Bader International Study Centre


at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.



at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.

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POLS 110/6.0 Introduction to Politics and Government

Instructor: Dr. Rachael Johnstone

Course Description

This full year course will introduce you to the questions and concepts that are fundamental to the study of politics and government. Whether you are taking this course as a prerequisite for further studies in the field of politics or out of personal interest for the topic, it will enrich your understanding of the way we govern ourselves and hone a variety of skills crucial to your success in the academic world and beyond. This course has been divided into four topic areas:

  1. What is political thought?
  2. What is a political process?
  3. What role does representation play in politics?
  4. What is international politics?

An exploration of these topics will help you carefully and thoughtfully engage with the political questions and issues that surround us.

Expected Learning Outcomes
  • Develop a strong foundation in political thought, with particular fluency in political ideologies and theories of representation
  • Understand the basic mechanisms of government
  • Confidently engage with on-going debates in the field
  • Develop analytical and critical thinking skills.
  • Improve facility in written communication.
  • Foster a habit of thoughtful, constructive participation in discussions.
Field Studies

Past field studies for this class have included:

  • Tour of Scottish Parliament and meeting with Marco Biagi (Edinburgh)
  • Tour of UK Parliament (London)
  • Speaker from Oxfam at the Castle
  • Centre Audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir (Paris)
Primary Research Expectations

Students must incorporate primary research from their field studies in their short papers and major research papers. This means referencing information gathered through conversations, questions, presentations, and so on, while in the field. 


Past evaluation structure:

  • ​Participation: 10%
  • Field Study Papers (10%x3): 30%
  • Ideology Assignment: 5%
  • Research Essay Proposal: 5%
  • Research Essay: 25%
  • Final Exam: 25%