British Public Affairs - JOUR6040

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Autumn Term 6 15 (7.5) Ben Cocking checkmark-circle


This module prepares journalists to hold power to account by developing a thorough understanding of the British political system, focusing on recent political and constitutional developments. It will investigate topics such as the roles of Parliament, the Prime Minister and Cabinet, regional authorities, political parties, and the electoral system. It will assess key issues facing democratic government and institutions within the UK, analysing for example the role of Europe, the challenges posed by devolution, the Treasury and the National Health Service. There will also be discussion of contemporary political behaviour, including the issue of political participation. This module prepares students to sit the National Council for the Training of Journalists' (NCTJ) professional exam in public affairs.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 48
Private Study Hours: 102
Total Study Hours: 150


Year in Journalism – compulsory module

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Narrative In-course test, (45 mins.) – 50%
Narrative In-course test, (45 mins.) – 50%

Reassessment methods
Reassessment instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Morrison, J (2013), Essential Public Affairs for Journalists, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Leach, R, Coxall, B and Robins, L (2011), British Politics, 2nd edn, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke
Jones, B and Norton, P (2010), Politics UK, 7th edn, Pearson, Harlow
Moran, M (2011), Politics and Governance in the UK, 2nd edn, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke
Judge, D (2005), Political Institutions in the United Kingdom, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Kavanagh, D, et al (2006), British Politics, 5th edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Peele, G (2004), Governing the UK. British Politics in the 21st Century, 4th edn, Blackwell, Oxford
Jones, B (2010), Dictionary of British Politics, 2nd edn, Manchester University Press, Manchester

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1) Show detailed understanding of the basic principles of the British constitution, the functions of Britain's national political institutions and
their role in delivering accountable and representative outcomes
2) Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the electoral process, comparative electoral systems and the key issues facing electoral
participation in a modern democracy
3) Show familiarity with how a range of approaches can be used to investigate how British political systems work, and with what success, and
have some understanding of comparative systems
4) Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the structure and financing of public services including the National Health Service and social
5) Enter professional exams in public affairs set by the National Council for the Training of Journalists

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1) Show detailed understanding of the key concepts and theories in the academic literature relating to British politics and journalism
2) Demonstrate a critical awareness of current political issues
3) Comprehensively implement research and writing skills in individual written work
4) Exercise independent learning skills and organise study in an efficient and professional manner


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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