SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Introduction to Political Theory

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Full Year

This Module provides an introduction to the foundational concepts of political theory and the study of politics. Students will be closely reading and analysing classic and more contemporary texts in political thought.

Students will read texts by key thinkers such as Plato, Hobbes, Rousseau, Carole Pateman, Karl Marx, Franz Fanon, Charles Mills, Angela Davis and Gandhi. Through them, we will study the history of political thought, as well as discuss problems of the present moment.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • Acquire a theoretical understanding of the ideas and values that underpin the organization and structure of political communities across time and space
  • Obtain familiarity with key concepts and frameworks in political thought
  • Develop critical reading and analytical skills necessary to undertake theoretical, empirical and comparative courses in the second and third years of their degree programme
  • Study, discuss and understand examples of political arguments, and to develop students’ abilities to structure coherent and concise arguments.


This module will be taught over 20 weeks with:

  • 2 hour lecture per week
  • 1 hour tutorial per week

Method of assessment

Assignment 1: Essay 10%
Assignment 2: Essay 15%
Assignment 3: Essay 30%
Assignment 4: Essay 45%


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules