Module code: POL2035

Module Overview

In this module students will develop their knowledge and understanding of Political Ideologies, which form a key component of the study of political theory more broadly. The module starts with a brief definition of an inclusive model of ideology, which is the one most commonly adopted in political science. Subsequent lectures deal with a range of major ideological traditions, covering the political spectrum from extreme right to extreme left and taking account of recent developments which overflow traditional left/right borderlines, most notably due to the rise of populism. Specific emphasis is placed on the historical, social, and geographical context of the development of ideologies. Underlying the module is a concern for the condition of modernity, which serves as the backdrop for the genesis of current ideological frameworks. At a meta-level, the module critically assesses whether conditions of modernity still hold or whether these are being replaced by an increasingly reflexive form of modernity, liquid modernity, or even post-modernity. This raises wider questions about the continued applicability of the classic ideologies.  In addition, the module offers insights, feedback, and assessment forms which cumulatively provide students with opportunities to engage in five key areas: employability, global and cultural capabilities, digital capabilities, sustainability, and resourcefulness and resilience.

Module provider


Module Leader

LEVERINGHAUS Alex (Politics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 97

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 20

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Topics discussed are likely to include but not be limited to the following:

  •  Introduction to the concept of ideology

  •  Fascism, racism, anti-Semitism

  •  Neo-fascism, national populism

  •  Conservatism, neo-conservatism

  •  Classical liberalism, modern liberalism, social democracy

  •  Socialism, communism, neo-Marxism

  •  Anarchism, antiglobalism, ecologism, fundamentalism

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 1 50
Coursework COURSEWORK 2 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their emerging analytical, theoretical and empirical knowledcge of contemporary ideology.

The modular assessment pattern enables Level 5 students to analyse critical debates over the meaning of ideologies, their content, and their continued relevance (or lack thereof). The assessment pattern consists of two summative essays of 2000 words each (50%/50%). The assessment trains students’ ability to analyse and critique rather than simply describe their topic. This involves using an analytical framework, choosing relevant examples to illustrate their argument, tying theoretical perspectives to real-world examples, and demonstrating theoretical comprehension of the subject to ensure factual and philosophical accuracy. Students are marked on their ability to structure their argument clearly, as well as their use of evidence to back up the points they are making. Students are required to use high quality, relevant primary and secondary source literature and reference their sources using a standard referencing protocol. In general, developing the ability to write clearly and succinctly about complex theoretical topics is an asset in the contemporary labour market. The module thus enhances students’ employability.   

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Coursework 1 (Essay 2000 words - 50%)

  • Coursework 2 (Essay 2000 words - 50%)

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive verbal feedback on their performance during lectures/seminars and in one to one meetings. Additionally, summative work will be annotated with in situ comments and feedback summarised in a cover sheet. Feedback is module-specific but is also designed to be used for feed-forward to other aspects of the degree programme as well.



Module aims

  • To introduce students to competing theoretical models of ideology and political mythology.
  • To familiarise students with major currents of ideological thought as well as adjacent classificatory concepts (e.g. left-right continuum).
  • To show the structure of each ideology, including its core values, beliefs and goals.
  • To define the features which distinguish different ideological currents from each other, and to consider the areas in which they overlap, most notably in relation to populist discourses
  • To train students in the understanding, description, comparison and analysis of sets of linked political concepts.
  • In dealing with modernity, to relate ideologies to social and environmental conditions (e.g. climate change) and the rise of risk-society
  • To assess whether current ideological grouping can be reconstituted as more sustainable modes of thinking in light of irreversible human-made climate change
  • To apply analytical, synthesis-based and critical thinking skills, strengthen resourcefulness through assessment and deepen forms of resilience in managing a demanding and theoretically dense literature
  • To develop research skills using primary/secondary sources including digital portals and repositories
  • To develop debating and argumentation skills to enhance employability in communicating ideas

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Critically reflect on the concept of ideology and its historical and contemporary relevance KCPT
002 Question established narratives and discourses of left vs right framing of ideologies KCT
003 Gain a deeper understanding of key ideologies shaping the contemporary world and everyday life and communicate this to a lay audience KCPT
004 Demonstrate the ability to analyse case studies from contemporary politics, applying theoretical frameworks to empirical evidence KCPT
005 Make use of the diverse European and international environment represented in both. modular material and the classroom composition to compare various political and cultural viewpoints, and in particular to ask whether ideologies are applicable in contexts other than those defined by a Western and European understanding of modernity. In this sense the module enhances global and cultural capabilities KC
006 Develop the capacity for sustainable thinking in relation to the challenges presented by modern, reflexively modern, or even postmodern society, as well as increasingly diverse societies more broadly KCPT
007 Strengthen resourcefulness and resilience, digital capabilities and overall enhance employability in managing modular assessment-based challenges, most notably the two core essays for the module 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:

The module follows the conventional lecture-seminar format. In the seminars, students are encouraged to engage with a selection of pre-circulated discussion questions. However, students do not have to follow these and are free to set their own agenda for the seminars. The lectures and seminars are complemented via extensive digital resources on Surrey Learn, which the students can use to supplement more conventional academic resources.

The learning and teaching methods include: lectures/seminars, independent study, enquiry-based learning and prescribed reading. Classes are run in 2 hour sessions over an 11 week period.

11 2-hr seminars

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: POL2035

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Public Affairs MPA 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Business Economics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Economics and Finance BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Economics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Economics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
International Relations BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% 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 2024/5 academic year.