Skip to main content

Year 2 modules – University of Reading

Show access keys

Year 2 modules

This page contains summary descriptions for all our second-year modules.


American Government and Politics

This module examines the historical, ideological and constitutional frameworks of American politics. It analyses the main institutions of national government, including the presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court, together with the role of State politics. It also examines other important political phenomena, including political parties, interest groups and the role of the American media. The course then moves on to consider a range of key contemporary issues in the US including the death penalty, gun control, religion, race and equality, healthcare, welfare, immigration and foreign policy.

British Government and Politics

This module aims to give you an understanding of the working and development of the current British political system and culture. This module may be taken as a prerequisite for the "Parliamentary Studies" module in your third year.

Comparative Government and Politics

This module introduces students to the discipline of comparative politics. It examines the origins of political systems, regime formation and processes of a range of states from all regions of the world from a comparative perspective. Studying this module will equip you with a good understanding of comparative methods and research design; the ability to comparatively analyse the development of state formation and democratisation processes around the world; and the tools to nuance, unpack and conceptualise some of the contemporary challenges that democratic nation-states face. This module may be taken as a prerequisite for third-year module "Parliamentary Studies".

Contemporary Strategy (BA War, Peace and International Relations only)

This module is an introduction to the nexus between war and strategy. It complements the module 'War and Peace in International Relations, 1800-2000' to the demands and challenges of strategic and security analysis. After exploring important dimensions of warfare, each at the centre of an extensive epistemological debate, it explains how strategy and strategies fit into the diverse constructs concerning warfare.

European Political Integration

Explore the history, development and policies of the European Union (EU), the most advanced existing example of international cooperation. This module first examines the institutional structure of the Union, along with competing theories of European integration, and examines various EU treaties. It then discusses recent controversies that will shape the future of the Union as well as its respective member states: the democratic deficit, the sustainability of the European Monetary Union, how the EU is affecting the welfare state, Euroscepticism and the policy response of the EU to the crisis.

Model United Nations

On this module, you will explore the structure and function of the United Nations in a changing global context. The module includes an in-depth simulation of various countries and their positions, aims and role within the UN focusing on a crisis scenario. You will learn about foreign policy analysis, multilateral and bilateral diplomacy, international organisations, and contemporary global issues. The subsidised trip to the Model UN Conference in Belgium is a compulsory part of the module and students may need to contribute up to £300 to attend.

Modern International Relations

This module provides an advanced analysis of the principal theoretical approaches to international politics, as well as coverage of a selection of major issues on the international stage, including globalisation, conflict, nuclear proliferation and terrorism.

Political Classics

A survey course in the history of political thought. This module aims to give an overview of the history of Western political theory, to introduce you to some of the key concepts of political thought, and to teach you to read classic texts in a critical way. You will also develop the ability to reason analytically about political questions.

Political Thinking

This module covers central issues, problems and debates in contemporary political theory and philosophy. It examines some of the major concepts that dominate political philosophy and theory today, and which often appear in the political rhetoric of democratic societies. All of these topics are discussed with their contemporary political significance directly in mind, and this emphasis on the way political philosophy and theory can provide tools to orient ourselves politically is embedded into the way the module is taught and assessed. Each seminar will be based around discussion of a problem in democratic politics and one of the two assessments requires you to use material covered in the module to illuminate a real political act or event.

Politics of the Welfare State

This module is an introduction to the politics of welfare states in the developed economies of OECD countries with a particular focus on Western Europe. It looks at the interaction between political and economic factors in explaining the emergence and evolution of welfare states and their various forms across countries. You will learn the major theoretical approaches in the study of the welfare state and apply them to contemporary debates about the welfare state as well as the politics of welfare state reform.

The Media and Politics

The module introduces you to the practice of discussing politics through the media, to theories of the roles played by the media in politics, and to how the media work in the world today. It combines lectures and seminars with participation in a weekly radio show and writing for a blog.

In the event the module is oversubscribed those studying politics as part of their programmes will normally be given priority. Students are chosen from those prepared to do a short broadcast on the politics show in the spring/summer terms and attend the editorial meeting 1pm on a Tuesday. Contact the module convenor for further details.

The Study of Politics

This module examines a range of different approaches to understanding and explaining politics. It provides an overview of different theoretical approaches to politics, as well as different methodological approaches to political analysis. You will have opportunities to develop core skills of political research necessary to complete your degree and further your career development.

War and Peace Since 1800 (BA War, Peace and International Relations only)

This module aims to enable students to appreciate both the roles played by war in modern history and the ways in which warfare has evolved over a two-hundred year period. The strongly empirical, historical thrust of the module will be used to introduce students to the ideas key to understanding (a) why, how, and with what consequences wars occur, and (b) how peace can be "caused" and sometimes maintained.

Work Placement Project

This module enables you to do a work placement or an internship with an external organisation broadly related to the general sphere of your studies. Based on the work experience gained, you then deliver an oral presentation and prepare a project which develops your capacity for independent, critical research in a specialised domain.


Our optional modules are arranged on an annual basis and are subject to change. It is possible that a module may be modified in its content, suspended for a session, or discontinued. New modules may become available in any given year.

We use Javascript to improve your experience on, but it looks like yours is turned off. Everything will still work, but it is even more beautiful with Javascript in action. Find out more about why and how to turn it back on here.
We also use cookies to improve your time on the site, for more information please see our cookie policy.

Back to top