Political Science C

30 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 2SK079

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
First cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Political Science G2E
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Board of the Department of Government, 11 May 2011
Responsible department
Department of Government

Entry requirements

Political science intermediate level.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course the student is expected to know how to

- independently discuss and work with political science problems within the fields of Political theory, Swedish politics, Comparative politics, Administrative politics or International politics

- distinguish and define Political science problems and independently collect and work on research material relevant to the formulated questions

- understand texts with quantitative elements and work with basic quantitative methods

- independently define, formulate and carry out a limited research assignment relevant to the theory and chosen problem and using political science methods, write and defend a scientifically structured essay

- independently act as opponent which means discussing another student's essay and the contribution it makes

- actively participate in seminar discussions and give presentations of articles and of one's own work


The course contains three sub-parts.

The first part is a methods course introducing various research methods used in political science. Here some basic methodological concepts will be examined and the different stages of the research process will be discussed. Qualitative as well as quantitative methods of analysis will be introduced during the course. Special attention will be given to quantitative methods.

The next part means a choice between a number of specialisation courses, where some will be offered in the Autumn term and some in the Spring term. The sub-courses are Swedish politics, International politics, Comparative politics, European politics, Political theory, Evaluation and implementation, Middle East politics and Development studies.

The third and final part consists of doing an independent and specific project chosen by the student and elaborated in consultation with an advisor. The work is to be presented at a final seminar in the form of a written essay.

1. Methods, 7.5 credits


The focus of this course is on various research methods used in social science. It explains basic methodological concepts and discusses the main steps of the research process. Students are introduced to quantitative as well as qualitative analysis techniques, albeit with a special emphasis on the quantitative side. An important additional aim is to communicate an understanding of the relative strengths and weaknesses of quantitative versus qualitative techniques. The question of how to provide evidence for the existence of causal relationships in political science constitutes another central aspect of the course.


After completing the course, student are expected to possess:

- the ability to undertake basic empirical research using quantitative as well as qualitative techniques.

- satisfactory knowledge of the difference between descriptive and causal research questions

- satisfactory knowledge of the relative advantages and disadvantages of quantitative and qualitative techniques

- satisfactory knowledge of the problems involved in establishing causal relationships

- satisfactory skills in interpreting results from basic quantitative and qualitative analyses

- basic skills in computer-based statistical analysis

- basic knowledge of statistical inference


Teaching takes the form of lectures and mandatory seminars. The lectures cover the central topics of the course and give an introduction to computer-based statistical analysis. The seminars are the most important part of the course. They provide students with an opportunity to exercise their skills with regard to the main steps of the research process. At each seminar, the students are required to hand in individual, written solutions to a set of assignments. These solutions are then extensively discussed during the subsequent seminar under the guidance of a seminar teacher.


The course ends with a written exam. The purpose of the exam is twofold. First, it provides the basis for grading the students. Second, it encourages the students to review the contents of the course, thereby consolidating the knowledge they have acquired.

Grades are awarded on a scale comprising the grades VG (pass with distinction), G (pass), and U (fail).

To reach the grade G (pass), students must:

- participate in all mandatory seminars as well as present serious attempts to solve all exercise assignments

- reach at least the grade G (pass) on the written exam.

2a. Political theory, 7.5 credits

Spring semester 2012.

2b. Comparative Politics: Conflicts, Democratisation, Institutions and Global Development, 7.5 credits

Autumn semester 2011

Course description

The course deals with some of the most central problems described in comparative politics. Why do some people decide to use a gun instead of the ballot when trying to influence politics? What explains differences in degrees of democratisation? Which role do domestic and international factors play in a process of development? What is the role of history – path dependence – for the success of democracy? Can different institutions help solve ethnic conflicts or create justice? These questions are discussed in the course literature, from theoretical perspectives and with reference to empirical research on the US, Europe, South Asia, Latin America, as well as from a global perspective.

