We advocate an enquiry-based approach to learning, which means that we encourage you to become an independent and self-motivated learner. Through the programme of study we offer, we will develop the qualities that employers value in today's university graduates - qualities that will set you apart in your future career.
To help you develop the above-mentioned skills, we adopt a range of teaching methods. They may include:
Lectures - listening to experts sharing their knowledge and discoveries in challenging and provocative ways. Students are expected to 'read-around' the subject matter of their lectures, adding to their understanding and developing their critical faculties and analytical skills.
Seminars - where you present and discuss your ideas and knowledge in smaller groups and debate interpretations and opinions with other students.
Tutorials - are your opportunity to discuss your work with your tutor, usually in small groups.
Workshops - are problem solving sessions facilitated by a member of academic staff; these sessions usually involve students working in groups.
Our lecturers and tutors will ensure you have all the resources you need to make the transition from A levels to the more rigorous demands of a degree.
You will gain specialist knowledge of the following:
The sources and nature of political violence and terrorism
Debates regarding the prevention of terrorism, counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency policy
The politics, legality and ethics of the ‘war on terror’ and the balance between public security and individual freedom
The circumstances under which armed resistance and revolution can be permissible
You will also have the opportunity to learn about other fields within the broader disciplines of political science and international relations through your choice of optional modules.
Learning and teaching
Learning and teaching methods are based centrally on:
Seminar teaching: students engage in weekly two-hour seminars in which they participate in debate, discussion and other activities led by specialists from POLSIS. Readings are set for each session.
One-to-one dissertation supervision: students develop a specialist research project for their dissertation, working with one member of staff in particular who acts as supervisor during the concluding part of the programme.
Assessments vary according to module but may involve a combination of essays, presentations and written examination.
More about teaching and learning at the University of Birmingham.
Enhancing your Student Experience
In the School of Government and Society we offer much more than a degree. As a student here, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, you have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of events, with some or all of the costs paid for by the School.
Some of these are targeted to help you build skills and experience for your CV, others are more open events designed to expose you to high-level speakers on current debates relevant to all Government and Society students.
Mathew Clarke, Hamburg MUN (December 2012), "In December 2012 I went to Hamburg to take part in a Model United Nations (MUN) Conference with the MUN Society at the University. The experience was eye opening allowing me see how to apply the topics I had learnt at Birmingham to a real world event. While I had been to other non-MUN conferences, which were not with the university, both in the UK and around the world this was a truly unique event."
Ana Alecsandru, UNA Youth Conference - New Nuclear Realities (February 2013), "This event allowed me to gain an insight into the challenges facing the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. The programme included interactive discussions with high profile nuclear professionals regarding the current situation of the international non-proliferation regime and the nuclear disarmament under the auspices of the United Nations and IAEA."
Georgiana Chiriac, Harvard Model United Nations (February 2013), "Overall, This opportunity was excellent for me and for the entire delegation in terms of gaining knowledge and expertise at the highest level, as well as with regards to personal growth and development."
Read more of our students' experiences and profiles on the school website.
Departments from across the School of Government and Society are all based within the recently refurbished Muirhead Tower. Following a £50million refurbishment, Muirhead Tower offers state-of-the-art teaching and research study facilities including free wifi throughout the building and dedicated study areas for postgraduate research students.
Muirhead Tower comprises 12,000sq.m of floor space between two towers. The tower includes a number of sustainable features including solar shading (known in the trade as brise soliel) to control temperatures, as well as low energy fans; timed lighting to reduce energy waste; natural ventilation systems and a heat source taken from the University’s combined heat and power generator.
The space has been designed to create modern, attractive spaces for teaching and research accommodating 150 academic offices, 230 "hubs" for post graduate research students, teaching rooms for up to 100 people and a 200 seat lecture theatre.