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Undergraduate Course

Politics BA (Hons)

Go beyond the sound and fury of the daily headlines. Explore the connections between power, principle and policy in modern politics.

Students working in a group

When you study Politics you confront issues with contemporary relevance and practical implications. On this degree you will consider, debate and respond to some of the most pressing issues of our time; from climate change to international state security.

York campus

  • UCAS Code – L200
  • 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

Studying Politics means investigating who and what has the power to dictate how we exist in society. On this course you will address today's biggest political questions from local, national and global perspectives. You will gain a thorough understanding of the institutions and processes which drive modern states. This will include an investigation of the domestic government and politics of the UK along with a wider global focus.

Some of the topics you will explore include:

  • How new communication technologies are changing the way we interact with politics
  • The future of social justices
  • What makes a good society in an era of globalisation
  • How states interact with each other, and the changing role of the state
  • How states respond to collective dilemmas such as inequality, threats to national security and climate change.

You will learn to explain the historical drivers of social change and analyse the current political landscape. This will mean you are prepared to understand and respond to the challenges that will shape our political future.

We do everything we can to help you graduate into a great career, and you will study a specialist Work Related Learning module in your second year. This could involve:

  • Designing campaign materials
  • Analysing a current City of York Council policy proposal
  • Contributing to the Students’ Union elections.

This degree will provide you with valuable skills which you can carry forward into a career either in politics or in many other exciting sectors.

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
  • 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

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

Compulsory module

On this module you will look at key issues in political philosophy, exploring the ideas of thinkers throughout the history of political thought. You will respond to fundamental issues in political thought, questioning who should rule, why we should we obey the state and what a just society looks like. You will develop your analytical skills by examining arguments and perspectives based on philosophical and conceptual frameworks.

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

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 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.

Year 2

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

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

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

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 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

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

On this module you will examine contemporary issues in society and explore how political philosophy can help us develop arguments in response to these issues. You will discover the impact that political philosophies can have on decision makers, social groups and wider society. The issues you will explore may include:

  • Taxation and welfare
  • Minority rights
  • Freedom of speech
  • Criminal punishment
  • Civil liberties and national security
  • Global inequalities and wealth distribution
  • Abortion
  • Euthanasia and humanitarian intervention.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Taking the Westminster Model as a starting point, you will study and analyse the institutions and workings of the British government. You will then expand this to delve into broader analysis and debate around the location of power in the British state in the context of evolving domestic, international and global developments. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of decision making and the power relationships that influence the laws and policies that affect our daily lives.

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

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

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, indentifying trends in movements towards, and indeed away from, democracy.

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

Foreign policy is a critical aspect of the state’s external relations and engagement with the international system. It is important to understand the decision making of key actors, examining how states seek to advance their interests around the world. On this module you will explore the key actors, both individual and institutional, the contexts they operate in and the motivations and rationale behind their decisions and actions. You will approach this theoretically and conceptually, examining case studies to illustrate and evaluate approaches to foreign policy analysis.

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.

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.
  • 2 optional modules in semester 1
  • Either 2 or 3 optional module 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: 20

Optional module

We largely accept the existence of government and state as political institutions with formal power and authority to rule over us. While we may question the decisions or actions of particular governments and leaders, we rarely question the fundamental need for some form of government. On this module you will study perspectives of the social contract, primarily through the works of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Exploring possible justifications for why we need government and the state.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore a range of developments in modern political philosophy, and consider how political philosophy contributes to our understanding of, and influences, the modern world. This will involve studying work by a variety of scholars. In doing so you will engage with themes including:

  • Justice
  • Libertarianism
  • Marxism
  • Feminism
  • Multiculturalism
  • Citizenship.

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

On this module you will explore how longstanding questions and concerns over social and distributive justice are of increasing concern at a global level, for both philosophers and activists. We will confront fundamental questions of justice. You will examine how approaches to justice have evolved in social, international and global contexts. We will cover various issues within the scope of global justice, including:

  • Human rights
  • Humanitarian intervention
  • Poverty and economic inequality
  • Gender
  • Natural resources
  • Migration
  • The environment.

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

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

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 examine the nature and causes of environmental problems, along with the political responses to these. In the continuing context of global climate change, the focus is placed on the international system as a means to address environmental problems. You will apply theories of international relations to analyse the actions of states and global governance institutions to national, regional and global environmental issues. You will also examine the role of civil society in environmental politics.

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: 40

Optional module

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

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

Assessment is entirely through coursework, with no exams. 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
  • Individual and group presentations
  • Video presentations
  • Posters
  • Group reports
  • Book/article reviews
  • Study reports.

You will receive feedback on your work throughout each module. This will help you to improve your work for your graded assessments.

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Politics

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:

  • A political party
  • Local government
  • Policy development
  • The Civil Service (they offer a Fast Stream graduate scheme)
  • Political and social research
  • Charities and the third sector.

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.

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 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

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