Introduction to Political Science

The course is taught as an introduction to politics in a globalised world, with a focus on how political science tries to understand and explain cross-country and cross-time differences between countries.

The course introduces students to some of the basic theoretical ideas and research methods in modern political science, and how these ideas explain patterns of political behaviour, political institutions and policy outcomes.


  • Why are some countries democratic?
  • Political Science Explanations and Methods


  • Political Preferences and Voting
  • Political Parties and Electoral Systems


  • Presidents and Parliaments, Coalitions and Single-Party Governments
  • Federalism and Independent Institutions


  • Economic Performance and Public Spending
  • Environmental Protection and Migration

If you complete the course successfully, you should be able to:

  • explain patterns of voting behaviour and party competition in different countries, and how electoral systems influence voters and parties;
  • explain how different institutional designs of democracy work
  • describe how political science explains policy outcomes;
  • critically evaluate rational choice and institutional theories in political science;
  • explain the pros and cons of quantitative and qualitative methods in political science
  • Clark, W.R., M. Golder and S.N. Golder (2009). Principles of Comparative Politics, Washington, DC: CQ Press.

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