Politics and International Relations with a Year in the Asia-Pacific - BA (Hons)

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Politics and international relations is a fast-changing, broad-based discipline, allowing you to engage with the key issues of today. On this programme, you study the international and global dimension of contemporary world politics and spend a year at one of our partner universities in the Asia-Pacific.

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

This very popular programme combines all the strengths of our three-year BA degree in Politics and International Relations with the opportunity to spend a year in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore or Taiwan. A full list of our available partnerships is available on our Go Abroad pages.

You spend your first and second years at Kent, you then spend your third year in your chosen country, returning to Kent for your final year. You are taught in English throughout, which allows you to take advantage of the year abroad experience without having to be fluent in the language of the country where you intend to study.

While at Kent, you follow the existing programme of the BA in Politics and International Relations as well as take specific modules tailored to the country where you intend to study. If you spend a year in Japan, you take modules on the Politics of Japan and study Japanese to a basic level. If you spend a year in China/Hong Kong, Singapore or Taiwan, you take modules on the Politics of China. In China or Taiwan, you also study Mandarin to a basic level.

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

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

Student view

Politics and International Relations student David talks about his course at Kent.

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.

Entry requirements

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

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Some typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    BBB

  • 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 Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    Distinction, Distinction, Merit

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 15 points at HL

  • 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.

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 year in The Asia-Pacific is composed of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ 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

You take all compulsory modules, than choose from a list of optional modules. Students on Japan pathway would then take 30 credits of Japanese language modules and students on the China/Taiwan pathway would take 30 credits of Mandarin language modules.

Compulsory modules currently include

The module will discuss key issues, events, developments and trends that characterise today's global politics. The precise list of issues to be included will vary from year to year depending on the global political landscape and staff availability, but examples of issues that may be covered in a given year include climate change, globalisation, global dimensions of poverty and inequality, the global economy of waste, religion and global politics, global governance, global aspects of war and conflict, colonialism and imperialism, superpower politics and influence, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, international organisations, refugees and migration etc. The issues chosen will be studied from multiple perspectives, starting from a basic, empirical analysis and progressing towards conceptual and theoretical issues suitable to the module level. Lectures will be complemented by small groups seminars and workshops.

Find out more about POLI3340

This module introduces students to the empirical study of the key structures, institutions, processes, outcomes and behaviour in political systems. It familiarises students with both the content and shape of political life and how academic scholars study it. But it also introduces the data, methods and techniques that allow students to study it themselves. Students learn about political life by learning how to do basic political research.

Find out more about POLI3350

Optional modules may include

One of the impediments to communication between different academic disciplines is their use of different ways of making, and validating, arguments and proofs. These differences are the product of diverging approaches to answering a single question: what counts as knowledge? A key element of the programme in Liberal Arts is enabling students to understand, appreciate and assimilate findings from diverse academic approaches. This module introduces students to the ways in which different academic disciplines conceptualise the nature of knowledge. Through a range of lectures, seminars and workshops the course will introduce the students to a range of ways that 'truth' is established across the sciences, social sciences and humanities by way of several key theoretical approaches that span these disciplines.

These questions will be introduced through a number of case studies in which several contemporary issues will be analysed from the perspective of different disciplines across several weeks.

Find out more about LART3310

A key element of a Liberal Arts education is the ability to critically understand and respond to current affairs. 'Understanding the Contemporary' will enable students to think critically about their own period, and analyse the forces and events shaping contemporary culture and society. Students will consider texts from a range of disciplines and will be selectively introduced to key ideas in contemporary theory and philosophy. They will apply insights drawn from their readings and discussions within analyses of contemporary situations. The focus of the module will be on the period since 2000, though where necessary it will reach back before that date to contextualise current issues. Students will be required to think critically about the ways different disciplines are formulating representations of the contemporary period, and to discuss themes and ideas that cross those disciplines. Seminars and lectures will address topics that define the present period and it is in the nature of the module that its study topics will vary from year to year.

Find out more about LART3320

Democracy in Britain does not appear to be in a healthy state. Citizens are less engaged with political institutions, and less trusting in politicians, than they used to be. Critical questions are being asked about the role and effectiveness of such key institutions as the electoral system and parliament. Meanwhile, the nature of political authority in Britain is changing rapidly. Power has been transferred upwards to the European Union, and downwards to devolved bodies in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London. Non-electoral actors such as the media also play an important role in shaping political decisions. Where does this leave the political system at the start of the 21st century? Is government in Britain effective and democratic? Or are Britain's political institutions failing? This module provides students with an introduction to some of the key issues facing the political system in Britain today. The module examines the challenges facing the political system, the effectiveness of existing political arrangements and the merits of institutional reform. While the focus is domestic, many of the same challenges are also faced by political systems in other west European countries, to which the course will make reference. The module thus aims to go beyond a simple focus on British politics, by introducing students to some of the key contemporary issues facing many western democracies.

