Politics A-level

Politics is an ideal subject for students with an interest in domestic and international news and current affairs, and for those with an interest in the social and moral questions surrounding the principles of democracy, justice, rights, freedom and equality. As an A-level-only subject at MCS, no prior knowledge is assumed for this course, but students should have an interest in following news and political events in the quality media. As an essay subject, the skills developed in a range of Arts and Humanities GCSEs will be put to good use in developing political analysis in short and long essay answers.

Course content L6

UK Politics and Participation

  • Democracy and participation, elections and referendums, political parties and pressure groups, voting behaviour, the media, the European Union.

UK Government:

  • The Constitution, Parliament, the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Judiciary, Devolution, the relationships between the branches of government.

US Government and Comparative Politics:

  • Comparing the structures of the US Constitution, Presidency, Congress and Courts with those already study in the UK.
  • Presidential versus Parliamentary Government; unitary versus federal state structures.

Course content U6

US Politics and Participation, and Comparative Politics

  • Democracy and participation, elections and voting behaviour, parties and ideologies, pressure groups, civil rights.
  • Models and methods of comparative politics.

Political Ideas and Political Ideologies

  • Core Ideologies: Liberalism, Conservatism and Socialism.
  • Further Political Ideologies: options to study Nationalism, Feminism, Anarchism, Multiculturalism, Ecologism.

Examination arrangements

Three equally weighted 2-hour written papers at the end of the second year:

Paper 1: UK Government and Politics

Paper 2: US Government and Politics and Comparative Politics

Paper 3: Political Ideas and Ideologies

Extra curricular

Weekly reading group; regular external speakers at Politics Society.

Visits to Parliament and the Supreme Court; conference at Westminster Hall. Biennial trip to Washington and New York.

Suggested preparation and further inspiration
Jonathan Wolfe An Introduction to Political Philosophy 3rd Edition (OUP 2015)
Bernard Crick In Defence of Politics (1962, 2013)
Gerry Stoker Why Politics Matters: Making Democracy Work (1996)
Tony Wright British Politics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (2013)
Alan Renwick A Citizen’s Guide to Electoral Systems (2011) and/or The Politics of Electoral Reform: Making Democracy Work (2011)
Richard Heffernan, Phillip Cowley and Colin Hay Developments in British Politics(Vol 10), (2016).
You should also, and perhaps most importantly, think about engaging with the serious political media. Magazines to look at include: Prospect Magazine
The New Statesman
The Economist
The Spectator
TV and radio programmes The Today Programme BBC R4 6.30-9.00am
Newsnight BBC 2 10.30pm weeknights
Question Time BBC1 10.35pm Thursdays
Any Questions BBC R4 8-9pm Fridays