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Undergraduate Course

Politics and International Relations BA (Hons)

Explore the global political landscape and confront urgent international concerns.

Student reading in the library

In an increasingly globalised world, politics and international relations tackle pressing contemporary issues such as state power, international security, human rights and global justice.

York campus

  • UCAS Code – L220
  • Duration – 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Start date – September 2022
  • School – School of Humanities

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

Discover Politics and International Relations at York St John University

Course overview

This degree will introduce you to the major historical and contemporary figures, institutions, events and processes behind national and international politics. You will also learn to analyse these processes using the theories and concepts that form the basis of these academic subjects, engaging with the latest research in these areas. While you will also learn about regional and national politics, in choosing to combine Politics with International Relations you will take a largely global perspective.

Some of the topics you will investigate include:

  • Democracy and authoritarianism
  • Political parties
  • Political economy
  • International security
  • International organisation and the future of global cooperation
  • How states interact with each other, and the changing role of the state
  • How states respond to collective dilemmas such as inequality, global health and threats to national security.

You will learn to explain the historical drivers of social change and analyse the current political landscape. You will be prepared to understand and respond to the challenges which will shape our political future.

There are many ways you can explore this subject beyond the classroom. You have the opportunity to:

  • Take part in local, national and international field trips
  • Undertake a work experience project
  • Study abroad in your second year
  • Hear from visiting speakers with many different specialist areas of expertise.
  • Attend conferences, seminars, workshops and events.

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. How many modules you take each semester will depend on whether you are st­udying full time or part time. You must study at least 1 module from each subject every semester.

In your first year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 1
  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 2.

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module is your introduction to the academic study of Politics. You will become familiar with basic terms, concepts, methodologies and issues in the study of politics, preparing you for the rest of your degree. We will explore the diverse definitions and the scope of politics, and discuss what politics means to you. We will also introduce you to some of the essential skills you will need to succeed a degree level, including academic writing, researching and referencing.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module we will introduce you to the comparative approach to modern politics. You will focus on theoretical and methodological approaches, developing an understanding of these political analysis tools. You will then apply these to both authoritarian and democratic regimes. You will explore a range of political institutions and processes, and move beyond studying these in isolation to develop the analytical skill of comparison.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will gain a comprehensive historical overview of world politics and the most important themes and concepts needed to study it. This will provide you with a strong foundation from which you can build your knowledge as your progress through your degree. You will also develop the essential skills for engaging with academic literature, constructing effective arguments and working within conceptual frameworks, which will be essential to your success in studying International Relations.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will examine the contemporary British state and its relationship with society. Focusing on the dominance of traditional state institutions and practices, you will consider the impact of these in society. We will also take a historical perspective, acknowledging that the present cannot be fully understood without analysing the past. Studying political economy will also help you to understand the nature and impact of economic policy.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Security Studies has emerged as an essential strand of International Relations, and studying it involves a growing range of approaches, traditions and debates. On this module we will introduce you to the study of security. You will develop the skills needed to critically analyse and reflect on the historical development of security threats and challenges. This will involve focusing on specific case studies, debating and discussing the policy decision making they prompted.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will engage with the most important debates surrounding global inequality and the politics of foreign aid. We will discuss these issues in relation to both historic developments and contemporary concerns. You will investigate the issues of inequality and development through various theoretical perspectives. You will also debate the prospects of a more inclusive and equitable plan for global development. The topics you  will engage with may include:

  • Poverty
  • Economic growth
  • Interstate and non-state development
  • Aid and international trade regimes
  • The politics of wealth accumulation.

Year 2

In your second year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 1 compulsory module and 2 optional modules in semester 1
  • 2 compulsory modules and 1 optional module in semester 2.

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

International Relations addresses the fundamental nature of power in the international system, and the approaches used in this module are essential for understanding regional, international and global events. On this module we will introduce you to some of the major theories of international relations, such as:

  • Realism
  • Liberalism
  • Neoliberalism
  • Marxism
  • Critical theory
  • Constructivism
  • Feminism
  • Postcolonialism.

