BA (Hons)

Politics and International Relations

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  • UCAS code(s): L240
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: September 2018
  • Course duration: 3 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information

This innovative Politics and International Relations degree will allow you to develop a greater awareness of the complexity and connectedness of the political and international processes and theories that shape our lives. You’ll examine the contemporary world in which we live at local, national and global levels.

If you have a keen interest in current affairs, international trends and understanding the changing world in which we live, then the Politics and International Relations course at NTU is ideal for you.

Because Politics deals with fundamental issues affecting society globally, it makes an ideal combination with International Relations to create an exciting, stimulating and relevant course.

Why choose this course?

  • Learn from academic staff who are passionate about their areas of expertise.
  • You may have the opportunity to study abroad for one term in your second year as part of the Erasmus foreign exchange network and undertake valuable work-based learning.
  • The research of our academic staff feeds directly into the course, which means you'll be learning about the latest issues from world-renowned experts. The team also regularly contribute their thoughts about worldwide events and incidents to the local, national and international media.
  • The course will put you in a great position to embark on careers in local politics and government, NGOs, or other organisations with a stake in national and international political contexts, including the police, financial services, public services, civil services, and journalism.

What you'll study

This stimulating degree offers you the opportunity to combine key components of International Relations as well as the chance to examine a range of political systems and theories.

You will acquire the skills required to: critically engage with a range of texts (including books, documents, scholarly articles, journalistic sources, and web-based sources); debate and discuss events, ideas and arguments; critically compile and effectively present knowledge, arguments and opinions; research independently using primary and secondary sources; put all of this into practice in real-world contexts

Throughout this course you'll won't just study politics, you'll have the chance to practice what you learn. In the Politics and International Relations in Practice Module in Year One, you'll have the opportunity to get involved with real-world politics, such as participating in the Student Parliament or student society. You'll also be actively encouraged to participate in voluntary work.

Please be aware that some modules on the BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations course may be taught at our Clifton Campus.

  • Year One

    The first year modules are designed to introduce you to basic political concepts and approaches. This will allow you to support your opinions with appropriate concepts and methods of investigation.

    Core modules

    Foundations and Challenges to International Relations

    You’ll study the conceptual and historical areas necessary for understanding the dynamic nature of contemporary international relations. These include structuralism, post-structuralism and post-modernism, feminism, green theory and critical theory. You will also gain an understanding of the actual practices of resistances to orthodoxy embodied in social movements, popular direct action, and aesthetic-cultural forms of representation.

    International Relations and Global History

    You’ll be introduced to the argument that contemporary world politics can be understood in historical contexts. The module focuses on long-term trends and transformations, drawing attention to mechanisms of change and continuity. In doing so, it also (re-)introduces the main events and landmarks of the 19th and 20th Centuries, which have durably marked and shaped the contemporary international system.

    British Politics: Governing in a Global Age

    This module will introduce you to the basic concepts related to the study of British politics and government. It identifies significant actors in the political and government systems of the UK and its territorial polities, and identifies and interprets their role, functions and interrelations.

    Political Ideologies in Conflict

    Explore the main political ideologies that have emerged over the past three centuries.  You’ll learn the historical and contextual emergence of each ideology, alongside their continuing relevance for shaping today’s global society. The works associated with key political theorists will be studied closely, and you’ll explore not only the unity within each ideology, but also their internal complexity. Of particular importance will be appreciating the significance of human nature, and more specifically the way this feeds into each ideologies’ view on how society should function.

    Media, Power and Politics

    You’ll be introduced to the key concepts, theories and approaches to understanding the nature and impact of mass media in contemporary politics (and society). You’ll also consider the political ramifications of the developing structure, ownership and technologies of contemporary media in Britain, the range of key "players" involved in political communication, and you'll assess both competing and common interests and behaviour.

    Politics and International Relations in Practice

    This module will allow you to take part in real-world politics, such as participating in our Student Parliament, the Politics and International Relations society, or other relevant activity within or outside of the University.

  • Year Two

    Core modules

    Politics and International Relations: Theory and Practice

    This module is designed to develop your understanding of the role of research in the study of politics and international relations. You’ll learn the methods of research design and practice, and you'll analyse and evaluate quantitative and qualitative methodologies to select appropriate research techniques. You’ll also study contrasting approaches and paradigms for the study of politics and international relations. A key aim of this module is to help you develop the necessary skills to produce a viable research project. This will be excellent preparation for your final year dissertation.

    Political Theory in Focus

    Develop your skills in the analysis of key political concepts such as political obligation, citizenship and rights, political power and consent.

