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BA International Relations - in Clearing

Why we're great

  • We confront opinions with evidence to understand how the forces that shape our world really work
  • You have access to some of the best minds in politics and the biggest names in the field
  • We have the only Regius Professor in Political Science in the UK, an honour conferred by the Queen

Course options2016-17

UCAS code: L258
Duration: 3 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Government
Fee (Home/EU): £9,000
Fee (International): £12,950

UCAS code: L259
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Government
Fee (Home/EU): £9,000
Fee (International): £12,950

UCAS code: L260
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Government
Fee (Home/EU): £9,000
Fee (International): £12,950

Clearing enquiries

Telephone 01206 873666
Email clearing@essex.ac.uk

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About the course

Why do international conflicts arise? Why are other parts of the world largely peaceful? What is the role of the United Nations and other international organisations? What is globalisation and how does it impact our daily lives? What are the prospects for international cooperation in addressing problems like global warming and environmental degradation?

Based in the top politics department in the country, this course should interest you if you want to understand how the international system works, how decisions are made and how lines are drawn. Taking this course gives you a foundation in politics, while the study of international relations develops your research and critical analysis skills, teaching you methods of analysis and giving you awareness of the world system.

This course explores many major areas of international relations, including:

  • Conflict and security studies
  • Comparative politics
  • International political economy
  • Political theory
  • Politics of the Middle East

Politics at Essex is all about moving from opinions to evidence. You will quickly learn to ask – and how to answer – the “how do you know?” question. We train our students to be fearless and independent, to question everything and to draw on the broadest possible range of facts and ideas.

Our Department of Government is one of the most prestigious in Europe, with an outstanding record of teaching, research and publication. We are rated top in the UK for research (REF 2014), and have consistently been the highest-rated politics department in the country since national assessments began.

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the classroom. You may also study a four-year variant of this course, the third year of which is spent studying abroad at a partner institution, or on a placement year. The module structure for your first two years and your final year are the same as our three-year versions.

We offer many opportunities for you to spend a term or a full year studying in another country and have exchange partners in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, the Middle East, Hong Kong and Japan.

Training social scientists of the future

We offer you the opportunity to follow a specialised pathway that embeds quantitative methods in your degree. Successful completion of specified modules entitles you to receive the qualifier ‘(Applied Quantitative Methods)’ at the end of your degree title, for example BA International Relations (Applied Quantitative Methods) and this will appear on your transcript. You can also apply for student bursaries to go on work placements, helping you stand out when applying for jobs.

Placement year

Alternatively, on a placement year you can gain relevant work experience within an external business, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.

A Placement-Linked Project module is also available as an alternative to the dissertation module in your third year. You attend shorter placements (a minimum of 150 hours in total), and use your learning on placement to inform a research project; fantastic work experience for your CV.

Our expert staff

Some of the biggest names in the field work at Essex, giving you unparalleled access to some of the best minds in politics. Our staff are advising the CIA on counter-terrorism, training politicians and civil servants in democratising countries, and commentating on political events in national and international media.

Our key academic staff for this course are Professor Kristian Gleditsch, who works on inequality, conflict and violence, and Anna Getmansky, who works on the electoral impact of terrorism.

You join an active and prolific research team, with the opportunity to work alongside a member of staff on their research instead of completing a dissertation; some of these projects have even resulted in joint staff/student publications.

Beyond their research, our staff are fantastic teachers, too. We're top 20 in the UK for student satisfaction, scoring an impressive 96% (NSS 2016), and achieved 24/24 in the last evaluation of our department's teaching quality.

Specialist facilities

  • Laboratories of networked computers featuring extensive software for political analysis
  • ESSEXLab provides opportunities for experimental lab research
  • Student societies for politics, debating, and Model UN
  • A dedicated study skills advisor in your first year for one-to-one advice
  • A personal tutor and peer mentor for every student
  • We organise the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis
  • A programme of seminars and events run by the department

Your future

All Essex, politics graduates have the distinction of a qualification from one of the world’s leading politics departments.

Politics students are in demand from a host of employers, in international development, politics, the civil service fast stream, management, journalism, police, armed forces, commerce, business, finance, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), teaching and graduate research.

Our notable alumni include the former President of Costa Rica and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr Oscar Arias, and the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, and our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:

  • The World Bank
  • NATO
  • United
  • Houses of Parliament Research Unit
  • United Nations Development Program
  • ICM research
  • IMG Media

We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

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Example structure

Studying at Essex is about discovering yourself, so your course combines compulsory and optional modules to make sure you gain key knowledge in the discipline, while having as much freedom as possible to explore your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are just a selection of those available. The opportunity to take optional modules will depend on the number of core modules within any year of the course. In many instances, the flexibility to take optional modules increases as you progress through the course.

Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current first-year students, including details of all optional modules.

In your second year you have to choose between either Political Analysis: Introduction to OLS and Discourse, Rhetoric and Power. You do not take both of these modules.

Year 1

How do we forge, manage, and maintain better relationships between nations? How do relationships between countries affect the decision-making of governments? You study specific historical events including the two world wars and the cold war, as well as contemporary issues including security issues, nuclear technology, and drone warfare.

How do you put an end to armed conflict? What are the benefits and consequences of intervention? Explore issues in international relations which help address complicated questions concerning cooperation and conflict between countries.

What constitutes a good piece of research? You consider the basics of scientific work and procedures in the social sciences in order to understand the philosophy and theory of social scientific investigations, and to improve your research throughout your degree.