Find out more about POLI3040

This module introduces students to the study of political concepts that are central to thinking about political life. Through the study of these concepts students will be introduced to the principal ideas of many of the major figures in the history of Western political thought (for example, Plato, Hobbes, Rousseau and Marx) and to the work of many contemporary political theorists as well (John Rawls, Michael Sandel, Richard Rorty, Susan Okin and others). In addition, lectures and tutorials will familiarise students with a variety of different debates about how best to understand any given concept (such as, debates about what constitutes 'human nature') as well as how to understand the relationship between different concepts (such as, whether a just society must be an equal one or not). Moreover, the module is designed to allow students to develop a set of 'conceptual tools' with which to interrogate and shape the political world in which they find themselves; a world which is saturated everyday with competing articulations of the political concepts that we will study in this module. As such, students should come to develop a subtle appreciation of how the concepts examined on this module are, to greater or lesser degrees, intrinsic to all of their studies in politics and international relations (and related subjects).

Find out more about POLI3140

The module is designed to introduce students to the principle approaches to conflict and conflict resolution. Starting with a discussion of the pervasiveness of conflict in human existence, the module will engage with the key question of "what is conflict?" Students will be introduced to conflict management and conflict resolution approaches before engaging with conflict resolution processes such as negotiation and mediation. The module will rely on case studies and simulations to help students engage directly and better grasp the different theoretical approaches. Case studies will include an in-depth analysis of the Oslo process and a discussion of the specific difficulties linked to negotiations with “terrorists.” The students will emerge from the module with knowledge of the central paradigms and concepts of conflict analysis and resolution, and with an initial set of skills (negotiation and mediation) which can be used to further understand international politics but also in their personal engagement with others.

Find out more about POLI3250

The Politics Today module enables us to engage our first year students in debates on current political issues, typically on issues that dominate our newspapers and therefore are close to the students' own awareness and experience. However, in the introduction to the module we will also consider how such issues enter our awareness and why, and whether indeed 'relevance’ itself is a political construct. The module will be responsive to current world affairs, and therefore the precise selection of issues to be discussed may change from year to year. After a general introduction, 2-3 issues will be presented and analysed, typically by considering historical backgrounds, key political actors, configurations of interests, possible developments and outcomes. The module endeavours to help students appreciate and conceptualise the complexities of the modern world by discussing current national and/or world issues from diverse perspectives and angles. At the beginning of the course, students will also be given the opportunity to vote on issues of interest which are not already included in the curriculum. The issue with the most votes will then be added to the curriculum, and students will be involved in preparing the issue for discussion and analysis.

Find out more about POLI3360

The curriculum content is intended to give students some familiarity, at a level comparable to A1 level on CEFR, with everyday life, activities and the culture in Mandarin Chinese speaking countries. Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will focus on an introductory level of communication skills used in everyday life including greetings and introductions, talking about oneself and getting to know each other. Basic skills useful to people visiting China will be taught including describing preferred drinks and daily activities. An introductory level of Chinese culture will be covered such as social interaction and geography including major cities.

The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught in seminars, by means of Mandarin Chinese course books, audio materials and online resources and through sharing experiences of a tutor and students.

Students will have access to these materials and additional resources on Moodle. A range of resources is also available at the library.

Find out more about WOLA3020

The curriculum content is intended to give students some familiarity, at a level comparable to lower A2 level on CEFR, with everyday life, activities and the Chinese culture. Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will focus on an elementary level of communication skills to explain very simple factual information on personal and very familiar topics such as talking about food, time, asking and giving simple opinions on familiar topics. Basic skills useful to people visiting China will be taught including expressing how to go to/come to somewhere and taking transports. An elementally level of Chinese culture will be covered such as festivals, geography including major cities and famous places.

The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught in seminars, by means of course books, audio materials and online resources and through sharing experiences of a tutor and students.

Students will have access to these materials and additional resources on Moodle. A range of resources is also available at the library.

Find out more about WOLA3030

The curriculum content is intended to give students some familiarity, at a level comparable to A1 level on CEFR, with everyday life, activities and the culture in Japan. Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will focus on an introductory level of communication skills used in everyday life including greetings and introductions, talking about oneself and getting to know each other. Basic skills useful to people visiting Japan will be taught including describing locations and shopping. An introductory level of Japanese culture will be covered such as social interaction and geography including major cities.

The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught in seminars, by means of course books, audio materials and online resources and through sharing experiences of a tutor and students.

Students will have access to these materials and additional resources on Moodle. A range of resources is also available at the library.

Find out more about WOLA3040

The module is for students who can read and write Japanese letters, Hiragana and Katakana, and have very basic knowledge and skills of Japanese. The curriculum content is intended to give students some familiarity with everyday life, activities and the culture in Japan. Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will focus on an elementary level of communication skills to explain very simple factual information on personal and very familiar topics. Basic skills useful to people visiting Japan will be taught including ordering food, making very simple enquiries and asking for locations. An introductory level of Japanese culture will be covered in seminars.

