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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 07/06/2021 07:51:13

Title of Module: Parliamentary Studies

Code: PLTC10013 SCQF Level: 10
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:M  Arnott

Summary of Module

Parliamentary Studies aims to provide students with a detailed knowledge of how the Westminster Parliament works in both theory and practice. The overarching and coordinating theme of the module will be to scrutinise the capacity of Westminster to fulfil five key democratic functions of parliament: representation, recruitment and maintenance of a government, scrutiny of the executive, legislation, and debate. Where relevant and fruitful Westminster will be analysed in comparative perspective, particularly with the Scottish Parliament. Nevertheless, Westminster will be remain the overriding focus of the module. 

It therefore focuses on how the Houses of Parliament operates and covers themes such as:  structure of Parliament; legislative process; the role and reform of Select Committees; debate and deliberation in parliament; the civil service; E-Governance and E-Democracy; scrutiny at Parliament; the work and role of the House of Lords; the ongoing debate regarding reform of the House of Lords; Parliament and devolution; and Parliament and Europe. It provides students with a sense of why cultures, traditions and informal relationships matter as well as formal procedures. 

Delivery of Parliamentary Studies is based on a partnership between the Houses of Parliament who provide practical and vocational teaching about the work, processes and business of Parliament from practitioners from within Parliament, such as clerks and parliamentary officials with expertise and experience on the topic. Under terms of the partnership, the maximum number of students enrolled is 20 students.  Further teaching will also be provided by Members of Parliament, Civil Servants and relevant civil society organisations.


Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Integrate theoretical and practical knowledge about Parliament.

L2. Apply conceptual tools to understand, evaluate and critically analyse, in-depth, the functions of parliament and the features of parliament that promote this function in practice.

L3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the limitations of a feature of parliament to promoting a key function and demonstrate some originality and creativity by providing practical recommendations to address this failing.

L4. Demonstrate appropriate communicative and transferable skills including making effective use of library and electronic resources to acquire relevant information, engaging in seminar discussion, and provision of written, reasoned and co-ordinated arguments.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 10.

Demonstrate a specific and integrated knowledge of the key issues in the students chosen topic area;

Demonstrate a critical understanding of a selection of the key areas of the students topic area;

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding relationship between parliament in theory and practice.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

Interpreting and explaining complex Parliamentary and democratic theories;

Applying some complex conceptual tools to understand certain key themes in the study of Parliament;

Retrieving, interpreting, analysing and manipulating primary and secondary information from a variety of sources including electronic sources.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

Critical evaluation and synthesis of key ideas and concepts in relation to a Parliamentary studies;

Critically identify and analyse conceptual problems relating to the study and understanding of Parliament in theory and practice;

Drawing on information from a variety of sources, including academic research publications, to make original, and distinct, insights on this subject matter.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

Communicating effectively and appropriately in speech and writing;

Interpreting complex primary materials;

Making effective use of information retrieval systems and use information technology applications to present documents in an appropriate form.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

Working effectively, together with peers in groups and external Professionals, taking a leadership role where appropriate;

Systematically identifying and addressing their own learning needs both in current and in new areas, making use of research in primary political theory, and empirical research, source materials as appropriate.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Other:40 credits in Politics modules at level 9 or equivalent
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
Student contact will primarily take place through a series of lectures and seminar classes, supported by engagement through the modules virtual learning environment (Moodle site). A key focus will be placed on the encouragement of students to develop reading, writing and analytical skills through engagement with a variety of sources and academic texts relating to the subject area. There will be a requirement for independent study in terms of seminar preparation and the written assessments; this is identified in the suggested notional hours below.

The module would therefore include:

a) 4 two hour lectures delivered by UWS staff on the key module themes, focusing on the academic and theoretical framing of the theme;
b) 2 two hours workshops on Parliamentary Research;
c) 6 seminars (two hours) delivered by UWS staff and the relevant external Parliamentary speaker where there will be a more practical and vocational focus.

Further materials will be available via the modules VLE, where there will be a further opportunity for a virtual and more flexible discussion of the module themes. Students will be required to conduct at least 12 hours per week of independent study on the module.

The module is fully aligned with institutional priorities around the development of graduate attributes, employability and citizenship competencies, and with the institutional policy on personal development planning.

The module will be capped at 20 students, to meet the Parliamentary Outreach requirements.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery12
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity12
Asynchronous Class Activity16
Independent Study160
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Blackburn, R. & A. Kennon (2003) Parliament: Functions, Practice and Procedures (Sweet & Maxwell).

Bogdanor, V. (2009) The New British Constitution (Hart).

Enderlien, H (ed.) (2010) Handbook on Multi-level Governance (Elgar)

Gordon, R and Street, A. (2012) Select Committees and Coercive Powers – Clarity or Confusion (The Constitution Society).

Kelso, A. (2013) Parliamentary Reform at Westminster (Manchester: Manchester University Press)

Internet Sources:

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
All fulltime students (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to students who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardSocial Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelUG Social Sciences - Politics & Criminal Justice
ModeratorJ Clark
External ExaminerJ Derounian
Accreditation DetailsSocial Science(s) Framework programme board and BA (Hons) Social Science Programme Board
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Written work, 3000 words (60%)
Parliamentary Report, 2000 words (40%)
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck markcheck mark check mark600

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Report of practical/ field/ clinical workcheck mark check markcheck mark400
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries). The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.