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.
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 (approximately 7 pages / hour): 64 hours
Completing assignments, preparing for classes and exams: 38 hours
- Final Exam: 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 grade 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 2018 – 2019.
How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.
- Textbook: Patrick H. O’Neill, Essentials of Comparative Politics. New York and London, 2017. We use the sixth edition (ISBN 978-0-393-62458-8), either the regular or the ‘International Student Edition’.
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
For information, please contact your tutors.
For information about the lectures, please contact Prof.dr. A.W.M. Gerrits.
When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number, and tutorial group number.