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Politics and Law

Politics and Law

BA
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Course options

Key information

Duration: 3 years full time

UCAS code: LM21

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

Key information

Duration: 4 years full time

UCAS code: LM12

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

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The course

Politics and Law (BA)

Our Department of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy and Department of Law and Criminology have excellent reputations for high quality research and teaching, and for engagement in policy and practice, through active involvement with government bodies and voluntary statutory agencies.

Studying our BA Politics and Law degree, you will gain a solid foundation in politics and law at all levels and in all forms.

In your first year on the course, you will study Introduction to politics and government and Introductions to international relations. As you progress, the flexible nature of this course allows you to specialise in those aspects of domestic and international politics that most interest you, for example, the recent global economic crisis, changes in the European Union, human migration and the threats posed by terrorists and new communications technologies.

Law modules include the English Legal System, Methods and Legal Practice (Legal Skills), Public Law, Public International Law, International Human Rights, Jurisprudence and Law of the European Union.

Together, we offer you high quality teaching in relatively small departments with focus on considerable individual attention.

On graduating, you will have gained a wide variety of transferable skills, which will allow you to progress to a range of successful careers internationally, in and out of political and law-related fields, as well as to further study.

  • Understand the key features of English and European law.
  • Develop key legal research and communication skills.
  • Examine governments, party politics and political behaviour throughout the world.
  • Work with experts who have advised governments and international organisations.
From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience, and this is particularly the case as we continue to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as we can.

Core Modules

Year 1

You will take the following modules in Politics:

  • 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.

  • 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.

You will take the following modules in Law:

  • Constitutions establish and control the powers of the state and regulate the relationship between the state and its citizens. This module examines the UK’s uncodified constitution, primarily considering the main characteristics of the British system of government, including the division of powers between the legislature, executive, and judiciary and between Westminster and the devolved regions; key constitutional concepts and their associated challenges, including Parliamentary sovereignty, conventions, the rule of law, and human rights protection before and after the Human Rights Act 1998; and how administrative law, particularly judicial review, controls the actions of the government and public authorities.

  • This module serves as a comprehensive introduction to the English legal system focusing on building an understanding of the common law approach as a legal methodology and its evolution and influence in England and Wales. You will examine various sources of law; the civil and criminal justice systems including the structure and function of the courts; the role of magistrates, judges and the jury; as well as the impact of the Human Rights Act on the criminal and civil justice systems. You will develop legal research skills, including, library and database searches; referencing written work (with OSCOLA) and guarding against plagiarising; and in brief preparing a Moot. Furthermore, you will work with the Royal Holloway Careers and Employability Service to prepare and present a professional curriculum vitae, and learn how to write cover letters and other documents in a professional format.

Year 2

You will take the following modules in Law:

  • International and Comparative Human Rights Law
  • Public International Law
Year 3

You will take the following modules in Law:

  • This module examines the role of the European Union (EU) in the free movement of peoples, goods, services and capital. You will explore the legal enforcement of treaties on which the Union is based, with a consideration of both national and international systems. You will examine these treaties and the various EU institutions created under them (and incorporated into domestic law), examining their legal and policy-making powers. In particular, you will look at the laws and functions of the EU Institutions including the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Council and the Court of Justice of the EU, and explore how free movement works across national borders and how the law of the EU is enforced.

  • Jurisprudence

Optional Modules

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules 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
  • All modules are core
Year 2

Optional modules in Politics may include:

