• 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, Political Economy, Politics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Alon Kraitzman
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2022
    See Future Offerings

This course examines the central issues in comparative political institutions across a range of jurisdictions and from a variety of perspectives. The course introduces core political institutions and discusses various approaches to their study. It deals with key concepts (majoritarian democracy vs consociationalism etc.) and institutional arrangements in a historical and comparative perspective. The course develops skills to equip student researchers with the conceptual tools to undertake insightful, critical, and original comparative work of their own in their final assessment. The overall aim of the course is to develop students' understanding and use of many general theoretical explanations surrounding debates in political institutions and to develop students' critical/analytical approach to many of the questions facing practitioners and scholars in the next decade.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. identify the concepts that influence the dynamics of political institutions;
  2. understand the sources of these concepts and their historical development;
  3. use these concepts in order to critically research, analyse, and evaluate major issues in political institutions; and
  4. develop skills for research, argument, and analysis in order to effectively communicate their own perspectives on key concepts and issues in political institutions.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Seminar Preparation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Seminar presentation (15 minutes) (15) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Research Literature review and methods report (1000 words) (25) [LO 1,4]
  4. Research Essay (2500 - 3500 words) (50) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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) 6 hours of teaching and tutorials over 6 weeks;

b) 18 hours of seminars over 6 weeks;

c) 106 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (HARTS or HART2), Bachelor of Political Science (Honours) (HPLSC), Bachelor of Policy Studies (Honours) (HPOLS), Bachelor of Public Policy (Honours) (HPPOL), Bachelor of Development Studies (Honours) (HDEVS), Bachelor of European Studies (Honours) (HEURO), Bachelor of Latin American Studies (Honours) (HLAMS), Bachelor of Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies Honours (HMECA) or Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (Honours) (HPPE), or completed 144 units towards the Bachelor of Philosophy (Arts) (APHAR or APNAR). You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed POLS8038.

Prescribed Texts

Not applicable

Preliminary Reading

Brady, Henry & Collier, David, eds. (2000). Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards. Berkeley, CA: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Boix, Carles, and Stokes, Susan (eds.) (2007) Oxford Handbook of Comparative Politics. Oxford, OUP.

Caramani, Daniele (ed.) Comparative Politics, Oxford, OUP, 2014 (3rd edition).

Cheibub, Jose Antonio (2007), Presidentialism, Parliamentarism, and Democracy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dahl, Robert A. (1971). Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Dowding, K. and P. Dumont (eds.) (2009) The selection of Ministers in Europe. Hiring and Firing, London, Routledge.

Dowding, K. and P. Dumont (eds.) (2015) The selection of Ministers around the world, London, Routledge.

King, Gary, Keohane, Robert, & Verba, Sidney. (1994). Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Lijphart, A. (1994) .Electoral Systems and Party Systems. A Study of Twenty-Seven Democracies, 1945-1990, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Lijphart , A. (2012). Patterns of Democracy, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

North, Douglas. (1990). Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Powell, G. Bingham, Jr. (2001). Elections as Instruments of Democracy: Majoritarian and Proportional Visions. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Renwick, A. (2010). The Politics of Electoral Reform. Changing the Rules of Democracy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Sartori, G. (1994). Comparative Constitutional Engineering. An Inquiry into Structures, Incentives and Outcomes, London, MacMillan.

Strom, K, Muller W.C and T. Bergman, (eds) (2008). Cabinets and Coalition Bargaining: The Democratic Life Cycle in Western Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tavits, M. (2009). Presidents with Prime Ministers, Oxford University Press.


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
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $4200
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $5700
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

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
4358 21 Feb 2022 28 Feb 2022 31 Mar 2022 27 May 2022 In Person View

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions