Government and Public Policy in the UK POLITIC4005

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Foreign exchange programme: The course provides a broad overview of all key aspects of contemporary British and Scottish politics and public policy, including the role of governmental and non-governmental institutions, as well as the importance of both electoral and party behaviour. The course is set within a comparative context in order to analyse the similarities and differences between the British, American and other relevant political systems.


Weekly 2-hour seminar.

Requirements of Entry

As per agreement with Duke University

Excluded Courses





Essay, 2000 words (40%)

Essay, 3000 words (60%)

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable


Course Aims

The course provides a broad overview of key aspects of contemporary British government, politics and public policy at national, sub-national and supranational levels. It includes a comparative element in order to analyse the similarities and differences between the American and British systems. The course has three key aims: to become familiar with the main features of the British and Scottish systems of government; to learn more about the methodology that lies behind the academic study of multi-level governance currently and in the recent past (e.g. the EU), and to be equipped to analyse the related issues in a critical way. By the end of the course, we will have learned about the role and powers of parliament and government in the UK, the main political parties and political actors, the nature of devolution in the UK, especially in Scotland, the policy-making process in London, Edinburgh, and UK public policy and foreign policy.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

■ Comparatively analyse political and policy-making systems;

■ Critically analyse UK executives, legislatures and policy-making processes in Westminster and Edinburgh;

■ Contextualise key developments in UK public policy from 1945 to the present;

■ Evaluate scholarly literature on the UK system of government and policy-making.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

  Completion of summative assessment components