The UK''s Political History and Institutions
Area of Study
International Relations, Political Science
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits4
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units0
Hours & Credits
This module investigates and explores the recent history, nature and practice of
government and politics in Britain, especially the key political institutions and the main
forms of political activity found in this country from 1945 to the present day. The module
is designed to introduce the way that UK government and politics has evolved since the
end of the Second World War, the way it has been (and still is) conducted in Britain, and
to help understand more clearly both what is distinctive - and what is not so different -
about the way public policy is pursued in the UK compared to other parts of Europe and
This part provides students with an overview of the main governments, Prime Ministers,
parties and policies from 1945 to 2010, and is designed to provide outline knowledge of
the basic foundations of recent British political history and the key personalities, events
and policies. Once equipped with this basic foundational knowledge, in the second part
you will be able to place the current-day practice of politics into context and see
continuities and changes.
? interpreting UK political history since 1945
? Facing the future? Attlee & Labour in government, 1945-1951
? Continuity over change? Churchill & Eden in government, 1951-1957
? Never ?had it so good?? Macmillan & Douglas-Home in power, 1957-1964
? The ?white heat of technology?? Wilson & Labour in power, 1964-1970
? The breakdown of ?consensus?? Heath, Wilson, Callaghan & the 1970s
? Thatcher?s economic revolution? Conservative dominance in the 1980s
? In Thatcher?s shadow? Major?s Conservative Governments, 1990-1997
? A ?Young Country?? Tony Blair & New Labour in power, 1997-2007
? Uncertain times? From Brown to Cameron?s Coalition, 2007-2010
This part provides a guide through the main structures and contemporary practice of
British politics, from the foundations of the electorate and elections, via the political
parties to parliament (?Westminster?) and, eventually, to the government (the ?core
The second part will also consider various key questions in British politics which
inevitably arise from the study of our major institutions. These will include how and why
people become active in politics, the work of MPs (are they worth their pay?), whether
we should have a written constitution, the function of local government (recently termed
the new ?localism?), the nature of ?devolved? power (e.g. the Scottish Parliament, Welsh
Assembly, Greater London Assembly, and so on), and the role and power of the media
(very topical at the moment).
? Introduction: The weird & wonderful world of British political institutions &
? Vox Populi?: The (reluctant) voters and unloved elections in Britain
? Political parties: Can?t live with them, can?t live without them
? Westminster: The ?mother? of all Parliaments?
? Presidentialism? in Britain? The roles of Prime Minister and Cabinet
? Her Majesty?s Government: Servant or master?
? The ?new localism?? Local, regional & devolved power in the UK
? Pathways into politics: How & why become a politician in the UK?
? Members of Parliament: Local champions or spineless thieves?
? The UK?s media: Just reporting politics, or more?
? Improving British politics: What would make UK politics & our political
institutions work better?
Teaching: Lectures, seminars and workshops
STUDY OPTION 1:
? 1,500 word essay: focus on the historical foundations of UK politics.
? 1,500 word essay: focus on the current practice of UK politics.
STUDY OPTION 2: 1,500 word essay: focus on the historical foundations of UK politics
Study Option 1 = Whole Year
Study Option 2 = Autumn
Study Option 3 = Spring/summer
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.
Some courses may require additional fees.
Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.
Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.
Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.