Find out more about WOLA3050

Stage 2

Compulsory modules currently include

This course builds on students' knowledge of the approaches and methods used in the study of politics and international relations introduced in the first year of the degree program and the foundation in the analysis of quantitative data established in the second year. Students will be asked to consider the nature and purposes of descriptive and causal analysis in politics and international relations. Students will develop skills in choosing, using and evaluating the research designs, and techniques for the collection and analyses of data used by researchers in these fields. Emphasis in the course will be placed on a mixed methods approach to political analysis that enables student to integrate, analyse and evaluate both qualitative and quantitative data. In addition to developing a conceptual and theoretical understanding of different approaches to evidence gathering and analyses and how they can be combined, students will also have the opportunity to extend their skills in practical data analyses.

Find out more about POLI6610

This module will address the major milestones in the politics and international relations of East Asia since 1945. We will analyse the causes and significance for East Asian countries of events such as the Korean War, the Cultural Revolution, the economic take-off of both Japan and South Korea, China's economic reforms, democratisation across the region, and US-China competition.

A central theme of the module will be analysing the decisions that leaders take in order to hold onto power – from repression and liberalisation to corruption, purges, and propaganda – and how these decisions continue to influence the domestic and international politics of East Asian countries. We will explore differences in the countries’ domestic political systems to help understand major historical and contemporary policies, and the influence of economic and security considerations.

Find out more about POLI6830

The study of social and political phenomena is a vast endeavour and this class will serve as an introduction to methods for social science research. It provides a basic, non-technical introduction to the use of quantitative methods in the political sciences for students from a variety of educational backgrounds (including those with very limited knowledge of mathematical terminology and notation). The progression of this course will address scientific research design and methodology and consider many examples of such research In short, it seeks to enable students to read, interpret, and critically assess arguments drawing on quantitative methods in Politics and International Relations. Students with some prior exposure to quantitative methods will have the opportunity to improve their command of statistical software as well as apply their general statistical skills to data sets commonly found in policy and academic work.

Find out more about POLI6870

This module provides an overview of key theories, concepts and debates in the discipline of international relations: examples of such theories include liberalism, realism, international society approaches, Marxism, critical theory, post-structuralism and feminism. The theories will be introduced and evaluated in terms of their weaknesses and strengths. This will require some discussion of how theories contribute to the formation of knowledge and how they are to be 'tested' or evaluated.

Find out more about POLI6900

Optional modules may include

One of the strengths of the Liberal Arts programme is its ability to draw connections between various fields of knowledge of disciplines that have become increasingly fragmented. By focusing on great books of the past and present that straddle across disciplinary boundaries, this module helps students build bridges between various areas of knowledge. While the content will differ from year to year, depending on student and staff interests, this module will explore key themes in philosophy, history, social and political sciences, humanities, literature, art, and the hard sciences. It will aim to show that these disciplines have a great deal in common, and that understanding across great works help create a deeper understanding of contemporary issues. By engaging students with qualitative and quantitative data, it will also allow them to interpret and reflect on information coming from a wide range of sources.

Find out more about LART6850

This module explores the origins, evolution and role of the United Nations (UN) in world politics. The aim is to understand how and why states and other actors participate in the UN. The module further explores the extent to which the United Nations is able to achieve its stated goals of maintaining peace and security, achieving cooperation to solve key international problems, and promoting respect for human rights. The module examines the work of key UN organs, agencies, and member states in a variety of issue areas, with the aim of critically assessing the successes, challenges, and failures of the United Nations.

Find out more about POLI5550

This module examines the complex relationship between foreign policy analysis and foreign policy practice. It does so by exploring shifting approaches to making and examining foreign policy, including the contributions of IR theory to Foreign Policy Analysis. Historical antecedents of foreign policy as a practice are examined via exploring international actors, the system they inhabit (both internal and external), and the motivations that inform their individual actions and collective interactions. FPA is not as a single theory, capable of generating an overarching framework that can explain or help to understand actors' choices in all situations. The module will instead compare and contrast different FPA theories, often derived from IR theories, and critically assess their analytical advantages and weaknesses in applying them to "real world" examples. The module explores some major events or crises, such as the Iraq War and the South China Sea dispute, attempting to get an overview of the foreign policies of different states across international society, such as China, the United States, Japan, and Britain.

Find out more about POLI5630

This module focuses on the external dimension of European politics, exploring the inter-relationship between Europe and the rest of the world. Key issues that will be addressed will be the impact of global developments and issues on Europe, the international significance of European integration and the role of Europe in the new world order. 'Europe' will be disaggregated by examining the foreign policies of some of the major European states as well as the development of the European Union as a global actor. It will compare and contrast the response of European states to global challenges and assess the extent of the ‘Europeanisation’ of the foreign policies of EU member states. The growing role of the EU in international affairs will be examined through a number of case-studies related to specific states/regions or policy areas. Throughout the course the analysis will be informed by reference to appropriate concepts and theories from political science and international relations with particular reference to those related to the debates surrounding the issues of globalisation and integration.

