Issues in Political Theory POLITIC4183

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course engages with key contemporary issues and debates in politics through the thought of political theorists writing from different traditions and perspectives. It will examine fundamental and perennial political questions as well as issues new to our time. Topics may include freedom and autonomy, epistemic crisis and democracy, intergenerational justice, animal rights, the impact of AI etc. It offers the opportunity for students to examine more contemporary theorists, debates and literature in dialogue with each other.


1 x 2hour weekly seminars

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry requirements to Honours Politics or International Relations.

Excluded Courses





1x 1500-word blog - 40%

1x 2500-word essay - 60%

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aim of the module is to introduce students to a variety of competing theoretical perspectives, requiring critical consideration of the insights and problems each perspective offers. It will provoke students to engage with, evaluate and critically reflect upon the different ways to think about and conceptualize key issues and debates in political theory.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ critically assess different theoretical positions and frameworks in political theory

■ demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of a number of key issues and challenges in political theory; 

■ critically engage, analyse and evaluate various issues in contemporary politics through a number of theoretical perspectives and frameworks; 

■ discern the links between theoretical analyses of issues and their practical implications for citizens and policy-makers.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.