Political Science A
Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 2SK009
- Education cycle
- First cycle
- Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
- Political Science G1N
- Grading system
- Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
- Finalised by
- The Department Board, 13 March 2019
- Responsible department
- Department of Government
General entry requirements and Social Studies 1b/1a1+1a2 or Civics A
On completion of the A course in Political Science the students are expected to:
Be able to present and discuss:
- the central problems in political theory
- the political government, public administration and the main features of the political life in Sweden and other countries;
- variations in political participation;
- the political problems of the developing countries and new democracies;
- the development of international politics during the 20th and 21st centuries;
- the development of the European Union and the role of Sweden in the international arena.
Students are expected to participate actively and independently in seminar discussions and make short presentations in a seminar setting. They are also expected to produce written course papers that deal with defined research problems and in connection to that:
- practice the application of a scientific approach to sources and source material;
- understand the value of, and bases for, good argumentation;
- be able to distinguish between theoretical literature and empirical findings;
- be able to separate personal opinions from independent conclusions drawn from the source material;
- be familiar with the basics of source referencing.
The course is primarily based on textbooks and shorter scientific texts. The intention is to give the students an introduction to different fields of political science and to present some of the research methods used. Considerable weight is placed on making the students realize the meaning of independent and critical thinking, and equip them with the necessary tools to evaluate conclusions and arguments. Students will also practice skills as part of the course, chiefly through the writing of course papers. In the seminars the student will be given the opportunity to practice speaking and argumentative skills which are further developed within courses at more advanced levels.
The course consists of five sub-courses: Political Theory, State Formation, Citizens and Society, Public Administration, and International Politics.
Political Theory 6.0 credits
The aim of the course is to make students acquainted with some elements of political thought and political theory. The student is to acquire the capacity to interpret and assess political ideas in an independent manner, in some cases through the reading of classic sources. On the one hand, the purpose is to try to understand what may appear strange (or insidiously familiar); on the other hand, we aim to judge the truth and fecundity of the texts and arguments that we encounter.
The course is structured by a series of lectures on political thought from Antiquity to the modern age. During the lectures, the students will encounter important political and theoretical traditions and thinkers that have shaped our understanding of the things that are considered important in political theory. In this context, some fundamental political concepts are introduced, such as state, society, political obligation, virtue, constitutionalism, democracy, liberty, justice and dignity. The lectures are intended to serve as an invitation to the students to engage and address the classic ideas and texts of political theory. Some of these are given particular attention. It must also be emphasised that the lectures provides guidelines to how one is to read the literature and deal with the seminar assignments.
The most important element of the course is to be found in the seminars and in the writing of a short scholarly text, a memo. During the seminars, the students have the task to reflect on and evaluate ideas that are not their own. This implies that the history of political thought and the interpretation of this tradition on the one hand, and normative judgements about right and wrong in political and moral issues on the other hand, are considered to belong together. The students are supposed to transcend their own horizon by trying to understand and defend different political ideas that are developed in the required reading.
The course consists of lectures, two lessons and seminars; the students prepare the lessons and the two first seminars by reading all of the required literature and reflecting on the questions that they are assigned. The students are expected to bring the literature to the seminars and to be able to look up the relevant passages that are under discussion. At a third seminar, the group discusses each student's memo.
The student needs to pass the written exam (3 hp), take part in the seminars in an active manner, and pass the group assignment for the lessons as well as the course paper written for the third seminar (3 hp). In order to pass the course paper, the student needs to make an argument about issues pertaining to principles and problems of interpretation based on the literature, the lectures and the seminars - in an independent manner, yet avoiding the pitfall of mere opinion.
Grades awarded for the examination: Fail (U) - Pass (G) - Pass with Distinction (VG).
State Formation 6.0 credits
This course provides students with a holistic understanding of political systems in general. The course is designed to provide students with the basic terminology, theories and methods within the field state formation; this includes an understanding of the division of power (horizontal and vertical), the function of different political institutions, state-building and policy implementation. The course also aims to provide students with knowledge of Swedish political history. The course has an explicit comparative approach and the course pays special attention to the European Union.
The course examines political institutions by analysing the roles of the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government as well as the construction of the state and the implementation of policy. The development of the Swedish political system is thoroughly reviewed as is the European Union.
The student's own reading is supported by lectures and seminars. The lectures address the central parts of the course, and put the course literature into its context. In the seminars the students discuss issues related to the main themes of the course.
The students are required to display active participation in the seminars given and to submit written assignments. The students are expected to produce a course paper, connected to the course literature but with free choice of subject, as well as acting as both respondent and opponent at course paper seminars.
Grades awarded for the seminars (including the course paper) (3 hp) : Fail (U) - Pass (G). In order to obtain the grade Pass, active participation is required.
Written exam State Formation (3 hp): Written examination, which serves both as basis for grading, and an opportunity for the student to rehearse the content of the courses.
Grades awarded for the written examination: Fail (U) - Pass (G) - Pass with Distinction (VG).
Citizens and Society 6.0 credits
This course is based on a comparative perspective of politics and political systems. Based on concepts such as citizens, political culture and political participation the course asks questions concerning democracy and democratization processes, political parties and interest groups, as well as other channels of influence such as the media. The course is empirically focused, using examples from different states around the world, as of course also the case of Sweden. The themes that have been introduced in this course will return at higher levels of instruction.
After completing this course, the student is expected to be able to:
Knowledge and understanding
- Account for basic concepts, theories and methods concerning democratization processes, political parties, political participation and political culture.
