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Unit information: Politics and Policy-Making in the UK in 2015/16

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Unit name Politics and Policy-Making in the UK
Unit code POLI21222
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Evans
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This course provides a detailed analysis of some of the key themes and issues in the UK's political system. It provides an overview of the relationship between the different aspects of the political system and shows how these have evolved in the last twenty years. It focuses on both the formal institutions of Parliament and the non-elected actors who influence the UK's political process.


  • To extend the breadth of students’ knowledge base of political institutions in the UK
  • To provide both a theoretical and empirically based understanding of contemporary UK political processes
  • To foster awareness of the ideological and institutional features of modern UK government and politics
  • To develop the ability to apply theoretical concepts to the practical issues of problem solving and analysis

Intended Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate the ability to discuss major issues in contemporary UK politics based upon secondary reading
  2. An understanding of the processes of political change within the UK
  3. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the relationship between elected and non-elected actors
  4. A critical understanding of the development of the key institutions and offices in contemporary UK politics and of how these inter-relate
  5. An understanding of the ideas, concepts and organisational features of the UK political parties and of the forms of competition between them
  6. An ability to locate and use various data sources and to apply these analytically in relation to behaviour and explanatory theory

Teaching Information

1 x 2 hour lecture, prior to 1 hour seminar

Assessment Information

1x 2000 word essay (25%) (learning outcomes 2, 6, and depending on essay question, 1, 3, 4, 5)

1x 2 hour unseen written exam (75%) (learning outcomes 1-6)

Reading and References

  • Heffernan, R., Cowley, P., and Hay, C. (2011) Developments in British Politics 9 (Basingstoke: Palgrave). Recommended purchase.
  • Geddes, A. and Tonge, J. (2010) Special Issue Parliamentary Affairs 63, 4 [this contains a series of articles – available to download via ejournals]
  • You may also wish to purchase: Kavanagh, D. and Cowley, P. (2010) The British General Election of 2010 (Basingstoke: Palgrave).