Modules in the first year
In the first year of your degree you receive a thorough grounding in the study of politics, with particular emphasis on the major approaches to the discipline and key ideas such as leadership, ideology, power, populism, democracy, justice, and human rights. Each of the modules you take in the first year is designed to introduce you to the theory and practice of politics and to provide you with a foundation for more advanced, specialised study in the second and third years of your degree.
The modules that you will study include Understanding Politics which will introduce you to the study of politics and government, Classical Political Thought which will provide you with an overview of historical and theoretical approaches to thinking about political problems, and Politics as a Vocation which will introduce you to introduces students to a wide range of political vocations and real world political practices. You will also undertake a module in Research Skills that will provide you with the research skills you need to succeed in your studies.
In addition to these modules you will also have the opportunity to take an optional module of your choice from within POLSIS and a widening horizons module in a subject outside of your discipline (e.g. history, psychology, modern languages or law). The widening horizons module is part of our commitment at Birmingham University to foster breadth as well as depth of knowledge by encouraging all first year students to study subjects outside of their chosen subject area. This is an excellent opportunity to continue a subject you enjoyed at A-Level or to pursue a brand new interest.
Modules in the second year
The second-year of your 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. First, you will take either Analysing Political Worlds, which examines the nature and distribution of power in politics and society or Comparative Politics, which compare key features of political systems across the globe. You are then asked to take one of either Modern Political Thought, which focuses on the development of political ideas and ideologies in the period from the French Revolution to the Second World War or Feminist Political Ideas, which examines the historical development and diversity of feminist political ideas.
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.
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.
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.
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 2019. 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.