The goals of the course

The course aims at providing a good understanding of research in the field of comparative politics. It should provide good knowledge of important research contributions and research strategies that aim at, or are useful for, describing and explaining political and ethnic conflicts, socialisation, democratisation, development, in an extensive geographical comparative context, in developed as well as developing parts of the world. Also, the choice of literature and the cases selected to be studied have been made to give examples of different designs of research projects that should be useful for students preparing their C/D/master-level thesis project. In short, after the course, the students should:

- have a good idea of what comparative politics is

- know the comparative politics discourse better

- be better prepared to write a thesis


Comparative politics is a strange name. It is strange because what you find under the label comparative politics – and its synonyms in other languages – often is not (explicitly) comparative. Most of the time it simply is "politics in other countries"; other, that is, than the home country of the author. The conventional distinction between comparative and international politics is that the former deals with politics in other countries, and the latter between countries; this is more easy to remember if one thinks of another common name for the latter – international relations. But clearly there are interesting questions to ask where this demarcation will not hold, not least in the post-11-September world .

If comparative politics is politics in other countries, then it is indeed a lot. Therefore we must make choices what to study. One option would be to attempt to see the world's political systems as a number of fairly distinct categories, and to learn about these categories and their cases. This has been attempted by numerous text book authors. Another choice is to study a number of constitutional systems in the world. This course is built on another logic. We have chosen to focus on some central research problems in comparative politics.

The overall problems concern democracy, conflicts, institutions (rules), justice and development. This is chosen because important parts of research in political science concern these issues, and secondly because these issues are important to many people in many countries; two overriding criteria for any research or teaching in social science. Within this theme the course focuses on these three issues:

- Ethnic Conflicts and Mobilisation

- Consolidation or Crisis

- Global Perspectives on Justice and Development

The choice of theme(s) and literature is a conscious attempt to bridge the unfortunate divide between studies of the West and "the rest". The idea is that we can learn more about industrialised countries, former socialist countries and so-called Third World countries by not separating them but studying them together.

Apart from the books required to be read, the course will make use of some academic articles. One purpose of using these articles is to give you an idea about current debates in international research. All articles will be available for free via the Uppsala University Library.

Within the allocated teaching resources there are a number of seminars you can attend. This is a conscious choice on our part – we hope that all of you will take an active part in the discussions we will have during the three seminars. Therefore we also encourage you to write and hand in the papers/assignments for each of the seminars (more below).

We have achieved our objective with this course if, in at the end of it, you think you have a better (or even much better) grasp of some substantial empirical, or political, problems in the contemporary world and some orientation in a few current debates in international research.


Written exam. Seminars. Book reports. Research design-proposal.

The exam

- The exam will consist of two to four questions for five to ten points each, on the books and articles included in the course. Each question will require answers of about one to two handwritten pages.

- The main purpose of the exam is to verify that you have absorbed and understood the literature. It also tests your skills in analysing academic literature and to what extent you can summarise complicated ideas in a coherent way.

- Remember that you must register for this exam ca 12 days before on our web site.


There are four seminars in this course. Attendance is compulsory for all seminars. I you fail to attend a seminar you will have to hand in an extra written assignment. Additional instructions for the seminars may be handed out by the lecturers.

2c. The European Union, 7.5 credits

Autumn semester 2011


The aim of the course is to provide a basic understanding of how the EU political system works, and how the Union affects member-states. The course covers three main themes: First, the EU is studied as a political system. The key institutions and decision-making processes at the EU level are presented. The students are introduced not only to the formal rules of the game, but also to the political practices developed over time. Second, the course examines the basic constitutional problem of the EU. How democratic and effective is the EU political system? Which are the main options for reforming the current institutional set-up? How will the EU evolve as a result of the Lisbon treaty? The Third theme covers the processes of Europeanisation: if and how are the political systems at the national level affected by membership in the EU? Are processes of Europeanisation visible in the member-states? How has EU-membership affected executives, parliaments and bureaucracies?