- Account for basic empirical particulars concerning democratization processes, political parties, political participation and political culture.
Skills and abilities
- Apply central theories and concepts related to the main topics of the course to concrete empirical cases.
- Formulate relevant research questions based on the main topics of the course.
- Develop short analytical written texts with an independently chosen focus.
Judgement and approach
- Critically review and evaluate academic texts.
- Formulate constructive critique of fellow students' written assignments.
The students' own learning process is supported through lectures and seminars. The lectures address the central elements, and empirical and theoretical themes, and situate the course literature in these contexts. In the seminar the students discuss issues related to the main themes of this course section.
The course is examined through active participation in the seminars, written course papers related to the course literature (3 hp), and a written exam (3hp).
Grades awarded for the seminars (including the course paper): Fail (U) - Pass (G) - Pass with Distinction (VG). In order to obtain the grade Pass, active participation is required. In order to pass the course paper, the author should formulate a clear research question clearly linked to the course literature, discuss the theories which help to answer this question and conduct an independent and systematic empirical analysis for answering the research question.
When grading the written exam (3 hp), three grades are employed: Fail (U) - Pass (G) - Pass with Distinction (VG).
Public Administration 6.0 credits
On completion of this course the students are expected to:
- understand the role and function of the public administration;
- have an extended comprehension of central characteristics of the Swedish public administration, i.e. have acquired a thorough familiarity of the organisation of the public administration;
- be able to interpret and apply public administration concepts, ideas, and notions on political processes and developments;
- be able to problematise the relationship between power and responsibility within the public administration;
- have a basic understanding of how to apply a critical perspective on the study of politics and administration.
Public administration policy is entails ideas and measures directed towards the organisation and working methods of the public sector. During the course some of these measures will be presented and discussed. The point of departure is that the success or failure of public administration policies has a decisive significance on the preparation and carrying out of other policy programs and reforms. Hence, the central focus is on classical problems within political science such as the organisation of government. The literature mainly deals with the Swedish case, but international contrasts will be made during the course.
The teaching consists of lectures, seminars and the writing of a short paper. The lectures focus the central themes of the course, and contextualise selected elements of the course literature. An interactive response system is utilized in order to encourage student activity during the lectures which necessitates a tablet, smartphone or computer during the lectures. At the seminars the students are expected to have prepared answers to the questions to be discussed. For the third seminar meeting, a paper should be submitted and subsequently discussed during the seminar. Please note that in this course the papers for the third seminar should be written in pairs. Language of instruction is Swedish.
The students are examined by means of a written exam (3 hp), participation at seminars and a short paper (3 hp) for the last seminar.
Grades awarded for the seminars (including the written paper): Fail (U) - Pass (G). Grades awarded for the written exam: Fail (U) - Pass (G) - Pass with distinction (VG).
International Politics 6.0 credits
The course focuses on the development of international politics in the 20th and 21st centuries, with a special emphasis on European experiences. A number of central theoretical traditions and perspectives on international politics are introduced such as realism, liberalism, constructivism and gender perspectives. In addition to the theoretical perspectives, key themes and processes in international politics such as security, conflict and international cooperation, and foreign policymaking are explored. The course is designed to provide students with opportunities to develop basic communication (e.g. speaking, writing, active seminar participation), research, and analytical skills. The course prepares students for intermediate (B) studies in this subfield and contributes to preparing students for higher levels studies and professional activities.
Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to:
Knowledge and understanding
- account for central classical and critical theoretical perspectives within international politics
- describe central thematic areas and processes within international politics, such as international cooperation and security.
Skills and Abilities
- apply central classical and critical theoretical perspectives in international politics on concrete cases
- formulate relevant research problems using central theoretical perspectives in international politics
Judgement and approach
- critically evaluate different theoretical perspectives in international politics by comparing and setting different theoretical perspectives against each other
The instruction for this course consists of lectures and seminars. The lectures address the central themes and theories in the course, and insert the course literature in its context. At the seminars the students discuss issues related to the sub-course's main theme.
Active participation in the seminars is required. The students are required to write a short paper and present this in class (3 hp). Grades awarded for the seminars are Fail (U) Pass (G) - and High Pass (VG). At the end of the course students sit a written examination.
Written examination (3 hp): The written examination serves as basis for grading and an opportunity for students to revise the content of the course. Grades awarded for the written examination: Fail (U) - Pass (G) - Pass with Distinction (VG).
The teaching consists of lectures, seminars and the writing of course papers. Questions to be discussed, should be prepared for the seminar meetings by the students. Active participation in seminars is required. Grading is based on the student's ability to reason about relevant problems from the course literature, the lectures and the discussions in the seminar.
Additional information regarding instruction and examination will be handed out before each sub-course.
The students are assessed by means of written exams, participation at seminars and short papers. Grades are awarded according the scale "failed", "pass" or "pass with distinction". If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.
This course may be included in the Bachelor's Programme in Political Sciences, the Social Science Programme as well as being a separate single subject course in a Bachelor Degree. This course can not be included in a Bachelor's Degree along with Social and Political Studies AB: Political Science 15 credits.
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2023
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2022
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2021
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2020
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2019
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2018
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2017
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2016
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2015
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2014
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2013
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2012
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2011
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2010, version 2
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2010, version 1
- Reading list valid from Spring 2010
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2009, version 3
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2009, version 2
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2009, version 1
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2008
- Reading list valid from Spring 2008
- Reading list valid from Autumn 2007
- Reading list valid from Spring 2007