This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.
Limited places are also open for exchange students and Urban Studies 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.
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. With online education, it is more important than ever to maintain communication and stay in touch with your study groups. For this reason, if you are unable to attend a session, it is required that you inform your tutor in advance. 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.
Written examination with short open questions and (up to) 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 60% 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
Faculty regulations concerning participation in resits are listed in article 4.1 of the Faculty Course and Examination Regulations.
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 Brightspace.
Registration occurs via survey only. Registration opens 14 December:
- On 14 December you will receive a message with a link to the survey.
- Indicate there which Methodological Elective (and if you choose Learn a language: which language you would like to learn) has your preference, and your reasons for this preference.
- Based on preferences indicated by 30 December the Coordinator of Studies will assign you to a specific Methodological Elective by 20 January.
- Students will then be enrolled for the specific groups by the Administration Office.
- All students are required to enroll for their group in Brightspace to access all course information.
Students cannot register in uSis for the Methodological Elective, or be allowed into a Methodological Elective in any other way.
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.
Passing this course is an entry requirement for the thesis.