Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL3273: Dark Masters? Political Advisers in Modern Democracies

This module descriptor refers to the 2022/3 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Mr Athanassios Gouglas (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


This module will take you on a journey behind the scenes of government by introducing you to the study of political advisers, known in the UK as special advisers (SpAds). Are political advisers in the offices of ministers, prime ministers and presidents unelected and unaccountable dark masters, or are they elements of politically responsive government? The module has scientific and practical value. After university you may work as adviser in the core executive and legislative branch, as a civil servant, or an external consultant cooperating with government SpAds and MP assistants. The module offers you the opportunity to learn about the work of political advisers in an internationally comparative perspective, using evidence from frontier research, as well as live accounts from practitioners, both advisers and civil servants. You will also get some basic training in applied political writing. Knowledge of the different political and administrative traditions is useful, but not required.

Module created


Last revised