About this course

The UK’s political system exists in fascinating contrast to that of the USA, with which it is too often uncritically compared. While some differences are historical in origin, others stem from the rapid transformation Britain’s governance and public administration have undergone in the past three decades. Its institutions now stretch across supranational and sub-national lines, within a composite monarchy covering five countries.

This course will not only introduce students to Britain’s unitary state, to its unwritten constitution, party system and premiership, but will explore the very different structure of campaigns and elections now existing across London, the devolved assemblies, local government and Westminster. We will examine, too, the role of the media, the influence of the judiciary, European Union and the Convention on Human Rights, and constitutional reform. A wide range of primary and secondary documents will be studied, including law reports, parliamentary papers and government publications, as well as set texts. Students will acquire specialist knowledge of the main academic debates, as well as of the unique dynamics of a system very different from that of the USA.

This course includes a day trip to the Houses of Parliament and the Supreme Court in London.


Check with your home institution for specific information on fulfillment of major / course requirements.