Policy, Politics and Economics with Year Abroad BA

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.

Download a copy of the Policy, Politics and Economics course brochure (PDF)
Download a copy of the Policy, Politics and Economics FAQ sheet (PDF)

The Policy, Politics and Economics degree offers you the opportunity to critically engage with and consider a range of contemporary real-world issues. Unlike traditional single honours degrees, the PPE programme enables you to encounter a variety of concepts, approaches and methods from the three disciplines of social policy, politics and economics. This offers students the opportunity to build a bespoke degree, drawing on the excellent research and teaching skills of three Schools within the College of Social Sciences.

Year 1

Students undertake compulsory introductory modules in all three of the social science disciplines: social policy, politics and economics. In doing so, students establish a good social sciences foundation upon which subsequent year modules build. Example modules include 'Introduction to Social Policy', 'Foundations of Politics' and 'Principles of Economics'.

Year 2

A compulsory module, 'Global Issues, Global Responses' is at the core of the second year of studies. This interdisciplinary module enables students to consider a range of important global issues and the responses to them at the international, regional and local levels. Indicative examples of such issues include risk and terror, ethics in policy and practice, climate change and technology amongst others. Alongside this, students are required to take one module from each of social policy, politics and economics. Students can also begin to tailor their learning to their developing interests, choosing from more than fifteen optional modules, including 'Comparative European Government', 'Business Law', 'Crime, Victims and Society', 'New Migration and Superdiversity' and 'International Politics of East Asia'.

Year 3

In your third year, you will spend a year abroad at a university in the EU or elsewhere in the world. There are a wide range of countries and universities from which you can choose. As well as a range of European universities, you may also choose from a range of current partners worldwide. These include countries in which a variety of different languages are spoken, including universities at which courses are taught in English. After completing your year abroad, students will return to Birmingham to complete the final year of their studies.

Year 4

There are two key aspects to the final year of study: one is the dissertation, the opportunity to create a bespoke learning programme. For the dissertation, students will undertake a 10,000 word research-based project on a contemporary theme which includes elements of the three main disciplines of the programme. Students choose from a substantial range of optional modules whilst meeting the requirements to undertake at least one module from each discipline. The choice includes modules such as 'Employment and Business Development and Policy in the EU', 'International Ethics', 'Gender in World Politics', 'Knowledge, Innovation and Global Business', and 'Politics and The Media'. This flexibility enables the student to gain a broad education at the same time as developing in-depth knowledge in a specific discipline.

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.

Students undertake their dissertation and then choose from a substantial range of optional modules, whilst meeting the requirements to undertake at least one module from each discipline. The dissertation will offer the student an opportunity to undertake a 10,000 word research-based project on a contemporary theme which includes elements of the three main disciplines of the programme. This will encourage the student to have both a broad education and in-depth knowledge in a specific discipline.

Why study this course

Studying Policy, Politics and Economics at the University of Birmingham will provide you with a highly stimulating educational experience, support from academics whose work is internationally recognised, and your learning will take place in state-of-the-art, high-tech teaching and learning environments.

Your experiences as a student will of course be enhanced by the fact that you will undertake your studies on a beautiful campus, situated in 256 acres of parkland, at a University with outstanding cultural, sporting and social facilities. You will also benefit from studying at a University which is within easy reach of a vibrant, modern City which has so much potential to contribute to your learning experiences as a Social Policy student.

Your year abroad

A year abroad is undoubtedly one of the best opportunities that is available to you during your undergraduate career, and is something you will remember throughout your university and professional life. The benefits of spending a year abroad are many and will enhance your career prospects by developing relevant, marketable skills, such as problem-solving, communication, analytical and study skills, as well as perseverance, determination, and self-motivation. 99% of students who have studied abroad say that it was the best year of their lives!

Find out more about the benefits of studying abroad


Modules in the first year

The compulsory modules in the first year are designed to provide students with a grounding in all three disciplines of Social Policy, Politics and Economics.

