Module Catalogue 2023/24

POL3111 : UK Parliamentary Studies

POL3111 : UK Parliamentary Studies

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Stephen Elstub
  • Lecturer: Dr Orly Siow, Dr Maarja Luhiste, Dr Nick Randall
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 45 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



The aims in this module are to enable students:
1.       Gain a detailed knowledge of how the Westminster Parliament works in both theory and practice
2.       Scrutinise the capacity of Westminster to fulfill five key democratic functions of parliament: representation, recruitment and maintenance of a government, scrutiny of the executive, legislation, and debate
3.       Critically analyse the relationship between government and parliament

Outline Of Syllabus

Parliamentary Studies aims to provide students with a detailed knowledge of how the Westminster Parliament works in both theory and practice. The overarching and coordinating theme of the module will be to scrutinise the capacity of Westminster to fulfill five key democratic functions of parliament: representation, recruitment and maintenance of a government, scrutiny of the executive, legislation, and debate. It therefore focuses on how the Houses of Parliament operates. It provides students with a sense of why cultures, traditions and informal relationships matter as well as formal procedures. Indicative topics may include:

•       The Functions of Parliament
•       The role and reform of Select Committees
•       Parties and Parliament
•       Representation and Parliament
•       Debate and deliberation in Parliament
•       The role and reform of the House of Lords
•       Public Engagement with Parliament
•       Parliament and the Media
•       The Good Parliament
•       Parliament and the UK's External Relations

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of this module the student will be able to:
1.       Integrate theoretical and practical knowledge about parliament.
2.       Apply conceptual tools to understand, evaluate and critically analyse, in-depth, the functions of parliament and the features of parliament that promote this function in practice.
3.       Demonstrate a critical understanding of the limitations of parliament to promoting these functions

Intended Skill Outcomes

Develop their critical-analytical ability and planning and organisational skills. Demonstrate appropriate communicative and transferable skills including making effective use of library and electronic resources to acquire relevant information, engaging in seminar discussion, and provision of written, reasoned and co-ordinated arguments.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1144:00144:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00Synchronous, PiP lecture
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities102:0020:00Viewing parliamentary footage & posting comments to discussion board; generating q's for guest spkr
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00PiP seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time14:004:00Synchronous virtual visit to parliament
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk21:002:00Online recorded module talk giving assessment guidance.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Student contact will primarily take place through a series of lectures and seminar classes, supported by engagement through the module’s virtual learning environment. The lectures introduce students to the key themes, focusing on the academic and theoretical framing of the theme. Each lecture would be followed by a one hour seminar where the seminars allow for participation by students in clarifying and exploring key ideas and issues. These help to develop critical-analytical and oral communication skills. Further materials will be available via the modules VLE, where there will be a further opportunity for a virtual and more flexible discussion of the module themes. Additonal assessment guidance is provided through recorded module talks. Finally there will be a virtual visit to parliament to hear talks from, and question, parliamentary staff, MPs and Lords.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A5090 minutes, in person, on campus.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M502000 word Report on parliamentary reform
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The parliamentary report and exam will provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate skills in research, critical analysis, writing, referencing and working autonomously. In the course of selecting, researching, and writing up a report and exam answers students will learn about the theory and substance of parliament, finding secondary sources, properly citing them, and developing research skills. The report will assess learning on a particular aspect of parliament. The exam will assess learning on broader understanding of parliament.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023 academic year.

In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described.

Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.