Having completed the course, students are expected to:

- possess basic knowledge of how the EU political system works;

- possess good knowledge of the basic institutions of the EU;

- possess good knowledge of the decision-making processes within the EU;

- possess a basic understanding of the most important policy fields within the EU;

- possess a basic understanding of the constitutional problems linked to the institutional design of the EU;

- possess a basic understanding of the main strategies for reforming the EU;

- possess basic knowledge of Europeanisation

- possess good knowledge of how parliaments, governments and administrations at the national level are affected by EU-membership


The course is composed of a mixture of lectures and seminars. The lectures address the basic themes and issues. During the seminar students get the opportunity to discuss questions linked to the basic themes.

The literature includes books, articles and working material.

The course is taught in Swedish.


Examination is based upon participation in compulsory elements of the course and a written exam. The following grades will be applied: passed with distinction (VG), passed (G) and failed (U).

In order to pass the following is required:

(1) participation in compulsory elements of the course;

(2) the grade 'passed' on the written exam.

To pass the course with distinction the student is required to participate in compulsory elements of the course as well as receiving the grade 'passed with distinction' on the written exam.

2d. Swedish politics, 7.5 credits

Autumn semester 2011

Learning outcomes

The purpose of this course is to deepen the insights on how the Swedish political system has developed and where it is today that earlier courses at the A and B level provided. Particular weight is put on focusing on areas where the Swedish political development differs or is in some way exceptional in comparison to advanced industrial democracies of a similar standing. Notwithstanding, an implicit comparative perspective guides the course. The aim is to strengthen the students abilities to make oral presentations by either individually or in small groups conduct a minor "field study" during the course. The ability to write in an analytic way is trained through the writing of reading reports and a final course-paper.


The course applies both a historic and a contemporary focus. In the first part, Sweden's democratisation from the late 19th century to the eve of World War II is analysed. In a comparative perspective, this process turned out to be surprisingly peaceful and pragmatic. The empirical knowledge about Sweden's way to democracy is placed in an internationally generated theoretical framework where the consolidation processes in other parts of Europe puts Sweden in some perspective.

Politics in Sweden has for the major part of the 20th century been dominated by a social democratic party and movement than in alliance with other political forces built a welfare state that still is extensive. The history of social democracy in Europe, where the Swedish case forms one of the major examples, is studies in the course. Why did the social democrats become so successful?

In the second part of the course the contemporary politics and policies are in focus. Sweden is today the world's most post-materialist country. How does this affect policies? One particular area of "post-materialist" policies is treated, the policies of parental leave and how the re-shaping of the identities of not least men have been a major part of this policy. The course also pays attention to how interest groups and organisations exert influence today and how political parties have been affected by the processes of individualisation that post-materialism has brought with it.

A major part of the books used in this course are research monographs, with some exception. In addition, scientific journal articles and book chapters will also be used.


The teaching in this course consists of introductions/lectures on the literature, seminars where the literature is analysed and discussed and a "field study" conducted by the students.


The course is examined orally through the active participation in the seminars and through the oral presentation of the field study. Written reading reports are to be handed in to each seminar, and a final course-paper consists also a basis for examination.

Grades will be given according to the Swedish three-level system: Pass with distinction= Väl godkänd (Vg), Pass = Godkänd (G), and Fail = Underkänd (U).

Specialisation in relation to examination requirements

In this course the analytical skills are trained at a more advanced level than earlier. The literature is partly demanding, requiring a capacity to extract central conclusions from a larger body of information. The literature represents different research traditions and thus requires an ability to reflect independently on research design, sources and conclusions. That means, that a scientific approach is continuously being trained. The oral skills are important, understood here as the ability to present a self-collected material in front of the group in a clear and structured manner.

2e. Organisation, implementation and evaluation in public policy, 7.5 credits

Spring semester 2012.

Learning outcomes

Recently it has been claimed, that the traditional base of state authority has been undermined or crowded out. As the centre of policy making, the state has been challenged from above through international fora such as the EU, and from below through decentralisation and the empowerment of local political and administrative entities. Some scholars even claim that it is no longer meaningful to talk about "governments" or "states". In this course we will scrutinise this and other positions on political steering and guidance. We will do so by discussing the prerequisites for organising, implementing and evaluating public policy initiatives.