  • 20 credits - Introduction to Social Policy A + B
  • 20 credits - Foundations of Politics
  • 20 credits - Finding out about Social Policy: Research Methods
  • 20 credits - Principles of Economics A + B
  • 20 credits - Quantitative Economic Methods A + B (Advanced or Introduction, depending on A-levels)

Optional modules

  • 20 credits - Introduction to International Relations
  • 20 credits - Introduction to Political Economy
  • 20 credits - Social Issues and Social Policy
  • 20 credits - Introduction to the European Union
  • 10 credits - Personal Skills for Business Management Students
  • 10 credits - Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Behaviour
  • 10 credits - Organisation and Management
  • 10 credits - The Firm and the Business Environment
  • 10 credits - Introduction to the Economy, Business and Government
  • 20 credits - Optional MOMD at Programme Director's discretion

Modules in second year

  • 20 credits - Global Issues, Global Responses
  • 20 credits - Social Theory and Social Policy A + B
  • 20 credits - Social Research Methods
  • 20 credits - Political Analysis
  • 20 credits - Choice of Macroeconomics A + B
  • 20 credits - Choice of Microeconomics A + B

Optional modules

  • 20 credits - Crime, Victims and Society
  • 20 credits - Social Inclusion
  • 20 credits - Managing Health and Social Care
  • 20 credits - New Migration and Super-diversity
  • 20 credits - From Beveridge to the Clegg-Cameron Coalition Government
  • 20 credits - Social Policy into Practice
  • 20 credits - British Politics
  • 20 credits - The Cultural Politics of Russia and Eastern Europe A + B
  • 20 credits - Comparative European Government
  • 20 credits - Institutions, Politics and Policies of the European Union
  • 20 credits - Modern Political Ideologies
  • 20 credits - International Politics of East Asia
  • 20 credits - International Security
  • 20 credits - Macroeconomics A + B (if not already taken as compulsory subject)
  • 20 credits - Economic Development A + B
  • 20 credits - Environmental Economics A + B
  • 10 credits - Managing in B2B Markets, contracts, negotiations and conflict resolution
  • 10 credits - Operations Management
  • 10 credits - Project Management
  • 20 credits - Optional MOMD at Programme Director's discretion

Year 3 - Year Abroad

During your year abroad, you will study a range of modules.

Modules in final year

  • Dissertation

Optional modules

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.

  • 20 credits - Professional Development Module
  • 20 credits - Prospects for British Social Policy A + B
  • 20 credits - Your Money or Your Life
  • 20 credits - New Migration and Super-diversity
  • 20 credits - International Ethics
  • 20 credits - Contemporary International Political Economy
  • 20 credits - Modern European Political Thought
  • 20 credits - Comparative Social Policy
  • 20 credits - Agency and Morality
  • 20 credits - Politics and The Media
  • 20 credits - Gender in World Politics
  • 10 credits - International Business Management
  • 10 credits - LH Change Management
  • 20 credits - Strategic Management
  • 10 credits - Critical Analysis in Management
  • 20 credits - Knowledge and Creative Economies
  • 10 credits - Knowledge, Innovation and Global Business
  • 20 credits - LH Advanced Business Economics (for those with A-level Maths)
  • 20 credits - Employment and Business Development and Policy in the EU
  • 10 credits - Global Business Ethics
  • 20 credits - Applied Economics of the European Community A + B (pre-requisite Macroeconomics)
  • 10 credits - Economic Policy and Political Economy (pre-requisite Macroeconomics)
  • 10 credits - Introduction to International Trade (pre-requisite Macroeconomics)
  • 10 credits - International Trade Theory and Policy for Europe (pre-requisite Macroeconomics)
  • 20 credits - History of Economic Thought A + B
  • 10 credits - Economics of Financial Markets (pre-requisite Macroeconomics)
  • 10 credits - Health Economics
  • 10 credits - Monetary Policy (pre-requisite Macroeconomics)
  • 10 credits - Open Economy Macroeconomics (pre-requisite Macroeconomics)

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


Learn more about our scholarships and awards

We encourage applications through the University’s
Access to Birmingham (A2B) Scheme

Entry requirements

Typical offer:
Required subjects and grades:
GCSE Maths Grade B
General Studies:

Additional information:

BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma are all accepted but subjects are considered on a case by case basis - contact us for further guidance.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements

International students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,6,5 at Higher Level to include English 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 one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com Learn more about applying


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.

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. 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.

Assessment methods

Studying at a 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 new 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.

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.

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.

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.

The Policy, Politics and Economics BA will enhance your employability through the development of critical and analytical thinking, enquiry-based blended learning, oral and written presentation skills, as well as time management and group/team working skills.

For more information visit our Careers section