Browser does not support script.

Undergraduate Course

Politics and War Studies BA (Hons)

Consider the local and global impact of politics and war. Investigate the links between power and action, morals and ethics.

Students in seminar

Study war and politics through the varied and interrelated approaches of military history, international relations, moral philosophy and media studies. Learn about how states develop, how societies are governed and the consequences of conflict.

York campus

  • UCAS Code – L2L2
  • Duration – 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Start date – September 2021
  • 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 why York St John is The One

Course overview

Politics at all levels is fundamentally about power. By combining Politics with War Studies, you will focus on how power is challenged and developed when states come into conflict with one another. You will consider how political institutions and ideas can both maintain social order and drive people to war.

On this degree you will develop advanced skills in political analysis. You will address urgent political questions from local, national and global perspectives, gaining a deeper understanding of the institutions and processes which drive modern states. You will also explore how wars start and end, the morality of war and the concept of a ‘just’ war. You will draw on history, media, American studies, film, literature and more to deepen your understanding of War and Politics.

Topics you will study include:

  • The causes and consequences of international conflict
  • Peacekeeping
  • War and the media
  • Globalisation and the role of the state.

There are many opportunities to take your learning beyond the classroom - You can get involved with local and international field trips, undertake work experience within the city or choose to study abroad as part of your degree. We make use of York’s rich heritage by interacting with local experts including Yorkshire Air Museum, Yorkshire Film Archive and war veterans living in the local area.

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.

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

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

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

You must study at least 1 module from both War Studies and Politics every semester. 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

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

This module is your introduction to War Studies as an academic subject. You will learn about the history of the subject and familiarise yourself with some of the different approaches you will take and techniques you will use throughout the course. We will introduce you to the essential definitions and classifications of war, and you will work to understand what war is, and how and why we study it.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will tackle the complex question of why wars do or do not occur. We will introduce you to a range of historical and theoretical arguments that attempt to answer this question, and which will be relevant throughout your course. We will investigate this question through analysis of case studies ranging from ancient to present day conflicts. We will encourage you to consider broad themes across these case studies and carry out comparative analysis between them.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

The world and its issues and debates do not neatly divide into discrete subjects. This module is about how politics overlaps and interacts with other fields of study. You will consider case studies that incorporate perspectives from both politics and other subjects as you gain an interdisciplinary approach to politics. This will mean learning from staff from across the university who are experts in a range of topics.

Credits: 20

Optional 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

Optional module

On this module you will engage with debates surrounding the nature and extent of ‘globalisation’ and its impact on the role and power of contemporary states. You will learn how states are situated in the international political and economic system, and interrogate the relative power of states and international organisations in the context of globalisation.

Credits: 20

Optional module

War makes for dramatic headlines and engaging copy, but there is frequent and often heated debate about the power and the biases of the media in war. On this module you will explore the relationship between warfare and the media. This includes both a discussion of the representation and reporting of war in the media, and how you can use media to research and understand war.

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

Optional module

Explore the origins and evolution of the political ideologies that have shaped major social and political developments from the 18th century to the present day. You will look at the ideological movements that have emerged as critical responses to the mainstream. The ideological traditions you study may include:

  • Liberalism
  • Conservatism
  • Anarchism
  • Nationalism
  • Fascism
  • Feminism
  • Environmentalism
  • Multiculturalism.

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

The European Union (EU) is one of the most significant intergovernmental organisations to have developed in the post-war period. This module examines the historical origins of European integration, using various theoretical and conceptual approaches. You will explore the institutions and policies of the EU. You will also discuss contemporary debates and issues surrounding the EU, such as the democratic deficit, enlargement and withdrawal, and the Euro.

Credits: 20

Optional 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

On this module you will focus on the wider cultural diplomatic and political aspects of warfare. We will explore major military campaigns fought in Western Europe during the second world war. This includes:

  • The German drive to the coast in 1940
  • The continuation of the 1940 campaign after Dunkirk
  • The projected German Operation Sealion to invade the British Isles and British counter-preparations
  • British offensive strategy prior to the Normandy invasion
  • The amphibious landing in Normandy in June 1944
  • The Battle of the Bulge
  • Crossing the Rhine.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will focus on politics and policymaking at a local level. You will hear from external speakers whose work has a political dimension, bringing local politics to life and introducing you to potential career paths. As part of this module you will take part in either a 10 day work experience placement or complete a work related project. This may involve designing campaign materials, analysing a current City of York Council policy proposal or contributing to the Students’ Union elections.

Credits: 20

Compulsory 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

Compulsory module

On this module you will investigate the experience and impact of war on both civilians and soldiers. We explore this through a series of case studies focusing on wartime experiences from York and its surrounding area. You will make use of first-hand accounts of battle and cinematic representations of combat, using these sources to explore some of the philosophical questions arising from attempts to understand and depict warfare. A series of tours and walks will help bring the historic resources on our doorstep to life.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module we will explore the role, function and evolution of peace organisations throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. You will learn about their origin and formation, evaluating the effectiveness of their practices. We will explore a range of primary sources and public debates to investigate the processes behind organisations such as:

  • The League of Nations
  • The United Nations
  • The African Union
  • NATO
  • The Warsaw Pact
  • Amnesty International.

