SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMN220834
Module Leader William McDougall
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Politics
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Honours degree of UK University or equivalent

Summary of Content

This module conjoins political and journalistic perspectives to provide an essential understanding of the context, processes and policy outcomes of multi-level governance in the United Kingdom. In terms of context, students will be equipped, as journalists, with a critical understanding of the structural and institutional landscape of government at the supranational (European Union); national (Westminster/Whitehall); sub-national (devolved assemblies and executives); and, local authority levels. As part of this, the increasing relevance of quasi and non-governmental organisations to today's public sector is explored, as is the form and functions of the National Health Service. Students are also introduced to the core political and policy processes operating 'within' each level of governance. In this sense, empirical and conceptual analyses of constitutions, elections, systems of accountability and inter-institutional relations will be complimented by reviews of policy formulation and legislative, financial and economic processes. Finally, the implementation and outcomes of specific policies and public sector services will be contextualised and evaluated across the various levels of governance, ranging through, for example, European regional development projects, UK immigration and asylum policy, devolved education policy and local authority housing and social services.


Trimester A encompasses teaching in relation to the supranational, national and sub-national levels of governance while Trimester B relates solely to local government, reflecting its importance to local newsgathering - the starting point for many journalism careers. Trimester A: The European Union and European Integration United Kingdom Central Government: Institutions and Policy Sub-national Governance, UK Devolution and Scottish Government Government to Governance: The Role of Quasi and non Governmental Organisations The National Health Service Trimester B: Structure and Role of Local Government Democracy and Local Government The Operation of Local Government Local Government Finance Management and Accountability Local Government Service Provision

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:1. Demonstrate accurate critical understanding of the contemporary political and public sector environment and how both relate to contemporary journalism.2. Investigate and critically evaluate successes and failures within political and public sectors.3. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of political and public sector change and the implications of such change for journalists.4. Critically analyse political and public sector perspectives and adapt and apply these to a contemporary journalism setting.5. Demonstrate written and oral communication skills, including an understanding of political and public sector terminology.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This module consists of a two hour lecture/seminar period per week. While the lecture programme reflects and enhances the 'essential knowledge' requirements of the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), a fortnightly seminar provides a student-centred forum aimed towards the practical application of political and public sector knowledge within a journalism setting. A strong emphasis will be placed on students taking responsibility for their own learning and for the dissemination of knowledge to other students within the seminar setting. However, independent student learning will be supported electronically through the use of Blackboard. The overall assessment strategy is built around a 50% pass rate and relies upon three modes of assessment. First, 20% of the overall assessment will be based upon seminar performance, which takes into consideration presentational, discursive and analytical skills. Second, a coursework essay (3000 words) submitted in Trimester A constitutes 40% of the overall assessment. Third, weighted at 40%, a pass in the appropriate external NCTJ accredited Government and Public Affairs exam, for which payment for the first sitting is included in the student's GCU fee. Overall failure below borderline/compensatable level in either or both of these exams will lead to a student being offered an equivalent internal examination for their resit in the normal GCU manner. Module pass mark: 50%

Indicative Reading

Bogdanor, V. (2011) The Coalition and the Constitution. Oxford: Hart Publishing. Cairney, P. and McGarvey, N. (2013 2 nd edn) Scottish Politics. Palgrave MacMillan. Cini, M. and Borragon, NP-S (2013) Politics of the EU. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Jones, B. and Norton, P. (2013) Politics UK. Taylor and Francis. Keating, M. (20102 nd edn) Government of Scotland: Public Policy Making After Devolution. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Kingdom, J. (2014 4 th edn) Government and Politics in Britain. Polity. Kuhn, R. and Nielsen, RK. (2013) Political Journalism in Transition. Western Europe in a Comparative Perspective. IB Taurus. Moran, M. (2011 2 nd edn) Politics and Governance in the UK. Palgrave Macmillan. Morrison, J. (2015 4 th edn) Essential Public Affairs for Journalists. Oxford: Oxford University Press with NCTJ. Wilson, D. and Game, C. (2011) Local Government in the UK. Palgrave MacMillan. Journals: Public Administration Public Money and Management Public Policy and Administrtation Web addresses: <> <> <>

Transferrable Skills

Specialist knowledge Ability to apply knowledge Logical thinking Critical analysis Problem-solving Written and spoken communication Computer literacy and research skills Self-discipline Independence Knowledge of international affairs Desire to go on learning Reliability Ability to prioritise tasks Time management Interpersonal skills Presentational skills Ability to work in teams and leadership skills

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 60.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 42.00
Lectures (FT) 36.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 40.00 45% NCTJ Preliminary Examination in Public Affairs (Scotland) 1 (Pass Mark 50%)
Coursework 0.00 40.00 45% Coursework Essay. Students will submit a single essay (3000 words) in Trimester A which critically analyses a specific dimension of the syllabus.
Coursework 0.00 20.00 45% Seminar Work. Students will be required, as part of a group, to present written and oral briefings to their peers.