Parliamentary Studies

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 17 January 2022
Friday 25 March 2022
11 May 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

Entry By Application ONLY.

This module aims to provide students with a detailed knowledge of how the UK Parliament works (in both theory and practice) and with the capacity to situate this knowledge within an understanding of similar institutions and a set of broader themes and issues.

To this end it considers: the evolution of the Parliamentary state; how the relationship with the executive has changed over time; the structure of Parliament; the on-going reform debate regarding the House of Lords; the legislative process and how to influence bills; the role and future of Select Committees; what life is like as an MP; and how the UK Parliament interacts with other parliaments and legislatures.

This module is co-taught by staff at the Houses of Parliament and has the support of The Speaker and the Clerk of the House in the House of Commons, and the Lord Speaker and the Clerk of the Parliaments in the House of Lords. The module content is delivered collaboratively by the Houses of Parliament and the University of Essex, with the University providing academic and theoretical content and Parliament providing practical and vocational teaching about the work, processes and business of Parliament.

Module aims

1. To study the structure, procedures and officers of the UK Parliament.
2. To critically appraise empirical studies of legislative behaviour
3. To conduct research on specific elements of Parliamentary activity

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module student should be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge of the structure, procedures and officers of the UK Parliament.
2. Critically appraise empirical studies of legislative behaviour, including those that use both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.
3. Conduct research on specific elements of Parliamentary activity

Module information

Students should choose this module via EnROL, the department will then contact students to advise of the application process.

Enrolments are not confirmed until your application to study the module has been approved by the Module Supervisor.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered with (i) a weekly pre-recorded lecture and (ii) a weekly interactive lecture. The pre-recorded lecture will consist of one or more items of prepared content that students can access electronically and must study before the interactive lecture. The interactive lecture will consist of one 50-minute lecture in which students can ask questions about, and discuss various aspects of, the prepared content with the module supervisor. The module is co-taught with staff from Parliament, including a visit to Parliament*. The sessions taught by staff from Parliament will be 2-hour seminars. *The visit may be a virtual tour.


  • Norton, Philip. (2013) Parliament in British politics, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Research Paper  26/04/2022  100% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Brenda Van Coppenolle, email: b.vancoppenolle@essex.ac.uk.


Travel costs for UK - based unpaid, approved work placements and live projects which are an integral part of a module may be covered by your department. (NB this will usually exclude field trips and site visits). Please check with your module supervisor to ensure that the activity is eligible.

External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 316 hours, 20 (6.3%) hours available to students:
296 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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