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Politics - BA (Hons)

Add to my prospectus Why study this course? More about this course Entry requirements Modular structure What our students say After the course How to apply Meet the team Visit us

Why study this course?

Examine the major issues and problems of politics today and explore decision makers and how policies are made at all levels. You’ll be taught by experts in the field and with links to many political institutions and organisations in London and beyond, you can find yourself undertaking placements with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), MPs or international organisations such as the UN and Amnesty International. There are excellent opportunities to specialise in areas including public policy, political theory and human rights or location-specific politics of Africa, the Middle East, China, Asia and the USA.

In the most recent Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of all 2017 graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

More about this course

The Politics BA (Hons) degree provides a thorough grounding in the concept and nature of politics, and the institutions and structures engaged in political decision-making. You’ll determine and explore the decision makers and how policies are made at a variety of levels including the local, regional, national, European and international.

Study a variety of issues including citizenship and cyberspace, authority, ethics, equality, political economy and political ideologies that have shaped and are shaping the contemporary world. There are also excellent opportunities to specialise in particular areas such as public policy, political philosophy, or a particular region including Africa, the Middle East, China and Asia, or the United States.

Our dynamic expert staff have extensive research and teaching experience and many are leading figures in the academic world in professional organisations such as the Political Studies Association and the British International Studies Association.

Employability is central to every module and we have links with many political institutions and organisations in London and beyond. In your final year, you’ll be able to choose between a research project, work placement or to study abroad. Our students have gained new skills working with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), MPs, local and national government, embassies, the United Nations and Amnesty International.

Assessment

You'll be assessed through essays, reports, exams, seminar performance, seminar presentations (both individual and group), portfolios, blogs, policy documents, dissertations, learning logs and book reviews. The majority will be tutor assessed, but a number will be peer-reviewed in seminars.

The strategy is designed to maximise the development of subject specific skills and employability skills appropriate to each level of the degree.

Fees and key information

Course type Undergraduate
UCAS code L200
Entry requirements View
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Entry requirements

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • a minimum of grades BBC in three A levels (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification)
  • English GCSE at grade C/grade 4 or above (or equivalent)

If you do not have traditional qualifications or cannot meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the International Relations and Politics Extended degree.

Applicants with relevant professional qualifications or extensive professional experience will also be considered on a case by case basis.

Applicants with international qualifications and mature applicants are very welcome.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Accelerated study

If you have relevant qualifications or credit from a similar course it may be possible to enter this course at an advanced stage rather than beginning in the first year. Please note, advanced entry is only available for September start. See our information for students applying for advanced entry.

Modular structure

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2018/19 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (January start) - Thursday afternoon

    • To introduce the main concepts and debates in international political economy
    • To provide the skills necessary for comparative analysis;
    • To introduce and examine the principle institutions of global economic governance
    • To explore the impact of these institutions on the process of development.
    • to provide the skills necessary for comparative analysis;
    • To enhance the ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing;
    • To develop competence in discussion

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (January start) - Tuesday afternoon

    The broad aim is to develop an understanding of the fundamentals of the study of international relations. In particular to:

    1. Analyse historical precedents and the institutions underlying contemporary international relations.
    2. Understand the contemporary challenges facing the world and the institutional and political factors which hinder, or help provide, solutions to these problems.
    3. Make informed judgements about current international affairs – and future developments – within the larger theoretical frameworks and approaches to international relations.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning
    • all year (January start) - Monday afternoon

    This module aims to:
    1. Provide a detailed account of the development of the Cold War and post-Cold War international systems at global, regional and sub-national levels;
    2. Introduce students to key concepts related to diplomacy, peace and conflict;
    3. Examine the role of diplomatic institutions and peace processes in attempts to contain or resolve violent conflicts;
    4. Encourage the development of the skills of comparative analysis, by comparing conflicts in different regions;
    5. Develop and encourage confidence in the use of appropriate analytical, written and oral skills.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday morning
    • all year (January start) - Tuesday morning

    This module has two broad purposes. Firstly, it gives students an introduction to the main ideas underlying the study of politics. What are the dominant ideologies that have shaped politics and what are their principal contentions. Secondly, it will explore and systematically compare the principal characteristics of government.

    Read full details.