    Optional modules

    Modules with a Politics focus

    The Politics of Identity

    This module will develop your understanding of classical and contemporary theories of the 'self'. You’ll analyse the continued importance of identity in shaping both individual and collective subjectivity.

    Environmental Politics

    In this module, you'll consider a number of theoretical perspectives within ecological political thought; examine in detail national and international actors, processes, treaties and disputes; and consider possible resolutions of complex and apparently intractable global environmental problems.

    People, Policy and Power: Comparing Political Systems

    During this module, you'll analyse the key concepts and processes relevant to comparative politics.

    Politics of the Turkic and Post-Soviet Region

    Examine the key developments that have taken place in the former Soviet republic since its collapse in 1991. This will include studying the political, economic and social changes that have taken place.

    Global Political Marketing

    Gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact political marketing has on political behaviour, party organisation and voting patterns at a national and international level.

    Modules with an International Relations focus

    Global Political Economy

    You’ll explore the development of the global political economy (GPE) as an area of study in International Relations and apply its theories and methods to analyse aspects of the contemporary global system. In order to do this, you’ll look at the historical development of the GPE as a critical response to traditional International Relations, and how critical or unorthodox theory within GPE has emerged. The module then uses these theories and methods to understand and explain contemporary actors, processes and issues in the global political economy.

    Change and the World Order

    Examine the nature of international order and consider how international institutions have contributed to its maintenance.

    International Security

    Explore issues relating to the use of force by states, through to violence by non-state actors such as terrorist groups, and on to the concepts of critical security where issues such as disease and environmental impact are important.

    Foreign Language

    A wide variety of foreign languages can be studied at beginner, intermediate or advanced level.

  • Final year

    Core modules

    Dissertation

    An independent study of around 10,000 words on a Politics and / or International Relations subject of your own choosing. You’ll be supervised by a member of staff and attend dissertation workshops to help you develop the necessary skills to successfully complete this assessment.

    Interpreting Contemporary Politics

    This module provides an opportunity for you to continue to develop your understanding of philosophy and political theory in its contemporary intellectual forms. You'll be encouraged to acquire, critically evaluate and apply perspectives in contemporary political theory to current issues in national and international politics. This will allow you to engage with current events and concerns in a critically astute manner, opening some of the challenges we face today to new ideas and perspectives in political thought.

    Optional modules

    British Politics in Uncertain Times

    Examine the changing nature of British Politics in the context of global issues. You'll gain an understanding of the origins of contemporary issues of vital importance, such as the resurgence of nationalism in Britain, the leaving of the European Union, the financial crisis and its aftermath and many more. These dynamic, changing and highly volatile issues will be reflected through the lens of key actors in the British state, British interests overseas, and the potential end of the British state as we know it.

    American Politics and Government

    Examine the politics and government of the USA with a focus on its policy process. The US is a complex and changing western liberal democracy. During this module, you'll be introduced to the significant actors and institutions in the political and governmental system of the United States. Their de jure and de facto powers along with their roles and functions will be discussed and critically evaluated in a range of policy areas.

    Politics of Everyday Life

    Explore the nature of politics beyond the traditional, and seek to analyse the politicisation of issues such as nature, consumption, and the rise of new social movements.

    The 'End of the West'?

    This module examines the institutions, the politics and the policy-making process of a range of European states both within and outside the European Union, alongside the workings of the EU itself. You'll study a range of domestic and foreign policy issues, the key actors involved over time, the ideologies in harmony and tension, and the uncertain fate of the European project.

    Feminist Theory

    This module will introduce you to some of the main branches of feminist thought and core themes in contemporary feminism. Topics may include, but are not limited to, historical and contemporary approaches to feminist theory and how they fit together; analysis of key areas of feminist theory, e.g. liberal, socialist, radical, black and post-colonial feminism, feminist international relations; the feminism of today and the so-called ‘third wave’; and the application of these theories to contemporary feminist issues.

    States, Nationalism and Identity

    Explore the increasingly complex question of identity in international relations. This module asks how individuals and social groups develop a sense of who they are, how they relate to others, how this affects their sense of belonging to the state, nation or other collectivity, and the political significance of this sense of identity.

    Political Violence and Terrorism

    Expand your knowledge and understanding of terrorism and political violence in a global context. Analyse the concept of insecurity in a broad sense through exploring both the theoretical approaches to the study of violence, as well as a range of real-world cases to illustrate the increasingly complex use of violence for political objectives.