Are countries with high levels of trade less likely to go to war? Do election observers actually reduce election fraud? Learn how political scientists tackle these questions through understanding the basic strategies of comparative empirical analysis.

Develop the employability, citizenship, and life skills to successfully compete in the graduate job market after graduation. You complete a portfolio of employability skills and develop a critical understanding of the world of work.

What is “Politics”? How have people conceived of political analysis, the state, laws, wars and political parties, across cultures and over time? Gain an understanding of essential concepts in the study of politics and explore the economic, social and intellectual trends that have made democracy possible.

An often misused concept, “democracy” takes radically different forms in different democratic countries. You gain a real understanding of what is meant by “democracy” and investigate under what conditions and in what countries liberal democracy is most likely to occur.

How far should modern governments be allowed to exercise their power over their citizens? Should citizens be free to use drugs? Should the police have greater surveillance powers? Should the government draft its citizens into its military and send them to stop genocide abroad? Investigate these difficult questions through readings both by contemporary political theorists and canonical work, by renowned authors such as Plato, Rousseau and Marx.

American politics have long dominated the global stage; these are crucial times for the study of the United States. Discuss policymaking and contemporary political events in order to gain a basic introduction to the politics and government of the United States.

Year 2

Contemporary interaction between the Middle East and the West highlights the importance of understanding the history and political thought surrounding this interaction. Consider the impact of colonialism, nationalism pan-Arabism, Arab-Israeli conflicts, the politics of oil and water, and political Islam in the Middle East and North Africa.

How should we approach relationships between different countries? Explore different theoretical lenses through which the world can be viewed, including realist, liberalist, and post-positivist theories of the behaviour of international political actions.

Understand the evolving field of conflict resolution through exploring the causes and effects of armed conflict across the world, and scrutinising the theory and practice of how this can be managed peacefully.

Develop the employability, citizenship, and life skills to successfully compete in the graduate job market after graduation. You complete a portfolio of employability skills and develop a critical understanding of the world of work.

How can we answer political questions using statistical data? Learn how to find relevant research designs and questions in order to use quantitative methods in political research, assisting you in your other modules and improving your job prospects.

Why do International Organisations (IOs) have authority in international affairs? Why does the state delegate certain tasks to IOs rather than dealing with these outside of an institution? How effective are IOs in socialising states to behave in certain ways? Explore the theories, methods and case studies which allow you to analyse and assess the role of IOs.

Our world is increasingly globalised, and modernisation has led to a partitioning of the world into so-called developed, developing, and underdeveloped countries. You consider the development of the state and its influence over a society in the wake of globalisation in relation to the non-western world.

Explore the major political trends, actors and processes that have shaped Asian governments and politics throughout the course of the twentieth century, as well as the key issues of democratic governability confronting the region as it begins the 21st century.

Understand the central importance of meaning and metaphor in defining the political dimension of life. Draw out the implications of how language use affects political explanation and critique as you explore the intimate relationship between political rhetoric, discourse and power.

Final year

Question party motivations, electoral strategies, ideologies and leaderships in Britain and Europe as you explore the changing nature and role of political parties in advanced liberal democracies.

The field of security studies has become increasingly important over the last decade. While old conflicts are reigniting and new ones are emerging, scholars and decision-makers debate about changes to the concepts of security, the redundancy of military force, and the centrality of the state in order to face these ever-important issues.

What explains the lack of government performance in dictatorships? Why do nondemocratic rulers govern with democratic institutions such as legislators and political parties? One of the biggest challenges to democracy in the contemporary world is authoritarianism. You explore the factors that drive politics and the conditions under which democratic transitions are more likely to occur.

Why are some states prone to authoritarianism? What are the effects of stateless groups? How are economies run in states that are virtually non-existent? Study the interplay between human rights, state-building, economic and political development in some of the most conflict-prone and unstable areas of the world.

Develop the employability, citizenship, and life skills to successfully compete in the graduate job market after graduation. You complete a portfolio of employability skills and develop a critical understanding of the world of work.

Explore how economic and political incentives interact to create and prevent opportunities that shape behaviour. You use rigorous logic and evidence to understand issues in classical political economy and to address contemporary policy questions in both domestic and international politics.

Placement

On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Teaching

  • Teaching is arranged to allow a lot of freedom in how you organise your learning experience
  • Lab sessions allow you to improve your technical research skills
  • Opportunities to gain work experience on placements and internships

Assessment

  • Assessed through a combination of written coursework, presentations, class participation, and end-of-year examinations
  • If you undertake a placement, you will prepare an assessed report on this experience

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Qualifications

If you already have your results and want to apply for 2016 entry through Clearing, complete our Clearing application form and we’ll get back in touch with you or give us a ring to discuss your grades.

IELTS entry requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. (Different requirements apply for second year entry.)

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications.

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Visit us

Campus tours

We offer individual tours of our Colchester and Southend Campuses. You’ll be shown around the campus, facilities and accommodation.

Can't get to Campus?

Don’t worry – our interactive virtual tours and videos allow you to explore our campuses, accommodation and facilities in Colchester and Southend. You can even take a look at our Colchester Campus using Google Streetview.

Applying

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

Interviews

We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have.

Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.

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Although great care is taken in compiling our course details, they are intended for the general guidance of prospective students only. The University reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University.

The full procedures, rules and regulations of the University are set out in the Charter, Statues and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.