Year 2 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Monday afternoon

    This module aims providing an intermediate level examination of comparative politics, one of the key sub-disciplines of political science, aims to:
    • equip students with the analytical and conceptual skills required for critical evaluation of comparative politics and its associated theories and models
    • critically compare political, governmental and non-governmental concepts, structures and institutions both within and between states
    • comparatively analyse politics, government and governance with reference to different actors and levels of government and governance
    • develop the research and communication skills required for effective and informed presentation of knowledge, information and analysis by students in workshops, seminars and the summative report. The subject matter will aid the development of critical skills which are transferable to a variety of contexts, thus assisting employability prospects.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday afternoon

    This module providing an intermediate examination of governance and public policy aims to:
    • equip students with the analytical and normative concepts required for critical evaluation of public policies and theories and models of governance
    • critically evaluate alternative public policy paradigms and associated policies and models of governance
    • analyse the policy process with reference to different actors and levels of governance
    • develop the research and communication skills required for effective and informed presentation of knowledge, information and analysis by students in workshops, seminars and the summative report. The subject matter will aid the development of critical skills which are transferable to a variety of contexts, thus assisting employability prospects.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    To understand the relevance of political theory to politics and international relations
    To understand the different approaches to justifying and criticising political action
    To explore the development of political ideas and theories
    To develop an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of current political issues
    To encourage students to develop transferable skill in analysis of texts and ideas, articulation of arguments, and presentation of research findings, as well as academic reading and writing.

    Read full details.
  • No module details available
    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday morning
    The module aims to enable students to:
    1. Increase their personal and professional development prior to, during and following gaining work-based learning experience.
    2. Increase and develop critical, self-reflective ability and self-efficacy.
    3. Demonstrate theoretical concepts and transferable competencies in a practical, problem solving context.
    4. Gain critical understanding of current issues, practices and where appropriate relevant policy or legislation within a particular organisational situation.
    5. Explore employment options and consider future career plans.
    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Monday morning

    The broad aim of this module is to develop a grounding in the fundamentals of US foreign policy making in the context of contemporary international relations. In particular, to:

    • Analyse policy making institutions and historical precedents underlying US foreign policy, and to grasp the way those precedents affect America’s approach to global events since the end of the Cold War and the attacks of 9/11.
    • Assess the processes and limitations of US foreign policy making, the contemporary challenges facing the world and the American role in dealing with them, and the expectations of US influence in the world in coming years.
    • Place American foreign policy within the larger theoretical frameworks and approaches to international relations.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon

    One of the central questions for the discipline of International Relations is to explain the behaviour of states in the international system. This module explores two of the most important and significant approaches to addressing this question: IR theory and foreign policy analysis respectively.

    The first half of the module explores the various theoretical perspectives which can be used to understand the dynamics of the international system and how they condition state behaviour. It explores both explanatory and critical approaches to this issue, the former seeking to explain how the international system operates, with the latter seeking to transform the nature of world politics in one way or another.

    The second half of the module approaches the question from the perspective of foreign policy analysis, focusing on the decisions, structures and processes within states that produce international action. It examines both models of foreign policy decision making and comparative national approaches to foreign policy.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday morning

    This module examines the structure, values and operation of the US government, including all its principles of exceptionalism, the major institutions and key actors. It examines the policy-making process, electoral politics and the roles of interest groups and the media. It also looks at some major areas of controversy within American politics, such as political ethics, gun control, healthcare (Obamacare), and race and immigration. In the wake of the election of the property-tycoon and celebrity Donald Trump as the President in 2016, it considers the impact of the celebrity politician, social media and cyber-activity in US political life. In particular, this module aims to:
    • examine and analyse the structure and operation of the American government
    • develop awareness of the domestic and international context in which US government makes policy
    • raise awareness of, and enable informed engagement with, contemporary controversial and ethical issues in American government and public policy making

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday morning

    • This module will critically examine the democratic role of the mass media, audio-visual and communications services in contemporary national political environments.
    • To consider whether the media has a democratic purpose in disseminating free information through plurality and diversity.
    • To assess the political economy of media institutions, the public policy questions concerning their development and status, and the impact of the new forms of communication and information transfer.
    • To consider how political messages are communicated by political elites to the public during elections and periods of government.
    • To consider how political issues are represented through the news media and popular fictions.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Tuesday morning

    The broad aim of this module is to develop an understanding of politics in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, in the context of contemporary international relations, and in particular to:
    • describe and explain the processes by which the states and societies of the contemporary MENA region were formed;
    • explore the main ideological currents that have influenced the political development of the MENA region, particularly those inspired by religion and nationalism;
    • examine the interstate and international relations of the region, focusing on the sources of conflicts and the difficult relationship between the West and the region.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Friday afternoon

    This module explores theories and conceptions of racism and ethnicity, and the practices of racism in contemporary societies. The historical roots of racism will be examined and its contemporary forms studied comparatively. Racism is specifically explored within the context of social and political conflicts.
    Module aims
    • To analyse critically key concepts including racism and ethnicity themselves in order to develop an awareness of their contested nature.
    • To look at these issues as worldwide problems and in a sociological context that explores the meanings ascribed to these terms, their historical origins and key examples of societies where these issues have been or still are important in shaping the social orders in which people live.
    • To consider the impact of racism on specific communities and groups, including national, religious and ethnic groups.
    • To examine the links between class, gender and ethnic differences. 

