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Undergraduate courses

The Department of Politics & International Relations offers degrees in Politics, International Relations, Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE), and Politics and International Relations, along with joint degrees with Economics, Geography, History and Philosophy; and a variety of combined honours degrees where politics or international relations can be taken as a minor subject. Our degree programmes are flexible and combine theoretical study with that of classic and contemporary political processes.

Teaching Excellence Recognised with Multiple Teaching Prizes

Since 2006, staff in the Department have received a total of nineteen teaching prizes. Click here for details.

"Studying in the PIR Department has been a wonderful experience. It is a young and dynamic department and the lecturers bring real enthusiasm to their teaching. It is extremely rewarding to be taught by active and accomplished researchers who bring the most recent debates into their courses. And the dynamism of the academic staff is complemented by an active PIR Student Society. I thoroughly recommend studying here."—Yvonne Jeffery, BA Politics & International Relations.


All first year students complete a common package of courses to qualify them for entry to the second year of our programmes. This consists of four courses: Classic and Contemporary Readings in Politics and International Relations, Introduction to International Relations, Introduction to Politics and Government, and Introduction to Research Methods in Politics and International Relations.

Your freedom to choose topics that suit your interests increases as you proceed through your degree. The second year consists of the main core and optional courses in each field of study and is designed to provide the main body of knowledge on a given topic. In their final year students take three units of advanced specialist courses and in most degree programmes also – as the fourth unit – write a dissertation of 8,000–9,000 words on a topic which particularly interests them within one of their fields of study.

Those doing joint degrees in either Politics and/or International Relations and subjects in other departments will have a programme structure of foundational and advanced courses in the two disciplines being studied.

Much more information on the structure of our undergraduate degree programmes can be found in:

We are also home to two thriving student societies:

Teaching varies between courses but typically consists of one lecture and one seminar per course, per week. Students take the equivalent of four course units each year, which means a commitment to about eight hours of formal engagement with the academic staff and their fellow students every week. The remaining time each week is meant for independent study and research in preparation for seminars and coursework. Most courses are assessed by a mixture of examinations and coursework, with coursework essays representing an important means of providing feedback from tutors and for assessing progress.

With the exception of students on the Joint Honours degree with Economics, all students complete a compulsory undergraduate dissertation in their final year.

Much more information on the structure of our undergraduate degree programmes can be found in:


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