• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies, Political Sciences, Politics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Matthew Kerby
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2022
    See Future Offerings

This scope course addresses the twin subjects of political leadership and executive government. It approaches these subjects theoretically, methodologically and comparatively. Theoretically, we review the trajectory of the major approaches to the study of leaders and executives that includes institutionalism, feminism and rational choice theory. Methodologically, we will learn about different quantitative and qualitative methods that can be employed to address research questions pertaining to leaders and executives. Finally, we will review the study of leaders and executives comparatively by assessing the leadership and executive experience geographically and institutionally. Additional topics to be addressed may include political communication, non-elected leaders (e.g. advisors and judges) and the executive experience at sub and supranational levels of government.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
1. Describe and critically present the strengths and weaknesses of the major theoretical pillars on which the study of leadership and executive government rests;
2. Be aware of the different methodological approaches available to study leadership and executives and be able to make an informed choice as to which approach is best suited to their research;
3. Broadly understand how political leadership and executives vary across time and space, particularly with respect to style, tradition and institutions;
4. Be able to write an argument-focused Research paper on a topic pertaining to political leadership and executives.

Indicative Assessment

Tutorial reading review quizzes, 5-10 minutes each (5x2% each for a total of 10%) Learning Outcomes 1, 2
Tutorial participation (10%) Learning Outcomes 1, 3
Research paper component quiz, 20 minutes (10%) Learning Outcomes 1, 3, 4
Research paper, 2500 words (35%) Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4
Final exam, 2 hours (35%) Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures, and 12 hours of tutorials; and,
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed POLS2105.

Preliminary Reading

M Kerby (2008) "Worth the Wait: Determinants of Ministerial Appointment in Canada, 1935-2008". Canadian Journal of Political Science, 42:3
M Kerby, (2011) "Combining the Hazards of Ministerial Appointment and Ministerial Exit in the Canadian Federal Cabinet" Canadian Journal of Political Science, 44(3).
S. Berlinski, T. Dewan, and K Dowding (2010). "The impact of Individual and collective performance on Ministerial tenure" Journal of Politics, 72(2).


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4357 21 Feb 2022 28 Feb 2022 31 Mar 2022 27 May 2022 In Person N/A

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