BA Political Science

with Year Abroad

Start date
September
Duration
4 years
UCAS code
L20A
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours, Study abroad year
Fees

For 2020/21:
£9,250 (Home/EU students)
£18,420 (International Students)
More Fees and funding details.

Politics is not only what political scientists study, but also an activity in which professional politicians, civil servants and ordinary citizens take part. This BA Political Science degree will provide you with a thorough grounding in the main approaches, theories and debates in Political Science.

The BA Political Science degree with Year Abroad at Birmingham will enable you to profit from a culture of learning that is aligned with our research ethos - based on critical enquiry, debate and self-motivation. As you progress through this degree you will learn about campaigns, elections, protest movements, policy issues and political ideals. You will also explore different arguments, rival theories and alternative explanations, as well as building up the analytical skills that are so important in the jobs market.

Between your second and fourth years on the Political Science BA you will undertake a year abroad at a partner HE institution. This will give you the opportunity to experience a different academic environment and way of teaching (and even different approaches to the subject).

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.

For more information about the year abroad visit our Year abroad and student exchange page.

POLSIS undergraduate brochure (PDF 1MB)

The BA Political Science with Year Abroad is taught by the Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) - one of the largest and highly regarded departments of its kind in the UK. We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas. Find out more about studying as an international student.  

We offer much more than a degree and your student experience lies at the heart of everything we do in POLSIS. As a student here, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, you have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of events - 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 POLSIS students.

Our guest speakers are always topical and leaders in their field. Other opportunities include our popular Model Unitied Nations; Harvard National Model United Nations Trip and our annual Undergraduate Conference - designed for, and organised and run by fellow undergraduate students from our School of Government. You will have the opportunity to choose speakers; organise panels; to designing the marketing and promotion strategy - this is a conference by students and for students, supported and guided by staff. The programme also works closely with a number of student societies including The Politics Society (POLSOC) - the student-run society for all those interested in politics at the University of Birmingham. 

You may also be interested in:

Modules

Modules in the first year

Compulsory modules

  • Understanding Politics
  • Introduction to Political Theory
  • Politics as a Vocation 1 and 2
  • Pathways to Political Research 1 and 2
  • Global Comparative Politics

You will also select one of the following:

  • Understanding Political Economy
  • Understanding International Relations
  • Social Justice and Politics
  • International Relations of the Global South

Modules in the second year

The second-year of your Political Science degree course further develops your understanding of the discipline and introduces new perspectives on politics and governance. It is designed to develop your knowledge and theoretical understanding of this dynamic and changing field. You will take two compulsory modules. 

Compulsory modules

You will take either Comparative Politics or Analysing Political Worlds

Plus, either Feminist Political Ideas or Race, Empire and Modern Political Theory 

Your second year of study will also provide you with the opportunity to undertake more specialised study in areas of the subject that interest you. You will be able to choose four optional modules from the extensive list of modules that we offer. These modules will build on the knowledge and skills you have acquired thus far on your degree and allow you to tailor your studies in a way that best fits with your interests and future plans. 

Optional modules in the second year

 Year 2 modules list for POLSIS
Public Choice Theory Political Economy of Energy and Energy Security  Comparative Politics 
International Political Economy Modern Political Thought Elections and Voting in Britain
Diplomatic History Post-1945 Analysing Political Worlds America and the Middle East through Politics and Film
International Relations Theory Global Governance Public Policy Blunders and Bad Decision Making 
International Security International Relations of the Middle East Soviet Politics: Rise and Fall of a Superpower
International Politics and Security in Russia and Eurasia Feminist Political Ideas War and Peace: Theory and Practice
Quantitative Political Analysis Rebels and Revolutionaries: The Politics of Non-State Armed Groups  Controversies in Contemporary Democracies: Comparative Perspectives

Year Abroad

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.

  • 60 credits - POLSIS year abroad
  • 60 credits - Year Abroad Assessment Module

Modules in the final year

In the final year of your degree you will undertake an independent study project and up to five optional modules. Modules in the final year are advanced, research led modules taught by experts in the subject area.

There are two distinct independent study pathways of independent study in the final year:

Pathway one

On this pathway you will write a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choice. You will be guided and supported by a supervisor who is an expert in your area of interest. In addition to writing the dissertation you will be able to take four optional modules.

Pathway two

On the second pathway you take the module Problems in World Politics. This module is designed to allow students to apply the knowledge they have acquired on their degree to real world policy problems in politics. In addition to this independent study module you will be able to take five optional modules.

