Peer Assisted Learning Sessions (PAL)
Course Code: PUBLGL05
Course Tutor: Dr John Filling (Department of Political Science) and Emily McTernan (Department of Political Science)
Assessment: 3,000 word essay (50%) + viva form (25%) + viva (25%)
Credit Value: 30
About this course
Peer-assisted learning is an innovative component of the MA in Legal and Political Theory, at the School of Public Policy. It is an interactive way to introduce students to ongoing academic work and important current debates in the world of legal and political theory. Seminars are held at the School for the first two terms of the year, to which important political philosophers and legal and political theorists are invited to present a current piece of work. In the first term the seminars are convened by Professors Richard Bellamy and Cecile Laborde and in the second term the Colloquium in Legal and Political Philosophy is convened by Professor John Tasioulas. In the second term especially, these seminars are high-powered, 3-hour long discussions. The seminars, and the peer-assisted preparatory seminars before them, are compulsory for MA LPT students.
The aim is to immerse students in the academic debate, improve their critical skills, give them access to a dialogue with an author of a position (rather than having merely to interpret a text), and to increase their confidence in exercising their analytic and critical faculties. Additionally, it is hoped that by exposure to current academic work students will be better to able to assess the current progress of debate on an issue, perhaps even leading to them using what they have learned in preparing their dissertations.
At the end of the year, students write a critical essay on one of the topics discussed in the seminars, and present their own research (which will form the basis of their MA dissertation) to their peers and teachers (viva).
* Please note that this course is available to MA LPT students only.