SSST Subjects

PS230  Comparative Politics


Programme(s) where module is offered

  • BA in Political Science and International Relations

Status (core, option, free choice)



FHEQ Level



Unit Value



Semester taught



Pre-Requisite Modules or Qualifications

State and Government


Module Code



Module coordinator

Maja Savic-Bojanic


Applicable From



Educational Aims of the Module

  • The course builds on the theoretical examination of state and government (PS210) and introduces students to various political systems.
  • Using the patterns of similarity and difference in political life, close analysis in comparative perspective provides students with a detailed knowledge of political and institutional developments in the countries under study and enables them to compare party systems, electoral systems, institutional structures and political cultures across countries.

Module Outline/Syllabus

  • Introduction: Political concepts

    • Democracy

    • Authoritarian rule

  • Part II: Mobilization and participation

    • Political culture

    • Political communication

    • Political participation

    • Interest groups

    • Political parties

    • Elections

    • Voters

  • Part III: Government and governance

    • Constitution and law

    • Multilevel governance

    • Legislatures

    • The political executive

    • Comparative case studies

Student Engagement Hours

Type Number per Term Duration Total Time
Lectures 30

1 hour 30 minutes

90 hours

Total Guided/Independent Learning Hours 120
Total Contact Hours 90
Total Engagement Hours 210

Assessment Method Summary

Type Number Required Duration / Length Weighting Timing / Submission Deadline




Final exam


3 hours


End of semester

Mid-term exam


2 hours


Week 8



2 hours




Module Outcomes

Intended Learning Outcomes:


  • Understanding of the nature and relevance of the comparative approach to the study of politics.

  • Ability to place descriptive material within a conceptual and theoretical context and to move from the concrete to the abstract and vice versa.

  • In-depth comprehension of institutional design and functioning of state institutions, as well as the models of electoral and party systems in various European and some extra-European states.

  • Understanding of current political phenomena, events and developments.

  • Ability to construct theoretically sound, empirically substantiated comparative analysis on current issues and processes related to state and government.

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Lectures/presentations by the course instructor (ILO: 1-4);

  • Course readings and group discussions in class (ILO: 1-4);

  • Individual and group presentations (ILO: 1,2,4)

  • Individual consultancy with students as needed (including detailed feedback on their work) (ILO: 3,4)

Assessment Strategy:

  • Course work – Midterm Exam (20%) (ILO: 1-5)

  • Quiz (3 x 10%) (ILO: 1, 3, 5)

  • Final Exam – 50% (ILO: 1-4)

Practical Skills:

  • Ability to interpret and assess scientific papers.

  • Ability to critically analyse empirical evidence.

  • Ability to critically reflect and evaluate data relating to international organisations

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Lectures, examples, and tools provided by instructor

  • In-depth discussion and analysis of course readings led by instructor (PS: 3)

  • Presentations by students (PS:2)(PS: 1-3)

Assessment Strategy:

  • Written Exam (PS: 1,3)

  • Individual Presentation (PS: 3)

  • Quiz (PS: 1,2)

Transferable Skills:

  • Ability to evaluate ideas, arguments and texts.

  • Ability to research & critically evaluate information

  • Public speaking, clarity of oral argument and presentation

  • Clarity of written argument and presentation.

  • Ability of multi-perspectival analysis of political issues and of engaging with different standpoints.

  • Ability to critically analyze and interpret political events and phenomena, applying theoretical frameworks in different, new contexts and linking empirical data with theoretical frameworks.

  • Familiarity with some of the basic sources of information from which to renew and update knowledge of changes and developments in European politics.

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Lectures and in-class exercises (TS: 1-4)

  • Course readings and class discussions (TS: 1-4)

  • In-class presentations (TS:1,3,4)

Assessment Strategy:

  • Final Exam (TS: 1-4)

  • Quiz (TS 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7)

  • Mid-term exam (TS: 1-4)


Key Texts and/or other learning materials

Set text

  • Caramani, D., (2014). Comparative Politics. Oxford University Press.

Supplementary Materials

  • Lijphart, A. (1994). Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries. New Heaven: Yale University Press.

  • Newton, K. and Van Deth, J. V. (2010). Foundations of Comparative Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Landmann, T. (2000). Issues and Methods in Comparative Politics: an Introduction. New York: Routledge.

  • O’Neil, P. et al. (2012). Cases in Comparative Politics. 4th edition. W. W. Norton & Company.

  • Evans, M., (2014), International Law, 4th Edition, Oxford University Press

  • Dixon, M., (2013), Textbook on International Law, 7th Edition, Oxford University Press

Please note

This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the module and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided.

More detailed information on the learning outcomes, content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each module and programme can be found in the departmental or programme handbook.

The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed annually by the University of Buckingham and may be checked by the Quality Assurance Agency.

Date of Production : June 2016

Date approved by School Learning and Teaching Committee:  

Date approved by School Board of Study :  

Date approved by University Learning and Teaching Committee:  

Date of Annual Review:  


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