Academic Staff: Alistair McMillan

Dr. Alistair McMillan, B.A. (Newcastle), MPhil. (Warwick), DPhil. (Oxford) Alistair McMillan

Senior Lecturer

Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 1657
Fax: +44 (0)114 222 1717
Room: G61 Elmfield



Alistair McMillan joined the Department in 2006 as a Lecturer in Politics, and was made Senior Lecturer in 2007. From 2003 to 2006 he held a British Academy Post-doctoral Fellowship at Nuffield College, Oxford, working on regionalism and Indian electoral politics. His main research interests are representation and electoral politics, Indian politics, and institutions and devolution in the UK.

I have been part of a team providing media coverage of the last three Indian general elections, for the state TV company (Doordershan) and commercial rivals (Star TV), and writing for Frontline, The Hindu, and India Today magazine. I have worked as a psephologist (election specialist) for the BBC coverage of Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, and English local elections.

Work on the allocation of government spending across the regions of the UK, conducted with Iain McLean, has been presented to HM Treasury in London and to the Northern Ireland Executive in Belfast. I have been involved in consultations with the UK Electoral Commission on the process of representation at European elections.


I have taught on a range of courses dealing with my own research interests in British and comparative politics, as well as modules related to research methods and empirical analysis. I have a Postgraduate Diploma in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, awarded by the University of Oxford.

I am currently module leader for POL229 Political Analysis: Research Design and Data Analysis. This is a core module, which introduces students to empirical research and data analysis. The course seeks to foster student engagement with research methods through a questionnaire design group project and a data-analysis project. These enable students to conduct research on areas and issues of their own choice. My lectures involve audience participation through ‘ask the audience’ style ‘clickers’ (or electronic voting machines). This is designed to help students understand the nature of research on public attitudes, as well as issues such as statistical sampling, validity, and inference.

I am module leader on POL393 Elections and Voting, which explores electoral behaviour and is closely linked to my own research on electoral politics and voting. This is taught in small seminar groups, and involves a range of learning activities, including student presentations, quizzes, and group learning projects. I have also incorporated special sessions with invited speakers to comment on the British general election and the US Presidential election.

I am module leader on the Faculty of Social Science ‘Statistics for Social Scientists’ course. This provides an introduction to statistical methods for graduate students across a range of Departments. The aim is to foster an understanding of important research methods used in the Social Sciences, with a focus on the practical analysis of data and interpretation of evidence. The course is taught through a combination of lectures and computer sessions, where students are introduced to statistical analysis and carry out their own data analysis.

I supervise undergraduate and MA research projects and dissertations, and in my administrative role as Director of Undergraduate Studies sit on the Department of Politics Learning and Teaching Committee and the Student/Staff Committee.

Dr Alistair McMillan, University of Sheffield: 'India: A New Middle Class'
More Politics Brought to Life videos


His current research includes:

  • Institutions and Electoral Politics in India: Looking at the changing nature of centre-State relations in India.
  • Voting and devolution in the United Kingdom: Examining the nature of regional voting patterns across the countries of the UK, and how this has been influenced by devolution.

Key Publications

  • Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics (3rd edition) (ed., with Iain McLean). Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009.
  • State of the Union: Unionism and the Alternatives in the United Kingdom since 1707 (with Iain McLean). Oxford University Press, Oxford (2005).
  • Standing at the Margins: Representation and Electoral Reservation in India. Oxford University Press, New Delhi (2005).
  • Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics (2nd edition) (ed., with Iain McLean). Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2003.
  • The theory of committees and elections (ed., with Iain McLean and Burt L. Monroe). Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, 1998.
  • A Mathematical Approach to Proportional Representation: Duncan Black on Lewis Carroll (ed., with Iain McLean and Burt L. Monroe). Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, 1996.

Click here for Dr. McMillan's full list of publications.

PhD Supervision

Dr McMillan is keen to supervise promising research students in a range of areas including South Asian politics, political sociology and electoral behaviour, and institutions and electoral politics.