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AQA A Level Politics at Archbishop Ilsley Catholic Technology College and Sixth Form Centre

Course description

Politics is a highly topical subject and is going through a period of change with key political norms and values being challenged. A-level politics will give students the opportunity to understand the world in which they live, why decisions are made and to develop informed opinions on key areas of current affairs. A-level politics requires students to study two key political systems – the UK and the USA – and the theoretical basis of politics through the study of key ideologies. The course divides into two areas; comparative politics within the UK and USA where students will compare and contrast political institutions, constitutions, party systems and electoral systems and key political actors within each political system. The second area is political ideology and this would give students the ability to understand the origins of key aspects of political thought together with the comparative views of key thinkers. Students will be expected to apply their knowledge from studying UK and US politics to the grounding theory which they have learned. This two year linear course will be examined at the end of year 13 across three papers. Politics would be well combined with History, Theology, English or Geography at A-level, all of which are offered.

Course content

Government and Politics of the UK (Paper 1, 33.3%) – this course is comparative in nature and students will study the British Constitution, the role of the Prime Minister and the Executive, Parliament and the Judiciary and the concept of Separation of Powers between each political branch. Students will study the impact of Devolution on the structure of the British political system. Students will have to study electoral systems and party systems together with other key political actors. The impact of the EU on the UK and vice versa will be studied, especially in light of recent developments. Students will be expected to apply this knowledge to the other two modules of A-level politics study. 

Government and Politics of the USA (Paper 2, 33.3%) – similar to Government and Politics of the UK this course is comparative in nature. Students will begin by studying the constitutional framework of the USA and will then proceed to study the Separation of Powers between the Executive (President), the legislature (Congress) and the judiciary. Electoral systems and political party systems will be studies individually and from the perspective of the extent to which they influence each other. Students will also have to study the concept of direct democracy within US politics and the role of key political actors in the form of pressure groups and the development of civil rights within the USA. Students will be expected to apply this knowledge to the other two modules of A-level politics study. 


Political Ideas (Paper 3, 33.3%) – Students are obliged to study the political ideologies of Liberalism, Conservatism and Socialism. They will also be expected to study a third option from one of the following – Nationalism, Feminism, Multiculturalism, Anarchism and Ecologism – this option will be chose at the beginning of Year 13 to best incorporate the students learning across papers 1 and 2 and the incorporation of tangible examples. For each ideology the student will be expected to understand the key concepts and terminology, the key debates within the ideology and the views of specified key thinkers. Students will be expected to apply this knowledge to the other two modules of A-level politics study. 

Additionally, students will be expected to think comparatively across each area of study, e.g. to compare the role of the executive across the UK and USA and to ground this explanation in political theory, e.g. Liberalism. Across all modules students will be expected to understand the meaning of key concepts and terminology and demonstrate the skills of analysis and evaluation. 

Entry requirements

Ideally, the candidate would have met whole school entry criteria, together with the following grades. 
5 in English
5 in either History, Geography or RS

Minimum 5 GCSE's Grades 9-5 including Maths and English


100% exam, split over three papers of equal weighting (33.3% each).
Exams are all worth 77 marks and are each 2 hours in duration. 


How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 09 November 2017
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