This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.
Limited places are also open for exchange students.
Please note: this course takes place in The Hague. Traveling between University buildings from Leiden to The Hague may take about 45 minutes.
This course discusses key theoretical and empirical concepts and approaches used to study politics. It is centred around two main clusters: state - nation - diversity and democracy - authoritarianism. The focus will be on ideational aspects, institutional structures and processes in a variety of political systems, starting from their current relevance, but always including a clear historical dimension.
Students will develop a critical, comparative approach to the study of their region of choice, to be elaborated in tutorials and in area politics courses. They will be challenged to contrast and discuss different national cases and to put these in a comparative, global context. This comparison between global phenomena and regional and national specifics is at the core of this course.
The goal of the course is to offer a systematic analysis of central theories and concepts, and the different approaches employed to analyse and compare a wide range of political phenomena. Students will be able to apply these concepts to specific regional and national settings, and to draw comparisons.
The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.
Mode of instruction
Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover issues both inside and outside the readings.
It is the intention that all plenary lectures for this course will be made available in web lecture form, no later than 10 days before the mid-term and final exams, respectively. Please note that these web lectures are intended as additional aid in studying for the exams, not as replacement for the lectures. Students should also not rely on the presence of web lectures for their study plans as they are an extra service and their availability cannot be assured. In the past technical problems have resulted in web lectures not being available.
Tutorials are held once every two weeks, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform your tutor in advance. Being absent at more than two of the tutorial sessions will result in a lowering of your tutorial grade (30% of the end grade) with 1 point for each session missed after the first two sessions. Please note that being absent at any tutorial session may have a negative impact on the grade of the assignment due for that particular tutorial session. This is at the discretion of the tutor.
Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), which equals 140 hours, broken down by:
|Attending lectures||24 hours|
|Attending tutorials||12 hours|
|Assessment hours (exams)||2 hours|
|Study of compulsory literature||64 hours|
|Completing assignments, preparing for classes and exams||38 hours|
Written examination with 50% open questions, 50% multiple choice questions.
To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:
The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of Tutorial grade and Final Exam grade.
The Final Exam grade needs to be 5.5 or higher.
This means that failing Exam grades cannot be compensated with a high Tutorial grade.
If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), or the Final Exam is lower than 5.5, there is a possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing Final Exam grade. No resit for the tutorial is possible.
Please note that if the Resit Exam grade is lower than 5.5, you will not pass the course, regardless of the tutorial grade.
Retaking a passing grade
Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2019 – 2020.
Exam review and feedback
How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.
Textbook: Patrick H. O’Neil, Essentials of Comparative Politics. New York and London, 2018.
We use the sixth edition (ISBN 978-0-393-62458-8).
Additional readings may be added. These will be made available through Blackboard.
Enrolment through uSis for Tutorials and Lectures is mandatory.
Students will be enrolled for Exams by the Administration Office, as long as they have a valid Tutorial enrolment.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number, and tutorial group number.
Please use your University email-address (uMail) when communicating with any person or department within Leiden University.