Global: China in Global Politics

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The elective course is focused on China as a global actor and Chinese politics and government in the 21st century. China is one of few remaining communist states in the world that not only has survived but has become a global political actor at the world stage. In this course, we will discuss what explains China's economic growth. We will further study the literature and data seeking to explain China's authoritarian resilience and how resilient the Chinese Communist Party appears in the face of technological and economic change. Finally, the course will focus on the limits to this resilience, China's model of development and the changes under Xi Jinping's leadership. Materials will include readings, lectures, and selected films.

Learning Outcomes

A student who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student knows

  • major debates on China as global political actor at the world stage
  • key lines of conceptual-analytical contestation about how to study authoritarian resilience
  • key empirical insights on the links between China's economic growth and autocratic politics


The student can

  • evaluate, synthesize, and critically appraise existing social science research on autocratic regime, with a focus on China
  • develop and apply their own conceptual-analytical approach to the politics and governance of China as a global actor
  • identify and analyze relevant empirical analyses of China's development model independently and in a nuanced manner.

General competence

The student can

  • identify and present complex phenomena in the field of global politics and autocratic resilience
  • develop, present, discuss and defend own arguments about scholarly readings and empirical phenomena in dialogue with peers
  • structure and moderate group discussions in an inclusive manner

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Spring, irregular
Required Previous Knowledge
Students must have completed a bachelor's degree in political science or equivalent (subject to approval by the administration of the Department of Government), or a bachelor´s degree in social sciences, psychology or law.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
A background in social science theory and methods recommended.
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course

The course is open for students who have been accepted to Master programmes at the Department of Government, and from other Master's programmes in the Social Science Faculty.

The course gives priority to students accepted to the Master programmes at the Department of Government. Students accepted to other master's programmes in in the Social Science Faculty can sign up if there are places left. Maximum students per course is fifteen (15) students.

Exchange students at master level and master students from other departments may be accepted upon application. Applications may be rejected due to capacity.

Teaching and learning methods
Approximately 6 sessions (including one introduction and one concluding session and four sessions on different thematic blocs), organised as student-led discussions of key readings.  
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

The compulsory assignment includes two research briefs (2-3 pages each) which need to be delivered before the respective session based on the assigned readings and some guiding questions to be shared by the teacher. In addition, each student must take co-leadership for moderating one seminar discussion.

Attendance of at least five sessions is compulsory.

The compulsory assignment must be approved in order to take the exam. Approved compulsory assignments are valid in the current and following two semesters.

Forms of Assessment

Research essay of 2500 words (+/- 10%, excluding the title page, table of contents, references, tables, and all attachments) on China as a global actor. The teacher will share guiding questions for the task.

The exam will be given in the language in which the course is taught.

The exam answer can be submitted in English.

Grading Scale
Graded A-F
Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester.

A retake exam is arranged for students with valid absence according to § 5-5 in the UiB regulations.

If there is a retake exam, this will be available for students with the follow results/absences:

  • Medical certificate/valid absence
  • Interruption during the exam
  • Fail/failed

If you have the right to take a retake exam and a retake exam is arranged for students with valid absences, you can sign up yourself in Studentweb after 1. August.

Reading List
The reading list will be ready before 1 July for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester.
Course Evaluation
All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses. 
Course Administrator
Department of Government at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.