GV482      Half Unit
Political Science and Political Economy: Current Issues

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Stephane Wolton


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Political Science and Political Economy. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

MSc Political Science and Political Economy students will be granted priority access as this is a compulsory course on this programme. Other postgraduates wanting to take the course (space permitting) require the permission of the teachers responsible.


Students should either have attended GV4C8 and GV481 or equivalent courses. Knowledge of game theory at the level of GV4C8 and empirical method to the level of GV481 is required.

Course content

The course will cover five topics in political science and political economy. Topics will change every year as a function of the most recent research in political economy. Each topic will be covered over two weeks. During these two weeks, students will learn how game theory and empirical methods can be used to understand and think critically about pressing political issues. For the academic year 2021-22, the topics covered will be: 1) The critiques of democracy, 2) Populism, 3) Discrimination, 4) Autocracy or democracy?.

During the lecture, students will be taught important papers on the topics covered. Seminars will be of two sorts. Some seminars will consist of replication exercises (Weeks 1, 5, 8, 9, and 11). Others will be problem set based (Weeks 2, 3, 5, 7, and 10). All seminars will be related to topics viewed during the lectures.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 40 hours across Lent Term (20 hours of lectures and 20 hours of seminars). There will also be a two-hour mock exam and a two-hour revision lecture (either on-campus or online) in the ST. This year, some or all of this teaching may be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus lectures and seminars. 

There will be a reading week in LT Week 6. 

Formative coursework

Students will hand in one problem set and one replication exercise before the reading week.

Indicative reading

Mostly journal articles. The reading list varies each year.


Coursework (50%) in the LT.
Online assessment (50%) in the ST.

The coursework will consist of an empirical research question (original or replication of an existing paper), and the online exam will consist of a problem question using game theory and an essay question (estimated amount of effort required for the online exam: 2 hours in a 24 hour-period, though there is no limit on how much time the student spends on the exam during the 24-hour period).

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: 33

Average class size 2020/21: 16

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information