Politics - BA (Hons)

Politics at Kent encourages you to think critically about political events, ideas and institutions while engaging with the key issues of today. Our flexible programme gives you a solid foundation in the subject and allows you to tailor your own pathway from a wide range of topics.


The School of Politics and International Relations is an exciting place to study. You receive high-quality teaching informed by cutting-edge research on a range of political issues, such as ethno-political conflict, human rights, terrorism, social theories of justice, divided societies, and US and European politics.

Our degree programme

In your first and second years, you learn how to use the concepts, approaches and methods of politics to develop an understanding of their contested nature and the problematic character of inquiry in the discipline. You acquire knowledge and understanding of political analysis in a supportive and responsive learning environment.

In the final year, you can choose the specialist dissertation module, where you produce an academic piece of writing on a topic of your choice based on your own research. The module concludes with the student conference, where you present your work to a panel of staff and fellow students.

We have recently developed an internship module which blends practical workplace experience with taught workshops and private study. This final year module helps to develop skills highly prized by employers, such as teamwork, communication and self-organisation

Study resources

Facilities and resources to support the study of Politics include:

  • access to the European Documentation Centre
  • a dedicated Student Support Manager, who advises on issues related to academic study as well as wider University life
  • a Study Skills Officer, who provides subject-related guidance.

Extra activities

At Kent, there are many student societies related to your studies, for example:

  • Current Affairs and Politics Society
  • Kent European Debates Society
  • Debating Society
  • Kent Model United Nations Society.

You are also encouraged to get involved in the programme of events and activities run by the School of Politics and International Relations, which focuses on bridging the gap between academic study and real-life politics. Our Public Speaker Programme features prominent academics and practitioners, who are invited to speak on current issues.

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Flexible tariff

You are more than your grades

At Kent we look at your circumstances as a whole before deciding whether to make you an offer to study here. Find out more about how we offer flexibility and support before and during your degree.

Entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

  • medal-empty

    A level


  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

    If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

  • medal-empty BTEC Nationals

    Distinction, Distinction, Merit

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 15 at HL

  • medal-empty International Foundation Programme

    Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average including 60% in the Politics module if taken.

International students should visit our International Student website for further specific information. International fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot study part-time due to visa restrictions.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

If you need to improve your English language standard as a condition of your offer, you can attend one of our pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes before starting your degree programme. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.


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Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time

The BA in Politics is composed of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

The modules below are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules in Stage 1 will introduce you to the ideas, concepts, methods and historical developments which are foundational and essential for the academic study of political science. The number of compulsory modules you will take varies depending on your programme, and if a module is not compulsory for you, you will still be able to choose it as an option. As you progress to subsequent stages of your programme, the number of compulsory modules will decrease, thus giving you more opportunities to select optional modules on the basis of your interests in the more specialised subfields of our discipline.

Our popular Stage 1 modules cover key areas such as political science concepts and methods, international history, international relations theory, global politics, comparative politics, political theory, conflict analysis and resolution, and British politics. During your first year we will also help you develop key academic skills including essay writing, giving presentations and revising for exams.

Stage 2

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules in Stage 2 will build on and develop the foundations laid in Stage 1. We will introduce you to more advanced techniques of political science methodology, including the analysis of political data. We will also look in greater depth at how political scientists establish, verify and corroborate their findings, how they create concepts and theories, and how knowledge interacts with power. Some of our programmes may require you to take compulsory modules specifically related to subjects that are essential to the programmes in question. For example, Politics and International Relations students will take a compulsory module on international relations concepts, theories and methods.

Optional modules

PO593 - Engendering Politics: Feminist Contribs to Pol Theory

PO611 - Politics of the European Union

PO617 - Contemporary Politics and Government in the USA

PO618 - East European Politics

PO623 - Modern Political Thought

PO657 - Political Research and Analysis

PO658 - The Rise of China

PO660 - International Conflict and Cooperation

PO661 - Fact, Evidence, Knowledge and Power

PO667 - War and Peace in International Society

PO671 - International Security

PO682 - How to Start a Revolution

PO683 - Politics in East Asia

SE606 - Connections

Year abroad

We offer Politics and International Relations programmes where it is possible to spend a year studying abroad between your second and final year. Studying abroad is a great experience and gives you the opportunity to discover how politics works in other cultures.

For details, see:

Year in Journalism

The Year in Journalism is a free-standing, self-contained year and can be taken after stage two or three (that is, between your second and final year), or after your final year. You can take a Year in Journalism if you are a current undergraduate student at the University of Kent, studying another non-computing degree programme. 

