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Understanding Politics

University of Kent via FutureLearn


Gain an expert view of how politics works

This introductory four-week course will equip you with the basic knowledge and understanding you need for further education in political science. By the end, you’ll have an understanding of the role of governments, regimes and the state, an introduction to political ideologies, and recommendations for further reading.

Discover different electoral systems and political models

You’ll gain an understanding of the different political models, including models of democracy around the world, and the models of political economy. These will offer you a critical lens for viewing political arguments, statements, and the world around you.

Build your understanding of politics

Prepare for further study of politics by learning about identity and class politics, how they relate to ideologies, and political power. You’ll be introduced to key concepts across conservatism, socialism, and feminism, and look at differences and debates within them.

At the end of the course, you’ll have a basic understanding of politics and a familiarity with key texts, historical context and ongoing debates.

This course is for students who have excellent high school or partial A-level equivalent qualifications, but haven’t completed a suitable qualification or grades that allow them to apply for direct entry to a UK university.

This course gives prospective students a flavour of studying politics at degree level, and is also ideal for mature students returning to study.


  • Introduction
    • Welcome
    • Political Science
    • Political Philosophy
    • Critical Theory
    • Weekly Wrap Up
  • Key Ideas and Their Foundations
    • Welcome to Week 2
    • Understanding through theories/models
    • Politics as where?
    • Politics as how?
    • Power
    • Assessment
    • Weekly wrap up
  • Governments, Regimes and the State
    • Welcome to Week 3
    • Classification and Comparison
    • Aristotle's 'Classical' Typology
    • Contemporary Typologies
    • The State
    • Weekly Wrap Up
  • Political Ideologies
    • Introduction to Week 4
    • Liberalism
    • Conservatism
    • Socialism
    • Four Waves of Feminism
    • Assessment
    • End of Course 1

Taught by

Chris Henry


4.6 rating at FutureLearn based on 7 ratings

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