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Politics and International Relations BA

UCAS code L290
Year of entry 2018
Course Length
3 years full time
Department Politics and International Relations »

BA Politics and International Relations looks at political ideas and processes, as well as global issues such as war and security, diplomacy and development.

You will gain a solid foundation in politics, the history of international relations and IR theory, studying subjects such as democracy, decolonisation, democratisation, international organisations, foreign-policy making, human migration and human rights. As you progress through the degree, the flexible nature of the course allows you to specialise in those aspects of domestic politics, political theory and international relations that most interest you.

By combining Politics and International Relations, you will gain an advanced understanding of how individuals, groups and states interact across borders, and how political institutions and ideas differ around the world.  As you progress through your studies, you will engage with important contemporary challenges, including, for example, the recent global economic crisis, changes in the European Union, human migration and the threats posed by terrorists and new communications technologies.

The Department of Politics and International Relations has a strong commitment to high-quality, cutting-edge research, all of which informs our teaching. We are a research community that applies various theories and methods to the study of domestic, transnational, regional and global politics.  We have expertise in African, British, Chinese, European, Middle East, North American and South Asian politics, and our research covers areas such as security, democratisation, youth politics, international diplomacy and political communication, as well as contemporary and radical theories of democracy and power.

  • Ours is an active and engaged student community, and there are opportunities to take part in debating, Model United Nations and party political societies on campus
  • We offer students research placement opportunities with our staff, gaining valuable experience of working at the forefront of political enquiry
  • You will be taught by experts, many of who have advised governments and other organisations

Core modules

Year 1

Introduction to Politics and Government

This module will introduce you to the academic study of politics and to the ‘real world’ of contemporary politics. As a foundational course, it will give you all the essential tools to understand the nature of politics and analyse the way different political systems work. You will be introduced to key concepts such as politics, power, rights, ideologies, democracy and representation, and will learn about the different actors, institutions and processes that make up politics today.

Introduction to International Relations

This module offers a broad introduction to theory and history in international relations since 1870. You will look at a variety of different theoretical lenses, ranging from orthodox to critical perspectives, in order to understand events from the collapse of the Bismarckian European order and the origins of World War 1 to the contemporary War on Terror. Along the way you will also explore the origins and the end of the Cold War, decolonisation and the End of Empire, the rise of international institutions, humanitarian intervention and new security issues.

Classic and Contemporary Readings in Politics and International Relations

This module will introduce you to foundational thinkers and texts in the history of political thought and international relations theory. The first half will explore ideas of community, politics, order and justice in ancient early Christian thought from Socrates to Augustine. The second half will explore how themes of war, peace and the state, as well as liberalism, imperialism and resistance, are developed from the early modern to contemporary period in thinkers such as Hobbes, Kant, Hegel, Smith, Mill, Marx and Fanon.

Introduction to Research Methods in Politics and International Relations

This module will provide you with the analytic skills and resources to evaluate, understand, and criticise research findings in politics research. It will also provide you with the practical skills to carry out your own independent research, so that you can produce a high quality dissertation in your final year and graduate with transferable skills that will prepare you for the job market. The module aims to encourage a critical and rigorous approach to research, both in terms of how you evaluate the research of others and how you do your own. These twin goals are important for getting the most out of your time studying politics.

Year 2

International Relations Theory

Building on Introduction to International Relations, this module explores the key thinkers and debates in International Relations Theory. You will become familiar with a variety of ways of thinking about International Relations, engaging with questions about the nature of power, identity, and ethics in politics and how these interact in the international realm. The module is divided into two parts. In the first, you will examine the three foundational theoretical paradigms within International Relations – realism, liberalism, and Marxism. The second part explores newer critical approaches to International Relations theory, including constructivism, post-structuralism, feminism, and uneven ecological exchange.

