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School of Social and Political Science: Undergraduate study

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Programme structure

Year 1

Your first year will include:

  • Introduction to Politics and International Relations
  • International Law (IR)
  • Fundamentals: Politics and International Relations (within IPIR)
  • Political Thinkers

Through these courses, you'll examine conceptual issues, such as the state, sovereignty, legitimacy, democracy, and power. You'll examine how these concepts work both in domestic political systems and internationally. And you'll take the opportunity to explore and analyse the different institutional arrangements and democratic practices in various countries around the world, including the UK, France, Germany, Russia and South Africa. The fundamentals course aims to equip students with core learning skills (including critical thinking, critical reading, research, writing and communication skills) necessary for the study of Politics and International Relations and will provide a forum for subject-specific learning and community building.

You'll also select four additional courses either from within the School of Social and Political Science or from across the university based on your own aims and interests.

Each course is 10 weeks in length and normally includes two lectures and one tutorial per week, with occasional slots for guest speakers or videos.

Year 2

In your second year, you'll study:

  • International Cooperation in Europe and Beyond
  • Comparative Politics in a Globalized World
  • Introduction to Political Data Analysis
  • Fundamentals 2: Politics and International Relations

You'll develop an understanding of international institutions - such as the UN, WTO, and EU - and will make sense of the history and practice of international relations. In addition, you will gain conceptual knowledge and practical skills to understand comparative politics in a globalized world, including political regimes, state formation and institutions, political and economic development, democracy, order and violence. Year 2 also introduces students to political data analysis using domestic and international data. the fundamentals course will build on skills developed in fundamentals 1; developing skills for the transition to Honours, including advanced academic reading, identifying research questions, developing arguments, and effective academic writing.

In addition, you'll select courses in outside subjects: these may be follow-ups to subjects taken in first year courses, or they may be new subjects.

Years 3 and 4

The Honours years (3rd and 4th year) will allow you to concentrate more fully on International Relations. You'll study the following core courses:

  • Global Justice and Citizenship
  • Theories of International Relations
  • Research Design in Politics & International Relations

Along with your choice of either International Political Economy or Global Security.

In addition to these core courses, you'll have the opportunity to select from a wide-range of optional courses.

In 4th year, you will also complete an in-depth research project, in the shape of a 10,000 word dissertation, on a topic of your choice, under the guidance of a supervisor.

Freshers 2013