Credits: 20

Optional module

In the early 20th century France had a pivotal role in both world wars, suffering both invasion and conquest and undergoing a traumatic process of decolonisation. On this module you will learn about France’s role on the world stage as a political, military, imperial and cultural force. You will consider both the impact of international forces upon France and the country’s influence on the course of world history.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine the traumatic history of China throughout the lifetime of Mao Zedong. You will confront and evaluate the historical debates surrounding China’s transition from the world’s oldest imperial power to a revolutionary Communist state. In doing so you will consider the political, ideological, economic, military, social and cultural forces that shaped these events. Given China's modern status as a major world power, learning about its turbulent past and Mao's legacy will help you to understand wider global developments.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine, confront and evaluate the historical debates surrounding the American Civil War. You will learn about the campaigns and strategies of the war itself, as well as its social and political impact and its lasting cultural legacy. You will also consider the social and political forces that have shaped how this period has been retold in historical and pop culture representations. This will open wider discussion about how wars are remembered and commemorated.

Year 3

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

  • A Dissertation module. You can choose either a 20 credit option or a longer 40 credit option which is spread across semesters 1 and 2.
  • 1 compulsory module and 1 optional module in semester 1
  • Either 2 or 3 optional modules in semester 2, depending on which of the Dissertation options you choose.

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

Optional module

This year long module will involve working independently to research a topic of your choice within the field of Politics or War Studies. 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

As with the full dissertation, this module will see you plan, research, and write an extended piece of work on a topic of your choice. However, because this shorter option is worth 20 credits rather than 40, your final piece of work will be half the length of the full dissertation. While it is shorter, this version of the dissertation is just as much an opportunity to choose an area of Politics that particularly interests you and find your own angle on the topic.

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 in detail the institutions, structures and processes of global governance. In particular we focus on the institutions of the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. We also cover regional organisations such as the European Union, and other intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations. Global issues will be examined to analyse the work of these institutions, which may include:

  • Human rights
  • International terrorism
  • Global inequality
  • The environment
  • Conflict and peace.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore philosophical thinking on war, considering whether war can ever be right. You will also think about how war should be conducted and how they should end. You will examine arguments dating from Aristotle, early Christianity and the Enlightenment through to the present day. You will also examine alternative perspectives, such as Asian perspectives of just war, forms of pacifism and nonviolent resistance.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Revolutions are infrequent but significant phenomena. On this module you will explore the theoretical explanations that have evolved to account for social revolutions. We will examine the works of scholars like Barrington Moore Jr, Theda Skocpol and Jack Goldstone. You will then apply their work to major social revolutions such as in America, France, Russia, China, as well as more contemporary situations such as the Arab Spring.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Explore the politics of the Middle East. Starting with the historical context, you will examine internal and external factors affecting the region, such as rising Arab identity and nationalism, and a rejection of colonial rule. You will then explore a range of contemporary issues, which may include the regional economy, the role of Islam, conflict, women, dictatorship and democracy. You will also examine the Middle East from an international relations perspective, focusing on the interests of the international community in the area – particularly the USA and Russia.

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

This is an opportunity to study a specialist area relating to War Studies. The topics are closely related to staff research interest, meaning your work will be aligned with current research. This will help you develop your skills in research and historical investigation.

Examples of previous Special Subject projects are:

  • The International Origins of the Second World War
  • The History of the Cold War
  • War in the East: 1940-45.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore American history, culture and politics as you consider the ideas and values behind the USA’s military past. We will investigate how Americans have experienced war, and how this experience has been represented in film, literature, music and more. Some of the topics you will encounter include:

  • War and American national identity
  • Early American wars of colonization
  • American military strategy and leadership
  • War and rhetoric in American political culture
  • The Traumatic impact of war on American soldiers and veterans.

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, engaging with academic literature, including books, academic journal articles, original texts and official reports. 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

On this degree you will mostly be assessed through coursework. We are committed to authentic, relevant assessment. This is to ensure that your work reflects the kinds of work you will go on to in professional employment or further study. You will experience a wide range of assessment modes designed to help you develop new skills and prepare for your career. This may include:

  • Essays
  • Portfolios
  • Examinations
  • 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. Not only will you receive detailed feedback on the assessments which count towards your grade for a module, you will also have the opportunity to check your understanding and develop assessment skills through formative assessment. Formative assessment moves the focus away from the final grade and focuses instead on your ongoing learning process. This will positively impact on your academic performance.

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Politics and War Studies

This degree builds skills which are applicable to many different career paths. 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:

  • The armed forces
  • Local government
  • Policy development
  • The Civil Service (they offer a Fast Stream graduate scheme)
  • Political and social research
  • Journalism.

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

This course is available with a foundation year

If you do not yet meet the minimum requirements for entry straight onto this degree course, or feel you are not quite ready for the transition to Higher Education, this is a great option for you. Passing a foundation year guarantees you a place on this degree course the following academic year.

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 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 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 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 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. 

All undergraduates receive financial support through the York St John Aspire card. Find out more about the Aspire scheme and how it can be used to help you purchase equipment you need for your course. 

ASPIRE CARD

Course highlights

More to explore

Join us in 2021

Two female students smiling in York

What makes us different

Get in touch

Cookie Settings