  • I in this module you will develop an understanding of contemporary British politics. You will look at the ways in which British government has evolved, how it continues to operate, and why it operates in the way it does. You will consider the causes and consequences of major political change in Britain and examine the underlying assumptions upon which theoretical disputes in political science are based.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of some of the key concepts in political theory today. You will look at political obligation, civil disobedience, democracy, citizenship, equality, global justice, human rights, and freedom and toleration. You will consider important theorists including Berlin Rawls, Nozick, Sandel, Okin and Pettit, examining the recent major theoretical perspectives in the context of contemporary politics.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the relationship between states and markets, power and wealth. You will look at the key concepts and theoretical debates in International Political Economy, such as the globalisation of trade, finance, and production, the continued problems of development and democratic governance in the world economy, and emerging questions surrounding global flows, networks and spaces. You will consider the history of regimes, crises, and competing theories of political economy from the nineteenth century to the present day and examine how political institutions operate in international politics to regulate the creation of wealth, and who benefits from these arrangements.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of security studies as a subfield of International Relations. You will look at the issue of war and it is/should be fought. You will consider the theories of security and how these have changed, especially in an age of terrorism, and examine a wide variety of security including nuclear weapons, drone warfare, genocide, and gun control.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the themes, arguments, and interpretations of major political thinkers from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. You will look at the works of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Mill, Marx and Nietzsche and consider how the ideas articulated by these thinkers continue to underpin contemporary debates about the nature of freedom, human rights, value pluralism, popular sovereignty, state legitimacy, and the modern condition. You will also examine how study of these thinkers illuminates contemporary debates even where these debates no longer make reference to them.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how citizens, politicians and the media interact across Western democracies during both electoral and governing periods. You will look at the production and consumption of political news, consider election campaigns and their effects, and examine contemporary debates in political communication, including ethical issues.

  • Government and Politics of the United States
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the most important features of the history of the development of the non-West. You will look at the distinctive political dynamics characterising the contemporary non-West and consider the thoughts of prominent non-Western political thinkers.

Year 3

Optional modules in Politics may include:

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the European Union's foreign relations, focussing on political, security and economic impacts. You will examine its international role, looking at the Common Foreign and Security Policy, its relationship with NATO, the USA and Russia, its connection to immediate neighbours in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, and its role in global trade negotiations.

  • Radical Political Theory
  • US Foreign Policy
  • Leadership, Power and the British Prime Minister
  • American Political Development
  • The Politics of Russia and Eastern Europe
  • In this module you will combine participation in a workplace environment for one day a week during term time (and three days a week for each term's reading week) with scholarly reflection on the nature of the organisational, professional, and policy contexts of the placement. Your placement will be in an organised setting such as Parliament, local government, the office of an MEP, NGO, campaigning or activist organisations, a political party, a media organisation, or the policy or communications division of a local company working in a relevant field.

  • Political Theories of Freedom
  • Politics of the Law and Rights
  • Party leaders, and their public image, are increasingly considered important for a party’s electoral success, for the smooth running of government and for regime legitimacy. Perhaps the most important variable for successful politicians is their ability to effectively communicate and connect with their audiences. This module will first, show you the techniques most frequently used my politicians, communicators and speechwriters to effectively deliver their messages in different contexts and settings. Next, you will analyse how these techniques have been used by the greatest leaders in the word to justify their regimes. By the end of the module you will be able to evaluate leadership styles during and after elections and design communication strategies that will deliver political messages effectively.

     

  • Military Change in the 21st Century
  • Young People's Politics
  • Global Health Policy
  • The politics of South Asia – India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh - are central to understanding some of the themes at the core of modern politics: poverty and development, security and warfare, migration and transnationalism, decolonisation and postcolonialism, the international economy and globalisation. This module deals with the social and political development of these countries since independence from British rule in 1947. We will analyse issues including caste politics, the role of religious violence and the place of women in politics and society. Sources will come from a range of disciplines – politics and IR, history, sociology, anthropology, novels and films. We will study regional cooperation and conflict including the troubled relationship between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and their nuclear status. By the end of the module you will have a specialised understanding of the major social, economic and political developments in the region.

     

  • This module examines the contemporary literature on gender and politics, with a particular focus on women’s participation and representation in British politics. It introduces you to feminist theories of representation, debates over women’s interests, and feminist institutionalism. It applies these frameworks to consider why the number of women in our parliaments might matter and what difference – symbolic, substantive and affective – sex and gender make to elected political institutions, the policy process, political outcomes, and healthy democracies.

  • This final-year half module offers students the opportunity to obtain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the British parliament and its place in British democracy. It will help you to evaluate the work and role of Parliament and parliamentarians, appreciate ongoing debates about contemporary legislative practice, and engage critically with previous academic scholarship in this area. It will also help you to develop you own awareness and experience of conducting research.

