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Debating Current Affairs

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

Look behind the headlines and learn more about major political issues and events. The course will introduce key concepts and approaches in the study of politics and apply these to analyse current political affairs.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No prior knowledge is required. Students must be prepared to listen to others and try to understand their points of view.

Content of Course

This course will introduce key concepts in the study of British and international politics – such as democracy, the state, security, and globalisation – and apply these to political issues of the day. Students will have the opportunity to debate events such as elections or party conferences, as well as issues in global politics such as climate change, international trade or nuclear proliferation. We will consider key political structures, institutions, actors and processes, and analyse current political affairs from a global and comparative perspective.

The course content will change each year depending on current political events and developments. Topics to be discussed may include:

1. Scottish and UK Politics.

Key events such as elections, referendums or party conferences, and broader themes such as the British voting system, the roles of government and parliament, devolution, and the future of the British state.

2. American Politics.

Institutions and processes such as the Presidency, Congress, the Supreme Court, political parties, elections and primaries.

3. European Politics.

Political developments in major European states, EU institutions and policies, and the future of European cooperation and integration.

4. Global Political Issues.

UK foreign policy, military conflicts, international summits, and issues such as global trade or environmental protection.

Teaching method(s)

The main focus of this course is on applying key concepts and theoretical approaches to analyse political issues of the day. Each session will combine lecture and guided group discussion. You will be expected to read relevant material before each class, including academic literature and news reports. The tutor will then develop discussions based on the reading, and encourage the class to engage in constructive debate and apply new knowledge to current political affairs.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Define and use key terms in the study of politics;

  • Engage in constructive dialogue and debate on current political issues;

  • Identify structures, institutions, actors and processes in domestic and international politics;

  • Analyse political events from a global and comparative perspective.


Core Readings


  • Garner, R., Ferdinand, P. and Lawson, S. 2016. Introduction to Politics. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [The 2nd edition (2012) can also be used for this course.]



If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.