Online ExpertTrack in Politics & Society

Introduction to Politics

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

Created by

The University of KentThe University of Kent

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This course will facilitate your understanding the contested nature of politics

This ExpertTrack gives you a broad introduction to the study of politics. You will be equipped with a basic understanding of political science, political philosophy, and the machinery of government.

You will consider how political systems are formed, examine political ideologies and look at the role of the state and the nation.

Gain an understanding of how politics works

This first course will equip you with the knowledge and skills for further study. You’ll be introduced to political science, political philosophy and critical theory. You’ll then study the key concepts of political ideology, including liberalism, conservatism and socialism, as well as feminism.

Understanding politics from the individual to an international scale

You’ll take an in-depth look at democracy, the machinery of government, and the political economy and globalisation. You’ll then investigate identity politics, looking at economic individualism from the context of class-based politics. Key texts will introduce you to important theories and arguments from the history of political studies, as well as key figures in the discipline.

Over the course, you’ll gain insight and understanding of how politics works on a global scale, as well as looking at different models of how countries are governed, for example by comparing political systems with presidents and prime ministers at the helm.

By the end of the ExpertTrack, you will not only have a deeper understanding of the complex world of politics, but will also be equipped for further study, and have some insight into what a degree in politics entails.

Key skills you will learn

  • Critical awareness, critical thinking, and critical analysis
  • Academic reading, writing, and listening skills
  • Independent study skills
  • An understanding of the norms and demands of subject-specific seminars and lectures in a UK context

Learning outcomes

By the end of the ExpertTrack, you’ll be able to...

  • Describe the overall elements of the ExpertTrack
  • 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
  • Understand the logic of comparative politics
  • Assess a range of approaches to forming and classifying political systems
  • Explain several descriptions of the state
  • Evaluate the merits of different ideologies

Experience required

You will need an interest in politics, but no prior knowledge of politics is required in order to benefit from this ExpertTrack.

A minimum Intermediate level of English language equivalent to CEFR B2 or IELTS 5.5

Getting started

This introduction to politics ExpertTrack will help to prepare you for studying politics at degree level, or to support learners of politics at level 3, e.g. during A-levels. It will be of interest to learners hoping to explore politics in more depth than they would find in a traditional short course. However, it is also suitable for learners with a passion for politics who want to know more about how their governments work.

ExpertTrack course overview

  • Course 1

    Equip yourself for further study with this introduction to politics.

    4 weeks

    6 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Introduction
      • Welcome
      • Political Science
      • Political Philosophy
      • Critical Theory
      • Weekly Wrap Up
    • Week 2

      Key Ideas and Their Foundations
      • Welcome to Week 2
      • Understanding through theories/models
      • Politics as where?
      • Politics as how?
      • Power
      • Assessment
      • Weekly wrap up
    • Week 3

      Governments, Regimes and the State
      • Welcome to Week 3
      • Classification and Comparison
      • Aristotle's 'Classical' Typology
      • Contemporary Typologies
      • The State
      • Weekly Wrap Up
    • Week 4

      Political Ideologies
      • Introduction to Week 4
      • Liberalism
      • Conservatism
      • Socialism
      • Four Waves of Feminism
      • Assessment
      • End of Course 1
  • Course 2

    Prepare yourself for a degree in politics.

    4 weeks

    6 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Democracy
      • Welcome to Week 1
      • Conceptualising Democracy
      • Classical and Protective Democracy
      • Developmental Democracy
      • People's Democracy
      • Weekly Wrap Up
    • Week 2

      Machinery of Government
      • Week 2 Introduction
      • Constitutions
      • The Legislature
      • The Executive
      • The Judiciary
      • Assessment
      • Weekly Wrap Up
    • Week 3

      Political Economy and Globalisation
      • Political Economy and Globalisation
      • What is political about the economy?
      • Enterprise and Social Capitalism
      • Statist Responses
      • Globalisation
      • Weekly Wrap Up
    • Week 4

      Identity Politics
      • Identity Politics
      • Class analysis
      • Economic Individualism
      • Typologies of Individuals
      • The Critique of Identity Politics
      • Assessment
      • Weekly Wrap Up

Prove you're job ready

Highlight the new, job-relevant skills you’ve gained and supplement existing qualifications with a hard-earned, industry-specific digital certificate – plus one for every course within your ExpertTrack.

  • Learn the latest in your chosen industry or subject.
  • Complete each course and pass assessments.
  • Receive certificates validated by the educating organisation.
  • Create a shareable certificate link for your CV and LinkedIn.
  • Impress employers with learning outcomes you can add to your CV.
  • Make your career dreams a reality.

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World-class learning with 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.

Meet your instructor

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.

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  • FAQ

    ExpertTracks are a series of online courses designed to help you master new skills in specialist areas. You pay a monthly subscription fee which includes access to all courses within the ExpertTrack, as well as assessments and the final digital certificate.

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