The aim of the course is to provide students with the capacity and skills to critically and independently describe, explain and evaluate single reforms and governing initiatives, as well as more general tendencies and patterns of political steering. They shall become familiar with the research literature, and also become competent to frame relevant problems on organisation, implementation and evaluation issues in public policy and political steering.

This course deepens and widens the understanding of organisation, implementation and evaluation in the policy process, on the basis of themes introduced in basic and intermediate levels of Political Science.

The course is aimed for students who want to deepen their knowledge on public administration and policy as well as students who are looking for a professional profile. A core idea is that good knowledge about relevant theories together with the capability to critically analyse and evaluate public policy and implementation should be asked for at the municipality and state levels, as well as the EU level of public administration.


The course focuses on three elements of the policy or governance process: organisation, implementation and evaluation. The underlying idea is simple. How the policy process is organised (formally and informally) affects how policy is implemented and how it may be and, in fact, is evaluated. At the same time, a central theme is that evaluation and implementation processes respectively organise power relations and governance patterns. Hence, beyond understanding the administrative logics of implementation and evaluation, it is equally important to understand their impact on the democratic polity in general.

Organisation. How is and how can the policy process and the public sector be organised and reorganised? Is it a matter of rational calculations or the consequences of routines, rituals or even random processes? What do we know about the match between different kinds of policy problems and institutional solutions?

Implementation. How are political intentions transformed into operative actions, results and outcomes? What explains the actual outcomes of policy initiatives and the use of governing instruments? How is knowledge produced and used?

Evaluation. What types of evaluation exist? From what normative criteria should public policy be evaluated and how should the evaluation process be organised? These are traditional and important issues of evaluation. We will also discuss the evaluation process as an arena for power struggles and the more general impacts of the evaluation trend on democracy.


For each of the three moments above there will be one or two lectures followed by a seminar. Theoretical frameworks, concepts and methods will be discussed and illustrated with cases. To every seminar, the student shall provide short texts (PM).


To pass the course, the students shall write a course paper and participate actively in the compulsory seminars. The grades are Pass with distinction (VG), Pass (G) and Fail (U).

2f. Comparative Middle East Politics, 7.5 credits

Spring semester 2012

Learning outcomes

The purpose of this course is to offer students a theoretical overview of political conditions in the Middle East. After the course, students are expected to have fundamental general knowledge of state and politics in the region, a familiarity with ongoing debates concerning the use of theory and methodology in research about the Middle East, as well as basic knowledge of the different research fronts relevant to the region.

In order to pass the course students will need to demonstrate their ability to critically discuss and present information, orally and in writing as well as independently seek scientific sources and information.


The course offers a broad overview of state and politics in the Middle East (structure of the state, nation, civil society, democratisation, politics and religion, Islamism) from a regional and international perspective (foreign policy, security, international relations).


Lectures and mandatory seminars. The course is taught in English.


Examination takes place continuously throughout the course through written and oral assignments as well as through active participation in the seminars. The final examination consists of a written test.


Grades awarded include: Fail (U) - Pass (G) - Pass with Distinction (VG).

For exchange students only:

In addition, grades will be given according to European Credit Transfer System (ECTS),that is using a seven-step scale.

Other regulations

Applications from students enrolled in the Programme "Orientalistikprogrammet" are given preference.

2g. Tragedy of the Commons: Climate Change, Energy, and the Politics of Resource Management, 7.5 credits

Spring semester 2012.

2h. International Politics, 7.5 credits

Spring semester 2012.

