Concepts in Political Science and Public Policy

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Christopher Anderson CBG 6.05 and Dr Spyridon Economides CBG 5.03


This course is compulsory on the MSc in European Studies (Research). This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe, MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe (LSE & Sciences Po), MSc in European and International Public Policy, MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Political Economy of Europe, MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in The Global Political Economy of China and Europe (LSE and Fudan). This course is not available as an outside option.

Students from any MSc programme within the European Institute can follow the course. This course is for students with little background in European Politics and Policy-making.

Course content

This course, run online via Moodle, offers an informal introduction to basic concept of political science, public policy and adjacent fields by providing links to a number of resources such as introductory readings, background texts, news websites, academic journals, and external media sources such as podcasts. Students will also find material which will allow them to familiarize themselves with research design and the basic methodologies in political science and public policy. The main aim of this course is twofold:  First, to provide some basic conceptual knowledge for European Institute students who have little or no background in political science, international relations, public policy or related disciplines. Second, to provide a resource to which students can return throughout their year at LSE, should they want to revise some concepts or look for data sources, for example when working on their dissertation or the policy incubator project. Additional resources will be added to the Moodle page throughout the academic year. Students may also enrol on course sister Moodle course EU409 (Basic Concepts for Political Economy) if they are interested in learning more about specific concepts in economics.


This is a Moodle-based course with no formal teaching. Students can arrange one-to-one sessions with the Course Convenor during Feedback Sessions/Office Hours. Depending on student demand, a limited number of 'EU4V9 Surgeries' may be arranged with the Course Convenor.

Indicative reading

  • Clark, W. R., Golder, M., & Golder, S. N. (2017). Principles of comparative politics. CQ Press.
  • Bale, T. (2013). European politics: A comparative introduction. Macmillan International Higher Education. 
  • Barakso, M., Sabet, D. M., & Schaffner, B. (2013). Understanding Political Science Research Methods: The Challenge of Inference. Routledge.
  • Toshkov, D. 2016. Research Design in Political Science. Palgrave.
  • Hancké, B. (2009). Intelligent research design: a guide for beginning researchers in the social sciences. Oxford University Press.
  • Wallace, H., Pollack, M. A., & Young, A. R. (Eds.). (2015). Policy-making in the European Union. Oxford University Press, USA.
  • Hix, S. and Hoyland, B. (2011).The Political System of the European Union. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Dinan, D. (2014). Europe Recast. Palgrave Macmillan.

See the Moodle page for this course for lists of journals and other sources of information.


There is no assessment for this course.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Controlled access 2019/20: No

Value: Non-credit bearing

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Application of information skills
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills