Politics and American Studies BA


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:TL72
Qualification:BA Jt Hons
Type and duration:3 year UG
Qualification name:Politics and American Studies
UCAS code
UCAS code
Politics and American Studies | BA Jt Hons
3 years full-time (available part-time), 4 years full-time with year abroad
A level offer
Required subjects
None specific, but critical thinking and general studies not accepted 
IB score
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places

This course may still be open to international applicants for 2016 entry. Please visit our international pages for details of courses and application procedures from now until 4pm Friday 2 September.


Combining American history and literature with the country's government and politics, this course also offers qualifying students the opportunity to spend a year abroad in the USA.
Read full overview

This course is taught by the School of Politics and International Relations and the Department of American and Canadian Studies. This three or four-year degree is a specialist study of the USA - its government and politics, its history and culture - anchored in the grand sweep of political ideas, political history, political institutions and political issues the world over.

On this course you will study a range of compulsory modules in American history and literature, as well as the government and politics of the USA. You can also choose optional modules in both subjects as well as from a wide range offered across the University.

There is an opportunity to transfer to a four-year degree course, spending your third year studying abroad in North America, depending on satisfactory performance in year one.

Year one

In year one you will take modules in international relations, political theory, and comparative politics. You will learn to compare political institutions and behaviour in western liberal democracies, gaining a thorough understanding of the history of political ideas. You will also take modules in American history in the Department of American and Canadian Studies.

Year two

In politics and international relations you will choose one core module and will have free choice of two additional modules from the school so that you can begin to tailor your degree to your personal preference. You will also take compulsory modules in American thought and culture, along with other options in American studies.

Year three

You can apply to spend a year studying in North America, transferring to a four-year course and returning to Nottingham for your final year. This isn't compulsory (those who opt not to study abroad will complete their degree in three years) and eligibility is dependent on satisfactory performance in your first year.

If you do not take a year abroad you will undertake your dissertation in the third year as outlined below.


Year four (if taking year three abroad)

In your final year, you will undertake a dissertation on a topic of your choice in either politics or American studies. Each student is allocated a dedicated supervisor and you will also take optional modules from a wide selection to make up your remaining credits.


Entry requirements

A levels: ABB not including general studies or critical thinking

English language requirements 

If English is not your first language, you must fulfil, as a minimum, the following condition:

IELTS: 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any element

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies. Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS. Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Alternative qualifications 

View the alternative qualifications page for details.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.

Notes for applicants

We are looking for students who have the ability and motivation to benefit from our courses, and who will make a valued contribution to the department and the University. Candidates for full-time admission are considered on the basis of their Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) form.

Applications are considered solely on merit and academic potential. The selection process is normally based entirely on the UCAS application form - so it is important that this is completed correctly and fully. We do not normally interview applicants.



Typical year one modules

Core politics modules

Introduction to Comparative Politics

This module seeks to compare and contrast the decision-making structures of modern democratic states. Topics to be covered will include: 

  • politics
  • government and the state
  • the comparative approach
  • constitutions and the legal framework
  • democratic and authoritarian rule
  • political culture
  • the political executive
  • legislatures
  • political parties and party systems
  • electoral systems and voting behaviour
  • the crisis of democracy

This module aims to:

  • study the structure and politics of modern democratic states 

The lectures and readings will include a number of contemporary examples, and the module will help the students to understand similarities and differences between politics as practiced in a wide range of countries. Moreover, the module will introduce students to the methods of comparative politics, and explore hypothesis construction and theory testing. 

Modern Political Theory

This module introduces students to the ideas of some of the canonical thinkers in the history of political thought, such as Burke, Rousseau, Kant, Mill, and Marx. The module considers the impact of these thinkers on modern political thought and practice, with reference to key political ideas and historical developments (such as liberty and equality, and the Enlightenment). The course will be text based.  

This module aims to provide knowledge of:

  • the history of western political thought
  • some central issues and debates of political philosophy
  • the contexts in which the various thinkers wrote
  • the principal arguments of their canonical texts 
  • their analysis of key ideas such as property, liberty, the role of the state etc 
Understanding Global Politics

This module introduces global politics through the major theoretical, historical and empirical ways of seeing international relations. We consider how different approaches understand global politics, the role of different actors in global politics and different approaches to organising international relations. In particular, the module highlights the major issues of war and peace, and global poverty.  

