POLS102-20S1 (D) Semester One 2020 (Distance)

Politics: An Introduction

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 February 2020
End Date: Sunday, 21 June 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 28 February 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 29 May 2020


This course introduces the basic tools and techniques used in political science, including essay writing, methods of analysis, and formulation of hypotheses. It also introduces students to a selection of key theories and frameworks. It covers topics such as democracy, authoritarianism, people’s power, civil society, conflict, globalisation, and the future of our world. This course will be of great benefit to Political Science majors of all levels and to students who desire a broad-based introduction to the field.

This course is designed to introduce the concepts, techniques, and topics of Political Science. It is also a course full of questions. We begin by discussing basic concepts of politics. Is politics a science? an art? madness? something else? We then turn to some more basic and more difficult questions. Who are we? Here we will explore the nature of identity and its relationship to politics. Nation, religion, and ethnicity are all sources of identity powerful enough to cause tremendous destruction in our world, and will all be considered. How are we governed? Since politics and politicians have a major impact on our daily lives, we will explore how political systems work. How does democracy come about? Over the last few decades, thousands of people like you and I have battled armed soldiers in the streets in order to win the right to participate in a democratic system. We will try to understand the reasons they care so passionately. Finally, we ask the most intriguing questions of all: Where do we go from here? Is globalization our future? Does the future hold peace and prosperity? Or war and chaos?

Learning Outcomes

Students enrolled in this course will learn the scope and basic methods of Political Science and its subfields. They will learn some key concepts used in Political Science, and learn to apply those concepts, in a variety of contexts. They will learn how to use library and internet resources useful for research in the social sciences. They will learn to write research papers appropriate to the field of Political Science. The research skills and techniques for analysis will transfer to a wide range of future careers. By studying the nature of identity, students will learn more about their own place in bicultural and multicultural settings.

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Timetable Note

Distance students may listen to the lectures online at any time after the lectures are delivered.

Course Coordinator

James Ockey


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Tutorial participation 10%
Library Resources & Referencing 15%
Hypotheses & Methodology 15%
Research Paper 25%
Final Test 35%

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Heywood, Andrew; Politics; Fifth edition; Red Globe Press, 2019.

All tutorial readings will be available through Learn.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $777.00

International fee $3,375.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences.

All POLS102 Occurrences