Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 14 Hours. (14 x 1 hour)
Seminars / Tutorials 7 Hours. (7 x 1 hour)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay: 1 x 3,000 words  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   60%
Supplementary Exam Resit opportunities for this module will be available in the Supplementary examination period. F resit: The student will re-sit the module by examination only for a 'capped' pass mark (40). H resit: The student will submit missing coursework elements and/or re-sit by examination in the Supplementary exam period in lieu of a missed/failed exam for full marks. Students re-sitting elements of failed coursework are required to select a different essay/assignment title and must not submit re-written versions of the original essay/assignment.  

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the modules, students will be able to:

- Describe and analyse the historical development of a variety of different parliamentary bodies
- Critically assess the relevance of alternative understandings of 'democracy' and 'representation' to the functioning of parliamentary democracy
- Critically discuss the performance of major parliamentary institutions in the UK and overseas
- Review and assess leading perspectives on the factors shaping the behaviour of political representatives

Brief description

This module examines the centrality of Parliaments to the practice of representation and the exercise of political authority in modern democratic polities.


This module aims to develop student awareness of the evolving role of parliaments within modern democratic politics. It does so by examining the historical roots of parliamentary institutions; reviewing the central place of parliaments within theories of representative democracy; considering the factors shaping the behaviour of individual parliamentarians; and challenging students to assess the role of parliaments in promoting political continuity and/or change.


After introducing the defining characteristics of parliaments, the module examines the roots of parliamentary institutions within notions of democracy and political representation. It then explores how such notions have been manifest in the development of different parliamentary bodies (including Westminster, the European Parliament, and the devolved chambers in Scotland and Wales). The module then examines the election and internal organisation of parliamentary chambers, and how these shape the behaviour of individual representatives. Finally, the role of parliamentary institutions in shaping and resisting political reform is addressed.

Transferable skills

Students will have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of transferable skills that will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas. Throughout the course, students should practice and enhance their reading, comprehension and thinking skills, as well as basic numeracy and self-management skills. In lectures, students will develop listening and note taking skills, as well as analytical skills. In seminars students will enhance their analytical skills and will practice listening, explaining and debating skills, as well as engaging in team-work and problem solving. Essay writing will require students to practice independent research, writing and IT skills, and the examination will test these skills under time constraint conditions.

10 ECTS credits


This module is at CQFW Level 6