Modules currently being offered on the Year in Journalism:

Stage 3

Optional modules

PO559 - Ethics in International Relations

PO563 - Foreign Policy Analysis

PO566 - Europe and the World

PO579 - Postcommunist Russia

PO679 - Research Dissertation

PO592 - Rights, Freedoms and Individualism: Contemporary Liberalism in Question

PO599 - European Security Co-Operation

PO597 - Governance and Politics of Contemporary China

PO612 - Policy Making in the European Union

PO616 - Politics of Trust in the USA

PO626 - Placement Year

PO629 - Terrorism and Political Violence

PO630 - Politics of the Middle East

PO634 - Understanding US Foreign Policy: Power, Tradition and Transformation

PO638 - Political Behaviour in Britain

PO645 - Market States and Post Democracy

PO646 - Presidents, Parliaments and Democracy

PO652 - Politics in the Classroom

PO653 - Marxism: Politics and International Relations

PO655 - Public opinion and polling

PO654 - Politics of Deeply Divided Societies

PO656 - Humans at War

PO686 - Resistance, Suffering and Leadership: the Political Lives of Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi

PO664 - Conflict Analysis and Northern Ireland: History, Politics and Culture

PO665 - Advanced Topics in Politics and IR Andrea: Global Gender Justice

PO665 - Advanced Topics in Politics and International Relation

PO666 - Religion and International Politics

PO669 - Conservatism: Politics and International Relations of the Right

PO675 - Politics and IR Internship

PO676 - The Radical Right in Western Democracies

PO681 - Landscapes of the Future

PO684 - Contemporary Dev and Sec Challenges in the AP


The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £12600
  • International full-time £16800
  • Home part-time £4625
  • EU part-time £6300
  • International part-time £8400

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

There are no compulsory additional costs associated with this course. All textbooks are available from the library, although some students prefer to purchase their own.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.


University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.


General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

Teaching and assessment

Our main teaching methods are lectures, seminars, working groups, PC laboratory sessions and individual discussions with your personal tutor or module teachers. Assessment is through continuous feedback, written examinations, assessed essays and oral presentations.

Politics Open Forum

We hold a weekly extra-curricular Open Forum organised by our School research groups, where students and staff have the opportunity to discuss and debate key issues of the day that affect higher education and politics in the world today.

Contact hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • meet the needs of those who are seeking a career in a variety of fields (for example, the service sector) through the learning of generic intellectual, transferable and subject-specific skills
  • respond to your intellectual interest in politics and enhance your competence as a citizen in a rapidly changing political environment
  • place questions of political order and decision making at the centre of social-scientific analysis
  • ensure that you gain a knowledge and understanding of political analysis in a supportive and responsive learning environment
  • enable you to grasp political concepts and methods and understand their contested nature
  • develop your capacity to think critically about political events, ideas and institutions
  • encourage you to relate the academic study of politics to questions of public concern
  • provide a curriculum supported by scholarship and a research culture that promotes wide-ranging intellectual enquiry and debate
  • enable you to develop skills relevant to your vocational and personal development.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • key concepts, theories and methods and how they are used to analyse political ideas, institutions and practices
  • the structure, institutions and operation of different political systems
  • the social, economic, historical and cultural contexts of political institutions and behaviour
  • the political dynamics of interaction between people, events, ideas and institutions
  • factors accounting for political change
  • the contestable nature of many concepts and different approaches to the study of politics
  • the normative and positive foundations of political ideas
  • the intersection of politics with related disciplines.

Intellectual skills

You gain intellectual skills in how to:

  • gather, organise and deploy information from a variety of primary and secondary sources
  • identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems
  • develop reasoned arguments, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement
  • reflect on and manage your own learning and seek to make use of constructive feedback to enhance your own performance and personal skills.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • understanding the nature and significance of politics as a human activity
  • the application of concepts, theories and methods in the analysis of political ideas, institutions and practices
  • how to evaluate different interpretations of political issues and events
  • the ability to describe, evaluate and apply different approaches to collecting, analysing and presenting political information.

Transferable skills

You develop transferable skills in the following areas:

  • communication – how to communicate effectively in speech and writing and with the aid of IT; how to organise information clearly; how to use communication and IT for the retrieval and presentation of information, including statistical or numerical data
  • numeracy – how to make sense of statistical materials; integrate numerical and non-numerical information, and understand the limits and potentialities of arguments based on quantitative information
  • information technology – how to produce written documents; undertake online research; communicate using email; process information using databases
  • working with others – how to define and review the work of others; work co-operatively on group tasks; understand how groups function; collaborate with others and contribute to the achievement of common goals
  • improving own learning – how to explore personal strengths and weaknesses; review your working environment; develop specialist learning skills (for example in foreign languages); develop autonomy in learning; demonstrate initiative and manage your own time
  • problem solving – how to identify and define problems; explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them.

Independent rankings

In The Guardian University Guide 2020, over 91% of final-year Politics students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

Over 90% of final-year Politics students were satisfied with the quality of teaching on their course in The Guardian University Guide 2020.

Of Politics graduates who responded to the most recent national survey of graduate destinations, over 95% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE, 2017).


Graduate destinations

Recent graduates have gone on to develop careers in areas including:

  • practical politics
  • local and central government
  • the diplomatic service
  • non-governmental organisations
  • journalism
  • international business
  • teaching
  • publishing
  • financial services.

Help finding a job

The School of Politics and International Relations runs an Employability Programme, focused on providing you with the skills you need when looking for a job. This includes workshops on a range of topics, for example summer internships, networking, and careers in diplomacy and the Civil Service.

You also have access to a weekly Employability Newsletter, featuring jobs for graduates, as well as internship and volunteering opportunities.

The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Career-enhancing skills

To help you appeal to employers, you also learn key transferable skills that are essential for all graduates. These include the ability to:

  • think critically
  • communicate your ideas and opinions
  • manage your time effectively
  • work independently or as part of a team.

You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.


We are no longer accepting applications for the 2021/22 academic year. Please visit the 2022 entry course pages.

Contact us


United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

Enquire online for part-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896


International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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