Using case studies and coverage of historical and contemporary events, you will consider how you can apply these theories to developments in state relations, taking into account the growing institutions and processes of globalisation.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Democracy is the dominant form of political organisation around the world, and it is essential to fully understand how it is put into practice. You will explore the development and evolution of democracy. This includes discussions on the concept and various models of democracy, as well as the institutions (executives, legislatures, judiciaries) and processes (electoral and party systems) that rely on it. You will complete a comparative analysis of democratic states throughout the world, examining both established democracies and democracies in transition.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will focus on the relationship between international politics and economics. You will learn about power structures within the contemporary global economy and consider who the winners and losers are within these interactions. You will also reflect on how your everyday financial decisions feed into the broader dynamics of the global economy, considering how your choices affect others and reinforce existing power structures.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore contemporary questions around the meaning of security, and how we address the new security issues that are emerging in the 21st century. We will consider the causes of these threats, how they are identified, the ways states respond to them, and the changing nature of international security. We will do this using both theoretical approaches and relevant policy case studies. Some of the issues we will look at include:

  • Environmental security
  • Cyber security
  • Terrorism
  • Drones and drone warfare
  • Health security
  • Intelligence and surveillance
  • Sexual violence in armed conflict.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will focus your studies on a particular geographical region, for example, East Asia, South America, Africa or the Middle East. You will explore the key relationships, movements, dynamics and political figures within this region using primary and secondary sources to assess historical developments and contemporary issues. This will allow you to develop a more nuanced understanding of regional politics within a global context. You will also consider the impact of recent global developments on the region, such as climate change, technology and changing identities.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will have the chance to take part in work related learning and explore the possibilities your degree will offer for your career. We will help you see how you can transfer the skills and knowledge you acquire throughout the course to the workplace. You can choose to complete a minimum of 10 days work experience, or focus on a work related project. It is your responsibility to find your placement, with advice on how to do this included within the module.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Our politics degree teaches you to understand not just political concepts, but also how politics is studied and researched. This module will give you an overview of the different theoretical and methodological approaches used to study the political world.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module focuses on the 2 main parties of government of recent years, Labour and Conservative. There will also be a consideration of nationalist parties at the devolved and national levels, as well as the rise and influence of smaller, issue-based political parties. You will also examine the fundamental function of MPs as representatives, and consider notions of good political behaviour in light of a variety of political scandals.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Examine how citizens engage with and participate in politics. You will explore trends and theories of voting behaviour and other forms of participation, such as community action, membership of political and non-governmental organisations, demonstration and protest. A close examination of political participation will deepen your understanding of democracy in practice. We also examine political activity in partial and non-democratic states, identifying trends in movements towards, and indeed away from, democracy.

Year 3

In your third year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • A dissertation module studied across semesters 1 and 2
  • 2 optional modules in semester 1
  • 2 optional module in semester 2.

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

This year long module will involve working independently to research a topic of your choice within the field of Politics and International Relations. It is the culmination of your degree studies, and your chance to explore a topic that you are passionate about. You will plan, research, and write a piece of work that demonstrates your ability to structure a sustained argument, research effectively and think independently. A dissertation supervisor will help you define and develop your project throughout the year.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will focus on the infrastructure of the British state and develop your knowledge of the structures and processes of governing. You will explore the history of delegated governance in the UK, examining the theoretical and conceptual perspectives that have attempted to explain delegation. You will also address some of the fundamental issues surrounding delegation in the UK, such as:

  • Autonomy and control
  • Accountability
  • Patronage
  • Devolution.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine the persistence of authoritarian rule in the 21st century. You will study the characteristics of authoritarian systems, the structures, actors and actions that foster and maintain them. You will also consider the place of authoritarian systems in international politics, and examine their relationships with totalitarianism and democracy. We will use case studies to illustrate and analyse theoretical and conceptual approaches to authoritarianism.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore how policy making takes place in exceptional times. Each week we will examine a case study of a political crisis, considering how it unfolded and evaluating the responses. You will use the case studies to discuss the ideas of blame, agenda setting and crisis resolution in these contexts. Drawing on experience you gained in previous modules of designing policy briefs and political party manifestos, you will build transferable skills in prioritisation and working under pressure.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Global health concerns are becoming increasingly important to ongoing debates about the social impact of worldwide economic and environmental change. On this module you will learn about contemporary health issues from the point of view of both international relations and ethics, and explore the connections between these approaches.

