Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


Politics is about power. Political science is the systematic study of how humans organise to exercise and contest power. This unit will introduce you to the approaches political scientists use to understand how power operates in modern and contemporary politics.

By the end of this unit you will be well-prepared to continue the study of national and international politics - and other social science topics (including sociology, economics, anthropology, philosophy, history, business). Most importantly, you will better understand the key actors, and institutions that shape nations, communities, neighbourhoods, families, and your daily life. This unit does not teach you what to think about politics, it gives you the conceptual tools to evaluate and develop your own critical thinking about politics and power.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Political Science and International Relations; Philosophy, Politics and Economics major sequences
  • Level 1 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate knowledge of the different approaches to the study of power/politics; (2) explain the key actors and institutions involved in contemporary politics; (3) analyse how these actors challenge, express, and gain power; (4) evaluate the extent to which contemporary events are transforming the modern state and politics; and (5) effectively communicate knowledge, ideas, analyses and arguments about power and contemporary politics in oral and written formats.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) analytic assessment; (2) research assessment; and (3) participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Felix Pal
Contact hours
3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.