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POL8041 : Thinking About Politics

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Richard Dodgson
  • Co-Module Leader: Dr Simon Philpott
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module introduces students to approaches, concepts and debates that span the disciplines of Politics and International Relations (IR). In doing this, the main aim of the module is to provide students with foundational knowledge that will inform their study of more specialist modules that are central to their chosen degree programme and their final dissertation. The module is also designed to enhance students' skills in comparative analysis, critical analysis and essay writing.

Outline Of Syllabus

Thinking about Politics: introduction to the module
‘Thinking about’ ontology and epistemology in Politics and IR
‘Thinking about’ the state
Behavioural analysis
Rational choice
Classical Marxism
Feminist and gendered approaches
Recap and preparation for final assignment

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities107:0070:00Preparation for PiP seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00PiP seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1108:00108:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Seminars will be led by the module leader with input from students. Students will have the opportunity to discuss seminar readings and questions in whole and small group discussion. In preparation for each seminar, students will be directed to complete a number of readings and related questions. Readings and questions will provide students with foundational knowledge prior to each on-line seminar. Seminar input from the module leader and discussion will add to this knowledge.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M1003,500 word essay
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1M500 word proposal/essay plan.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students complete a single 3,500 summative essay. In preparation, students submit a formative plan of up to 500 words, which sets out how they will address the question. Plan should include a summary of central argument, structure and key authors. Students will receive formative feedback on this plan from the module leader. Students will be encouraged to consider this feedback as they plan and complete the final assignment. This approach allows the students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in comparative analysis and critical thinking/writing.

Reading Lists