Years 1 & 2

1A: Introduction to Liberal Democracy

This course introduces students to the study of liberal democracy with a focus on the United Kingdom’s political institutions and multilevel governance. Sections 1 and 2 focus on British and Scottish politics in a comparative perspective, while Section 3 examines the European Union.

Key texts

  • Robert Leach, Bill Coxall, and Lynton Robins, 'British Politics' (2011), Palgrave Foundations
  • John McCormick, 'Understanding the European Union' (2008) 4th edn, Palgrave Macmillan

1B: Comparative Politics

A comparison of three different political entities (these may change from year to year, but will normally include Russia, China and Germany). Key concepts in comparative politics will be introduced in the first section and then applied in the three area sections.

Key texts

There will be no single text covering the whole course. Students are advised to refer to a recent comparative politics textbook for guidance, such as:

  • Daniele Caramani, ed. 'Comparative Politics' (2008), Oxford University Press
  • Rod Hague & Martin Harrop, 'Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction' (2007), 7th edn, Palgrave Macmillan

Readings from journals and books will be assigned in each section of the course.

2A: History of Political Thought

A study of key texts in the history of political thought. Political theorists discussed will include Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Burke and Marx. The course is divided into three sections:

  1. Classical and Renaissance Political Thought
  2. Reformation to Enlightenment
  3. Enlightenment to Revolution

Key texts

Section 1: Aristotle, 'The Politics', trans. T.A. Sinclair (Penguin Classic 1981)

Section 2: Hobbes, 'Leviathan', ed. C B Macpherson, Pelican 1968 (or ed. J Gaskin, Oxford World Classics, 1996); Locke, ‘Two Treatises on Civil Government', in Social Contract: Essays by Locke, Hume and Rousseau, Oxford University Press, 1971.

Section 3: Rousseau, ‘Social Contract’ in Social Contract (see above); Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, ed. J Pocock, Hackett Paperback, 1987.

Note: students are expected to buy, at a minimum, one text from each section.

2B: International Relations

A study of key concepts (sovereignty, power, ‘international system’), theories (realism, neo-realism, neo-liberalism, feminism), and issues (globalisation, human rights, security, environment) in international relations.  

Key texts

  • Brown, C & Ainley, K. 'Understanding International Relations' (2009), 4th Edition, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Baylis, J,Smith, S. and P. Owens 'Globalisation of World Politics' (2008), 4th Edition, Oxford University Press.
  • A reading pack will also be available.