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


This unit introduces students to the study of comparative politics. It examines the ways in which political systems vary across the world, from ideas to institutional structures to policy outputs. The unit will, at its core, ask students to engage with the core principles of the comparative method. What can be gained through comparison? How does this inform how we should understand our own political beliefs, systems and aspirations? Using these questions, this unit guides students through a number of classic and emerging themes in the discipline of comparative politics. These include the comparative study of race, ethnicity and religion; state institutions and government regimes; and violence, poverty and social movements. What makes Australia different to, or the same as, other countries? Why does it matter? In addressing these questions, the unit seeks to engage with important contemporary debates and issues, such as the rise of populism, the role of money in politics and the capacity of political systems to deal with major crises.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the Political Science and International Relations; Philosophy, Politics and Economics major sequences
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate advanced knowledge about the field of comparative politics and the functions of diverse political ideas, theories, actors and institutions in democratic and non-democratic systems; (2) critically explain and evaluate relevant ideas, theories and concepts that seek to explain cross-national variation in political and policy dynamics; (3) creatively apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to independently and collaboratively address challenges, crises and change in the political world; (4) competently apply basic Political Science methods and skills to designing and executing social research in relation to key topics in comparative politics; and (5) effectively communicate political knowledge, ideas, analyses and arguments about comparative politics in different formats.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) analytical 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
Unit rules
12 points of Social Sciences and/or Humanities study at level 1
Advisable prior study
POLS level 1 units
Contact hours
up to 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.