Module code: POLM039

Module Overview

This course provides an opportunity to students taking all pathways to explore key topics in political science, such as:

1) What is 'activism' in the age of social media;

2) Who are the activists today;

3) What are the motivations behind political activism;

4) How do different organizational vehicles (parties, movements, NGOs, pressure groups) contribute to the functioning of democracy.

The module links well to modules at Level 7 (such as POLM035, POLM036, POLM037).

Module provider


Module Leader

ALBERTAZZI Daniele (Politics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module explores the following topics among others:

  • The functioning and structure of political parties, movements, pressure groups, NGOs, charities and advocacy groups.

  • Analysis of the composition of organisations, to understand who engages in activism today

  • Study of the activists' motivations and reasons to remain engaged

  • Discussion of the contribution that activism provide to the functioning of liberal democracy today

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) GROUP WORK (2000 WORDS) 30
Coursework INDIVIDUAL ESSAY (3000 WORDS) 70

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

  • Their knowledge of the class material

  • The ability to identify relevant theoretical frameworks and schools of thought, by evaluating different approaches and decide which one to embrace

  • The ability to construct different arguments and exercise critical judgement, deploying a range of research skills, and accessing relevant material to extract information.

  • A willingness to reflect on their own performance, by constructively incorporating feedback

  • The ability to work in groups, negotiate disagreements and manage workloads as a team

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Group work (2000 words). The research will focus on an actual campaigning organisation, NGO or party chosen by the students and approved by the module lead. The portfolio comprises a report and an appendix presenting the data, which is excluded from the word count.

  • Coursework (Individual essay, 3000 words). Students will need to submit their own title for approval. The essay will reflect one or more of the topics covered in the module and apply one or more theoretical approaches to the analysis of specific case studies.

Formative assessment:

  • Group presentation of the research Portfolio (in class) before submission

Feedback: Feedback is provided to students after their presentation (formative assessment), and in writing upon submission of the summative pieces. The general strengths and weaknesses of the first submission will be discussed in class during seminar times, after which students will be invited to book a slot during office hours to discuss face-to-face the specific feedback received on their assignments.

Module aims

  • Provide students with an opportunity to consider, analyse and debate a range of current issues concerning the structure and functioning of political organisations
  • Apply relevant analytical skills to the study of political activism in all its forms
  • Develop skills in researching fast-moving contemporary political issues using a range of primary/secondary sources
  • Develop team working and negotiation skills, and facilitate dialogue between students on their own performance
  • Foster independence and autonomy in the analysis of political issues

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Critically analyse complex issues in contemporary European politics CKT
002 Utilise a range of theoretical approaches which can be applied to the study of political organisations and activism CK
003 Gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources to construct a reasoned argument CKPT
004 Demonstrate debating and argumentation skills CPT
005 Develop employability skills, such as team work and effective management of workload PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Introduce students to new topics

  • Provide room for student-led discussion of the topics

  • Help develop transferable and practical/professional skills.

This is accomplished through the weekly seminars, the captured content and guided learning material on SurreyLearn as well indicative exercises in class and online.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: POLM039

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Public Affairs MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.