Comparative Politics

Subject POLS20023 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Thirty contact hours per semester. 2 x one hour lectures and 1 x one hour tutorial per week for 10 weeks. The lecture and tutorial programs are staggered and cover the 12 weeks of semester.
Total Time Commitment: Not available




Recommended Background Knowledge:

Politics and International Studies at Level 1

Non Allowed Subjects:

166-274 Comparative Politics

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr. Raymond Orr

Subject Overview:

This subject introduces students to comparative politics. There are many different aspects of and approaches to comparative politics, but all agree that this involves comparing at least two - and often many more - units of political analysis (e.g. countries, types of political system, electoral systems, areas of policy). One major theme will be the extent to which political culture (which will be defined) appears to explain differences between political systems. The subject will range across various types of system around the world, comparing the systems of several countries with models and ideal-types.


Students who successfully complete this subject should...

  • be familiar with the main theoretical developments since 1945 in the sub-field of political science known as comparative politics.
  • be able to provide a critical overview of each of the discrete developments.
  • have a basic knowledge of the main types of political systems and theories existing in the contemporary world.
  • be aware of the limitations involved in comparing countries and cultures, and of the solutions that have been devised to address these.

A 2000 word essay (50%) due mid-semester, and a 2-hour exam (50%) scheduled in examination period.

This subject has a minimum Hurdle Requirement of 75% tutorial attendance. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available for purchase from the University Bookshop.

Also for purchase is: G. Almond et al., (eds), Comparative Politics Today (Pearson Longman, 2010)

Recommended Texts:

M. Roskin, Countries and Concepts (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008)

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Conceptualise theoretical problems and understand the judgements and arguments they engender.
  • Analyse the development of major schools of thought in contemporary politics.
  • Apply theoretical ideas to current political issues and debates.
  • Communicate clearly in written and oral work showing a command of the language of political theory.
  • Demonstrate research skills in accessing and selecting the appropriate literature and using it.

Available as a Breadth subject to non-Bachelor of Arts students.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: International Studies Major
Political Science Major
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Related Breadth Track(s): Politics and International Studies

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