 Optional POLSIS modules in the final year
Contemporary Russian and East European Politics Power in Britain 
Contemporary US Foreign and Security Policy
Contemporary International Political Economy Topics in British Politics Global Uprisings: Critique and Radical Politics
Security in Europe: Actors, Crises and Threats Democracy and Democratization in Contemporary Europe War Torn States and Post-Conflict Reconstruction in the South
Professional Development (work placement) Politics of Migrants, Refugees, and Diasporas in the Middle East The EU in a Globalised World
Left Parties and Protest Movements Gender in World Politics Issues in US Domestic Politics
Varieties of Capitalism and Welfare State Models Law, Politics and the International System: Mediating Power beyond the State New Media, Social Media, and International Politics 
Strategy and Decision-making Conflict, Statehood and Sovereignty in World Politics  Parties, Voters and Elections 
Body Politics: Security, Economy, Violence Environment, Politics and Society  Politics, Music and the Arts 
 The Political Economy of Russia Global Capitalism and Migration Understanding Brexit: Identity and Euroscepticism in Europe
Russian Foreign Policy  The Diplomacy of the Arab-Israeli Conflict Populism in Contemporary Politics

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2020. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Fees

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2020, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Learn more about fees and funding.

Home/EU students

Undergraduate Home/EU student fees 2020-21
Fee Band Full-time
Undergraduate £9,250

Overseas students

Overseas students entering in 2020-21
Fee Band (Undergraduate) Full-time
Band 1 (Classroom) £18,420

Scholarships

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 .

Student Research Internships

Each year on this International Relations degree we offer up to 10 research internships to undergraduates in POLSIS. These are open on a competitive basis to all second year students. These are fully supported, paid internships that give students the opportunity to work on a one-to-one basis with a member of academic staff in POLSIS on a research project.


For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

How To Apply

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com using code: L20A.
Learn more about applying.

University of Birmingham's UCAS code number is B32.

UCAS

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.

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB
General Studies:
not accepted

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

For students starting their course in 2019 the entry requirements are 6,6,5 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 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.

We advocate an enquiry-based approach to learning, which means that we encourage you to become an independent and self-motivated learner. Through the Political Science degree with year abroad 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 on this Political Science degree 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 Political Science degree.

More about student experience at POLSIS

Contact hours

For all undergraduate modules students attend lectures and seminars regularly throughout the term. Contact hours vary dependent on module choice. As well as time with your lecturers and personal tutor, academic and professional services staff (like our dedicated Careers Network team) will be available to offer individual and group support throughout your time here at Birmingham.

Personal Tutor

From the outset, you will be assigned your own Personal Tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies, providing academic and welfare advice, encouraging you and offering assistance in any areas you may feel you need extra support to make the most of your potential and your time here at Birmingham.

Seminars and tutorials

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 Political Science degree with year abroad 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.

Lecturers and world leading researchers

Throughout the degree, you will be taught by lecturers who have worked in the field of political science and international relations as well as world leading researchers. You can learn more about the School by visiting the School of Government staff pages

Learning settings

This Political Science degree is taught by our internationally renowned Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) which is located in Muirhead Tower on own main Edgbaston campus.

Departments from across the School of Government are all based within Muirhead Tower. 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. 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 institutions.

More about our approach to teaching.

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.

As well as learning the detail of your subject, you will develop excellent transferable skills ready to take on the world of work.  You will also have the opportunity to benefit from our in-house careers support and our University of Birmingham Careers Network. During the first year of your studies Careers Advisers will attend lectures in your course to support you with career planning from an early stage. The lectures will cover career planning, researching career and internship opportunities, developing the skills that graduate employers are looking for, and presenting yourself with impact to a potential employer.

In addition to the extensive careers support that Birmingham University offers all of its students, we offer bespoke employability and careers workshops to all students on our International Relations degree. These workshops run in each year of your programme and are tailored to support you with the information you need to plan should you wish to pursue employment or postgraduate study.

International Model NATO Conference in Washington DC

All third-year students on this Political Science degree programme, are eligible to apply to be part of a delegation to the annual International Model NATO Conference, held in Washington DC in the Spring Term. This experience provides students with a unique opportunity to participate in a role-play exercise of decision-making at NATO, working with delegates from universities and institutions across the globe. Students selected for this Conference will be provided with bursaries that cover the cost of Conference registration, accommodation and subsistence.

On-campus UN modelling event

Each year we work with the Guild UN Modelling Society to put on a Model UN event. This is open to all students on this Political Science degree and attracts students from all around the world.