    International Relations of the Middle East and North Africa

    You’ll explore the political economy of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) against the backdrop of the colonial and post-independence history of the region.

    Emerging Powers of Asia

    This module explores and analyses international relations within Asia, both in terms of individual member states and regional players, for instance the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).  It will also explore the role that external actors have had in facilitating, hindering and modifying the development of specific forms of international relation.

    Foreign Language

    A wide variety of foreign languages can be studied at beginner, intermediate or advanced level.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

You may have the chance to spend half of your second year studying abroad with the Erasmus+ foreign exchange scheme.

How you’re taught

To provide you with a first-class learning experience and to guarantee you have an opportunity to make the most of your time at university, you'll receive contact time through a diverse range of delivery methods.

Structured teaching will be delivered through a combination of traditional lectures and seminars. Both lectures and seminars develop subject specific knowledge and expose a wide range of views and perspectives on contemporary issues. Lectures aid skills such as:

  • listening
  • concentration
  • active understanding
  • note-taking.

While smaller group seminars and workshops provide opportunities to develop:

  • reflective discussions
  • problem-solving skills
  • group working
  • analysis
  • debating skills
  • presentation skills.

A number of modules make use of alternative ways of learning in the classroom. These include, problem-based inquiry, flipped classrooms, simulation exercises, group presentations, case studies and film-based discussions.

Tutorials with staff

As the relationship between students and tutors is an important one, you can expect to have lots of direct contact and support through seminars and one-to-one tutorials. At these sessions you'll have the opportunity to:

  • discuss and get feedback about your work.
  • ask questions about the projects you're working on.
  • raise any difficulties you are experiencing relating to your work, personal circumstances or your university experience.

Independent study

Independent study is an important part of this course. Throughout your three years of study, the scheduled contact hours you receive will gradually decrease as you develop the skills required to undertake an independent study or dissertation in your final year. You'll still have regular contact with your tutors, and if necessary ad hoc tutorials can be arranged.

Virtual learning environment

You'll also use our virtual learning environment NOW, which extends the course beyond the classroom. Activities you may be asked to complete include: online quizzes, crosswords, film-screenings and other video resources, mini-reports, online multiple choice tests, mini-essays, case-studies, short written answers (that help build toward longer essays), online question banks, discussion forums, topical question sheets, past exam papers and other online assessment materials.

NOW is a flexible web-based system that allows you to have 24-hour access to module learning materials and reading lists. It allows you to discuss work with tutors and other students, and submit coursework electronically from anywhere in the world.

Learning from experts

You'll be taught by an enthusiastic research-active team who have specialist knowledge in several regional areas, as well as in contemporary political theory. The courses all draw upon their expertise, research interests and experience, and many have also published textbooks in their specialist area of interest. You will develop specialist knowledge based on the team's expertise in several areas, including political theory, foreign policy, international and global institutions, international relations theory, global political economy, South Asia, Africa, North East Asia, and the Middle East.

In addition to the traditional lectures, tutorials and independent study, you'll also hear and learn from renowned experts and professionals in related fields who are regularly invited to come and talk to our students, providing you with an insight into their specialist knowledge and experiences.

Study abroad opportunities

You may have the opportunity to spend half of your second year studying abroad with the Erasmus+ foreign exchange scheme. There are many benefits to studying abroad – not only will it help expand your CV and gain a new perspective on your subject, it will also allow you to grow your independence and experience a new culture.

All of our exchange partners offer modules taught in English, including our European partners, so foreign language skills are not essential.

Find out more about this exciting study abroad opportunity.

Learn a new language

Alongside your study, you also have the opportunity to learn a new language. The University Language Programme (ULP) is available to all students, and gives you the option of learning a totally new language or improving the skills you already have.

Learning a new language can:

  • enhance your communication skills
  • enrich your experience when travelling abroad
  • boost your career prospects.

Find out more about the University Language Programme.

How will I be assessed?

This course makes use of a wide range of assessment methods to enable us to see a broad and balanced representation of your skills and knowledge. These methods may include: written examinations; coursework based essays; textual analysis; oral presentations; multiple-choice tests; reports; case studies; reviews of academic literature and a final year research-based dissertations. In response to student feedback, the University has introduced a policy ensuring marked work is returned to you electronically within three weeks of submission.

