2020 applicants
Undergraduate Course

BA Politics and International Relations

Now In Clearing
BA Politics and International Relations

Overview

The details
Politics and International Relations
L225
October 2020
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus
Government

Why don’t democratic countries go to war with each other? Why don’t young people vote? Who should pay for climate change? Why do oil-rich states have worse human rights records? These are the kinds of questions addressed in our BA Politics & International Relations.

Based in one of the most prestigious government departments in Europe, this course enables you to learn how politics works within countries and between countries. We provide a thorough grounding in all major areas of political science and international relations and widen your awareness of the world system, while training you in the research and critical thinking skills that are prized by employers.

With this course you can explore a very wide range of topic areas, including:

  • Human rights and global justice
  • Elections, referendums and the psychology of voters
  • Civil war and international peacekeeping
  • The politics of natural disasters
  • Protest, revolution and democracy
  • Aid, trade and development

Studying Politics & International Relations at Essex will train you to question everything with confidence, to support opinions with strong evidence and have the courage to challenge others. We encourage you to be daring and bold, and to support your thinking with the broadest range of facts and ideas.

Our Department of Government has 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. We rank among the top 50 departments on the planet (QS World University Ranking 2017) and among the top 10 universities for politics in the UK (The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).

Why we're great.
  • We are 5th nationally for overall student satisfaction in politics (NSS 2019).
  • 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.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you 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.

For students who commence their course in 2020, if you spend a full year abroad you’ll pay no tuition fees to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university either.

Placement year

Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement year with an external organisation, where you learn about a particular sector, company or job role, apply your academic knowledge in a practical working environment, and receive inspiration for future career pathways. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

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 work on topics ranging from international conflict and violence to British elections. For example, two key members of staff 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% in the most recent (2016) National Student Survey, 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 & International Relations graduates will have the distinction of a qualification from one of the world’s leading politics departments.

Our students are in demand from a host of employers in political parties, NGOs, international development, the civil service fast stream, management, journalism, police, armed forced, commerce, business, finance, 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
  • Houses of Parliament Research Unit
  • United Nations Development Program
  • YouGov
  • IMG Media

Our Employability module ensures that you are focused throughout your studies on how they are helping you to develop job-related skills and experience. We also work with the University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

Clearing entry requirements

Specific entry requirements for this course in Clearing are not published here but for most of our degree courses you will need to hold a Level 3 qualification. If you are interested in applying and have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2020 entry and find out if you are eligible. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

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 listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

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.

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.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

Structure

Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. Below is just one example structure from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

Introduction to Politics

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.

View Introduction to Politics on our Module Directory

Introduction to International Relations

This module introduces students to the study of international relations, with a particular emphasis on two broad fields: international security and international political economy. Topics in international security include state and non-state actors, the nature of power, the causes of war and peace, terrorism, international institutions, and human rights. Topics in international political economy include trade, finance, European integration, the origins of underdevelopment, government responses to disasters, and foreign aid. Throughout the class, students are encouraged to apply theoretical concepts to real world events.

View Introduction to International Relations on our Module Directory

Co-Operation and Conflict

Why do states sometimes go to war? What conditions can promote peace and international stability? When are states able to form cooperative agreements to promote trade, combat terrorism, or address climate change? Explore issues in international relations which help address complicated questions concerning cooperation and conflict between countries.

View Co-Operation and Conflict on our Module Directory

Politics and Power

Study some fundamental texts in the “Western” philosophical tradition. We examine the assumptions underlying these texts, as well as the implications they have for us today. We explore profound themes of justice, equality, freedom, democracy, liberalism, republicanism, the meanings of gender and labour, and mass society and the individual.

View Politics and Power on our Module Directory

Truth, Justice, and the Nature of Politics

Study some fundamental texts in the “Western” philosophical tradition. We examine the assumptions underlying these texts, as well as the implications they have for us today. We explore profound themes of truth, justice, equality, freedom, democracy, liberalism, republicanism, and morality.

View Truth, Justice, and the Nature of Politics on our Module Directory

Career Portfolio

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.

View Career Portfolio on our Module Directory

Comparative Political Analysis

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.

View Comparative Political Analysis on our Module Directory

Politics and Economic Policies

Voters, in theory, should shape economic policy. But in practice, this is often determined by the preferences of politicians and private market forces, both legal and illegal. You develop an understanding of the beliefs, incentives and behaviour of political actors which explain the link between political processes and economic policy.

