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This course is part of the Introduction to Politics ExpertTrack

Understanding Politics

Equip yourself for further study with this introduction to politics.

Understanding Politics
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    6 hours
  • 100% online

    Learn at your own paceHow it works
  • Included in an ExpertTrack

    Course 1 of 2
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    $39/monthFind out more

Gain an expert view of how politics works

This introductory four-week course will equip you with the basic knowledge and understanding you need for further education in political science. By the end, you’ll have an understanding of the role of governments, regimes and the state, an introduction to political ideologies, and recommendations for further reading.

Discover different electoral systems and political models

You’ll gain an understanding of the different political models, including models of democracy around the world, and the models of political economy. These will offer you a critical lens for viewing political arguments, statements, and the world around you.

Build your understanding of politics

Prepare for further study of politics by learning about identity and class politics, how they relate to ideologies, and political power. You’ll be introduced to key concepts across conservatism, socialism, and feminism, and look at differences and debates within them.

At the end of the course, you’ll have a basic understanding of politics and a familiarity with key texts, historical context and ongoing debates.

What topics will you cover?

  • The study of politics
  • Political models and theories
  • Politics and power
  • Political systems and the State
  • Political ideologies

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  • Learn the latest in your chosen industry or subject.
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Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify the different modes of the study of politics
  • Identify the importance of models and theoretical frameworks
  • Investigate Heywood's typology of political models
  • Assess a number of ways in which power operates in politics
  • Assess the logic of comparative politics
  • Assess a range of approaches to forming and classifying political systems
  • Explain some of the characteristics of the state
  • Evaluate the merits of different ideologies

Who is the course for?

This course is for students who have excellent high school or partial A-level equivalent qualifications, but haven’t completed a suitable qualification or grades that allow them to apply for direct entry to a UK university.

This course gives prospective students a flavour of studying politics at degree level, and is also ideal for mature students returning to study.

Who will you learn with?

Chris teaches Philosophy, Politics and Sociology on the International Foundation Programme at the University of Kent. His research is in the ethics of political resistance and the idea of truth.

Who developed the course?

The University of Kent

The University of Kent, the UK’s European university, is one of the country’s most dynamic universities. Established in 1965, it now has 19,850 students studying at its various campuses.

About this ExpertTrack

Prepare for further study of politics at degree level, with an introduction to political philosophy, democracy and ideology.

Start learning today - free 7-day trial

After your free trial you can:

  • Pay $39 per month to keep learning online
  • Have complete control over your subscription; you can cancel any time
  • Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines at every stage
  • Only pay while you’re learning; the subscription will cancel automatically when you finish
  • Complete online assessments to test your knowledge and prove your skills
  • Earn digital course certificates and a final award that you can share online, with potential employers, and your professional network
  • Keep access to the content of courses you complete even after your subscription ends

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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