GV3L1      Half Unit
Analytical Approaches to British Politics

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Torun Dewan


This course is available on the BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics, BSc in Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and History, BSc in Politics and International Relations and BSc in Politics and Philosophy. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Students from BSc in Economics may also take the course with permission.


Students must have completed Public Choice and Politics (GV225).

The course is designed primarily for students on the BSc Politics and Economics programme. Students from other BSc Politics programmes who have taken GV225 may also apply.

Course content

Strøm (2000) argues that the conceptual essence of Parliamentary government is a “historical evolution” – an accident of 19th century Britain that spread to other parts of the world. Recent analytical political science has shed light on Britain’s political development and how its institutions function, using game theoretic modelling, rational choice narratives, and quantitative data. The course covers this literature and takes an analytical approach to topics such as: the historical development of British institutions and Imperial governance; the emergence and impact of Government-vs-Opposition;  the historical development of the British party system;  the causes and consequence of franchise extension;  the Cabinet and its conventions; and the composition of the Executive and Parliament over time.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 36 hours across the Lent and Summer Terms. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus lectures and seminars. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT.

1500 word essay to be completed by end of reading week

Indicative reading

Cox, G. (1987) The Efficient Secret, Cambridge University Press

Berlinski, S., Dewan, T, and Dowding K. (2012) Accounting for Ministers: Scandal and Survival in British Government 1945-2007, Cambridge University Press

Mclean, I (2002) Rational Choice and British Politics: An Analysis of Rhetoric from and Manipulation from Peel to Blair, Oxford University Press

Schonhardt-Bailey, C (2006)  From the Corn Laws to Free Trade: Interests, Ideas and Institutions in Historical Perspective, MIT Press


Online assessment (100%, duration: 7 days) in the ST.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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: Government

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Capped 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills