Politics 2B: Introduction to Comparative Politics POLITIC2002

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 2 (SCQF level 8)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the nature and variety of contemporary political regimes. Students will learn how to classify democratic and authoritarian states and to use comparative politics theories to explain the nature and workings of these different regimes. Through analysis of individual country case studies, students will gain insight into how the historic development of states, contemporary institutional arrangements, state-society relations as well as a state's place in the international system affect political outcomes in different democratic and authoritarian systems.


Lectures: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 9-10am.
Tutorials: Offered various days
/ times during the week.

Requirements of Entry

Students MUST achieve Grade D3 or better in Politics 1A and Politics 1B

Excluded Courses





Online midterm exam (35%)
Final course written assignment (55%)
Tutorial Performance (10%)

Course Aims

The course will help students to identify the defining characteristics of contemporary democratic and authoritarian regimes. Students will critically engage with key theoretical approaches of comparative politics and apply these theories to country case studies to evaluate how state formation, institutions, state-society relations, and the international system affect political outcomes in different countries. Finally, students will learn how to engage in different levels of comparative analysis, such as single case, two cases, or large numbers of cases to better understand the nature and workings of contemporary political regimes.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ demonstrate in-depth knowledge of key theoretical approaches in comparative politics and to engage critically with them in written work and tutorial discussion groups.

■ identify the defining characteristics of democratic and authoritarian regimes and be able to distinguish between these two regime types as well as variations within them.

■ demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the three country case studies and be able to compare and to contrast them.

■ assess in written work and tutorial discussion how state formation, contemporary political institutions, state-society relations, and a state's place in the international system influence political outcomes in different countries.

■ recognise the importance of case study analysis and comparison when studying politics and be able to utilise single case studies and the comparative method to evaluate political outcomes.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Adequate attendance, completion of all summative assessment . Achievement of a minimum of Grade G.