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to the major theoretical, historical, and empirical ways of seeing international relations
  • provide detailed instruction on the study of global politics through encouraging students to engage with key concepts and theoretical interpretations
  • deepen students' appreciation of these issues through studying six key thinkers in the field  


Problems in Global Politics

This module explores some of the major problems that exist in contemporary global politics. It introduces students to a wide range of challenges faced by states and non-state actors in the international system and engages with topics ranging from security concerns to economic issues. The module draws on a wide range of ideas and examples from around the world to help students to better understand global politics.   

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to specific problems and questions that have arisen in the "global" arena
  • provide a firm foundation for further study on theoretical, comparative, or institutional studies
  • encourage students to engage critically with key questions such as what constitutes a "state"  


British Political History Since 1945

This module will introduce and interrogate British political history since 1945. The module will take students through key issues and controversies in post-war British politics and as they relate to leaders and governments (in lectures) and key debates over controversies (in seminars). 

The module will explore a range of issues relating to:

  • economic policy
  • social policy and the welfare state
  • industrial relations
  • foreign and defence policy
  • Europe
  • local government and nuclear deterrence

Seminars will employ a range of activity-based scenarios to develop student understanding of key crises experienced by leaders and governments since 1945.  

This module aims to:

  • give students a broad general knowledge and understanding of specific crises and controversies in post-war and contemporary British politics
  • provide knowledge of the specific historical context(s) within which political actors and institutions in British politics have operated over the period since 1945  

Core American studies modules

American History 1: 1607-1900

This module will provide a broad introduction to the history of the United States of America, from its colonial origins to the end of the 19th century. This is seen as a 'core' module, which will give a grounding for further study of American history.

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to the history of the United States from the colonial period to 1900
  • develop students' understanding of the processes of economic, political and social change in these years
  • introduce students to the main debates among historians on some of the key issues and episodes
  • broaden the base of students' historical knowledge
  • encourage students to develop an understanding of the broader international context in which American development took place
American History 2: 1900-Present Day

This module examines the history of the United States in the  20th century. It will assess changes and developments in the lives of the American people who have faced the challenges of prosperity, depression, war, liberal reform, political conservatism, minority protests, multicultural awareness, and international power.

The module aims to:

  • introduce students to the history of the United States since 1900
  • develop their understanding of its economic, political and social development
  • broaden their historical knowledge and introduce them to the historiography of the United States
  • encourage students to develop an understanding of the broader international context in which American development took place
Approaches to American Culture: An Introduction

This module aims to introduce students to some of the key facets of American culture across a broad historical range. The emphasis will be on texts and cultural artifacts beyond those encountered in the core modules on American Literature and American History. In this respect we are likely to focus on a variety of forms, which may include music, painting, cinema, television and various genres of writing. We will concentrate on important and influential cultural forms, demonstrating and exploring connections made across different time periods and, in particular, with developments in contemporary America.

Ideally the module will help to open up ways for the students to move between different parts of the undergraduate programme, while also encouraging them to think critically about some of the assumptions that they bring to the subject.

Approaches to American Culture: Developing Themes and Perspectives

This module aims to introduce students to some of the key facets of American culture across a broad historical range. The emphasis will be on texts and cultural artefacts beyond those encountered in the core modules on American Literature and American History. In this respect we are likely to focus on a variety of forms, which may include music, painting, cinema, television and various genres of writing. We will concentrate on important and influential cultural forms, demonstrating and exploring connections made across different time periods and, in particular, with developments in contemporary America.

Ideally the module will help to open up ways for the students to move between different parts of the undergraduate programme, while also encouraging them to think critically about some of the assumptions that they bring to the subject.


Typical year two modules

Core politics modules

Approaches to Politics and International Relations

The module introduces students to alternative theoretical approaches to the study of political phenomena.

We consider the different forms of analysing, explaining, and understanding politics associated with approaches such as:

  • behaviouralism
  • rational choice theory
  • institutionalism
  • Marxism
  • feminism
  • interpretive theory 
  • post-modernism

The module shows that the different approaches are based upon contrasting 'ontological' suppositions about the nature of politics, and they invoke alternative 'epistemological' assumptions about how we acquire valid knowledge of politics and international relations. 

We examine questions such as: 

  • what constitutes valid knowledge in political science and international relations? 
  • should political science methodology be the same as the methods employed in the natural sciences? 
  • can we give causal explanations of social and political phenomena? 
  • can we ever be objective in our analysis? 
  • what is the relationship between knowledge and power? 


