PO2CGP1-Comparative Government and Politics

Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Daphne Halikiopoulou

Email: d.halikiopoulou@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

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 give students a good understanding of comparative methods and research design; the ability to comparatively analyse the development of state formation and democratization processes around the world; and the tools to nuance, unpack and conceptualize some of the contemporary challenges that democratic nation- states face.


This module aims to introduce students to comparative research in political science. It aims to give students a broad understanding of the political systems, institutions and processes over a range of states from all regions of the world. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

  • Understand the importance and logic of comparison

  • Understand the different forms of comparative analysis and research design

  • Analyse the development of regime formation and democratization from a comparative perspective

  • Appreciate some of the contemporary challenges that democratic nation- states face.

  • Subject various theories and approaches to empirical and methodological scrutiny. 

Additional outcomes:

The module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and the student's effectiveness in seminars. 

Outline content:

The module commences with a set of three introductory lectures on the importance and logic of comparison: why do we compare, how do we do it properly and what are the different levels of analysis in Comparative Politics? These lectures introduce students to quantitative and qualitative comparative research methods and the overall rationale of comparative research design. The module then proceeds to examine the formation of nation-states and the emergence of different regimes, including democr acy, in comparative perspective.


Autumn Term

1.    Business meeting and overview of module: the importance of Comparison

2.    The logic of Comparison: Small and Large-N Comparative Designs

3.    Theories and Levels of Analysis in Comparative Politics

4.    The origins of the modern nation-state: nationalism , revolution and state formation

5.    Comparative regime formation: the developmental tradition

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Course delivery will be by lectures and classes. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 5
Seminars 7.5
Guided independent study: 87.5
Total hours by term 0 0
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Oral assessment and presentation 10
Class test administered by School 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students are expected to attend and participate in class. The course syllabus sets out a number of essential readings each week; students are expected to read this material carefully as it will be discussed and analysed in class in detail. Overall performance will be assessed at the end of the module, and will count for 10% of the overall mark.

There will be a closed book class test in the Autumn term to assess student understanding of the first five topics of the module, including the methodological ones. This will count for 20% of the overall mark.

Students will write one 3000- word essay on selected topics. Non-submitted essays will be awarded a mark of zero. 

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

 40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:

Coursework: Failed or missing coursework should be re-submitted on Blackboard in line with the published deadline.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 4 April 2020


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