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Major: Politics

Major Details



Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations
Faculty of Arts

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

6cp from
Australian Politics in Global Context (3)
Thinking Politically (3)
Introduction to Global Politics (3)

200 level

Contemporary Issues in Australian Politics: Race, Nation, Class and Gender (3)
Modern Political Thought (3)
3cp from
Gender and the State (3)
Australian Governments and Public Policy (3)
African Politics and Globalisation (3)
Political Violence (3)
Revolutions (3)
Middle-East Politics (3)
International Political Conflict: Cold Wars and Hot Wars from 1945 to the Present (3)
The Politics of Development Theory and Practice (3)
Immigration: Politics and Policies (3)
East Asia: Development and Democracy (3)

300 level

Local and Global Practice (3)
Global Political Economy (3)
Political Thought in Action (3)
6cp from
POL units at 300 level


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Units marked with a P are PACE units.
Additional Information
Overview and Aims of the Program The major in politics is a broad program covering a diversity of approaches to the study of political phenomena. Students are able to select from units in the Discipline's major teaching streams of Australian politics, political theory, public policy, international relations and comparative politics. The program balances breadth of coverage, ensuring students encounter different types of political thinking and forms of political analysis, with sufficient flexibility to enable specialised study in particular areas should this be desired.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. examine the central features of political activity; the key actors in Australian and/or world politics; and the distribution of power within the state, in interstate relations, or in the global system (K)
2. investigate the specific concepts, theories and methods used in the study of politics (K, T, P)
3. explain different political systems and institutions, and the social, cultural, economic and historical factors which have shaped their development (K, T, P, I, C)
4. analyse the underlying theories, concepts, assumptions, and arguments used in the study of politics (K, T, P)
5. create a well researched, coherent and sustained analysis of contemporary or historical political issues, events, or arguments demonstrating their historical and/or theoretical significance (T, P, I, C, J, L)
6. express considered judgments about underlying theories, concepts, assumptions, and arguments used in the study of politics (K, T, C, J)
7. apply concepts, methods, and theories to analyse political issues, debates, and events in the Australian and/or international contexts (K, T, P, C, J)
8. present research findings to diverse audiences (C, E, A, J)
9. reflect on feedback and performance to develop research and learning (J, L).
Learning and Teaching Methods Politics staff use a variety of learning and teaching methods including lectures, tutorials, seminars, and web based forums. The knowledge gained in lectures and through readings will be extended and applied in smaller classes such as tutorials and seminars. Emphasis on the application of knowledge and skills and the production of independent research will be a feature of the third year of the program.

In lectures staff will outline the topic/s under examination. Visual aids such as power-point and web based material is often used in lectures. Lectures are primarily structured for the acquisition of knowledge and to raise the central questions around the topic being considered. The lectures are recorded for external students and for those unable to attend in person. Note taking in lectures is an important part of the learning process which develops the capacity to identify essential information.

Much of the active learning takes place in tutorials and seminars. Here a variety of activities are used including small group work, debates, role playing, student presentations, and whole class discussions. Collaborative learning is central to tutorials and seminars. It is expected that students will come to classes prepared to discuss the readings and the lecture content. Some third year units use seminars rather than lectures and expect higher levels of student initiated discussion than in the earlier stages of the program. In place of tutorials external students participate in online forums which generally involve discussion of the weekly readings, as well as other activities including peer assessment of work. As with on-campus tutorials, collaboration is central to online participation.

Assessment tasks are designed to meet the learning and teaching outcomes of the program. They are structured according to the level of learning; and the higher levels build on knowledge and skills acquired in the earlier stages. Further details on assessment tasks are outlined below.
Assessment A range of assessment tasks are employed in politics to meet the learning outcomes of individual units as well as the program learning outcomes. Assessment tasks in politics include the following activities:
• short essays
• long essays
• written dialogues
• book reviews
• policy briefs
• class tests
• exams
• small group work
• debates
• general class and online participation
• presenting research to non-academic audiences.

These tasks are set at levels of challenge appropriate to the different stages of the program. The earlier stages of the program include more structured assessment tasks, and, as well as testing the foundational knowledge of the discipline, include generic academic skills such as research techniques and academic writing protocols. By the final year of the program greater student initiative is expected. This culminates in the capstone unit (POL399. Political Thought in Action) where, under supervision, students are expected to undertake their own research project. Students will also apply the skills and knowledge acquired over the program in the PACE unit FOAR300.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability The study of politics provides preparation for many high profile and interesting careers through the ability to better understand the world around you, to critically analyse it and the people in it, and to formulate effective and engaging arguments.

Possible careers paths include the following:
• non-governmental & community organisations
• journalism
• policy research
• political and social research
• politics
• public policy design & analysis
• public relations & lobbying
• public service
• higher education
• local government
• media
• policy advocacy
• speech-writing
• teaching.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

2017 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148