European Politics, Society and Economics BSc

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The European Politics, Society and Economics degree at Birmingham is an interdisciplinary course. Politics, Economics and Culture pathways provide you with an opportunity to build a tailored degree, drawing on a range of social science skills and insights into modern Europe.

This degree crosses the traditional divide of the Iron Curtain, providing equal consideration of both Western and Eastern Europe and offers students a unique perspective on Europe and the European Union.

Students applying for this course at Birmingham will join the School of Government and Society and will have access to a range of opportunities to further enhance their student experience with us, including the chance to hear from influential guest speakers about their lives in politics. Recent speakers have included Alistair Darling, David Miliband and John Bercow. Learn more about your student experience.

Course details: Details | Why study this course| Modules | Fees and funding | Entry requirements | How to apply.

Course fact file

UCAS code: LL2C

Duration: 3 years or 4 years with an optional year abroad

Places Available: 215 across the department

Applications in 2012: 874

Typical Offer: ABB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September


Course details: Why study this course | Modules | Fees and funding | Entry requirements | How to apply.

This interdisciplinary programme with its Politics, Economics and Culture pathways gives enthusiastic students the opportunity to build a tailored degree, drawing on a range of social science skills and insights into modern Europe. 

The programme offers students a unique perspective on Europe and the European Union. It is based in the University's prestigious School of Government and Society, which also incorporates the Centre for Russian and East European Studies and the Institute for German Studies – the two leading research centres in the country in their respective fields. Uniquely, we provide this comprehensive European Studies social science degree that crosses the traditional divide of the Iron Curtain and provides equal consideration of both Western and Eastern Europe.

First year

In the first year, you receive a solid grounding in all three areas, before concentrating either on your chosen discipline or on a general pathway in Years 2 and 3.

Second year

In this year, you build on knowledge and skills acquired in the first year and can choose from a wide range of general and tailor-made modules. In previous years, modules included:

  • Comparative European Government
  • Institutions, Politics and Policies of the European Union 
  • European Media Culture 
  • Political Economy of EU Enlargement 
  • Cultural Politics of Russia and Eastern Europe

Third/fourth year

In the third year, students may opt for an ERASMUS exchange at a university in northern, southern or eastern Europe. Otherwise, students may simply proceed to the final year. 

In the final year, students take a core module, Europe in a Globalising World, and write a dissertation on a European theme. In addition, students can choose from a wide variety of modules. In previous years, modules included:

  • Immigration and Citizenship in Western Europe
  • The Russian Economy from Plan to Market 
  • Political Economy of the European Union 
  • European Security 
  • 'Returning to Europe': Nation, State and Europe in Central and Eastern Europe


If you want to take advantage of a unique opportunity to be supported with a work placement opportunity as part of your final year, this course includes the opportunity to undertake a 'Professional Development' module as part of your optional module choices.

Why study this course

The Centre for Russian and East European Studies (CREES) students enjoy state of the art facilities in the newly refurbished Muirhead Tower, where the Centre is located. CREES has an outstanding reputation in the UK and overseas for excellence in teaching and research. It has been recognised as the leading research centre for this subject in the UK - meaning that your courses will be led by leading specialists in their field.

Our undergraduate degree programme BSc (Hons) European Politics, Society and Economics (EPSE) offers students a unique perspective on Europe and the European Union. The University of Birmingham has been designated a Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence by the European Union and a national centre of excellence in European Studies by the UK Government.

The University of Birmingham has over 100 members of staff in the field of European Studies, all of whom are renowned international scholars in their respective fields, in disciplines such as Political Science, International Relations, History, Sociology, Economics, Law, European Culture, and Languages. European Politics, Society and Economics draws on the University's social science team and represents the largest concentration of cross-disciplinary social science expertise on Europe in the UK.

Our Unique Selling Point: Pan-European Coverage

The University of Birmingham is almost alone in the UK, and indeed the world, in being able to provide a comprehensive European Studies Social Science degree which crosses the traditional divide of the old Eastern Bloc and Southern Mediterranean and provides equal consideration of Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Europe. 