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Thursday morning

    This module has three principal aims:

    1. It will explore the historical origins of Union and its predecessor bodies in the first two decades after WWII. What agents and factors facilitated such a innovative development in European political history?
    3. It will explore the political character of the Union. What sort of organisation is it in political terms? How democratic is it?
    4. It will examine its principal policy outputs, including economic, monetary, social and foreign policies

    Read full details.

Year 3 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    This module aims to:

    • Examine competing theories of the modern state
    • Evaluate the historical evolution of modern states
    • Compare and contrast the range of different types of state across the globe, from democracies to authoritarian states
    • Analyse the state in relation to contemporary 21st century issues, such as globalization, social welfare provision, and protest movements
    • Encourage confidence in the use of appropriate analytical, written and oral skills, to enhance students’ transferable skills and employability

    Read full details.
  • No module details available
    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning

    This core module providing a vocational and advanced undergraduate research element for PIR courses aims to:
    • enable the student to gain a useful experience of the working environment
    • enable the student to enhance and extend their learning experience by applying and building on their academic skills and capabilities by tackling real life problems in the workplace.
    • provide the student with an opportunity to design a research proposal relevant to their placement.
    • allow the student to utilise research and analytical skills acquired during their programme of studies.
    • enable the student to undertake relevant research and write up findings in dissertation form.
    • offer a medium for the student to report upon their work placement experience.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday morning
    The module aims to enable students to:
    1. Increase their personal and professional development prior to, during and following gaining work-based learning experience.
    2. Increase and develop critical, self-reflective ability and self-efficacy.
    3. Demonstrate theoretical concepts and transferable competencies in a practical, problem solving context.
    4. Gain critical understanding of current issues, practices and where appropriate relevant policy or legislation within a particular organisational situation.
    5. Explore employment options and consider future career plans.
    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Monday morning
    • autumn semester - Monday morning

    This module providing an advanced research element for PIR undergraduate courses aims to:
    • enable the student to demonstrate an understanding of a complex body of knowledge, and be able to apply analytical techniques, problem solving and project management skills commensurate with a short dissertation.
    • enable the student to synthesise skills and knowledge and apply them successfully to complex issues in a short dissertation.
    • provide an opportunity to design a short dissertation relevant to their degree.
    • allow the student to utilise research and analytical skills acquired during their programme of studies.
    • enable the student to undertake relevant research and write up findings in short dissertation form.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning

    This module providing an advanced research element for PIR undergraduate courses aims to:
    • enable the student to demonstrate an understanding of a complex body of knowledge, and be able to apply analytical techniques, problem solving and project management skills.
    • enable the student to synthesise skills and knowledge and apply them successfully to complex issues.
    • provide an opportunity to design a research project relevant to their degree.
    • allow the student to utilise research and analytical skills acquired during their programme of studies.
    • enable the student to undertake relevant research and write up findings in dissertation form.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Wednesday morning

    To introduce students to issues of diversity, equality and minority rights
    To broaden students’ knowledge of political practice (parties, elections, systems of government and law-making)
    To add to students’ understanding of how international governmental and non-governmental organisations work
    To introduce students to the concepts of gender and patriarchy, and feminist political and IR theories
    To encourage students to develop informed criticisms of mainstream political and IR theories and practices

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Tuesday afternoon

    This module looks at the alleged ‘crisis’ in contemporary Africa, focusing on problems of economic, social and political development. This module aims to challenge assumptions about the problems of contemporary Africa by examining these problems in detail and by looking at Africa’s place in the world.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    This module aims to:

    • Examine a range of approaches to the cessation of contemporary conflicts and the conditions that may be necessary for peace
    • Explore the differing mechanisms and strategies for securing peace, including negotiation, mediation and arbitration
    • Focus upon both the domestic and international actors involved in these processes
    • Provide students with an understanding of relevant theories and empirical material for comparative analysis

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday afternoon

    This module engages with the contemporary debate about the theory and practice of human rights, about their origin, the ideal of their universality, their imperfect institutionalization, and the challenges facing their implementation in a world of domestic populisms and international conflict.