  • Issues of free speech are amongst the most contentious in current political debate. The module aims to give you an in depth understanding of the nature, value and limits of freedom of speech, from the perspective of normative political theory. It is not a course in the law of free speech, nor about the free speech situation in any particular country. Though the module touches on both the latter, the aim instead, is to enable you to understand the values, norms and principles at issue in contexts where free speech is promoted, regulated, limited or denied- especially contexts where that choice is contentious. You will be encouraged to look beyond the headlines to explore the rich and varied academic scholarship on free speech, and to offer critical analyses of that scholarship. By the end of the module, you should be able to interrogate your own and others’ intuitive reactions in controversial cases of e.g. hate speech, and to develop a reasoned, nuanced approach to these issues.

     

  • This module is designed to introduce advanced undergraduates to the major themes of contemporary Latin American politics and, consequently, democracy and political development. Although the module does not assume that you already have knowledge of the region, you are expected to be familiar with basic concepts of comparative political analysis. While the module stresses the political aspects of the developmental process, its objective is to show the linkages between economic, social, cultural, and political variables--both at national and international levels.

     

     

  • Defence and Security Governance
  • The Political Economy of Racial Injustice
  • Narrative in World Politics

Optional modules in Law may include:

  • This module examines the role of the European Union (EU) in the free movement of peoples, goods, services and capital. You will explore the legal enforcement of treaties on which the Union is based, with a consideration of both national and international systems. You will examine these treaties and the various EU institutions created under them (and incorporated into domestic law), examining their legal and policy-making powers. In particular, you will look at the laws and functions of the EU Institutions including the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Council and the Court of Justice of the EU, and explore how free movement works across national borders and how the law of the EU is enforced.

  • Jurisprudence

We use a variety of methods of assessment.

These might include an essay about a controversial issue, an advisory question where students have to apply the law to a particular scenario or a critical analysis of a recently published piece of research. Some modules involve oral presentations.

Assessment is both summative and formative, and you will be provided with detailed comments on essays and other coursework. Many modules also have a written examination in April or May.

Progression to the next year is dependent on passing the mandatory modules. The combination of quality and range of assessments helps our students to develop a wide portfolio of skills and learning helps students to achieve excellent degrees.

A Levels: AAB-ABB

Required subjects:

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

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. For students who are from backgrounds or personal circumstances that mean they are generally less likely to go to university, you may be eligible for an alternative lower offer. Follow the link to learn more about our contextual offers.

T-levels

We accept T-levels for admission to our undergraduate courses, with the following grades regarded as equivalent to our standard A-level requirements:

  • AAA* – Distinction (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)
  • AAA – Distinction
  • BBB – Merit
  • CCC – Pass (C or above on the core)
  • DDD – Pass (D or E on the core)

Where a course specifies subject-specific requirements at A-level, T-level applicants are likely to be asked to offer this A-level alongside their T-level studies.

English language requirements

All teaching at Royal Holloway (apart from some language courses) is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.

The scores we require
  • IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
  • Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.

Country-specific requirements

For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.

Undergraduate preparation programme

For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, for this undergraduate degree, the Royal Holloway International Study Centre offers an International Foundation Year programme designed to develop your academic and English language skills.

Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Upon completion of the course you will have acquired a knowledge and understanding of contemporary government and key political concepts as well as major political and policy challenges facing governments and citizens. You will have a rigorous grounding in the fundamental doctrines and principles underpinning the common law and a critical understanding of modern legal developments.

Graduates from our department work in a range of careers including public affairs, political organisations, journalism, international law and charities. Roles include Ministry of Justice Fast Stream, political analyst at merchant banks, Foreign Office Fast Stream and graduate entry into a wide array of large companies. Many of our graduates also go on to further study, entering postgraduate courses both at Royal Holloway and at other prestigious institutions around the world.

Employers include The House of Commons, Unilever, Ministry of Defence, Amazon Nestle, Ipsos MORI and MPs’ offices.

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £20,000

Other essential costs***: TBC

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loansscholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.

*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2022/23, the fee is £9,250 for that year, and is provided here as a guide. The fee for UK undergraduates starting in 2023/24 has not yet been confirmed.

**The UK Government has confirmed that EU nationals are no longer eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. This means you are classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support a transition for those students affected by this change in status. Please see the fees and funding page for more information.

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

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2021/22 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

Politics and International Relations Undergraduate Admissions

 

 

Admissions office: +44 (0)1784 414944

Top 20 in the UK for Politics

Source: Guardian University Guide, 2022

3rd in the UK for graduate prospects (Law)

Source: Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2022

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