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Comparative Analysis of Political Systems


Admission requirements

Basic knowledge of Political Science is recommended to take this course. This implies that students have followed at least 10 EC of courses on government and politics.

Course objectives

Objective 1: General introduction to the study of comparative politics with a global and long-term view.
Objective 2: The core concepts of the field are analysed within the context of informative case-studies.

Content: This course builds on the themes discussed in Introduction to Political Science. The aim is to provide a general introduction to the study of comparative politics. The core concepts of the field and the pressing issues are analysed within the context of five informative case-studies (Britain, France, the United States, Ethiopia, and South Africa) directly in class, while other case-studies will be examined within the workgroups. Focus will be on the main political cleavages like class, ideology, ethnicity and religion, and how these divisions have played out in the long run. In terms of the contents of the course, topics covered include state-building, nation-building, economic development, ethnic politics, citizenship, party structures and electoral politics.



Mode of instruction

Lectures and workgroups.

Course load

Total course load for the course is: 10 EC/ 280 hours

  • Hours spent on attending lectures: 28 hours

  • Hours spent on attending workgroups: 14 hours

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature: 150 hours

  • Time for completing assignments (including reading/research) and study for the exam: 88 hours

Assessment method

Final exam (75%) and workgroup attendance and participation (25%).

First opportunity for an exam
Wednesday 26 October 2016, 13.00-16.00 at the USC

Second opportunity for an exam
Thursday 19 January 2017, 09.00-12.00 at the USC


Students can find the course syllabus and additional course materials on Blackboard. Students are advised to enroll on Blackboard before the start of the course.

Reading list

  • Jan Erk, Tom Louwerse, and Kavita Ziemann (2013), Politiek in een veranderende wereld: Nederland en België in vergelijkend perspectief, Leuven: Acco.

  • Additional material made available through Blackboard.

Recommended additional reading for non-Dutch speakers:

  • Mark Kesselman, Joel Krieger, Christopher S. Allen, Joan DeBardeleben, Stephen Hellman, David Ost, George Ross (2009), European Politics in Transition, 6th Edition.



Students need to register for lectures and work group sessions in uSis. It is not possible to take a course without a valid registration. Please consult the course registration website for information on registration periods and further instructions.

Minor students, please see the tab meer info for information on how to apply.


Students are not automatically registered for exams. They can register themselves in uSis until 10 calendar days before the exam date at the latest. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the exam. More information can be found on the exam registration website.

Registration Exchange and Study Abroad students

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.