Course details: Why study this course | Modules | Fees and funding | Entry requirements | How to apply.
A knowledge of politics helps you to understand and explain what governments do. It also teaches you a great deal about human nature. Politics is not only what political scientists study, but also an activity in which professional politicians, civil servants and ordinary citizens take part. The politics degree cousre at Birmingham enables all students to profit from a culture of learning that is aligned with our research ethos - based on critical enquiry, debate and self-motivation.
On this degree programme you will meet the great minds of history and of the present day on equal terms, not just learning what they thought, but engaging with them critically. Philosophy requires clarity and rigor of thought, imaginative flexibility and inventiveness. It also means learning to understand what others think and write, and being able to examine their arguments for weak spots and errors. This is an ability that carries over into your whole life. You will win more arguments, you will hear politician's speeches in a whole new way, and you will have a real edge in the jobs market.
Where can I go?
A lot of our European partner universities teach in the native language and so, if you wish to apply to one of them, it is usually a requirement that you have a good working knowledge of the respective language.
Outside of Europe, we have exchange partners in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Ecuador, Ghana, Israel, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, the USA, Uruguay, and the West Indies.
For more specific details on the names and locations of our partner universities, you should consult our study abroad - outgoing students webpage.
Recent international universities include:
- University of Minnesota Duluth - USA
- Loyola University, New Orleans - USA
- New Mexico State University - USA
- University of Melbourne - Australia
- University of Lund - Sweden
- University of Maine - USA
- University of Queensland - Australia
- Western University - Canada
- Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina - Argentina
- National University of Singapore - Singapore
- University van Amsterdam - Netherlands
For more information about the year abroad visit our Year abroad and student exchange page.
Why study this course
The Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) is one of the largest and best of its type in the UK. It consistently scores high in the National Student Survey and has consistently been viewed as one of the best departments in the country since the Guardian started publishing their League Tables in 2000.
Our expertise covers all areas of the discipline allowing you to learn from true specialists, with long-established strengths in the fields of political theory, European politics, international relations theory, security studies, diplomatic studies, political sociology, political economy, environmental politics, Pacific Asian politics and British politics.
As well as benefiting from our world-leading expertise, you’ll also get the chance to take part in a range of in-house activities that vary by year and are designed to complement your curriculum and enrich your time at Birmingham. These have included:
- Annual Student Conference
- Research Assistance Scheme, where students are paired with a member of staff to help them in specific research tasks
- Simulation exercises using real case examples
- Simulation events and research visits to local and national places of interest
Learn more about our Student Experience activities and the work of the Department
Contact the admissions tutor for more module information for this course.
Modules in the first year
Compulsory core modules
Choose one of the following:
- 10 credits - Formal Logic
- 10 credits - Informal Logic
Choose two of the following:
- 10 credits - Ancient Philosophy: Plato and Aristotle
- 10 credits - Epistemology: What and How do We Know?
- 10 credits - Ethics: How Should We Live?
- 10 credits - Moral Problems: An Introduction to Applied Ethics
- 10 credits - Philosophical Traditions
- 10 credits - Philosophy of Science: Methods, Ethics, and Limits of Science
- 20 credits - Problems of Philosophy
- 10 credits - The Philosophy of Religion
Modules in the second year
As a result of enhancements to the University's Joint Honours provision, students in their second and final year may choose either 80, 60 or 40 credits in each subject of their Joint Honours degree (subject to a combined total of 120 credits in each year). The programme requirements set out below are based upon a choice of 60 credits in each subject; the number of optional modules available to you (if any) will therefore vary depending on the precise number of credits you are taking in each subject. The number of credits taken in each subject may also result in a change to your degree title, as detailed in the University's Regulations. Please consult your Programme Director if you have any queries.
Compulsory core modules
You have the opportunity to develop specialised knowledge in areas that you find of greatest interest, such as political theory and analysis, European integration, British politics, American politics, comparative European politics, and political economy.
Choose 40 credits from the following modules:
Philosophy: Choose at least 40 credits from the following list: OR (provided all Year 2 credits in the other Joint Honours subject are being taken at Level I) take 20 credits from the list of optional Level C modules listed above under Stage 1 (not including modules already taken at Stage 1).
- 20 credits - Experience and Reason: Early Modern Philosophy
- 20 credits - Feminist Philosophy
- 20 credits - Logic: Its Limits + Scope
- 20 credits - Paradigms of Belief
- 20 credits - Sex, Ethics & Philosophy
- 20 credits - Speaking of Things
- 20 credits - The Ethics and Politics of Climate Change
- 20 credits - The Ethics of Killing
- 20 credits - The History of Analytic Philosophy
- 20 credits - The Mind-Body Problem
Year Abroad (Third Year)
In your third year you will register for the equivalent of 120 credits at the host institution. You will have to undertake and pass the assessment for 60 credits of the modules for which you are registered at the host institution. A Pass is required for progression to the 4th year of the programme. These credits will not contribute to the overall degree classification.
In addition to choosing modules from a wide range of options, students undertake an independent research project on a topic of their own choosing.
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.
Compulsory core modules
Political Science: Choose 20 credits from the following:
Philosophy: Choose 60 credits from the following list of options or up to 20 credits of Level I Department of Philosophy modules may be taken (see 21.5 above for list of available modules), provided that all 60 Year 3 credits in the other Joint Honours subject are being taken at Level H. This list of c. 25 modules which follows is indicative, but in any given year, only around 15 of these will run in the ordinary way (with lectures, seminars etc.) Most of the rest will be made available as a ‘Special Subject' to students whose Stage 2 marks averaged 60 or better and who elect to take (at most one) of these modules on a more independent basis.
- 20 credits - Global Bioethics
- 20 credits - Nietzche
- 20 credits - Philosophy of Language and the Linguistic Study of Meaning
- 20 credits - Philosophy of Mathematics
- 20 credits - Prejudice Race & Gender
- 20 credits - Reason and Belief: Topics in Epistemology
- 20 credits -The Puzzle of Existence: Why Is there Something Rather Than Nothing?
- 20 credits - Topics in Philosophy of Religion
- 20 credits - Philosophical Project
The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.
Fees and funding
Standard fees apply.
Learn more about
fees and funding.
Undergraduate Home/EU student fees 2015-16
Undergraduate (registered during or after 2012-13 AY)
Undergraduate (registered before 2012-13 AY)
Overseas students entering in 2015-16
Overseas students entering in 2015-16
Fee Band (Undergraduate)
Band D (Classroom)
Birmingham Foundation Academy
At Birmingham we ensure that fears about finance do not constrain prospective students from considering university and that excellence is rewarded.
The University offers a range of additional financial support for students studying at Birmingham in the form of bursaries, grants and scholarships.
Learn more about our
scholarships and awards.
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: ABB
General Studies: not accepted
Typical offer grades are for guidance only, and will depend on the subjects you are combining. Please read the entries for both subjects. Where there is a disparity between the typical offer for Subject A and the typical offer for Subject B, the higher offer should be taken as the usual offer for the combination of the two.
Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,5,5 at Higher Level with a minimum of 32 points overall.
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 www.ucas.com using code: LV25.
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.
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