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Political Science: Approaches and Concepts



The Master in Political Science provides in-depth knowledge of a particular sub discipline of political science, but also grants a broader perspective on the study of politics and the theories and methods that are used. This course provides an overview of four important approaches in political science: behaviouralism, rational choice, institutionalism and political theory. We deal with these approaches by discussing one particular concept that is central to the approach. The lectures will provide an introduction to each approach and the related concept, while the seminars will invite students to critically evaluate the concepts. In addition, the linkage between the various approaches and concepts will be discussed.

Study Material

Marsh, David and Gerry Stoker (2010) Theory and Methods in Political Science. 3rd ed. Palgrave Macmillan, 400 pp.
(Second edition will also suffice)

A selection of journal articles and book chapters, available from Blackboard at the start of the course.


A written essay of 4000-5000 words on one of three questions that will be provided by the lecturers.


Wednesday 7 September, 10.00-13.00 hrs. in SB11 and
Monday 19 September, 11.00-13.00 hrs. in SB11 and
Wednesday 5 October, 11.00 – 13.00 hrs. in SB11 and
Monday 17 October, 11.00-13.00 hrs. in SB11

group 1: Monday 12 and 26 September + 10 and 24 October, 9.00-11.00 hrs. in 5B02
group 2: Monday 12 and 26 September 11.00-13.00 hrs. in 1A24 and 10 and 24 October, 11.00-13.00 hrs. in 5B04
group 3: Monday 12 and 26 September + 10 and 24 October, 13.00-15.00 hrs. in1A03
group 4: Monday 12 and 26 September + 10 and 24 October, 15.00-17.00 hrs. in 1A03