    Module aims

    To provide a historical and critical introduction to ideas and institutions of human rights, and to evaluate their relation to state sovereignty and international conflict.
    To provide an understanding of the relation of theory to practice, facts to values, politics to ethics, and ideas of universality to both cultural tradition and relativical relativity.
    To relate philosophical theories and propositions to practices and issues of political, social, economic, legal and international justice.
    To elaborate arguments that are at once logical, evidenced and reflectively ethical.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday afternoon

    The broad aim of this module is to question the assumptions about contemporary Latin America as a region and its place in the world and, in particular, to examine:

    • the underlying political ideas and trends instrumental in shaping Latin American politics today, including the role of the USA;
    • the internal politics of modern Latin American states and the role of these states within the region;
    • the impact due to globalisation and the rise of political and economic importance of other developing regions;
    • to encourage students to think about the complexities of problem-solving in this context.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Wednesday afternoon

    This module focuses on the principal developments in British politics since the election of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister in 1979. In particular, students will evaluate the claim that there was a ‘Thatcher revolution’ during the 1980s and explore the impact of various economic, ideological and electoral factors shaping policy during this period. On this foundation, the module then explores the Major governments and the end of the Conservative ascendancy, the rise of ‘New Labour’ in the 1990s and the record and doctrinal position of the Blair party and governments since 1997, the impact of the Cameron coalition since 2010 and the transformative effects of the Brexit vote.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon

    This cutting-edge module explores one of the most exciting and rapidly expanding fields of contemporary diplomatic studies and an area which has seen a wide variety of innovations in state practice in recent decades. As public opinion has come to be seen as increasingly influential and important in world politics, states and other international actors have rediscovered public and cultural diplomacy, a form of diplomatic practice in which states engage with publics both abroad and at home. Due to changes in global communications, this form of diplomacy is undergoing rapid change, which makes it especially interesting and important.
    The module examines the changing nature of public and cultural diplomacy in the context of the evolution of global political communications. It explores the nature of international political communication, evaluating key concepts such as propaganda, place branding and strategic communications, and examines the role of culture in world politics more broadly, including media such as film and the internet, as well as key actors such as celebrity diplomats. It explores competing definitions and interpretations of public and cultural diplomacy, along with how their practice has changed in recent decades, especially since the end of the Cold War.
    This is a practically-oriented module which will ensure equitability in student learning experiences towards the overall degree qualification. . Blended learning is encouraged in the classroom through the use of multimedia and internet resources. This is complimented by students gaining experience of the nature of contemporary public diplomacy and international political communication through visits to embassies, guest lectures by serving or former public diplomats, and role-play exercises and simulations.

    Read full details.

Modules for this course are to be confirmed. Please check back at a later date or call our course enquiries team on +44 (0)20 7133 4200 for details.

What our students say

"I really like the fact that we have a wide choice of modules and can combine studying other subjects. The teaching is very well structured. The first year introductory subjects give us the basis for study in future years. I liked doing a report which is very useful in real life and seminars have given me confidence to speak in public. I love everything about London, the different cultures and the many international students. I get to meet people from all over the world and learn about their experiences. I love the social life and clubs. I joined the University United Nations Society and helped run an event with the Bulgarian Ambassador that went really well."
Plamena Solakova, former student

After the course

By the end of the degree you'll be ready for careers in organisations ranging from local government, central government departments, diplomatic services, the United Nations and the European Union, to domestic and international businesses, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the media.

Recent graduates have embarked on careers in the Civil Service, UK Department for International Development, as a local government officer, political researcher or undertaken postgraduate study.

Some of our graduates have become Members of Parliament and famous public relations spin doctors.

Additional costs

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

Unistats - key information set

Unistats is the official site that allows you to search for and compare data and information on university and college courses from across the UK. The widget(s) below draw data from the corresponding course on the Unistats website. If a course is taught both full-time and part-time, one widget for each mode of study will be displayed here.

How to apply

Apply to us for January 2019

Start a degree in the new year. Applying is quick and easy – simply call our January hotline on or apply to us online.

If you're a UK/EU applicant applying for full-time study you must apply via UCAS unless otherwise specified.

UK/EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University.

Non-EU applicants for full-time study may choose to apply via UCAS or apply direct to the University. Non-EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University, but please note that if you require a Tier 4 visa you are not able to study on a part-time basis.

When to apply

The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) accepts applications for full-time courses starting in September from one year before the start of the course. Our UCAS institution code is L68.

If you will be applying direct to the University you are advised to apply as early as possible as we will only be able to consider your application if there are places available on the course.

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