Find out more about POLI5660

We examine the main challenges facing post-communist Russia and in particular assess the development of democracy. We discuss the main institutions and political processes: the presidency, parliament, federalism, elections, party development and foreign policy, as well as discuss Yeltin's, Putin’s and Medvedev's leadership. We end with a broader evaluation of issues like the relationship of markets to democracy, civil society and its discontents, nationalism, political culture and democracy and Russia's place in the world.

Find out more about POLI5790

In western countries feminism has had a considerable impact on the conduct of practical politics. The purpose of this module is to consider the ways in which feminist thought has influenced political theory. Returning to some of the earliest feminist critiques of modern politics by Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill, we examine a range of feminist approaches to politics, asking what unifies them and where and why they diverge from one another. Throughout, we ask how meaningful it is to speak of feminism in the singular: given the immense variety displayed by feminist thinking, should we talk about feminisms? Another guiding question will be the extent to which these approaches pose a fundamental challenge to traditional political theory. Can feminist theories of politics just 'add women and stir'? Or do feminist approaches compel us to new or different methodologies, conceptual tools and even definitions of politics?

Find out more about POLI5930

This module aims to provide students with a critical introduction and review of China's political development from 1949 to today. Following a brief historical review of the evolution of the Chinese political system since 1949, this module is designed around two core blocks of study.

The first block looks at the principal political institutions. They include the Communist Party, the government (State Council), the legislature (National People’s Congress) and the military (People’s Liberation Army). The second block examines the socio-political issues and challenges the country is facing in its ongoing development. They range from political participation and state-society relations, the cost of economic growth to environment and public health, tensions with ethnic minorities, the issues of nationalism and the relationship with Taiwan and Hong Kong, irredentism and territorial disputes with neighbouring countries, and finally China’s grand strategy of the Belt and Road Initiative.

A theme running through various lectures of this module is to ask why post-Mao China has performed better than many other authoritarian regimes in achieving both economic growth and political stability and acquiring international influence, despite the fact that China faces numerous mounting development challenges.

Find out more about POLI5970

The purpose of the module is to introduce students to the European Union, how it has evolved since its creation and how it works. In this module, students gain an understanding of the dynamic of European integration over time, analyse the functioning and roles of the EU's main institutional bodies as well as key political questions underpinning the decision-making structures of the EU. The module will address topics including: the history of European integration, the EU’s institutions and decision-making processes, how EU decisions are implemented, interest group activity in the EU and how this affects

EU decision-making, public opinion on the EU, the EU’s democratic deficit and the future of the European integration project.

Find out more about POLI6110

Since 2009, the European Union (EU) has been grappling with a crisis in the Eurozone, a refugee crisis, terrorist attacks, the rise of challenger parties and heightened tension with Putin's Russia. This has led to increased questioning of the purpose and trajectory of European integration and policy-making. The Brexit decision by the UK electorate in June 2016 plunged the EU further into crisis, sending shockwaves throughout the world as for the very first time an EU member state chose exit over voice or loyalty. Membership of the EU is now clearly contingent and the reverberations of this decision will affect both the EU and the UK for many years to come. The focus of this module is on assessing the capacity of the EU as a system of public policy-making as it faces these myriad challenges. In so doing we endeavour to understand how the EU's system of governance works, how it is driven by both the politics and economics of its member states and the global system and how its policy-making capacity may evolve in the future. This module focuses on the EU’s 'outputs’ in terms of public policy in this context, with particular attention paid to the fields of market regulation, monetary union, environmental policy, agriculture policy, regional policy, justice and home affairs, foreign policy and trade policy. As well as analysing the effectiveness of EU policy-making in these policy areas, we also evaluate the impact of Brexit on their operation, how it is being managed by the UK and the EU27 and its implications for the future of the EU.

Find out more about POLI6120

PO617 offers a comprehensive introduction to the politics and national government of the United States. The course is divided into four inter-linked parts. In Part I students will be introduced to the 'foundations' of the US political system. Students will examine the history of the republic, its economy and society, the values and beliefs American people subscribe to, and the basic structure of the political system. Part I therefore provides essential knowledge upon which the rest of the course builds. In Part II students will examine those ‘intermediate’ institutions (interest groups, parties, elections and the media) that link people to their government. We will look at why Americans vote the way they do; at the role US parties play and their relevance to Americans’ lives; at whether interest groups have usurped the role of parties; and at whether the media exacerbate cynicism about politicians and the wider political system. In Part III students focus on the three institutions of the federal government: the Congress, Presidency and Supreme Court. We will examine both the institution that is Congress and the individuals that are elected to it and ask whether they have compatible goals or not, and whether Congress has usurped some of the roles and power of the presidency. Similarly, we will examine the extent to which the Presidency is an institution in decline or resurgent in the new century. Finally, we will examine the political and legal role that the Supreme Court plays in the modern US political system. In the fourth and final part of the course, students focus on the policymaking process in the US. We will look at how and why policy is made, and examine the extent to which the policy solutions produced by the political system are optimal.

