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Unit information: Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction
Unit code POLI11103
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Wickham-Jones
Open unit status Not open
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School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Unit Information

This unit introduces students to the comparative study of politics and government. Students will become familiar with a broad range of theories and concepts used in comparative studies of politics. The theories and concepts will be applied intensively and comparatively to seven country cases: France, Germany, Japan, Brazil, India, Mexico, and Nigeria. The unit begins by looking at some fundamental topics in the study of comparative politics including the purpose of comparison and leading theoretical approaches to comparative politics. A consideration of the process of state formation leads into a comparative analysis of transitions to democracy. The next section of the unit examines the role played by political parties as mediators between social forces and the formal institutions of government. The unit then examines the impact that formal institutions of government have on political outcomes. Themes covered in the final section of the unit include economic management, presidential executives, parliamentary systems, federal and consociational devices used to manage political conflict.


  • to introduce students to key theories and concepts used in the study of comparative politics.
  • to introduce students to the key literature on comparative politics.
  • to introduce students to the outline of core political institutions.
  • to develop a critical approach to understanding political institutions.

Your learning on this unit

By the end of this unit students will:

  1. have read and understood some of the key literature on comparative politics
  2. have demonstrated familiarity with key ideas used in the literature on comparative politics
  3. be able to compare the political experiences of different countries
  4. be able to write an essay that frames an explanation of political outcomes
  5. have a working knowledge of key institutions of government
  6. have a working knowledge of politics in the country cases

How you will learn

20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars

How you will be assessed

1 x 1500 word essay (25%)

1 x 2500 word essay (75%)

Both essays will assess learning outcomes 1-6 as described above.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. POLI11103).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.