How Voters Decide

Elections are the foundation of representative democracy. The act of voting creates a link between citizens' preferences and government policy. This means that the choices voters make have important consequences. But, how do voters make these choices? Are they based on the policies that parties promise to enact in the future, or is it more about the policy successes (or failures) that parties have experienced in the past? Does the party's leader make a difference? Can campaigns or the media's coverage change how voters see their electoral choices? Finally, given the importance of elections, why do many citizens choose to abstain from the process altogether?

How Voters Decide will explore the choices that citizens make when they participate in elections and it will provide students with the skills necessary to evaluate arguments about electoral behaviour in Britain and beyond.

The module seeks to provide students with the core conceptual tools, theoretical insights, and practical skills for analysing elections, voting behaviour, and public opinion. It is designed for those interested in careers in public opinion polling and survey research, campaign management, broadcasting and journalism, or policy analysis research, as well as those interested in elections and voting more generally.


Core American studies modules

American Thought and Culture 1: Settlement to World War I

This module will analyse key American ideas and movements up to World War I. Particular attention will be paid to those strands of European thought and culture which have had a significant impact in the USA, and to major European thinkers who have considered America as the site of emerging modernity. This is seen as a 'core' module which will give the grounding for further study of American thought and culture.

The module aims to:

  • develop student understanding of the basic ideas and arguments that emerged from the early 17th century through the War for Independence, the establishment of the republic and during the 19th century up to World War I
  • place the emergence of an American tradition of thought and culture in its historical context
American Thought and Culture 2: 1917-Present

This module focuses on issues in American intellectual and cultural life from World War I to the present. Primary attention will be paid to the developments in the cultural, social and political thought of the period. Specifically concern with the nature of modern mass culture, the rise of the Old Left and its replacement by the New Left, the analysis of ideas of totalitarianism, the emergence of race and racism and of second wave feminist thought as objects of analysis, the onset of intellectual conservatism and the large transition from modernist to post-modernist cultural forms will constitute the backbone of the module. Focus will be upon primary sources and documents. 


Plus an additional module chosen from a list provided by the Department of American and Canadian Studies. 

Optional politics modules include:

Civilisation and Barbarism

This module explores some of the major themes in the study of International Relations. Themes include:

  • power and order 
  • strategy
  • war
  • imperialism
  • emancipation
  • race
  • law
  • 'civilization'
  • barbarism
  • terrorism
  • torture
  • human rights

The course is distinctive in two respects:

  • First - the study of these themes each week takes its bearings from a significant text, and that text in its entirety
  • Second - the emphasis is on the interplay between the form and style of these texts and the ideas they contain

Students read all sorts of texts – novels, reportage, essays, a manifesto, a treatise, perhaps even a film – to investigate the political and ethical dimensions of the work. This module aims to:

  • familiarise students with modern international relations texts that have become building-blocks of the literature, the schools of thought they belong to and/or have given rise to, and key themes and debates in the field
Democracy and its Critics

Democracy is a contested concept and organising principle of politics both ancient and modern. Its appeal seems to be universal, yet it has always had its critics. 

This module investigates the nature of democratic principles, the arguments of democracy's opponents and the claims of those who say that contemporary life is inadequately democratised. A particular feature of the module is the use of primary sources to investigate historic and contemporary debates.  

This module aims to:

  • provide an ability to assess the core constitutive ideas of democracy in its many manifestations 
  • give an understanding of the case made against democracy by its various opponents 
  • give an understanding of the appeal of democracy, but also why its establishment can be problematic  
Global Security

This module explores issues in global security since the end of the Cold War. It focuses on security in a broad sense, from issues relating to the use of force by states, through to violence by non-state actors, such as terrorist groups, and on to the concept of human security. 

The module builds on the first year modules 'Understanding Global Politics' and 'Problems in Global Politics', challenging students to deepen their theoretical as well as empirical knowledge in international security. It is also a preparation for the research-led third year modules that require a much more developed capacity of analysing empirical developments from a range of different theoretical perspectives.  

