University of Sheffield makes Parliamentary history

The Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield has launched the first ever undergraduate module that is formally accredited and co-taught by the House of Commons.

The module is a joint initiative between the University of Sheffield and the Parliamentary Outreach Service. The aim of the module is to provide a theoretically-informed but policy-relevant insight into the history, governance and future of legislatures and assemblies all over the world.

This new initiative is intended to put the Department of Politics at the forefront of innovative research-led learning while also developing a range of employment-related skills. For example, students will write a draft Memorandum of Evidence for a select committee as the assessed component of this module instead of the standard 3,000 word essay.

Professor Matthew FlindersThe module, developed by Professor Matthew Flinders from the University’s Department of Politics and Naomi Kent from the Parliamentary Outreach Service, includes a ‘behind the scenes’ trip to the House of Commons in November.

Professor Flinders said: “The fact that the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield was selected to drive-forward this initiative reflects its reputation for world-class teaching and research.

"Having a succession of parliamentary clerks and members of the House of Parliament coming up to Sheffield as guest lecturers will provide insights and opportunities that are simply not available to most students of politics. John Bercow MP, the Speaker of the House, has been incredibly supportive and has promoted this initiative in a number of his recent speeches.

“The initiative is already bearing fruit – the University of Ulster has just established a similar module that will be accredited and co-taught by the Northern Ireland Assembly.”

Naomi Kent said: “Parliament’s Outreach Service are delighted to be working with the University of Sheffield on this exciting new module. It is one of the most innovative projects we have been involved with.”

When asked why he selected the module third year student, Ian Picker, said: “It’s the sort of module I came to University to study – it’s as simple as that! It provides a brilliant combination of academic knowledge and practical skills.”

Additional information

The University of Sheffield is piloting this module and it is hoped that it will be rolled-out to a small number of other Universities over the next two years. The new module attracted applications from 88 second year students and 25 were selected to take this third-year module, which is open to politics students only.
Professor Matthew Flinders can be contacted on 07773 144 155, Naomi Kent via

The University of Sheffield
With nearly 25,000 students from 125 countries, the University of Sheffield is one of the UK´s leading and largest universities. A member of the Russell Group, it has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

The University of Sheffield has been named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards for its exceptional performance in research, teaching, access and business performance. In addition, the University has won four Queen´s Anniversary Prizes (1998, 2000, 2002, 2007). These prestigious awards recognise outstanding contributions by universities and colleges to the United Kingdom´s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life. Sheffield also boasts five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and many of its alumni have gone on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence around the world.

The University´s research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls Royce, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, ICI, Slazenger, and many more household names, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

The University has well-established partnerships with a number of universities and major corporations, both in the UK and abroad. Its partnership with Leeds and York Universities in the White Rose Consortium has a combined research power greater than that of either Oxford or Cambridge.


For further information please contact:

Amy Stone
Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 1046