Authoritarianism POLITIC4149

  • 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 will study contemporary authoritarianism both conceptually and empirically. It will develop and deploy a tripartite typology of authoritarianism to investigate the factors that are associated with the survival of authoritarian regimes, and also the circumstances under which such regimes fail.


This course may not be running this year. For further information, please check the Politics Moodle page or contact the subject directly.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to Honours Politics requires a grade point average of 12 (Grade C) over Politics 2A and Politics 2B as a first attempt.

Excluded Courses






■ Two essays of between 2,000 and 2,500 words (50% of the final mark each)

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable


Course Aims

■ To understand the concept of authoritarianism and its principal sub-types

■ To analyse how authoritarianism research is conducted

■ To appreciate the factors that have contributed historically to the contemporary distribution of authoritarianism around the world

■ To understand how the three main sub-types of authoritarianism function

■ To understand the common causes and consequences of authoritarianism

■ To examine critically common strategies employed in the aim of reducing authoritarianism

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Demonstrate a command of the principal findings of research in the field of authoritarianism

■ Evaluate critically the design and implementation of authoritarianism research

■ Explore the determinants of authoritarianism in the contemporary world using relevant databases

■ Conduct rigorous analysis using relevant research sources

■ Advance reasoned and factually supported arguments in both written and oral formats

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.