Assessment methods

  • Year 1 coursework (50%), written exams (50%)
  • Year 2 coursework (83%), written exams (17%)
  • Year 3 coursework (83%), written exams (17%)

Contact hours

A full-time student on average can expect to spend 1200 hours a year learning which will typically be broken down as follows:

  • Year1 lectures/seminars/workshops (23%), independent study (77%)
  • Year2 lectures/seminars/workshops (24%), independent study (76%)
  • Year3 lectures/seminars/workshops (19%), independent study (81%)

97% of BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations full-time students agree that staff are good at explaining things (National Student Survey 2017).

Careers and employability

100% of our BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations students are in employment or further study within six months of finishing their degree (DLHE 2016/17)

The job titles below give an indication of the careers our recent Politics and International Relations graduates are following:*

  • Police Officer
  • European Recruitment Consultant
  • Marketing Executive
  • Graduate Development Officer
  • Data Analyst
  • Communications and Events Officer
  • Business Development Manager

*Latest DLHE survey undergraduate results, 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Excellent work experience opportunities

Throughout this course you'll be developing skills for employability. On the Researching Politics and International Relations Module in Year Two, you will have the opportunity to gain work experience with a number of local and national organisations. You'll also be actively encouraged to participate in voluntary work.

Your career development

This is a major part of the course. You will develop key transferable skills including:

  • communication
  • time management
  • problem-solving
  • teamworking.

You'll also have the opportunity to develop links with relevant organisations and potential employers.

Following graduation from this course, you will be well placed to apply for roles in the private and public sector organisations, including:

  • local government
  • the civil service
  • international aid and development agencies
  • the armed forces or the police.

Private sector organisations are increasingly looking for graduates with an understanding of international and global events and processes too. They are also interested in employing graduates who understand cultural barriers.

Our Employability team

We have a dedicated Employability team located on the City Campus. The team are well placed to give you specialist guidance and practical help that will really make a difference to your prospects once you do graduate.

Our Politics and International Relations graduates get jobs – 100% of our BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations students are in employment or further study within six months of finishing their degree (DLHE 2016/17)

Entry requirements

For September 2018 entry you will need:

  • A-levels – BCC; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM; or
  • 104 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent qualifications; and
  • GCSEs – English and Maths or Science grade C / 4.

We also consider equivalent qualifications and combinations. Please see our website or UCAS Course Search for more details..

All applications are considered on a case-by-case basis. We are happy to accept applications from mature students, and from students with access qualifications or many other types of standard and non-standard qualifications for which we can calculate UCAS points. Non-standard applicants may be interviewed.

The UCAS Tariff

We’ve created this calculator to help you work out how many UCAS points your qualifications relate to.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions team or call +44 (0)115 848 4200.

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our undergraduate degrees. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

For September 2018 entry you will need:

  • A-levels – BCC; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM; or
  • 104 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent qualifications; and
  • GCSEs – English and Maths or Science grade C / 4.

We also consider equivalent qualifications and combinations. Please see our website or UCAS Course Search for more details.

Foundation courses

If you need to do a foundation course to meet our course requirements, please visit Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC). If you’re already studying in the UK at a school or college and would like to know if we can accept your qualification, please visit our foundation courses page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

For a list of our language requirements, please visit our English language page.

If you need to do a pre-sessional English language course to meet the English requirements, please visit our pre-sessional English course page.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University, please contact our international team for advice.

University preparation courses

If you do not meet the entry requirements, you may be interested in our pre-Masters or Foundation courses at Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC), which lead onto this postgraduate or undergraduate degree if successfully completed. NTIC students are based on the City Campus and have access to all the University facilities.

Find out more about university preparation courses at NTIC.

How to apply

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Writing your application and personal statement

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember that we can only make a decision based on what you tell us, so include all of your qualifications and grades, including resits or predicted grades.

Your personal statement is a really important part of your application – it’s your chance to convince us why we should offer you a place. You’ve got 4,000 characters to impress us. Make sure you use them to show how your skills and qualities are relevant to the course(s) you’re applying for. For more hints and tips, take a look at our page on how to write a good personal statement.

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process – so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our Your Application page. Good luck with your application!

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

You can apply directly to NTU for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year. If you are applying to more than one UK university, you must apply through UCAS.


Apply as early as you can so that you have time to prepare for your studies. If you need a visa to study here, you need to plan this into your application.

Apply now

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process – so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Good luck with your application!

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Further information on how to apply

Need help with your application?
For admissions related enquiries please contact us:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4200

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

International fees and scholarships

For international and EU fees for all courses, together with advice on how to pay, please visit our international fees information.

We offer prestigious scholarships to our international students holding offers to study here. For details and an application form please visit our international scholarships information.

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

Still need help?

School of Social Sciences Enquiries
+44 (0)115 848 4460