Find out more about POLI6170

The module examines the politics of transition and change in the post-communist states in their effort to establish new democratic regimes and find their place in the world. The module consists of three main parts.

Part I focuses on the experience and nature of communist rule, to develop basic understanding of communism as an ideal, political system, and a life style.

Part II looks at transitions, examining regional patterns of change and relating them to the 3rd and 4th waves (coloured revolutions) of democratisation globally.

Part III discusses the issues of post-communist politics in Europe, by way of exploring the forms and quality of democracy in the new states, considering the effect of EU enlargements on the new Member States and the EU neighbours; and discussing the future of communism in the world.

Find out more about POLI6180

This module provides an introduction to some of the major developments in Western political thought from the seventeenth century onwards by discussing the life, work and impact of key figures such as Nicolo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Mary Wollstonecraft, JS Mill, and Karl Marx. While these thinkers will be studied mostly in terms of their respective self-understanding, the overall concern of these studies is to examine the problems which 'modernity' poses for political theory in Western societies.

Find out more about POLI6230

This module introduces students into the study of terrorism and political violence, and thereafter deepens their knowledge of the controversial aspects of this subject. The initial lectures will deal with definitional problems involved in the concept of "terrorism" and various theories about the causes of political violence in its different forms. With a point of departure in a chronological review tracing the origins of the phenomenon long back in history, the module will later study the emergence of political terrorism during the second half of the 19th century. This will be followed by a study of state and dissident terrorism in different parts of the world. The module will also address the relationship between religious radicalism and different forms of political violence, including “new terrorism” and possible use of weapons of mass destruction. Then, the focus of attention will be shifted to implications of various counter-terrorism strategies and “The War on Terrorism” for democracy and human rights. These issues will addressed with a special focus on methodological problems involved in the study of terrorism and political violence.

Find out more about POLI6290

This module introduces students into the study of the Middle East as a region and an arena of international conflict. Against the background of a historical review of the developments in the 20th century, the module will focus on the colonial past of the region, the imperial legacy, the emergence of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the origins of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the impact of sub-state loyalties – i.e. factors which have shaped the Middle East as a region and as a security complex. In this context, the students will explore the ideological developments in the region, most important among them, the rise and fall of Arab nationalism, the emergence of Islamic radicalism and the consolidation of the Israeli right. Adopting an international relations perspective, the module will also cover the impact of outside state actors, such as USA, Russia and EU on the Middle East as a whole and on the relationships among those states that compose this region. Finally, the students will study the debate about "Orientalism" and the problematic aspects of the Western academic study of the Middle East and the Islamic world. These issues will be addressed with a special focus on the problem of bias involved in the academic study of the Middle East.

Find out more about POLI6300

A thread running through this module is a belief that to understand today's China we have to know how it has come to the present, as present-day China is a product of its deep imperial past and of its revolutions in the 20th century, the Republican, the Nationalist and the Communist. Before studying the 'rise' of contemporary China, we must therefore understand the decline collapse of imperial China from the mid-19th to the early 20th century. We can perceive the said rise of China as the process of regaining its rightful place in the Western-dominated international system and of mutual accommodation between China and the rest of the world.

The narrative of modern China starts from the late 16th century when China, ruled by the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), was the regional hegemon. The demise of the Sino-centric regional order began in the early 19th century. Since then, Chinese rulers, officials and intellectuals have repeatedly groped for ways to modernise their country to counter mounting pressures from the West. Seen in this perspective, this module will be primarily focused on how China adapted itself to the modernising West in order to be accepted as a full and respected member of the international society while preserving its own non-Western identity. With this, you should be able to understand towards the end of this module why China now values the respect for national sovereignty, territorial integrity and the right of all nations to freely choose their own paths to development. Also, for many students of International Relations, China’s entry and integration into the international society since the 1970s has been strikingly non-violent. A secondary focus of this module will be on how China and other key members of the world have been mutually accommodating to each other and whether China’s 'peaceful rise’ can continue.

Find out more about POLI6580

The course provides an overview of the broad field of international conflict analysis and resolution. Students have the opportunity to explore the motivations driving different forms of conflict, including interpersonal, group and civil violence. Students will also be exposed to a range of theories and approaches used to understand violent conflict, and a number of different methods of conflict resolution (e.g. negotiation, mediation, peacekeeping operations, and transitional justice.) The approach is interdisciplinary and juxtaposes traditional approaches used to study conflict management with new scientific studies of conflict and cooperation.

Find out more about POLI6600

This course is intended to familiarise students with the conservative tradition in modern politics. This is achieved by reference to a range of key conservative thinkers selected to help students understand the diversity of the conservative tradition and consider what factors help to cohere it. Comparison within the tradition and across a variety of thinkers is achieved by examining these thinkers' views on four basic categories of modern politics, namely the state, the market, society and international relations. In order to meet these broad learning outcomes, essay questions will be designed in order to ensure that students have to compare different thinkers.