View Politics and Economic Policies on our Module Directory

International Relations: Theories and Approaches

How should we approach relationships between different countries? Explore different theoretical lenses through which the world can be viewed, including bargaining theory, liberal institutional approaches, and emotion-based, psychological models of the behavior of international political actions.

View International Relations: Theories and Approaches on our Module Directory

Conflict Analysis

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.

View Conflict Analysis on our Module Directory

Career Portfolio

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.

View Career Portfolio on our Module Directory

Political Behaviour

Why do some people participate in politics and others do not? Why have voting rates plummeted in most democracies across the globe? What factors cause political violence? And what are the implications of inequalities in political participation for public policies? This module studies different forms of political behaviour ranging from voter turnout to terrorism. It combines micro- and macro-level perspectives and covers trends in political participation around the globe.

View Political Behaviour on our Module Directory

Parties and Elections

Does everyone in a political party subscribe to the same core ideology? How do you pick which party to vote for? How do you persuade more people to vote? You examine party systems, party competition, electoral behaviour and party organisation in advanced liberal democracies.

View Parties and Elections on our Module Directory

The New British Politics

How has the UK political system changed over the last 20 years? Centring on the decline of the traditional Westminster Model of democracy and its replacement by a political system in which power is more dispersed, you explore topics including devolution, Britain’s relationship with the EU, coalition government, the Human Rights Act, and the changing party system.

View The New British Politics on our Module Directory

Measuring Public Opinion

Public opinion is an important part of the democratic process, both in theory and in practice. But how do we know what the public think? In this module, you'll think more deeply about what public opinion means, become a more discerning consumer of opinion poll results, and you'll conduct and analyse your own public opinion survey about an issue that matters to you.

View Measuring Public Opinion on our Module Directory

Quantitative Political Analysis

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.

View Quantitative Political Analysis on our Module Directory

Games, Strategy and Politics

Does policy or luck better explain political outcomes? Game theory provides a tool for understanding a wide variety of political phenomena, from campaigns and elections, to ethnic conflicts, to wars and deterrents.

View Games, Strategy and Politics on our Module Directory

Career Portfolio

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.

View Career Portfolio on our Module Directory

Ethics and Public Policy

Is torture ever morally justified? Should pornography be banned? Should prostitution be legalised? Take part in the intellectual search for the moral principles that should govern how we answer these questions and others in governing public policy.

View Ethics and Public Policy on our Module Directory

Advanced Quantitative Political Analysis

Understand how different statistical and experimental methods can be used to answer questions about political phenomena. You evaluate the assumptions of standard statistical tests and the linear regression model, consider alternatives to those, and learn about causal inference.

View Advanced Quantitative Political Analysis on our Module Directory

Electoral Behaviour

Examine how people reason about voting and politics, and why people vote the way that they do. You consider the effects of institutions such as the electoral system or the number of political parties on voting behaviour, using case studies from elections in Britain and other advanced democracies.

View Electoral Behaviour on our Module Directory

Democracy and the Media

The relationship between the media and politics is a complex and important means by which the public are informed on and engaged by political activity. You consider the role of the media and democracy in the UK, and also explore how this functions elsewhere.

View Democracy and the Media on our Module Directory

The Analysis of Conflict and Peace

Explore the relationship of power, preferences, economic relations, domestic politics and international organisations in relation to conflict and peace. You investigate the underlying theoretical arguments about war and peace, consider the implications entailed by these different theories, and evaluate these using empirical data.

View The Analysis of Conflict and Peace on our Module Directory

International Negotiation

Master the explanatory and practical value of negotiation style, strategies and tactics in the context of theories of international relations.

View International Negotiation on our Module Directory

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

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250

You may have the opportunity to get an insight into the working of European Parliament during our annual trip to Brussels. This trip is optional and students who attend will need to pay a £50 contribution towards the trip cost.

International fee

£16,860

You may have the opportunity to get an insight into the working of European Parliament during our annual trip to Brussels. This trip is optional and students who attend will need to pay a £50 contribution towards the trip cost.

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2020 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, September 19, 2020
  • Saturday, October 24, 2020

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.

Find out more about Clearing

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
  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BA Social Work

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.


Apply now
Colchester Campus

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Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

 

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At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.


Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of 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. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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