Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

POLS105 Comparative Politics - Introduction

POLS105 Course outline

^ Top of page


How political institutions and processes work across a range of countries. Introduces the comparative method and considers ways of conceptualising political systems and understanding the functions of their key institutions.

Providing a foundation for understanding how politics operates in different countries, this paper constitutes a key introduction to Comparative Politics. The first part of the course provides context through introducing the state and nation, forms of government, and theoretical approaches and methods in Comparative Politics. The second part examines the institutional framework in which politics happens and the relationship between the different branches of government. The third part examines the ways in which people participate in politics, how politics is communicated through the media, political parties and interest groups, voting and elections, and how policies are made.

Paper title Comparative Politics - Introduction
Paper code POLS105
Subject Politics
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $868.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,656.70

^ Top of page

Schedule C
Arts and Music
The study of Politics at 100-level does not require any specific previous study. An interest in national and international affairs is an advantage.
Teaching staff
Dr James Headley
Paper Structure
The paper covers three main themes:
  • Studying Politics,
  • Institutional Framework of Politics,
  • Participation and Policymaking
Teaching Arrangements
Two lectures and one tutorial each week. The lectures give an introduction to the main themes and issues of the course. The tutorials are for student-centred discussion and debate.
No textbook is required.

Highly recommended: Rod Hague, Martin Harrop, and John McCormick, Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction, 10th edition, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge of the political systems of a range of countries; Awareness of the various theories of Comparative Politics and ability to evaluate them critically; Understanding of research methods in Comparative Politics
Course outline
View the course outline for POLS 105

^ Top of page


First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Tuesday 10:00-10:50 9-13, 15-22
Thursday 10:00-10:50 9-13, 15-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Monday 12:00-12:50 11-13, 15-22
T2 Monday 13:00-13:50 11-13, 15-22
T3 Monday 14:00-14:50 11-13, 15-22
T4 Tuesday 14:00-14:50 11-13, 15-22
T5 Tuesday 15:00-15:50 11-13, 15-22
T6 Wednesday 09:00-09:50 11-13, 15-16, 18-22
T7 Wednesday 10:00-10:50 11-13, 15-16, 18-22