51 1855
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