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Understanding Politics

Equip yourself for further study with this introduction to politics.

1,019 enrolled on this course

Seats in a parliamentary building

Understanding Politics

1,019 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 6 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

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

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

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.

If you want to further your knowledge, you may also be interested in this course. It’s from the same provider and features similar subject matter and overall learning outcomes:

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.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save


Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 19 May 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • 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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