POLS102-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024

Politics: An Introduction

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 February 2024
End Date: Sunday, 23 June 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 3 March 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 12 May 2024


This course introduces the basic tools and techniques used in political science, including research techniques, formulation of hypotheses, and methods of analysis. It also introduces students to a selection of key theories and frameworks. The course covers topics such as nationalism and ethnicity, democracy, authoritarianism, people's power, conflict, globalisation, and the future of global politics. 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 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 12:00 - 13:00 Meremere 108 Lecture Theatre
19 Feb - 31 Mar
29 Apr - 2 Jun
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 15:00 - 16:00 Meremere 108 Lecture Theatre
19 Feb - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 16:00 - 17:00 Ernest Rutherford 225
26 Feb - 31 Mar
29 Apr - 26 May
02 Wednesday 11:00 - 12:00 Rehua 528
26 Feb - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 26 May
03 Friday 11:00 - 12:00 Rehua 427 Technology Workshop
26 Feb - 24 Mar
22 Apr - 26 May
04 Monday 16:00 - 17:00 Rehua 427 Technology Workshop
26 Feb - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 26 May
05 Thursday 09:00 - 10:00 James Logie 104
26 Feb - 31 Mar
29 Apr - 26 May

Course Coordinator

James Ockey


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Final Test 35% The final test will be open book and open note, to be completed between June 1 and June 2, using only your notes and the materials from the course, no outside sources allowed. . You will answer 2 essay questions, with a maximum of 1,200 total words for the test, so that you should write about 600 words for each question. The test will open at 9 a.m. on May 30, and close at 4 p.m. on May 31.
Tutorial participation 10%
Hypotheses and Methodology 08 Mar 2024 15%
Research skills 28 Mar 2024 15%
Research Paper 17 May 2024 25%

Textbooks / Resources

The textbook is recommended to supplement your learning, but not required.  Andrew Heywood, Politics 5th ed., Red Globe Press, 2019, available in the bookstore is the preferred supplemental text.  The e-book is available through Macmillian.

All tutorial readings will be available through Learn.

Course links

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $844.00

International fee $3,950.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, 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

  • POLS102-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024
  • POLS102-24S1 (D) Semester One 2024 (Distance)