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to different theoretical approaches in global security
  • facilitate an understanding of the empirical development of global security since the end of the Cold War
  • investigate the breadth of issues within the field of global security
  • prepare students theoretically for advanced Level 3 modules in IR  

Optional American studies modules include:

The Contemporary American Novel

This course aims to cover a representative sample of important American literacy fiction produced since 2000. Through in-depth readings of individual texts, it will explore contemporary novelists' major concern including race, class, gender, religion, working life, wards and their aftermath, the uses of historical revisionism and alternative pasts, identity politics, and American regionalism. Taking into account a range of narrative forms and critical theories, it will also examine the significance of formal and generic inventiveness and the existence of a contemporary canon, questioning the extent to which literary prize-giving and the marketplace have contributed to its formation. The module will cover a range of genres from ficionalised life-writing and family sagas to counter-historical narratives and immigration epics in a bid to reflect the rich diversity of recent fiction in the United States.


Typical year three modules

You can apply to spend a year studying in North America, transferring to a four-year course and returning to Nottingham for your final year (depending on satisfactory performance in year one). If you do not take a year abroad you will have the module options listed for year four below in your third year.


Typical year four modules

Core modules

Dissertation in Politics and International Relations or American Studies

This module enables students to undertake a sustained piece of research and analysis into a subject within the discipline of politics and international relations, or American studies.


Plus additional modules chosen from a list provided by the Department of American and Canadian Studies. 

Optional politics modules include: 

Airpower and Modern Warfare

Today, war without airpower is an unlikely prospect and major military operations, as a rule, are launched with overwhelming air attacks. 

In recent years, the utility of 'strategic' airpower has increasingly come under question. Whilst technological innovation continues to strengthen airpower's capabilities, the relevance of these capabilities in contemporary conflicts cannot be taken for granted. 

This module critically assesses the role of air power in modern conflict within the broader framework of strategic and security studies. It will assess the evolution of air power theory since the First World War and examine the limits of its practical application with reference to specific air campaigns. 

Particular emphasis will be placed on the role of air power in the post-Cold War security environment, for example, in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency campaigns. 

This module aims to:

  • develop a comprehensive understanding of developments in airpower strategy and its role in warfare from the First World War until today
  • demonstrate the ability to relate the role and uses of airpower to relevant theoretical debates in contemporary strategic and security studies 
  • critically engage with the literature on airpower   
American Politics

This course will offer an overview of the main political institutions and the behaviour of political actors in the United States, applying a variety of analytic concepts and empirical tools to the study of American politics. It will in particular focus on rational choice theories of voters and politicians' behaviours addressing the incentives and constraints faced by politicians when choosing public policies. By employing theoretical and empirical tools to study public decision making at the federal and state level, the course will highlight the impact of different institutional arrangements on electoral accountability and policies in the United States.

The module aims to:

  • introduce students to the major features of US political institutions
  • introduce students to themes, debates and issues in the study of American Politics
  • develop students' understanding of theoretical and empirical tools applying them to the study of American Politics
Gender and Development

This module examines major themes, debates and issues in the field of Gender and Development. We will focus on the relationship between ideas and concerns of gender (in)equality and processes, policies, and practices of economic, social and political development. We will explore the key literature and major debates in the field of feminist political economy, linking academic, policy-related and practitioner/activist debates. We will cover theoretical and conceptual frameworks as well as key contemporary issues explored through thematic and sector/policy case studies. We will explore how political, economic and social processes of globalisation and development intersect, impact, and are in turn influenced by gender relations in the South.

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to the major themes, debates and issues in the field of Gender and Development
  • develop an integrated understanding of the links between academic, policy-related and practitioner/activist debates in the field of Gender and Development
  • develop students' understanding and critical awareness of how political, economic and social processes of globalisation and development intersect, impact, and are in turn influenced by gender relations in the South
Intervention in Africa

This module analyses political, economic, cultural and especially military intervention in Africa. It focuses on the role of external actors such as International Organisations, regional organisations, and NGOs, with a special emphasis on the role of France, the UK and the European Union. We will examine theories, concepts and case studies to explain the nature of contemporary intervention.

This module aims to:

  • promote a critical engagement with material in the International Relations and European Foreign Policy field
  • provide an insight into the link between theory and practice of intervention
  • provide an understanding of why and how European governments respond to Africa issues
  • provide a basis for further study or careers in government, international organisations, media and the military
Politics and Drugs

This module studies the implications of the growing abuse of narcotics for the political system from both a national and international perspective. It will examine the production, consumption and trade in drugs as an international problem. 

The development of and issues associated with contemporary British drug policy will be explored and the theoretical questions raised by drug control policy will be examined.  

