Undergraduate courses

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Want to find out about student life at Essex and in our Department? Read our blog to hear our students talk about their experiences, tips and views on the political issues of today.

Study for a degree in politics or international relations at the highest-rated politics department in the country since national assessments began (REF 2014). We're also ranked among the top 50 departments on the planet according to the QS World University Rankings (2017).

We'll equip you with skills sought by prospective employers, including critical thinking, problem solving, gathering and analysing evidence, questioning established ideas, expressing ideas clearly and logically, writing consistent and to the point.

You can select from a wide range of module topics, theoretical perspectives and empirical approaches. Our undergraduate teaching is organised around our primary fields:

Additionally, we share courses with other departments, for example Economics, Sociology, Philosophy and other related disciplines.

We also offer joint international programmes with the University of Konstanz (Germany), University of Mannheim (Germany), University of Bamberg (Germany) and the University of Kobe (Japan). We are currently developing additional joint programmes.

BA Single Honours

  • BA Politics

    Why do people vote the way they do? How and why do governments interact with society? What determines a countries foreign policy? How do countries interact with each other and why do international conflicts arise? Our BA Politics can give you an insight into these questions and many more.

    Soeren's Essex experience

    In this video Soeren explains how the strength of the Department is recognised at other universities abroad, which has helped him secure a place at Harvard University to study for a PhD in Political Economy.


  • BA International Relations

    Explore all major areas of international relations, including conflict and security studies, international political economy, political theory and the use of modern research techniques.

    James' Essex experience

    In this video, alumnus James discusses why he chose the University of Essex and how impressed he was by the applicant day he attended. He also talks about, not only playing for our American football team, but also helping with the running of the club.


  • BA Political Economics

    Our BA Political Economics focuses on political and commercial decision-making in an interconnected world. The course prepares you to work in international and national governmental and non-governmental agencies; obtain strategic roles in private companies and in politics; and to develop policy and decision-making through research and analysis.


  • BA Political Theory and Public Policy

    What institutions and ideologies govern the organisation of public life? What principles of justice should inform public policy? Should markets be left alone or should we seek to control them? And how should we understand markets and politics anyway? How should our public discourses and practices reflect the need to tackle pressing social, economic, and political issues?


BA/LLB Joint Honours

  • BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics

    Why do political ideas, from Platos Republic to Rawls Law of Peoples, matter so much? Why is the state of the economy so important for the outcome of elections? How and why do governments try to regulate markets? This course can not only give you an insight into these questions and many more, but also encourages you to reflect critically on fundamental theoretical and ethical issues.

    Aikaterina's Essex experience

    In this video Aikaterina, from Greece, tells us what she enjoyed about studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Essex. She tells us she enjoyed the independence to carry out her own research and has decided to stay on at Essex to do a Masters in Political Economy.


  • BA Economics and Politics

    Economic and political events dominate domestic and international news and impact on our day-to-day lives, as well as shaping the future. In this course, you will explore all major areas of economics and political science, including macro- and microeconomics, political systems and political ideas, and the use of modern research techniques.


  • BA Politics with Human Rights

    What is the nature of the changing global system and how does it have an impact on individual well-being? What have been the major achievements, setbacks, and challenges to the global human rights movement? The course combines requisite and optional modules in the Department of Government with core modules in the Human Rights Centre.


  • BA International Relations and Modern Languages

    Why do international conflicts arise? Why are other parts of the world largely peaceful? What determines a country’s foreign policy? This four-year course allows you to combine the study of a wide range of politics and international relations options, with the study of one or two modern languages.


  • BA Sociology and Politics

    These two disciplines are offered at our University by two of the UK's leading social science departments. The course poses broad questions about the world and offers practical research skills to help you investigate these questions.


  • BA Modern History and International Relations

    The BA Modern History and International Relations provides you with a thorough grounding in the fields of modern history and international relations. You are encouraged to explore how these disciplines influence one another.


  • BA Modern History and Politics

    The BA Modern History and Politics provides you with a thorough grounding in the fields of modern history and politics. You are also encouraged to consider how the two disciplines can be integrated.


  • BA Philosophy and Politics

    Some of the most fundamental questions about political life, to do with its principles and ideals, are philosophical in character. This course brings the disciplines of philosophy and politics together and provides a sound academic grounding in both.


  • LLB Law with Politics

    LLB Law with Politics provides you with a rigorous academic training in the disciplines of law and politics. The course enables you to develop the critical, reflective and analytical skills that are common to both disciplines.


Our module directory allows you to see the full range of our undergraduate modules.

Develop your quantitative skills

The UK has a shortage of social science graduates with the quantitative skills needed to evaluate evidence, analyse data, and design and commission research. Find out more about why studying statistics is good for your career.

Essex is one of just three universities in the country to have received Q-Step Affiliate status for our social science courses. Q-Step aims to promote a step-change in undergraduate quantitative social science training in the UK, and at Essex we have been awarded funding for student bursaries for work placements to develop these skills.

If you are studying in our Department we also offer you the opportunity to follow a specialised pathway that embeds a substantial amount of quantitative methods in your degree. The successful completion of the specified modules will entitle 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 and degree certificate.

Undergraduate pathways

If you don't meet our standard undergraduate entry requirements, our Essex Pathways Department offers undergraduate pathways that equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to enable you to progress to an undergraduate course in our Department of Government.

Prize for Best Undergraduate Student

In recognition of the hard work and dedication our students put into their studies, we offer a prize for the Best Undergraduate Degree Result, Best Undergraduate Dissertation and Best Joint Degree Student. The prizes are awarded for excellent coursework, exam and dissertation grades.

Study abroad

Study Abroad

We make it possible for you to undertake study abroad, either during your Essex course or by attending Essex whilst you are studying elsewhere. You will find study abroad extremely worthwhile and enjoyable, both socially and educationally.

UROP placements

UROP icon

Our Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme gives you the chance to help an academic with a research project. You'll learn new skills to enhance your CV and get paid a bursary.

What happens next?

What happens next?

When your application arrives to us from UCAS, it will be considered by our academic staff. Find out what happens to your application and how you accept and confirm your place. You can also come and find out more about us on an Applicant Day.

UG Open Days

Book a place at our undergraduate Open Day. Our department and admissions staff can answer any questions you have, and you can speak to current students about life at Essex while taking a campus tour.