Find out more about POLI6690

The curriculum content is intended to give students some familiarity, at a level comparable to A1 level on CEFR, with everyday life, activities and the culture in Mandarin Chinese speaking countries. Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will focus on an introductory level of communication skills used in everyday life including greetings and introductions, talking about oneself and getting to know each other. Basic skills useful to people visiting China will be taught including describing preferred drinks and daily activities. An introductory level of Chinese culture will be covered such as social interaction and geography including major cities.

The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught in seminars, by means of Mandarin Chinese course books, audio materials and online resources and through sharing experiences of a tutor and students.

Students will have access to these materials and additional resources on Moodle. A range of resources is also available at the library.

Find out more about WOLA3020

The curriculum content is intended to give students some familiarity, at a level comparable to lower A2 level on CEFR, with everyday life, activities and the Chinese culture. Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will focus on an elementary level of communication skills to explain very simple factual information on personal and very familiar topics such as talking about food, time, asking and giving simple opinions on familiar topics. Basic skills useful to people visiting China will be taught including expressing how to go to/come to somewhere and taking transports. An elementally level of Chinese culture will be covered such as festivals, geography including major cities and famous places.

The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught in seminars, by means of course books, audio materials and online resources and through sharing experiences of a tutor and students.

Students will have access to these materials and additional resources on Moodle. A range of resources is also available at the library.

Find out more about WOLA3030

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working knowledge of the target language and a sound level of communicative competence and confidence. By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate the ability to take a more active role in and greater ability to sustain communication. Students will be able to express how they feel and opinions in simple terms and initiate and sustain close simple, routine exchanges without undue effort.

Topics at a pre-intermediate level (comparable to an upper A2 level on the CEFR) will include everyday communication skills such as asking and giving directions and shopping, skills useful to describe illness, describing people's appearance and personalities.

The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught through seminars and the means of mandarin Chinese language course books, video, audio materials.

Find out more about WOLA5510

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working knowledge of the target language and a sound level of communicative competence and confidence. By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate the ability to take a more active role in and greater ability to sustain communication. Students will be able to express how they feel and opinions in simple terms and initiate and sustain close simple, routine exchanges without undue effort.

Topics at a pre-intermediate level (comparable to an upper A2 level on the CEFR) will include everyday communication skills such as asking and giving directions and shopping, skills useful to describe illness, describing people's appearance and personalities.

The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught through seminars and the means of mandarin Chinese language course books, video, audio materials.

Find out more about WOLA5510

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working knowledge of the target language and a sound level of communicative competence and confidence. By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate the ability to take a more active role in and greater ability to sustain communication. Students will be able to express how they feel and opinions in simple terms and initiate and sustain close simple, routine exchanges without undue effort.

Topics at a lower intermediate level will include everyday communication skills such as asking and giving directions and shopping, skills useful to describe illness, describing people's appearance and personalities.

The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught through seminars and the means of mandarin Chinese language course books, video, audio materials.

Find out more about WOLA5520

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working knowledge of the target language and a sound level of communicative competence and confidence. By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate the ability to take a more active role in and greater ability to sustain communication. Students will be able to express how they feel and opinions in simple terms and initiate and sustain close simple, routine exchanges without undue effort.

Topics at a lower intermediate level will include everyday communication skills such as asking and giving directions and shopping, skills useful to describe illness, describing people's appearance and personalities.

The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught through seminars and the means of mandarin Chinese language course books, video, audio materials.

Find out more about WOLA5520

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working knowledge of the target language and a sound level of communicative competence and confidence. By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate the ability to take a more active role in and greater ability to sustain communication. Students will be able to express how they feel and opinions in simple terms and initiate and sustain close simple, routine exchanges without undue effort.

Topics at a pre-intermediate level (comparable to an upper A2 level on the CEFR) will include everyday communication skills such as asking and giving directions and weekend activities, skills useful to when visiting a doctor, describing people's appearance and personalities.

The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught through seminars and the means of Japanese language course books, video, audio materials.

Find out more about WOLA5530

The curriculum will focus on living in Japan, by using complex expressions in an appropriate style of communication. Topics covered in this module are job hunting including how to write a CV and make a telephone call in order to seek information for a part time job, making a complaint including a refund/an exchange of goods, and expressing one's opinion in a discussion on formal topics.

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working knowledge of the target language and a sound level of communicative competence and confidence. By the end of the module students will be equipped to understand and use Japanese demonstrating a range of simple and complex structures and vocabulary to an upper-intermediate language level (comparable overall to a lower B2 level and language skills to adapt to the situation. By the end of the module students will be able to communicate with a developed degree of effectiveness, fluency and spontaneity. Students also read and listen to news articles to gain knowledge of social issues and current affairs. Various styles of readings are given such as job description, biography and novel. Discussions take place in the class on the topic areas covered in the module.