This module aims to:

  • consider the extent of the contemporary drug problem and its implications for national and international politics
  • examine the nature of national and international policies to combat illicit drug use 
  • explore the political issues surrounding prohibition
  • undertake a critical evaluation of UK and international drug policy
Politics of East Asia

This module affords an understanding of the linkage between international and domestic politics in East Asia. The module is divided into three parts:

  • The first part offers conceptual and historical perspectives that enable one to analyse how international and domestic politics relate to each other.
  • The second part focuses on China and Japan, and examines their domestic transformation and foreign policy development in the post-cold war period. 
  • The third part focuses on key issues of the region, and examines how those issues affect domestic transformation of East Asian states, and in turn, how the domestic transformation affects those issues. 

This module aims to:

  • enable students to identify and discuss conceptual and historical perspectives found in the literature on the politics of East Asia
  • explore ways to analyse the links between global and domestic politics in East Asia and how they relate to the conceptual and historical perspectives in the literature
  • develop a framework of enquiry within which students can construct subject-related knowledge and relevant research skills 
The Politics of Ethnic Conflict

Questions relating to nationalism and ethnic conflict have become more prominent in political debate since the end of the Cold War, and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrated the continuing importance of constitutional crafting as a means to manage ethnic diversity within states. This module evaluates differing definitions of the 'nation' and 'ethnic group', examines different state strategies to manage diversity such as multiculturalism, assimilation and integration, and considers different explanations of conflict between different ethnic groups. 

It then examines in more detail strategies adopted by particular states to manage their diversity. The countries of India, America, France, Afghanistan, the UK, and Germany are focused upon, but students are encouraged to use material relating to other countries if they have particular knowledge of these cases.  

This module aims to:

  • offer a critical overview of a range of approaches to understanding concepts of nationalism and ethnicity
  • introduce students to the different strategies of ethnic conflict regulation
  • offer students the opportunity to assess critically how these strategies are applied in various states
  • encourage students to consider the comparative implications of the strategies discussed 
Politics Placement

This module involves part-time placement (one day a week) in an external organisation, and is aimed at developing hands-on work experience and employability skills in a workplace relevant to students of politics. Pre-placement training will be provided via three half-day workshops at the beginning of the module. Each placement will be arranged by the work placement officer. Placements will be provided by organisations involved in private, public and third sector organisations, such as the civil service, charities and political parties. Departmental mentoring will take the form of a weekly drop-in tutorial with the module convenor, in which experiences are shared and work is undertaken on the assessment tasks. Group presentations will occur during the final four hour workshop, at which time each group will critically reflect on their experiences of the ethos and goals of their host organisation.

The Rights and Wrongs of Climate Change

What should the world do about climate change? How should we proceed in the face of persistent claims that it won't do serious harm, or isn't occurring at all? 

Should poor countries as well as rich ones be obliged to cut their carbon emissions? Is it wrong for individuals to fly? What if you offset your flight? How much weight should we accord harm that may come many years in the future? 

Arguments about climate change raise many of the most controversial issues in contemporary ethics and political theory. This module will examine these debates and the broader questions they hinge on. This module aims to:

  • familiarise students with some of the key debates surrounding climate change
  • expand students' knowledge of moral philosophy, political theory and environmental ethics 
The War in Iraq

This module will comprehensively deconstruct the causes, conduct and consequences of one of the most controversial wars of the modern era: the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It will assess how the road to war was paved at the United Nations and through the formulation of a 'coalition of the willing'. It will then critically evaluate how the swiftly concluded invasion of Iraq and toppling of Saddam Hussein gave way to a vicious insurgency. The adaptation of the US military to the demands of counter-insurgency warfare will be analysed, as will British military performance in southern Iraq. The module will end by critically assessing the effectiveness of the 'surge' strategy under the implementation of Gen. David Petraeus, and evaluating the utility of 'analogical reasoning' through comparisons with the Vietnam War.  

This module aims to give students:

  • a broad understanding of the history of the war in Iraq
  • a conceptual and empirical appreciation of how the American and British militaries adapted to the nuances of counter-insurgency warfare
  • an understanding of how the influence and importance of competing identities created rival forms of civil violence inside Iraq
  • an understanding of the utility of analogical reasoning as a methodological tool in international relations

Optional American studies modules include:

African American Visual Culture

This module considers the new developments and recent critical investigations of 20th century African American visual culture. Specifically we will examine the major themes (eg. political and social relevance), genres (eg. easel painting, sculpture, murals, photography), and artists (eg. Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, William Johnson, Beauford Delaney) as set in the context of European Modernism and Abstract Expressionism. More recent trends in the art world will also be assessed.