You will study:

  • Infectious and non infectious diseases
  • The relationship between war and disease
  • The role of the World Health Organisation
  • Health in foreign policy
  • Responses to global health emergencies.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine complex issues and debates concerning the challenge of international peacekeeping. We will focus on the Responsibility to Protect approach, which the United Nations (UN) developed in response to atrocities in the 1990s. This new approach laid out the responsibilities of its member states to protect people across the globe from genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. You will engage with important questions about when and how the UN should intervene in conflict and the moral and legal authority with which they do so.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Issues of security and conflict affect different lives in different ways, and gender is one of the biggest factors determining how someone may experience violent conflict. On this module you will study the latest theoretical innovations in feminist and gender scholarship and relate it to discussions about international conflict, peacebuilding and reconstruction. You will challenge preconceptions and reflect on ethical questions surrounding gender, power and violence from various feminist perspectives. We will use different academic subjects to analyse the topic, studying theories from sociology, gender studies and anthropology alongside international relations.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will focus on 2 of the most cutting edge areas of international relations research: the rise of visual analysis of global politics and the impact of technological change. By examining the interaction between these topics we can consider how changes in information technology, and a shift to a more image focused world, shape our perceptions of international events. You will reflect on how these developments impact on our everyday lives, drawing on discussions from sociology, history and media studies.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will consider what it means to be a global citizen, and how far we should think of our ethical obligations and responsibilities to others in global terms. You will reflect on your experiences of citizenship in an increasingly interconnected world while considering the role of the state in ethical decision making. You will also think about the global ethical implications of your decisions and actions. You will discuss topics including:

  • Global poverty
  • Environmental degradation
  • The responsibilities of multinational corporations
  • Refugee protection
  • Humanitarian intervention.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

We use a range of teaching styles and settings to support your learning. This will include:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Events
  • Field trips

Alongside your timetabled contact time, you will be expected to study independently. You will need to read around your subject and engaging with various academic resources. This will ensure that you get the most out of your degree, as well as building valuable time management skills.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.

Assessment

You will be assessed entirely through coursework, with no exams. We are committed to authentic, relevant assessment. Authentic assessments mean your work is kept relevant and reflects workplace tasks or further study.

  • Essays
  • Portfolios
  • Individual and group presentations
  • Video presentations
  • Posters
  • Group reports
  • Book/article reviews
  • study reports.

Feedback is essential in identifying what you have done well and how you can improve. You will receive detailed feedback on your final assessments for each module, as well as on formative assessments which help you to improve as you learn. 

 

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Politics and History

This degree could lead you to a career directly related to Politics, such as working in local government or the Civil Service, or it could take you in a completely different direction, using the many transferrable skills you will develop. These include problem solving, developing arguments, analysing and evaluating information, collaboration, independent working, communication and more.

This degree could be the first step toward your career in:

  • Local government
  • The Civil Service (they offer a Fast Stream graduate scheme)
  • Political and social research
  • Charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
  • Security and intelligence
  • International aid.

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.

You could also progress onto a postgraduate degree and take your learning even further.

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice.

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed. It's your career, your way.

Entry requirements

Qualifications

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Foundation Year

This course is available with a foundation year. This option is ideal if you do not yet meet the minimum requirements for entry straight onto a degree course, or feel you are not quite ready for the transition to Higher Education. A foundation year prepares you for degree level study, giving you the confidence and skills needed to make the most of your course. Passing it guarantees you a place on this degree course the following academic year.

Liberal Arts Foundation Year

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and Funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK or EU, or internationally (outside the UK/EU). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK and EU 2022 entry

The tuition fee for 2022 entry onto this course is

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time.

These prices apply to all UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page.

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

International 2022 entry

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to this course is £12,750 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK/EU.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Student Visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree.

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

For detailed information on accommodation and living costs, visit our Accommodation pages.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

For advice on everything from applying for scholarships to finding additional financial support email fundingadvice@yorksj.ac.uk

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