SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3L225837
Module Leader William McDougall
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Politics
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Normally successful completion of a Level 2 Politics module or equivalent

Summary of Content

This module is designed to give insight and grounding to the study of Scottish politics and public policy at a particularly important time in the development of Scottish politics and in Scotland's relationship with other countries in the UK and beyond. The module will initially be placed in Scotland's political and historical context. It will track the pathway to devolution and give an account of the current powers of the Scottish Parliament. Second, the module will assess and evaluate elements of the Scottish political system including political parties, voting and electoral behaviours. There will also be an indication and outlining of the role of the media in Scottish politics. Third, elements of the Scottish policy system will be identified, elaborated and evaluated: political/policy institutions including the civil service; key issues from a range of policy domains including education, local government, social policy, health policy. The module will conclude with an outlining of some scenarios for Scotland's future. It is intended to invite an external guest lecturer, someone prominent in the Scottish political or public policy community, to address and present a session to students if possible.


Scottish politics and policy: the historical and cultural context Scottish politics and policy: the historical and cultural context The trajectory of devolution Scottish devolution: powers Scotland, UK and asymmetric devolution Contemporary politics of Scotland 1 Contemporary politics of Scotland 2: Scotland and Europe Scottish Politics and the media Political and policy institutions Scottish policy domains 1 (from education, health. local government, social policy) Scottish policy domains 2 (as above) Scottish policy domains 3 (as above) Scottish political futures

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:1 Appreciate the historical context of Scotland's current political and policy environment2 Identify the key events and forces in the approach to devolution3 Identify and evaluate the range of devolved, reserved and 'intermediate' powers of the Scottish Parliament; appreciate the asymmetric nature of devolution in the UK; demonstrate an understanding of Scotland's position in Europe.4 Demonstrate a critical appreciation of key elements of the contemporary Scottish political system including political parties, electoral behaviour and the role played by the media.5 Identify and show a critical awareness of a range of political and policy institutions, ranging from the civil service, arms length bodies, non state actors and third and voluntary sectors. 6 Understand the range of policy domains upon which the Scottish Government has a locus from education to health to social policy and to evaluate the political and governance arrangements for forming and managing policy in these domains.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The teaching and learning strategy will be based on lectures providing essential background information, informed by current literature and research, and weekly seminars providing a focus points for the students developing independent learning: seminars activities will be based on students undertaking work via directed as well as independent learning. Seminar activities will be structured to ensure students are helped to develop critical awareness of contemporary Scottish politics and policy. Teaching and learning is driven by a student centred approach where the module team facilitates student learning and personal development via a blended learning use of thematic lectures, student centred seminars (with individual and group based activities), employing the use of online resources, like briefings, podcasts and blogs as well as 'traditional' literature and journal articles. The programme will be research led and develop contemporary scholarship. The teaching and learning strategy will engage with the PRME agenda - esp learning outcome 6 where responsible and accountable management and regulatory behaviour will be examined in a number of policy domains. GCULearn plays a vital part in the GSBS learning and teaching strategy as a blended learning tool. The school will ensure that all modules are not only GCULearn enabled, but also at the cutting edge in developing online learning materials. Academic staff and the Learning Technologists will continue to work together to develop and operate all modules on GCULearn, ensuring effective student support and information sharing. Students are provided with formative and summative feedback via a variety of mechanisms. Feedback on coursework is normally provided within 3 working weeks of submission.

Indicative Reading

Detailed reading lists are provided for each learning theme and syllabus area. Indicative reading includes: Cairney, P. (2011) The Scottish Political System Since Devolution, Imprint Academic Cairney, P. and McGarvey, N. (2013) (second edition) Scottish Politics. An Introduction, Palgrave MacMillan Hassan, G. and Barroiw, S. (2017) A Nation Changed?: The SNP and Scotland Ten Years On, Luath Press Keating, M. (2010) The Government of Scotland, Edinburgh University Press McTavish, D. (2016) Politics in Scotland, Routledge Wilson, D. and Game, C. (2011) Local Government in the United Kingdom (5 th edition), Palgrave MacMillan Journals: British Journal of Politics International Relations Parliamentary Affairs Public Administration Public Policy and Administration Publius Regional and Federal Studies Scottish Affairs Web-sites <> <> <> <>

Transferrable Skills

Analytical skills, in relation to developing reasoned and evidence based argument Critical thinking Independent study Personal organisation and time management Oral and written communication Group working

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 22.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Independent Learning (FT) 116.00
Assessment (FT) 50.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 02 n/a 60.00 35% short essay questions (take home style exam questions)
Course Work 01 n/a 40.00 35% 2000 essay