The module will include study of the target language culture and the development of insights into the culture and civilisation of the countries where the language is spoken.

Find out more about WOLA5580

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working and flexible knowledge of the target language and a firm level of communicative competence and confidence. By the end of the module students will be equipped to understand and use Japanese with a degree of flexibility and a range to an intermediate language level (comparable overall to an upper B1 level on the CEFR).

The curriculum will focus on real-life communication as a university student studying in Japan, by using complex expressions in an appropriate style of speaking. This includes how to make formal requests, ask various permissions, and explain factual information of cities and towns. Students also read and listen to news articles to understand relatively familiar topics in newspapers. Various styles of readings are given such as formal letter, article and website providing factual information, for example, restaurant guide. Discussions take place in the class on the topic areas covered in the module.

Find out more about WOLA5590

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working and flexible knowledge of the target language and a firm level of communicative competence and confidence. By the end of the module students will be equipped to understand and use mandarin Chinese with a degree of flexibility and a range to an intermediate language level (comparable overall to an upper B1 level on the CEFR).

The curriculum will focus on real-life communication as a university student studying in China, by using complex expressions in an appropriate style of speaking. This includes expressing general culture related customs such as weddings traditions, Chinese traditional clothes, and Chinese cuisines, renting accommodation, describing a room and negotiating prices. Students also read and listen to some simple news articles to understand relatively familiar topics in newspapers. Students will be exposed to the grammar that are useful when communicating with Mandarin Chinese native speakers for these topic areas.

Find out more about WOLA5600

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working knowledge of the target language and a sound level of communicative competence and confidence. By the end of the module, students will be equipped to understand and use Japanese with a degree of flexibility and a range to a lower-intermediate language level (comparable overall to a lower B1 level). Students will be able to discuss topics that are familiar or pertinent to everyday life such as everyday conversational skills and interactions including casual and polite styles, opinions, gratitude and skills useful to talk about personal trips, kind actions.

The module will include study of the target language culture and the development of insights into Japan. The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught through seminars and the means of Japanese language course books, video, audio materials. There will be a balance between communicative activity and understanding of linguistic structure.

Find out more about WOLA5610

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working knowledge of the target language and a sound level of communicative competence and confidence. By the end of the module, students will be equipped to understand and use Mandarin Chinese demonstrating a range of simple and complex structures and vocabulary to an upper-intermediate language level (comparable overall to a lower B2 level and language skills to adapt to the situation. By the end of the module, students will be able to communicate with a developed degree of effectiveness, fluency and spontaneity. Students also gains communicative skills in requesting course details from a university, registering on a University course, understanding Chinese higher education system and Chinese festivals and traditions. Various styles of readings are given such as job description and curriculum vitae. Discussions take place in the class on the topic areas covered in the module.

The module will include study of the target language culture and the development of insights into the culture and civilisation of the countries where the language is spoken.

Find out more about WOLA5620

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Year abroad

Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally. You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.

Students on a four-year degree programme spend a year between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore or Taiwan. For a full list, please see Go Abroad. Places are subject to availability, language and degree programme.

You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the year abroad. If the requirement is not met, you are transferred to the equivalent three-year programme. The year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and does not count towards your final degree classification.

Compulsory modules currently include

Students take modules equivalent to 120 Kent credits. At least 75% of the credits must be in the discipline of Politics and International Relations, while up to 25% may be in other disciplines. For students on the BA with a Language, at least 75% of the credits must be in Politics and International Relations and in the target language, while up to 25% may be in other disciplines and/or taught in English. The curriculum will vary depending on the partner institution and the modules chosen.

Find out more about POLI6740

Stage 3

Compulsory modules currently include

In this course, we shall examine the most urgent developments and security issues that affect the Asia-Pacific region.

It will start with an overview of International Relations theories and an exploration of whether non-Western International Relations theories will be a better alternative in understanding the development and security challenges in the Asia-Pacific.

We will then address the key international development and security dilemmas in the region. These include: the Taiwan problem; nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula; the danger of nationalism in Japan and beyond; territorial disputes in the South China Sea; and ensuring economic growth and regional cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific.

Finally, we will ask whether the influence and authority of the US, the incumbent hegemon in the Asia-Pacific region, are in decline and its preeminent role will soon be replaced by a rising China, and whether great-power confrontation is inevitable.

Find out more about POLI6840

Optional modules may include

One of the strengths of the Liberal Arts programme is its ability to draw connections between various fields of knowledge of disciplines that have become increasingly fragmented. By focusing on great books of the past and present that straddle across disciplinary boundaries, this module helps students build bridges between various areas of knowledge. While the content will differ from year to year, depending on student and staff interests, this module will explore key themes in philosophy, history, social and political sciences, humanities, literature, art, and the hard sciences. It will aim to show that these disciplines have a great deal in common, and that understanding across great works help create a deeper understanding of contemporary issues. By engaging students with qualitative and quantitative data, it will also allow them to interpret and reflect on information coming from a wide range of sources.

