This Graduate Diploma provides a bridge between undergraduate and postgraduate study. Students will typically have completed three years of higher education but still need further academic study before they can begin their chosen Masters course. The modules on this course develop students' knowledge and understanding of the major theoretical and conceptual foundations of the discipline of political science, and of quantitative methods of studying politics.
Modules and Options
The lists of modules below represent the range of options available for each year of study. This may not be a complete list of the options you will study, and may be subject to change, so please contact the department for further details.
Core: CRITICAL THINKING
Core: ENGLISH FOR ACADEMIC PURPOSES (EAP) 1
Core: ENGLISH FOR ACADEMIC PURPOSES (EAP) 2
Core: ENGLISH FOR ACADEMIC PURPOSES (EAP) 3
Core: INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL THEORY
Core: POLITICAL ANALYSIS
Teaching and Assessment Methods
A: Knowledge and Understanding
A1 : Improve language accuracy and fluency to B2 level
A2 : Recognise and use the appropriate lexical and discourse structures of their subject area
A3 : Understand the concept and importance of critical thinking in an academic context
A4 : Knowledge of different conceptual, theoretical and normative perspectives within political science
A5 : Knowledge of developments, issues and debates in political science
A6 : Knowledge of statistical methods appropriate for political studies
All modules are taught through informal lectures, seminar discussions, tutorials and student presentations, with both peer and tutor feedback.
Where feasible, input in the EAP modules will be based on material provided by academic module teachers, and some classes may be team-taught, for example, A4 - A6 are taught in academic modules which include weekly readings and this material will, where possible, be included in EAP input.
Assessment will be based on class presentations, written assignments and examinations.
Assessment tests both basic understanding of concepts and issues and a range of approaches and interpretations.
A1-A4 outcomes are assessed via an extended project in EL933. This is designed to examine students' ability to produce an extended piece of writing which demonstrates the ability to present a coherent argument based on a range of sources drawn from key texts in the target academic discipline.
A4-A6 are assessed by means of the coursework and examination requirements of GV200 & GV201, which include class tests, essays, survey research design and end of year examinations.
B: Intellectual/Cognitive Skills
B1 : Use language accurately and appropriately, using a variety of lexis, grammatical structure and communication strategies
B2 : Demonstrate an awareness of the language and discourse structure of their subject area
B3 : Synthesise information from a variety of sources with appropriate acknowledgement and integrate this into presentations or written work
B4 : Create a structured argument based on appropriate research methods
B5 : Have an appreciation of representative approaches to empirical research in the literature of social science, be familiar with the role of computers in social research, have elementary statistical skills, be aware of the ethical constraints on the social researcher
B6 : Develop the ability to be reflective, independent learners and to organise their time in an efficient and effective manner
B7 : Understand the arguments of classic texts of political theory and the arguments made historically for and against a variety of political ideals
B8 : Acquire a knowledge of key concepts, principles and methods of argument which have been important in the western tradition and globally influential
Intellectual/cognitive skills B1 - B8 are practised in discussion and presentations, as well as through assessed written work. Students are given advice in tutorials on research skills and have the opportunity to analyse model assignments. The ability to develop a coherent argument, supported by evidence, is practised in group discussion and is also a requirement of all assessed written work.
All of these skills are taught and re-enforced continually by a variety of methods - classes involving pair and group work, individual tutorials, taped lectures and student-led workshops. Input ranges from print to audio and video materials. Students also use interactive web-based teaching materials. Oral presentations are video-recorded and students are given group and individual feedback, from peers and tutors.
B5 - B7 are addressed explicitly in classes and included in oral or written feedback.
B1-B4 students are assessed by two end of module examinations on knowledge of grammatical structures, listening and note-taking, and there is an integrated English for Academic Purposes skills examination covering reading, vocabulary and writing.
The EAP coursework portfolio also requires demonstration of learning outcomes B1 - B4.
B1 - B4 outcomes are assessed via an extended project in EL933. This is designed to examine students' ability to produce an extended piece of writing which demonstrates the ability to present a coherent argument based on a range of sources drawn from key texts in the target academic discipline.
B4 - B8 are assessed by means of the coursework and examination requirements of GV200 & GV201.
C: Practical Skills
C1 : Demonstrate a range of academic skills, including effective note-taking, accurate listening skills and active participation in class discussion
C2 : Find relevant information from a variety of sources including books, journals and the Web
C3 : Read and evaluate sources critically and offer views based on evidence
C4 : Present an argument in oral presentations and by planning, drafting and revising written assignments in an appropriate style, referenced according to academic conventions
EL 931 - 933: students practise these skills using audio and video materials. They are also expected to make notes during classmates' presentations. They are then required to write up a selection of these notes at a later date, to check their accuracy and effectiveness. The teaching materials and methodology place great emphasis on pair and group work and student participation - this is explicitly addressed in tutors' reports and students are encouraged to discuss these reports in tutorials.
EL932: students select texts from a variety of sources for class discussion - these texts are then read for content and also critically evaluated for the quality and reliability of the evidence they contain and the structure of their argument. There is also some analysis of the varying requirements of specific academic genres.
EL933 preparation for project work in plenary sessions and in 1:1 tutorials and feedback on process, editing and drafting
All of these skills are also practised, both directly and indirectly, in EL931 & EL9322, and in GV200 & GV201
Assessment is based on a mixture of oral and written assignments which test the students' ability to implement these skills effectively. GV201 includes a variety of class tests and a research design for a survey.
D: Key Skills
D1 : A fundamental aim of the programme is effective communication in English; orally, through class participation and presentations, in writing and in critical reading
D2 : Students perform a variety of word-processing operations and use the Internet for research. Students use PowerPoint for presentations. They also communicate with tutors by email e.g. sending drafts of work as attachments.
D3 : Making and interpreting graphs and tables, for presentations and for written assignments. Understanding the use of quantitative evidence
D4 : Identification and evaluation of various source materials, analysis of tasks and working out objectives and priorities
D5 : Pair and group work are an integral part of the programme, and peer evaluation is also built in. There are opportunities for group projects in some subject modules
D6 : Students are encouraged to keep both learner diaries and records of their own learning and to work independently.
There is a continuous emphasis on effective communication. Awareness of audience and appropriate linguistic and discourse choices is a focus of all work, especially in writing.
Students are trained in the use of PowerPoint for presentations and in using the Internet for research purposes. In GV200 students are encouraged to follow and complete the syllabus for the ECDL.
There are EAP classes which introduce the interpretation of tables and students use graphic materials in and assignments where appropriate and some tasks are based on problem-solving e.g. through the use of case studies.
D4 & D5
In all classes students are expected to work in pairs and groups on a variety of information- and opinion-gap tasks and analysis of texts. In presentations students give and receive peer feedback, both oral and written. Students are encouraged to reflect on their learning, especially in individual tutorials. Reflective tasks are also part of the portfolio requirement.
D1 - D5 are also implicit in GV200 and GV201
D1-D6 are assessed as an integral part of class work and assignments.
EL modules: Students are required to word process their work and to use PowerPoint for oral presentations. Peer evaluation and feedback are an important part of the informal assessment of students' performance.
D6: EL931 - EL 3 include reflective tasks in the portfolio of assessed work.