This module aims to:

  • acquaint students with basic movements in the visual arts in the 20th century
  • concentrate on the particular traditions of African American visual culture across diverse media
  • set these art movements within a historical, social and political context
  • further develop interdisciplinary and cross-cultural forms of analysis and interpretation relating to developments in recent debates in American and Canadian Studies
Prohibition America

This module explores the United States' bold but disastrous experiment with Prohibition during the period 1918 to 1933, with particular focus on crime, disorder and policing. We begin with the reasons for passage of the 18th Amendment which outlawed the liquor trade, and examination of its impact on US society and culture during the 1920s. We shall consider the rise of organised crime, gangsters and G-men, and the expanding crime fighting role of the state. The module concludes with the federal crime crusade of the early 1930s and the inglorious end of Prohibition.

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to the history of the United States between 1918 and 1933
  • develop students' understanding of society and culture in the United States in the 1920s and early 1930s
  • introduce students to the main debates among historians on the reasons for Prohibition and its impact
  • broaden the base of students' historical knowledge
  • encourage students to develop an understanding of the broader political context for expansion of federal crime control efforts in the early 20th century
US Foreign Policy, 1989-2009

This module examines the making of US foreign policy in the post-Cold War period, from the end of the Cold War to the end of the 'war on terror'. It begins by considering the grand historical narratives of American international relations and goes on to consider in depth the motivations and drivers behind the foreign policies pursued by Presidents George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. It considers whether the post-1989 period has constituted a break from previous traditions in US foreign policy or whether there has been an essential continuity through to, and including, the 'war on terror'. It does this through a thematic examination of the impact of economics, geopolitics, ideology and security issues on post-1989 strategy, as well as the impact of a new international environment marked by the demise of bipolarity and the rise of globalisation. The course also covers the limits and constraints of US foreign policy imposed by public opinion, lobby groups, the media and US allies during this period.


Listen to our lecturers talking about some of the modules on offer in our virtual module fair.

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.


Study abroad

The University of Nottingham has one of the biggest and most diverse study abroad programmes in the UK, and those who have studied abroad often say that it was the highlight of their time as a student.

On this course, you can apply to spend part of your second year at the University's campuses in China or Malaysia or take a semester or a full year at one of our international partner universities in locations such as Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, Mexico and the USA. You'll get the opportunity to broaden your horizons and enhance your employability by experiencing another culture and will study similar modules to your counterparts back in Nottingham (teaching is in English).

You can also apply to switch to a four-year course which is offered in conjunction with the Department of American and Canadian Studies and spend a year in North America as part of your degree. This is dependent upon satisfactory performance in year one.

Find out more.



At Nottingham you will acquire a strong academic foundation and a range of excellent transferable skills, such as the ability to study independently and communicate effectively, both orally and in writing. You will leave us with specialist knowledge of international issues and political systems that will enhance your global career prospects.

Our graduates develop careers across the private, public and charitable sectors. Private sector destinations include print and television journalism, broadcasting, television and film production, advertising, marketing and personnel as well as the commercial and financial sectors. Some go into party politics as parliamentary assistants, councillors in local government and even MPs; others work for the civil service and in research and data analysis.

Third-sector careers include working for non-governmental organisations, charities and development agencies. Some graduates opt for further study or take vocational qualifications in postgraduate law or teaching.

Students taking the four-year option with a year abroad will be able to demonstrate adaptability, independence and initiative, among other desirable qualities for employers.

We recognise that graduates often need more than just a great degree to stand out from the crowd. As such, we help provide valuable placement and internship opportunities for politics and international relations students. We currently have over 25 placement partners providing 100+ placements a year, including internship opportunities in Westminster and even overseas.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2015, 95% of first-degree graduates in the School of Politics and International Relations who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,728 with the highest being £35,000.*

In 2015, 92% of first-degree graduates in the Department of American and Canadian Studies who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £19,065 with the highest being £28,600.*

* Known destinations of full-time home first degree undergraduates 2014/15. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. For the last three years Nottingham has been one of the two most targeted universities in the country by employers.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

The University of Nottingham provides information and advice on financing your degree and managing your finances as an international student. The International Office offers a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.


How to use the data


spending a year in the USA as part of your studies on the country's politics
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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


School Office  







Student Recruitment Enquiries Centre

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

t: +44 (0) 115 951 5559
w: www.nottingham.ac.uk/faqs
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