GV450      Half Unit
European Politics: Comparative Analysis

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Vesselin Dimitrov

Prof Michael Bruter, Dr Eiko Thielemann, Dr Florian Foos


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

The deadline for applications is 17:00 on Tuesday 1 October 2019. You will be informed of the outcome by 17:00 on Wednesday 2 October 2019.

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 national and European identities, and immigration. 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: Transformation of European politics; elections and electoral behaviour; party systems and representation; government formation and coalitions; regionalism and federalism; national and European identities; immigration.


15 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: T Bale, European Politics: A Comparative Introduction, 4th ed; 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 and B Hoyland, The Political System of the European Union, 3rd edition; J Hayward & A Menon (Eds), Governing Europe; A Lijphart, Patterns of Democracy, 2nd ed; 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

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 33.3
Merit 66.7
Pass 0
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 2018/19: 14

Average class size 2018/19: 14

Controlled access 2018/19: No

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