Politics and International Relations - BA (Hons)

with a Language

Politics and international relations is a fast-changing, broad-based discipline, allowing you to engage with the key issues of today. Our degree programme at Kent gives you a strong foundation in the subject with a specific focus on the global aspects of contemporary world politics.

Overview

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, feminism, social theories of justice, divided societies, and US and European politics.

At Kent, you are taught by people who have advised government departments or have conducted international conflict mediation exercises. They bring this experience to their teaching, giving you the opportunity to see how theoretical ideas apply in the real world.

Many of our lecturers have also won teaching awards for their innovative teaching practices.

Our degree programme

The School of Politics and International Relations was among the pioneers in the UK in developing a degree with a language. You focus on politics and international relations while also acquiring strong linguistic abilities.

Alongside modules covering areas such as conflict resolution, federalism, comparative politics and European integration, you study modules in the language of your choice. For the language component, you can choose from French, German, Italian and Spanish.

You spend your first and second year at Kent, moving to study in your chosen country in your third year, and returning to Kent for your final year of study. Spending a year abroad is a great way to develop your language skills and to increase your understanding of the politics and culture of the country you are studying in. A full list of our available partnerships is available on our Go Abroad pages.

Our programme helps you to think critically about political and international events, ideas and institutions.

You study in a supportive and responsive learning environment, gaining knowledge and understanding of the theory and analysis of politics and international relations.

We also offer you the opportunity to study in various locations in Europe where the teaching is in English. For details, see Politics and International Relations with a Year in Continental Europe.

It is also possible to study abroad at other destinations. For details, see:

In addition, we offer a three-year Politics and International Relations programme without a year abroad. For details, see Politics and International Relations.

Study resources

Facilities and resources to support the study of Politics and International Relations include:

  • access to the European Documentation Centre
  • a dedicated Student Support Officer, 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.

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

    BBB

  • medal-empty GCSE

    Grade C in a modern European language other than English

  • 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 points at HL with 4 at HL or 5 at SL in a modern European language other than English

  • 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. You must have minimum GCSE grade 5/C (or equivalent) in a modern foreign language (including English as a second language) prior to entry.

Please note that in addition to the entry requirements set out below, you are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad.

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: 4 years full-time

The BA in Politics and International Relations with a language 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.

Fees

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

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £12600
  • International full-time £16800

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.

Funding

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.

Scholarships

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

This programme aims to:

  • attract, and meet the needs of, those who wish to combine the study of Politics and International Relations in the United Kingdom with a year abroad (either studying at a university or gaining professional experience through a suitable internship in a field relevant to the study of Politics and International Relations)
  • be compatible with widening participation in higher education by offering a wide variety of entry routes
  • place questions of political and international order and decision-making at the centre of social-scientific analysis
  • ensure that students of politics and international relations acquire knowledge and understanding of political and international relations theory and analysis in a supportive and responsive learning environment
  • enable students to understand and use the concepts, approaches and methods of politics and international relations and develop an understanding of their contested nature and the problematic character of enquiry in the discipline
  • develop students’ capacities to think critically about political events, ideas and institutions
  • encourage students to relate the academic study of politics and international relations to questions of public concern
  • provide a curriculum supported by scholarship, staff development and a research culture that promotes breadth and depth of intellectual enquiry and debate
  • assist students in developing cognitive and transferable skills relevant to their vocational and personal development
  • introduce students to different academic or professional cultures
  • develop the ability to use the target language
  • develop knowledge of the language
  • develop knowledge of aspects of the cultures, communities and societies where the language is used
  • develop intercultural awareness and understanding. 

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • key concepts, theories and methods used in the study of politics and international relations and their application to the analysis of political ideas, institutions,  practices and issues in the global arena
  • 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 and International Relations
  • the normative and positive foundations of political ideas
  • the reliance of politics on knowledge from cognate disciplines
  • the nature and significance of politics as a global activity
  • the origins and evolution of the international political system, including contemporary changes underway
  • different interpretations of world political events and issues.
  • target language
  • cultures and societies linked to target language.

Intellectual skills

You will develop intellectual skills in how to:

  • gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources
  • identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems
  • develop reasoned arguments, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement
  • reflect on, and manage, their own learning and seek to make use of constructive feedback from peers and staff to enhance their performance and personal skills
  • manage their own learning self-critically
  • employ their understanding of different educational curricula and pedagogic methods in their own work
  • integrate into a different educational, cultural, social, linguistic and, in some cases, professional environment.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills:

  • understanding the nature and significance of politics as a human and global activity
  • applying concepts, theories and methods used in the study of politics and international relations to the analysis of political ideas, institutions, practices and issues in the global arena
  • evaluating different interpretations of world political events and issues
  • describing, evaluating and applying different approaches to collecting, analysing and presenting political information
  • building knowledge of competing approaches to theories and concepts of politics and international relations
  • understanding the nature of political conflict between and within states
  • reading, writing, listening and speaking in the target language
  • ability to describe and analyse the main features of the language studied
  • gaining knowledge and understanding of the cultures and societies where the language is used.

Transferable skills

You develop transferable skills in how to:

  • communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing
  • use communication and information technology to retrieve and present information, including, where appropriate, statistical or numerical information
  • work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management
  • collaborate with others to achieve common goals
  • communicate fluently and appropriately both orally and in writing in the target language.

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).

Careers

Graduate destinations

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

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

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.

Students 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.

Work experience

We have recently developed an internship module, enabling you to gain hands-on experience in the workplace in a field relevant to your studies.

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..

Applications

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

Contact us

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

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

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