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School of Social and Political Science: Undergraduate study


Year 1 and 2

First Year Courses

In first year you will take three compulsory courses:

Introduction to Politics and International Relations

This course introduces conceptual material relevant to both politics and international relations students, such as the state, sovereignty, legitimacy, democracy, and power, together with relevant examples.

Political Thinkers

This course introduces students to historical writers whose thoughts on politics have become recognised by theorists as canonical in the western tradition, or whose work is becomingly increasingly recognised within a broader, non-Eurocentric canon.

International Law (for International Relations Students)

This course develops understanding of the international legal system; the main institutions which contribute to the development and application of international law; and the legal rules, principles and processes which govern key areas of inter-state activity.

*Outside courses are taken in addition to those above.

Second Year Courses

In second year you will take four compulsory courses:

International Cooperation in Europe and Beyond

This course explores how and why states interact at the regional and international level. The course considers theoretical perspectives on both international relations and international political economy, before considering in detail the European Union, the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations.

Comparative Politics in a Globalized World

This course provides students with the conceptual knowledge and practical skills to understand comparative politics in a globalized world. It introduces the comparative method, and applies that method to core questions and issues of comparative and international politics. 

Introduction to Political Data Analysis

This course introduces students to political data analysis using domestic and international data. It explores how to access relevant data and assess the appropriateness of data. It provides key skills in quantitative data analysis, including descriptive statistics, cross-tab/contingency tables, measures of association, correlation and regression.

Fundamentals 2:  Politics & International Relations

This course demonstrates how the knowledge and skills acquired through PIR degrees can relate to the outside world. It includes a variety of presentations from applied political scientists and helps students to identify potential career routes. It also provides guidance on how to communicate with non-academic audiences.

*Outside courses are taken in addition to those above.

Course Handbooks

Individual course handbooks are available on Learn for current students.

Programme Handbooks

Degree Regulations & Programmes of Study

Scottish Parliament