Undergraduate Modules

Parliamentary Studies

Despite concerns about the ‘life and death’ of democracy, parliaments and legislatures continue to provide the most decisive political arena in any democratic polity. This reflects the fact that parliaments and legislatures continue to fulfil a critical role in terms of providing a link, bridge or buckle across a variety of dimensions (i.e. between the governors and the governed, between backbenchers and frontbenchers, and between legislative and scrutiny roles). This module focuses on how parliaments and legislatures operate and is founded on the basis of theoretically-informed but policy-relevant research. It therefore attempts to provide students with a sense of why cultures, traditions and informal relationships matter as much (if not more) than formal procedures. Although the House of Commons and the House of Lords provide the main institutional focus for this module students will be encouraged to adopt a comparative approach whenever possible and to situate their analysis within an appreciation of the changing role of parliament within evolving frameworks of multi-level governance.


Topics covered on this module include:

  1. Introduction and Research Skills Class
  2. History: The Parliamentary State
  3. The Structure of Parliament, Key Offices and Key Procedures
  4. The Legislative Process
  5. Executive-Legislative Relations
  6. The Role and Reform of Select Committees
  7. The Role and Reform of the House of Lords
  9. Parliament and the State: Icebergs and MPs
  10. Intra-Parliamentary Relations: Above and Below Westminster
  11. The Future of Parliament, Parliamentary Studies and Your Studies

Final Year
Autumn Semester
Module Code POL3129

Teaching Methods

  • 10 two-hour seminars
  • 1 research field trip
  • Bespoke support from House of Commons select committee members and clerks.
  • Guest lectures by House of Commons select committee members and clerks.


  • Essay - 50%
  • Exam - 50%

Optional Research Project Module

You also have the opportunity to deepen your knowledge by undertaking a supervised 7,000-word research project on a topic arising from the work done on Parliamentary Studies.

More about the Research Project module

How is the module delivered?

How is the assessment method unique in Parliamentary Studies?

What is the value of external speakers?