GV450      Half Unit
European Politics: Comparative Analysis

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Julian Hoerner

Prof Simon Hix, Dr Eiko Thielemann


This course is available on the MSc in EU Politics, MSc in EU Politics (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in European Studies (Research). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course is intended to provide students with a systematic introduction to central conceptual and theoretical debates in the comparative analysis of politics and government in Europe. The core syllabus focuses on both traditional fields of comparative enquiry, such as the study of party competition and voting behaviour, and emerging fields of interest, such as European identity, immigration, Central banks, and Europeanisation. The course takes a thematic approach and places particular emphasis on the diverse experiences of liberal democracy in individual European countries.

The main themes addressed include: European models of government; elections and electoral behaviour; party systems and representation; executive-legislative relations; courts and central banks; European identity; immigration; European integration and domestic institutional change.


10 hours of lectures and 18 hours of seminars in the MT.

There will be a reading week in Week 6 of the MT for private study and assessment preparation.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to submit one formative essay and make one seminar presentation.

Indicative reading

Readings include: M Gallagher et al, Representative Government in Modern Europe, 5th ed; P Heywood et al (Eds), Developments in European Politics; M Bruter, Citizens of Europe; S Hix, The Political System of the European Union, 2nd edition; J Hayward & A Menon (Eds), Governing Europe; A Lijphart, Patterns of Democracy; Y Deloye & M Bruter (Eds) Encyclopaedia of European Elections; K Shepsle & P Bonchek, Analysing Politics; G Cox, Making Votes Count; G Tsebelis, Veto Players.


Essay (100%, 3000 words).

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 24
Merit 72
Pass 4
Fail 0

Teachers' comment

The assessment of the course is based 100% on an essay, which allows students to explore in depth an aspect of European politics and to investigate comparatively several European countries of their choice.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2016/17: 18

Average class size 2016/17: 10

Controlled access 2016/17: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 78%



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