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Introduction to Political Science

Introduction to Political Science

6 ECTS credits
150 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 1020435AER for all students in the 1st semester at a (A) Bachelor - preliminary level.

Information about this course is applicable on academic year 2017-2018.

1st semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method

Grading (scale from 0 to 20)

Can retake in second session
Taught in
Partnership agreement
  • Under interuniversity agreement for degree program
Faculty of Economic & Social Sciences & Solvay BS
Political Science
Educational Team:
Course content

Introduction to Political Science offers a general and systematic introduction into the field of political science. Students receive a broad overview of different approaches, theories and aspects of political decision-making. Firstly three key concepts –power, the state and democracy– will be dealt with extensively. It will be demonstrated that these key concepts stimulate considerable debate among political scientists and that different views are often rooted in different ideological stances. The second part of the course devotes attention to the most important political processes (political participation, representation, …) and to the actors intervening in these processes (political parties, interest groups, …). The third part offers a more detailed treatment of central political institutions, such as electoral systems, parliaments, public administration and justice. The final classes will direct the focus to multi-level, European and international politics.

Course material
  • Handbook (Required): Politics, Heywood, Andrew, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013
  • Digital course material (Required): Slides on Pointcarré
Additional info

Optional reading:

  • Deschouwer, Kris (2012), The Politics of Belgium. Governing a Divided Society, 2nd edition, London: Palgrave, Macmillan.

  • Hay, Colin (2007), Why we Hate Politics, London: Polity.

In order to reach the course objectives, students will be asked to prepare course readings in advance and to participate actively in class discussions. Students are also expected to follow the news.

Programme Objectives

General Learning Outcomes

The students are familiar with the specific language and method of political science, compared to other ‘telling about politics’. They can recognize that language and use it actively.
The students know the most important concepts in political science
The students understand the functioning of the most important institutions of modern democracy

  • LO1: has an active knowledge of the most important theories, currents and concepts prevailing in the domain of the social sciences.
  • LO2: is familiar with the historical developments that have occurred in the fields of sociology, political sciences and communication sciences over time.
  • LO3: recognises the cross-sections, the intersections and the cross-fertilisations that are noticeable amongst the different social sciences.
  • LO5: knows the historical, political, juridical and socio-economic structures that shape the activities and define the agency of the European political institutions, private and public social organisations and media-organisations.
  • LO12: recognises the multilayered and complex character of social, political and media-related facts and phenomena.
  • LO19: has knowledge of and insight into the main institutions, actors and processes of decision-making and policy-making of the European Union.

The final grade is composed based on the following categories:

  • Written Exam determines 100% of the final mark.

Within the Written Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

Written Exam with a relative weight of 100 which comprises 100% of the final mark.

Additional info with regard to grading

Written examination in which factual knowledge, analytical skills and critical analysis skills will be tested. Students have to prove (1) that they understand the political science concepts and theories discussed in class, and (2) that they are able to use these concepts and theories actively and apply them to current affairs. The exam is closed book.