Learning outcomes

The aim of this course seminar is to offer a necessarily short survey of some, yet not all, sub-fields of International Relations. By the end of the seminar, students are expected to have a general sense of the field of International Relations, its traditional research focus and some of its main theories and debates. In particular, they should be able to:

1. Identify and compare the focus of several main research areas in International Relations

2. Understand approaches within these areas with regard to their underlying theories, the methodologies they employ and their usefulness for the analysis of particular problems of international politics

3. Analyse a particular problem of international politics with a research focus derived from one or more of these sub-fields in International Relations

4. Present and discuss scholarly work in the field of International Relations with their peers.


The course identifies and analyses research within four subfields of International Relations, namely Foreign Policy Analysis, Security Studies, the study of International Organisations, as well as Transnational Networks.


The course is given in English, during the first part of the Spring semester. The course places great emphasis on the seminars in which we discuss the readings as well as on the individual final paper.


Course requirements

1. Critical summaries of readings is mandatory.

Every week, students should submit a short position paper.

2. Seminar presentation and participation.

Every student will introduce one seminar. Presenters should make a written outline (for everyone) which summarises the key points of their introduction and the main questions on which to lead the discussion. Participation in the seminar is mandatory.

3. Final paper.

The final paper is an in-depth discussion of one of the central debates encountered in the readings and/or a substantial critique of one of the books.

2 i. Gender and politics in a comparative perspective, 7.5 credits

Autumn term 2011.


This course aims at providing a good understanding of research in the field gender and politics. The students are introduced to feminist political theories and theories about masculinities. In the empirical part we compare women's and men's political participation and representation in different countries and in different political institutions. We will discuss theories about what hinders and what improves gender equality. How do the distribution of power between women and men look like today? What explains women's representation? Are gender quotas good or bad? What do we mean by state feminism? The course also looks at policies from a gender perspective. Do more women in politics lead to more women-friendly policies? Examples will be taken from the fields of social policy, abortion policy and policies on gender based violence. Is there a connection between the degree of political gender equality and the content of political decisions? How do feminist theories and theories about masculinities contribute to our understanding of these problems?


Having completed the course, students are expected to:

- possess basic knowledge about theories on political representation from a gender perspective

- possess good knowledge of how women's and men's political participation and representation differs and about the variation over time and between different countries

- possess good knowledge about the most common explanations to why there are gender differences in political participation and representation

- possess a basic understanding of different types of gender- and welfare policies

- possess a basic understanding of the significance of gender for the content of public policies

- possess good knowledge of relevant feminist theories and theories about masculinity


The course consists of lectures and seminars. It is taught in English.


The seminars are compulsory and for each seminar there is an assignment that has to be fulfilled in advance. Examination takes place continuously throughout the course through written and oral assignments as well as through active participation in the seminars. Finally the students write a course paper. The literature includes articles and working material including assignment for the seminars. Examination is done through seminar activities, assignments and course paper. The following grades will be applied: passed with distinction (VG), passed (G) and failed (U).

In order to pass the following is required:

1) participation in compulsory elements of the course;

2) completed the assignments

3) course paper

3. Thesis, 15 credits


The instruction is done in the form of lectures and seminars of varying content and disposition.

Additional information regarding instruction and examination will be handed out before each sub-course.


The course examination is based on active seminar participation, course papers, essay assignment and written tests.

Course level in relation to degree requirements

On completion of the course the students are expected to have deepened their knowledge within one of the sub-disciplines of political science. They will have acquired a general view, and knowledge of the current scientific debate. The students' ability to analyse, evaluate and critically examine research and to formulate their own research problems will be deepened, as well as their ability to critically discuss and present information both orally and in writing, and their ability to independently search for scientifically relevant data and information. Additional training in the skill to present their arguments orally as well as in writing in a clear and concise way, will be offered.

The awareness and knowledge of methods will be deepened, and the methodological skills required to independently raise scientific questions and to carry out simple empirical studies, will be developed. A basic awareness will be acquired concerning the possibilities and limitations of science, its role in society and the public responsibility for its use. While working with the independent project the students' ability to critically, independently and creatively identify and formulate questions will be deepened, and they will learn to plan and carry out qualified assignments within given time limits and with adequate methods, and to present and discuss the underlying conclusions and arguments, both orally and in writing. The skills required for participation in the research and development work, or for working independently in some other qualified field, will be especially developed here.