Comparative European Politics

Second year module

Lecturers: Dr Isabelle Hertner and Dr Tim Haughton

The course examines politics, polities, and policies across Europe. It compares elections and voting behaviour, institutions, political parties, governmental and public policy in European democracies. The aims of the course are to introduce concepts and approaches central to analysing politics and government in liberal democracies in Europe and to develop students' understanding of the commonalities and differences of democratic institutions.

Students will emerge from this course with knowledge of the institutions, political forces and policy traditions in Europe, with the analytic skills to examine political processes and institutions, and with experience of applying the methods of comparative politics to the analysis of political phenomena. The course will focus on countries across Europe, encouraging students to learn about politics outside the UK.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • See the value both of comparison, and also of marrying together theoretical  models with concrete, empirical examples from the real world.
  • Understand the different political institutions and practices in European democracies, enabling them to analyse the differences and similarities between European political institutions, parties and processes.
  • Examine and apply some of the most widely used theoretical perspectives in the field of comparative politics.
  • Elaborate complex and rigorous explanations of political phenomena in modern Europe.     


  • Term One: 1 essay x 2,000 word assessed work (50%)
  • Term Three: 2 hour examination (50%)