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Unit information: Modern British Government and Politics in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Modern British Government and Politics
Unit code POLI20014
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Neil Matthews
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

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Information

2,000 word essay 1 (25%) 2,000 word essay 2 (75%)

Both essays test all learning outcomes listed above

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).