Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL3228: From the Shadows into the Light: Political Advisers and Policy Making

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

PART I: Advisers and their institutional habitat

  • Who is a political adviser? Delimiting the subject of study. The concept of political adviser 
  • Where do political advisers work? The institutional habitat of advisers - Administrative traditions in comparison
  • What is the profile of political advisers? Educational and socio-demographic background of the adviser elite.
  • Why are advisers employed? Politicization and policy capacity

PART II:  Advisers and policy making

  • What do political advisers do? A classification of advisers’ substantive policy roles
  • What is the dimension of advisers’ work? Working with civil servants, other advisers and stakeholders.
  • What is the content of political advisers work? Content of policy advice, policy analytical tools and use of knowledge by advisers

PART III: Advisers and their relationship with civil servants and politicians

  • How do political advisers interfere with the civil servants? From the traditional binary political-administrative relationship to a “menage a trois”.
  • How do advisers interact with politicians and how much influence do they have? Advisers and the circles of trust surrounding politicians. 

PART IV: Advisers and accountability

  •  From the shadows into the light, are political advisers accountable and to whom?

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities4422 x 2 hour seminars
Guided Independent Study88Reading set texts and wider reading
Guided Independent Study3Preparing for guest speakers
Guided Independent Study40Conducting research and preparing for the short answer questions
Guided Independent Study100Conducting research and writing the essay
Guided Independent Study24Preparation for individual presentation in class

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).