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Undergraduate Course

Politics BA (Hons)

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

Students working in a group

Studying Politics means confronting issues with contemporary relevance and practical implications, discussing who and what has the power to dictate how we exist in society. On this degree you will consider, debate and respond to some of the most pressing issues of our time, covering topics from climate change to international state security.

  • Available in Clearing

90% Politics students responded with a 90% positivity score for how often teaching staff make the subject engaging. (National Student Survey 2023)

90% Politics students responded with a 90% positivity score for how well teaching staff supported their learning. (National Student Survey 2023)

York campus

  • UCAS code – L200
  • Duration – 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Start date – September 2024, September 2025
  • 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 2024 entry £9,250 per year full time

International 2024 entry £11,500 per year full time

Discover Politics and International Relations

Dr Alex Beaumont, Senior Lecturer in Politics, introduces us to Politics and International Relations at York St John University.

Course overview

On our Politics course you will address some of today's biggest political questions from local, national and global perspectives, and 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
  • How democracies and authoritarian regimes function, thrive and fall in the 21st century
  • 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.

You can also choose to study Politics alongside another subject:

Politics and International Relations BA (Hons)

Politics and History BA (Hons)

Politics, Philosophy and Economics BA (Hons)

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. Through it you will become familiar with basic terms, concepts, methodologies and issues in the study of politics, which will prepare 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 needed to succeed a degree level, including academic writing, researching and referencing. 

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module will introduce you to the comparative approach to modern politics. We will cover theoretical and methodological approaches, giving you an understanding of these political analysis tools. You will then apply these to both authoritarian and democratic regimes. We 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 investigate key issues in political philosophy, learning about the ideas of thinkers throughout the history of political thought. Through this you will learn the skills to 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. Throughout the module 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, considering the impact of traditional state institutions and practices. We will also take a historical perspective, acknowledging that the political 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

Explore the policies and academic practices of international development as you engage in key debates surrounding issues of global inequality and the politics of foreign aid. By delving in to both historical change and contemporary issues, you will broaden your understanding of globalisation, development and inequality. You will also engage in debates, which develop transferrable skills including communication, organisation and planning.

 

 

 

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Security studies is an essential part of international relations, and it involves a range of approaches, traditions and debates. On this module 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.

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 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 to 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

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. On this module you will consider 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

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

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 to study Politics it is essential to fully understand how it is put into practice. On this module 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. The module includes 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, as well as discussing contemporary debates and issues 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. The approaches used in this module are essential for understanding regional, international and global events. We will introduce you to some of the major theories in 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.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine how political philosophy can help us to address some of the pressing political, moral and ethical issues of the 21st century. You will learn about the impact that political philosophies can and do have on decision-makers, as well as social groups and wider society. We will discuss a wide range of philosophers and philosophies, engaging with diverse and inclusive perspectives. The issues we explore could include:

  • Minority rights
  • Freedom of speech
  • Criminal punishment
  • Global inequalities and wealth distribution
  • Abortion and euthanasia
  • The environment

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module involves a more detailed look at the institutions and processes of government in the UK. Through this you will gain a comprehensive knowledge of decision making and power relationships that affect the laws and policies that affect our daily lives. You will also engage with broader analysis and debate around the location of power in the British state in the context of evolving domestic, international and global developments. These may include:

  • Devolution
  • The UK’s relationship with Europe
  • The impact of globalisation

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: 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 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

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 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, using these to discuss ideas of blame, agenda setting and crisis resolution. Drawing on experience you will have 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

This module focuses on the infrastructure of the British state, as well a 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

This module explores the persistence of authoritarian rule in the 21st century. You will study the characteristics of authoritarian systems, along with 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. This will involve using 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 will focus on the institutions of the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. We will 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

Global health concerns are becoming increasingly central to ongoing debates about the social impact of worldwide economic and environmental change. During 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 explore how longstanding questions about social and distributive justice are of increasing concern at a global level, for both philosophers and activists. We will confront fundamental questions of justice, and 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 explore the politics of the Middle East, beginning with the historical context. You will go on to examine internal and external factors affecting the region, such as rising Arab identity and nationalism, and a rejection of colonial rule. Discussions will cover contemporary issues such as 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.

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. This involves reading around your subject and 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.

Postgraduate degrees at York St John University

International Politics and Security MA

 

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.

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 internationally (outside the UK). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK 2024 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 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, 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 2024 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2024 entry £11,500 per year full time

International 2024 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this course is £11,500 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK.

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.

Course highlights

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