Undergraduate students in a Politics group study session, Monica Partridge building

Politics and International Relations BA

University Park Campus, Nottingham, UK

Course overview

How do relationships between nations shape our world? Who holds power, and how do political processes impact our daily lives?

Our BA Politics and International Relations course will help you answer these questions and more. Studying the core areas of comparative politics, political theory, and international relations, helps you gain a comprehensive understanding of how politics shapes domestic and global issues.

You'll explore different theories and learn how they inform policy decisions, developing critical thinking, analytical, and research skills that are highly valued in various professional fields. Our graduates go on to work across the private, public, and charitable sectors in a range of roles, from parliamentary assistants and councillors to civil servants, researchers, and data analysts.

With optional modules, you can tailor your degree to your interests and career goals, exploring specialist areas such as social justice, global security, and secret intelligence. You also have the option to take a specialised quantitative methods pathway that includes training in data science, giving you an extra edge in the job market.

Through this course you'll broaden your understanding of domestic and global politics and develop the skills you need to make a positive impact in the world.

Indicative modules

Mandatory

Year 1

Introduction to Political Theory

Mandatory

Year 1

Political Theory in Practice

Mandatory

Year 1

Problems in Global Politics

Mandatory

Year 1

Understanding Global Politics

Optional

Year 1

British Constitution in Crisis

Optional

Year 1

International Politics of the Asia-Pacific

Optional

Year 1

Introduction to Comparative Politics

Optional

Year 1

Introduction to Political Data and Analysis

Optional

Year 2

Analysing and Interpreting Political Data

Optional

Year 2

British Party Politics

Optional

Year 2

Democracy and its Critics

Optional

Year 2

Experiencing National Identity

Optional

Year 2

Global Security

Optional

Year 2

How Voters Decide

Optional

Year 2

International Political Economy and Global Development

Optional

Year 2

International Politics in the 20th Century

Optional

Year 2

Politics and Public Policy in China

Optional

Year 2

Social and Global Justice

Optional

Year 2

The Transformation of European Politics

Optional

Year 3

Advanced Quantitative Methods for Social Science

Optional

Year 3

African Politics

Optional

Year 3

China in Global Politics

Optional

Year 3

Dissertation

Optional

Year 3

Gender and Political Representation

Optional

Year 3

Ideas and Politics in Contemporary Britain

Optional

Year 3

Inside Out: The UK and the EU

Optional

Year 3

Left and Right in Contemporary Politics

Optional

Year 3

The Middle East and the World

Optional

Year 3

Political Challenges and Multiple Crises in the Global Economy

Optional

Year 3

Political Parties and Party Systems Around the Globe

Optional

Year 3

Political Violence

Optional

Year 3

Politics Placement

Optional

Year 3

Race and Politics

Optional

Year 3

Responding to Extremism: Politics, Power, and Ethics

Optional

Year 3

Secret Intelligence and International Security

Optional

Year 3

Special Relationship? Anglo-American Security Relations

Optional

Year 3

The EU as a Global Power

Optional

Year 3

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: The Morality of Capitalism

Optional

Year 3

The Politics of Ethnic Conflict

Optional

Year 3

The Politics of Human Rights

Optional

Year 3

The Politics of Inequality

Optional

Year 3

The Russo-Ukranian War

Optional

Year 3

The Struggle for Democracy

Optional

Year 3

The War in Iraq

Optional

Year 3

Theories of the Modern State

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About modules

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer, but is not intended to be construed or relied on as a definitive list of what might be available in any given year. This content was last updated on Thursday 23 May 2024.

Teaching is primarily by lecture and seminar. In lectures, all students taking the module are introduced to a topic. In seminars, students are sometimes split into smaller groups to discuss prepared work.

This means that one hour you might be sitting in a big lecture hall listening to a lecture; the next, you could be in a small group trying to work out the meaning of a key political text or tract. In seminars, we sometimes utilise individual and group presentations, films, role-plays and simulations.

As part of our commitment to research-led teaching excellence, we make widespread use of internet-based teaching strategies to complement lectures and seminars. These may be core texts, chapters, articles, video clips or visual materials such as propaganda posters and election manifestoes. This approach will enable you to develop crucial IT skills as you learn the discipline of politics.

Visit our open days on demand to watch pre-recorded lectures and general talks and see some of our lecturers in action.

Teaching methods

  • Computer labs
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

We present you with a variety of different challenges and types of assessment, including exams, essays, verbal presentations and projects. Each unit is assessed separately, meaning there are no daunting final exams at the end of your degree.

You will be given a copy of our marking criteria which provides guidance on how your work is marked. Your work will be marked in a timely manner and you will receive feedback on the tasks you are given.

Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • Examinations
  • Presentation
  • Project work

Students must take 120 credits in a year, which are typically spread across six 20-credit modules. Each module assumes roughly 200 hours of taught and independent study. In your first year, taught study will include a mix of lectures, small-group seminars, and lecture engagement sessions.

At Nottingham, you will acquire a strong academic foundation and a range of excellent intellectual and transferable skills, such as the ability to study independently, communicate effectively, as well as a number of digital competencies.

You will leave us with specialist knowledge of international issues and political systems that will enhance your global career prospects.

Graduate destinations

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.

Recent graduates have go on to work at organisations such as AON, the BBC, Citibank, Civil Service, House of Commons, Liberal Democrats, Perrett Laver, Policy Exchange and Unison.

Average starting salary and career progression

85.70% of undergraduates from the Faculty of Social Sciences secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual starting salary for these graduates was £29,197.

HESA Graduate Outcomes (2017-2021 cohorts). The Graduate Outcomes % is calculated using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

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.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

University undergraduate student Cole Pearce studying in Nightingale Hall accommodation's library, University Park. November 5th 2021.

Learning the solutions and the policies that you can implement to navigate through [racism, conflict and prejudice] has definitely equipped me for the career path that I want to go into post uni. It’s been really enlightening.

Chelcy

BA Politics and International Relations

Course data

Open Day June 2022