Year 3

Dissertation

The dissertation offers you the opportunity to pursue independent research in a topic of your own choosing with the support of an academic supervisor working one-to-one with you. You will develop your own research question and research strategy, explore the scholarly debates surrounding your topic, and advance your own thesis that interprets or challenges the way your topic has been understood. You are encouraged to use a variety of quantitative or qualitative methods and theoretical approaches as appropriate to the field you are exploring.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Only core modules are taken 

Year 2

Understanding the European Union - Politics and Theory

Democracy in Britain

Contemporary Political Theory

The Politics of Migration and Ethnicity

Political Behaviour

Introduction to Political Communication

International Political Economy

Empire and Decolonisation

War and Security in World Politics

International Organisations

The Politics of Human Rights

Year 3

Public Policy and Foreign Policy in the European Union

Politics in Action

The Politics of the Internet and the Information Society

The Politics of Modern Germany

Radical Political Theory

The Politics of Toleration

Social Justice: From Theory to Practice

Contemporary Middle East Politics

Comparative Democracy and Elections

Young People’s Politics

The Politics of Africa

Understanding China’s Rise - Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy

American Political Development

The British in India - A Social and Political History

US Foreign Policy

Comparative Foreign Policy

The Making of Modern South Asia

Gendered Communities - Women and Nationalism in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia

Defence in the Post-Cold War World

Global Energy Policy

Refugees and Migration in World Politics

The course has a modular structure: students take 12 course units altogether at the rate of four per year. Some course units are compulsory while others are elective thereby offering flexibility and choice.

Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and end-of-year examination in varying proportions, depending on the course units you choose to take. The first year is foundational and marks do not count towards your final degree. The second year and final year marks do count, with more importance attached to the final year marks in order to reward progress and achievement.

Study time

Proportions of study time will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:

Year 1

You will spend 13% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 87% in guided independent study.

Year 2

You will spend 13% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 87% in guided independent study.

Year 3

You will spend 14% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 86% in guided independent study.

Assessment

Proportions of assessment types will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:

Year 1

Written exams account for 50% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 50% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 2

Written exams account for 48% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 52% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 3

Written exams account for 33% of the total assessment for this year of study, 5% will be assessed through practical exams, and 62% will be assessed through coursework.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels

 AAB-ABB
How we assess your application:  predicted grades lower than our typical offers are considered.  Read more about what we look for here.

  • Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required.
  • Socio-economic factors which may have impacted an applicant’s education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants.
Required/preferred subjects  

At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9 - 4 including English and Mathematics.

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level with a minimum of 32 points overall 
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction*, Distinction*, Distinction in a relevant subject area 
BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject plus 1 A-Level grade A
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction plus A-Levels grades A,B 
Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate
Scottish Advanced Highers AAB-ABB
Scottish Highers AAABB 
Irish Leaving Certificate H2,H2,H3,H3,H3 at Higher Level 
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with at least 24 level 3 credits at Distinction and the remaining level 3 credits at Merit. Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education 

Other UK qualifications

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International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall
  • with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in each remaining subscore

For equivalencies please see here

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Our outstanding record of success for work and further study puts Politics & International Relations at Royal Holloway in the top 10 for graduate career prospects (Complete University Guide, 2015). Our degree programmes not only promote academic achievement and employability.  You will learn to approach problems in a rigorous and analytical way, and you will develop your abilities to communicate in both speech and writing.

Our graduates are highly employable and have secured jobs in a wide range of professions, such as public affairs, the law, the civil service, accountancy, management, journalism, broadcasting, teaching, international development and diplomacy. Many of our graduates also go on to further study, entering postgraduate programmes both at Royal Holloway and at other prestigious institutions around the world.

Recent employers include:

  • Bloomberg
  • The Church of England
  • Citigroup
  • The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
  • The Conservative Party
  • Ernst & Young
  • The European Commission
  • Global Capital
  • HM Treasury
  • The Henry Jackson Society
  • House of Commons
  • Ipsos MORI
  • The Labour Party
  • KAYAK
  • NATO Headquarters
  • Oxford Business Group
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Quadrangle
  • Save the Children

Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year**: £16,500

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it?  Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year, and is shown for reference purposes only. The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates starting their degrees in 2018 is controlled by Government regulations, and details are not yet known. The UK Government has also announced that EU students starting an undergraduate degree in 2018/19 will pay the same level of fee as a UK student for the duration of their degree.

**Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our  terms & conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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