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 is a compulsory and core course for all students taking BA Politics and a first year option for BA Politics and International Relations. It provides an introduction to the foundational concepts of political theory and the study of politics through the examination of classic texts in political thought.  Students will read texts by key thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Mary Wollstonecraft, J.S. Mill, Karl Marx and M.K. Gandhi.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The principal objective of this course is to equip students with the analytical skills needed to undertake theoretical, empirical and comparative courses in the second and third years of their degree programme. Students will acquire a theoretical understanding of the ideas and values that underpin the organization and structure of political communities across time and space. These analytical skills and knowledge will be developed through the study and discussion of excellent examples of political argument.

By the end of the year students will have developed their abilities to develop coherent and concise arguments and to present these clearly through writing and speech.


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

Method of assessment

Assessment comprises four written essays: AS1 - 600 words, 10% of grade AS2 - 750 words, 15% of grade AS3 - 850 words, 30% of grade AS4 - 2,500 words, 45% of grade


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules