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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:
Activities and contact hours
  • 39 contact hours Lecture
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 a range of key concepts will be considered, including the concept of ‘politics’ itself, political power, the nation-state and democracy. 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 (social movements, political parties, ...). The third part offers a more detailed treatment of central political institutions, such as electoral systems, legislatures, governments and bureaucracies. The final classes will direct the focus to multilevel, 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

At the end of the course, students will have acquired the following competences and skills:

LO1: They have an active knowledge of the key concepts and theories in political science. They are able to use and discuss these concepts and theories, and apply them to real life events.

LO2: They are familiar with the historical roots of the discipline and with recent developments in various subfields of political science.

LO3: They understand the functioning of central political processes, actors and institutions of modern (European) democracies. They are also familiar with the broader historical context in which these democracies have developed.

LO4: They can interpret and analyze current political developments using the specific language and framework of political science.

LO5: They develop communication skills and group work skills by interacting with fellow students and by exchanging ideas in class.


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