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Political Science Broad Curriculum

Module Code: BCPOLS

Module Name: Citizens, Politics and Decisions 2017-18

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Michaelmas
  • Contact Hours: 2 lectures a week (part of PO1603); 1 fortnightly seminar
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Dr Jacqueline Hayden, Seminar director - Mr Alan Duggan
  • Syllabus 2017-18

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will become familiar with the concepts and theories outlined above, allowing them a more refined understanding of the complexities of politics.
  • Students from all disciplines will become more informed and articulate citizens, capable of informed participation in the political process at large.
  • Students will be taught how to develop their ability to communicate effectively complicated and often controversial ideas.
  • Students will be equipped with skills to allow them to analyse, engage and evaluate political systems.
  • Students will be able to hone their critical writing skills and communicate concepts effectively.
  • Students will have developed presentational skills and be able to participate in informed discussion.

Module Learning Aims

This course aims to provide students with an introduction to the worlds of politics and political science.


Module Content

The lecture series will introduce students to the key concepts and theories used by political scientists to make sense of the political world. These concepts include power, the state, ideology and the role and nature of political institutions, as well as competing normative and empirical conceptualisations of what constitutes a ‘democratic’ political system.

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Recommended Reading List

The following text books are recommended for the lectures and seminars:

  • ‘Politics’ 4th Edition, Andrew Heywood, Palgrave.
  • ‘Global Politics’ 1st Edition, Andrew Heywood, Palgrave.
  • ‘Why Politics Matters’ Gerry Stoker, (2006) Palgrave.
  • ‘Modern Politics and Government’ 7th Edition, (2005) Bull & Peters Palgrave.

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Assessment Details

Student assessment for this course is continuous and involves writing three short blogs, each on a political issue of their choice. They must submit and achieve a pass grade (40%) on three blog entries in order to pass the course. Each blog will be a maximum of 1,000 words in length (minimum 750 words) and students should write these as if they were writing a serious "think" piece or feature article for a quality newspaper or magazine. A good article will involve critical analysis (i.e., a clearly stated, focused and well developed argument) and not simply be a summary of lecture notes, seminar discussions or course readings. Each blog entry will be worth 30% of the overall grade for the course.

In addition, students are required to give one group presentation based on weekly readings. The group presentation will be worth 10% of the course grade.

The first blog post must be submitted by the end of Teaching Week 5 of Term 1. All assignments must be submitted by the end of Teaching Week 11 of Term 1.

Attendance is compulsory at all seminars and it is required that you attend at least 4 of the 6 seminar to pass the course. All requests for an excused absence must be made by your school tutor. Each missed seminar will result in a 2% deduction from your final grade.

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Last updated 25 September 2017 polsci@tcd.ie.