This degree concentrates on three key areas within the study of politics: comparative politics, political theory and international relations. A wide selection of optional modules allows you to specialise in a variety of different areas, such as the European Union, British politics, the government and politics of the USA, terrorism and security, and globalisation.
In year one, you will take modules in political theory, comparative politics and international relations. You will learn to compare political institutions and behaviour in 'Western' liberal democracies and elsewhere and gain a thorough understanding of the history of political ideas.
In year two, you will take compulsory modules in Approaches to Political Studies and Designing Political Research, along with a range of options from three core areas: political theory, comparative politics and international relations.
In year three, you may choose to undertake a dissertation under the supervision of a member of staff, and/or to take modules in political theory, comparative and global politics chosen from the very wide selection of modules offered by the School.
A levels: AAB, none specific but general studies and critical thinking not accepted
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)
Pearson Test of English (Academic) 62 (minimum score 55)
For details please see alternative qualifications page
Flexible admissions policy
We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result, may change from year to year. The following list is therefore subject to change but should give you a flavour of the modules we offer.
Typical Year One Modules
Political Theory from Ancient to Modern
You’ll be introduced to some of the founding fathers of political thought such as Aristotle, Plato, Machiavelli and Hobbes. The evolution of political thought such as the concepts of liberty, equality and the Enlightenment will also be examined. You’ll consider their impact on modern political thought and practice, bringing together key political ideas with historical development. In this module you’ll have 2 hours of lectures per week.
Introduction to Comparative Politics
In this module you’ll compare and contrast the decision-making structures of modern states by examining different topics such as Democratic and Authoritarian Rule, Political Culture and Legal and Constitutional Frameworks. You’ll also be introduced to the method of comparative politics and theory testing. There is a mix of lectures, seminars and workshops on different weeks totalling around 3 hours per week throughout the semester.
Problems in Global Politics
For this module, joint honours students will explore a range of issues in contemporary international relations. It focuses on the problems of security and insecurity since the end of the Cold War. You’ll learn to develop critical and reflective thinking using a variety of approaches and methods related to the study of global politics. You’ll have 3 hours of lectures, seminars and workshops per week studying this module.
Typical Year Two Modules
Democracy and its Critics
You’ll examine the concept and organisation of democracy using primary sources to investigate historic and contemporary debates. You’ll consider the principles and arguments of democracy and its critics as well as the future for democracy in the context of accelerating globalisation. A variety of approaches and methods will be used to help you develop your skills for the study of political theory. You’ll have 3 hours a week of lectures and seminars studying this module.
Civilisation and Barbarism
You’ll explore some of the major themes of international relations using a variety of different sources including novels, essays, manifestos, treatise and film. Power and order is the underlying theme linking together areas such as imperialism, emancipation, human rights, terrorism and torture among others. The interconnectivity between all of these areas and the sources will help you appreciate texts from the breadth of your studies. There will be 3 hours a week of seminars and lectures for this module.
Typical Year Three Modules
Politics and Drugs
This module examines the implications of narcotics abuse for the political system from both a national and international perspective. Contemporary British drug policy will be the explored and questions raised by drug control policy will be discussed. You’ll consider the production, consumption and trade of drugs as a global problem. You will spend around 3 hours a week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
This module introduces a range of debates concerning weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to give you an appreciation of the importance of the issue. The reasons for states to develop or acquire WMDs will be explored through core concepts such as deterrence, the security dilemma and organisation theory. You’ll discuss whether WMDs are good or bad and if Britain should build a missile defence system among other topics. 3 hours a week are spent in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
You will have a thorough knowledge of political ideas and concepts, drawn from both the UK and overseas. You will have the ability to critically analyse a range of information. Transferable skills you will have developed include the ability to study independently, to communicate effectively, and to develop and sustain a reasoned argument.
Average starting salary and career progression
In 2013, 94.4% 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 salary was £22,498 with the highest being £60,000.*
* Known destinations of full-time home and EU graduates 2012/13.
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. 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.
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.
There are several types of bursary and scholarship on offer. Download our funding guide or visit our financial support pages to find out more about tuition fees, loans, budgeting and sources of funding.
To be eligible to apply for most of these funds you must be liable for the £9,000 tuition fee and not be in receipt of a bursary from outside the University.
* 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.
The International Office provides support and advice on financing your degree and offers a number of scholarships to help you with tuition fees and living costs.
Key Information Sets (KIS)
KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.