Welcome to Politics, International Relations and International Development at Birmingham

We understand that it might be hard to picture what your first year at University will look like in these uncertain times. That's why we wanted to offer some materials to help you to get prepared and learn a little more about what Politics, International Relations and International Development at Birmingham is all about.

Studying Political Science and International Relations at Birmingham

Second year student Rumali explains why students choose to study POLSIS at Birmingham

Where could a degree in POLSIS take you?

Studying International Development at Birmingham

Why study International Development? Why now?

summer reading recommended by our lecturers

What should I read over the summer?

There are no specific texts you should read before starting your studies with us. Your first year modules will not assume you have studied politics, international relations, political economy, or international development in the past. Some classic works in these fields can be difficult to read. Where this is the case, you will be supported through them once you are a university student.

With this in mind, if you want to prepare over the summer, the best thing you can do is read, watch, and listen to the things that interest you – and think about them politically. Whether you’re reading novels, watching films, or listening to podcasts, take a critical lens to the material. Look for methods people are using to coordinate their lives together. Consider how power is functioning. Look for bias. Look for what might be being overlooked.

As well as reading things with which you agree, find materials that challenge your own view. If you usually read a newspaper with one political perspective, have a look at how the same story is covered by a newspaper with a different slant. If you come across something that resonates with you, look for critics and read, watch, or listen to their perspectives too.

Here are some texts suggested by some staff members which you may like to use as a stepping-off point for your own thinking. However, as the teaching staff at the University of Birmingham bring a rich diversity of approach, it’s not possible to suggest a single textbook or text that will be used.

Political Theory

  • Overview of Political Theory, John S. Dryzek, Bonnie Honig, and Anne Phillips (The Oxford Handbook of Political Science)

International Relations

Gender Studies


Political Economy

Meet your peers

International Relations and French BA student Abigail Campbell discusses her experiences as an international student in the School of Government at Birmingham.

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