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

Undergraduate Course: Introduction to Politics (LLLJ07029)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate)
Course typeSandwich AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course is designed for students on the CAHSS International Foundation Programme. It is not available to undergraduate students.

This course will explore the workings of political systems around the world. Students will be introduced to key concepts and approaches in the study of politics, with a focus on comparative analysis. The course will also develop students academic skills in preparation for more advanced, independent study.
Course description Academic Description:
The course will provide an overview of concepts and methodological approaches in the study of politics. It will consider a broad range of countries, including democratic and authoritarian states and developed and developing nations. Students will be introduced to the comparative method and learn to apply it to issues such as elections, political parties, governments, civil society and the media. In addition to discussing the roles of different actors within the state, we will consider global influences on national politics and examine processes of political change. The overall aim is to help students acquire a conceptual vocabulary for analysing politics from a comparative perspective.

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 states and political institutions
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 in the UK, and the democratisation of authoritarian regimes.

Student Learning Experience:
The main focus of this course is on introducing key concepts and methodological approaches, which will allow students to expand and deepen their understanding of political institutions and processes. Classes will combine lecture, tutorial discussion and activities to develop students┬┐ study skills. Students will be expected to read relevant material before each class, including chapters from the textbook and academic articles. The tutor will then develop discussions and set practical tasks based on the reading, with an emphasis on understanding the underlying research and critically evaluating the authors┬┐ arguments. Formative assessments will further 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 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  30
Course Start Lifelong Learning - Session 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 78 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) A 2000-word essay (75%) and time-limited short essay assessment (25%)
Feedback All students will have the opportunity to submit a 1000-word practice essay mid-way through the course. This will be returned with feedback in time to help students prepare for the final assessment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. define and use key terms in the study of politics
  2. recognise the diversity of political systems around the world
  3. appraise the value of the comparative method for studying political processes and institutions
  4. analyse processes of political change, such as the democratisation of authoritarian states
  5. employ critical skills of interpretation, argument and analysis
Reading List
Garner, R., Ferdinand, P. and Lawson, S. 2016. Introduction to Politics. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Harrison, L., Little, A. and E. Lock eds., 2015. Politics: The Key Concepts. Abingdon: Routledge.
Leftwich, A. ed., 2004. What Is Politics? The Activity and Its Study. Cambridge: Polity.
Lim, T.C., 2016. Doing Comparative Politics: An Introduction to Approaches and Issues. 3rd ed. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course students should have strengthened their skills in: critical analysis; comparative study; participation in group discussion and practical tasks.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Gisli Vogler
Course secretaryMs Kameliya Skerleva
Tel: (0131 6)51 1855
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