Modules in the first year

Level C combines a core theory module from each cognate discipline and a relevant European Studies module, except in economics where the need to ensure quantitative methods skills requires a dedicated module. This requirement means that Economics pathway students must choose between the relevant Culture and Society and Economics European module. Please note that exact module provision may vary from year to year.

Politics, Culture and General pathways

Economics pathway

Modules in the second year

At Levels I all students follow a common European 20 credit core, and a common research skills and methods module. Thereafter their options will depend on which pathway they wish to follow. Students wishing to follow a discipline pathway take a theory module from the discipline core (two in Economics) plus a module focussed broadly on the EU and (in politics and culture) a module focussed on our wider European expertise in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Politics pathway

Optional modules

Culture and Society pathway

Optional modules

Economics pathway

Optional modules

General pathway

In the general pathway, students trade subject specific expertise for a broader area knowledge across all pathways. Students are advised that choosing a general pathway may limit their options in Level 3 offered by cognate departments.

Optional modules

Final year modules

At level H, in addition to the dissertation and the core module, 'Europe In A Globalised World', the College of Social Sciences offers a wide selection of modules covering the three core disciplines, Politics, Culture and Economics. In addition, Economics and Politics both offer specialist European themed modules which will be of particular interest to those who have followed these pathways. The availability of options may vary from year to year depending on staff availability.

If you want to take advantage of a unique opportunity to be supported with a work placement opportunity as part of your final year, this course includes the opportunity to undertake a 'Professional Development' module as part of your optional module choices.

All pathways

Optional modules

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply
Learn more about fees and funding.

Learn more about our scholarships and awards.

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: ABB

General Studies: not accepted

Additional information:

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements 

International students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 34 points

Standard English language requirements apply 
Learn more about international entry requirements

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at using code: LL2C.
Learn more about applying

University of Birmingham's UCAS code number is B32.


The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.

You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

Learning and teaching

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. At Birmingham we advocate an enquiry based learning approach, from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).

To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we’ll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.

Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre’s aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions with support with mathematics and statistics based problems provided by experienced mathematicians, to workshops on a range of topics including note talking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

More about teaching and learning at the University 

Learning settings

This degree is taught by our Centre for Russian and East European Studies (CREES) which is located in Muirhead Tower on own main Edgbaston campus.

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.

Your lectures and teaching will take place in a variety of versatile lecture theatres and breakout rooms which have moved on a lot since the traditional whiteboard and pen. Our rooms are all equipped with wireless connection and constantly updated technology including all the audio-visual equipment that you would expect from one of the UK's premier insitutions.

Small-group tutorials/personal tutorials run alongside our lectures, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate lecture material, as well as test your understanding through problem-solving exercises.

Self study is an essential part of the programme and requires self motivation and enthusiasm for your subject. It also allows you to pursue your own lines of enquiry and become an independent thinker.

Assessment methods

Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.

You’ll be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will be assessed through coursework which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations, laboratory-based work (depending on your chosen degree) and formal exams.

During your first year you will undergo a formal 'transition' review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your school or department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.

At the beginning of each module, you’ll be given information on how and when you’ll be assessed for that particular programme of study. You’ll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done. You’ll be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.


Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline all of which can be transferred into your studies.

Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Career opportunities

Due to the increased role of the EU in domestic politics and global affairs, graduates with an in-depth knowledge of European economics, politics and society are increasingly in demand from both the public and private sectors. Students on this programme will be well-placed to take advantage of opportunities with a range of organisations including government agencies, non-governmental organisations, the media and multinational corporations.

The University is investing £3.5m in sector-leading employability services which will provide Birmingham students with access to mentoring by some of the University's most successful alumni, internships in the UK and overseas, and specialist staff offering unique careers guidance tailored to each academic subject area: ensuring that Birmingham graduates continue to succeed after university. We are also building on our personal academic tutoring system to provide the support and guidance that you will need to achieve your full academic potential.


If you want to take advantage of a unique opportunity to be supported with a work placement opportunity as part of your final year, this course includes the opportunity to undertake a 'Professional Development' module as part of your optional module choices.