The course content is made up of a variety of subject area strands that can be studied across all three years of the programme. At every level, there are modules relating to each strand. After taking the compulsory modules in the first year, you can choose to study across a range of strands, or specialise in particular strands. Below is a list of the strands:
American Politics: The United States is hugely influential both as a global power and as a political beacon. This strand assesses the nature of the American polity exploring across the three years the role of America’s political institutions, key issues facing the American political system and the role and function of the media in fashioning American government policy.
British Politics: The focus of this strand is the United Kingdom: what it looks like, how it operates and where it is going. Key topics will include the nature and working of the British state, the role and function of Parliament and how parties and voters interact.
Comparative Politics: The relationship between different polities is a key area of modern political science research. This strand engages with this by assessing in a comparative frame: different countries, their political systems and the actors engaging with the political systems. Comparisons across countries and/or across time are used to explore the differences and similarities between the systems to answer questions on who gets what, when and how in terms of allocation of resources within and between polities.
Methodology and Research Skills: This strand will help you develop the tools for sustained research in political science. This will include research design, qualitative methods, such as interview techniques, as well as quantitative analysis of, for example, polling data. There will be an opportunity to take this to an advanced level and develop key transferable research skills.
Political Ideology and Theory: This strand explores political thought across the ages from ancient times to the present. You will begin with a broad survey of major ideas in political theory, before being able to look in greater depth at particular ideologies, e.g. liberalism, Marxism, fascism and particular concepts such as multiculturalism and equality.
Public Policy and Public Administration: The focus of this strand is how government decisions, i.e. public policy, is developed, implemented and evaluated and by whom. This will include contentious areas of public policy, for instance welfare policy. It will also look at how public policy is assessed and analysed and the means by which its success (or failure) is judged and what tools can used to increase the success of implementing policy proposals.