Find out more about LART6850

This module explores the origins, evolution and role of the United Nations (UN) in world politics. The aim is to understand how and why states and other actors participate in the UN. The module further explores the extent to which the United Nations is able to achieve its stated goals of maintaining peace and security, achieving cooperation to solve key international problems, and promoting respect for human rights. The module examines the work of key UN organs, agencies, and member states in a variety of issue areas, with the aim of critically assessing the successes, challenges, and failures of the United Nations.

Find out more about POLI5550

This module examines the complex relationship between foreign policy analysis and foreign policy practice. It does so by exploring shifting approaches to making and examining foreign policy, including the contributions of IR theory to Foreign Policy Analysis. Historical antecedents of foreign policy as a practice are examined via exploring international actors, the system they inhabit (both internal and external), and the motivations that inform their individual actions and collective interactions. FPA is not as a single theory, capable of generating an overarching framework that can explain or help to understand actors' choices in all situations. The module will instead compare and contrast different FPA theories, often derived from IR theories, and critically assess their analytical advantages and weaknesses in applying them to "real world" examples. The module explores some major events or crises, such as the Iraq War and the South China Sea dispute, attempting to get an overview of the foreign policies of different states across international society, such as China, the United States, Japan, and Britain.

Find out more about POLI5630

This module focuses on the external dimension of European politics, exploring the inter-relationship between Europe and the rest of the world. Key issues that will be addressed will be the impact of global developments and issues on Europe, the international significance of European integration and the role of Europe in the new world order. 'Europe' will be disaggregated by examining the foreign policies of some of the major European states as well as the development of the European Union as a global actor. It will compare and contrast the response of European states to global challenges and assess the extent of the ‘Europeanisation’ of the foreign policies of EU member states. The growing role of the EU in international affairs will be examined through a number of case-studies related to specific states/regions or policy areas. Throughout the course the analysis will be informed by reference to appropriate concepts and theories from political science and international relations with particular reference to those related to the debates surrounding the issues of globalisation and integration.

Find out more about POLI5660

We examine the main challenges facing post-communist Russia and in particular assess the development of democracy. We discuss the main institutions and political processes: the presidency, parliament, federalism, elections, party development and foreign policy, as well as discuss Yeltin's, Putin’s and Medvedev's leadership. We end with a broader evaluation of issues like the relationship of markets to democracy, civil society and its discontents, nationalism, political culture and democracy and Russia's place in the world.

Find out more about POLI5790

In western countries feminism has had a considerable impact on the conduct of practical politics. The purpose of this module is to consider the ways in which feminist thought has influenced political theory. Returning to some of the earliest feminist critiques of modern politics by Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill, we examine a range of feminist approaches to politics, asking what unifies them and where and why they diverge from one another. Throughout, we ask how meaningful it is to speak of feminism in the singular: given the immense variety displayed by feminist thinking, should we talk about feminisms? Another guiding question will be the extent to which these approaches pose a fundamental challenge to traditional political theory. Can feminist theories of politics just 'add women and stir'? Or do feminist approaches compel us to new or different methodologies, conceptual tools and even definitions of politics?

Find out more about POLI5930

This module aims to provide students with a critical introduction and review of China's political development from 1949 to today. Following a brief historical review of the evolution of the Chinese political system since 1949, this module is designed around two core blocks of study.

The first block looks at the principal political institutions. They include the Communist Party, the government (State Council), the legislature (National People’s Congress) and the military (People’s Liberation Army). The second block examines the socio-political issues and challenges the country is facing in its ongoing development. They range from political participation and state-society relations, the cost of economic growth to environment and public health, tensions with ethnic minorities, the issues of nationalism and the relationship with Taiwan and Hong Kong, irredentism and territorial disputes with neighbouring countries, and finally China’s grand strategy of the Belt and Road Initiative.

A theme running through various lectures of this module is to ask why post-Mao China has performed better than many other authoritarian regimes in achieving both economic growth and political stability and acquiring international influence, despite the fact that China faces numerous mounting development challenges.

Find out more about POLI5970

The purpose of the module is to introduce students to the European Union, how it has evolved since its creation and how it works. In this module, students gain an understanding of the dynamic of European integration over time, analyse the functioning and roles of the EU's main institutional bodies as well as key political questions underpinning the decision-making structures of the EU. The module will address topics including: the history of European integration, the EU’s institutions and decision-making processes, how EU decisions are implemented, interest group activity in the EU and how this affects

EU decision-making, public opinion on the EU, the EU’s democratic deficit and the future of the European integration project.

Find out more about POLI6110

Since 2009, the European Union (EU) has been grappling with a crisis in the Eurozone, a refugee crisis, terrorist attacks, the rise of challenger parties and heightened tension with Putin's Russia. This has led to increased questioning of the purpose and trajectory of European integration and policy-making. The Brexit decision by the UK electorate in June 2016 plunged the EU further into crisis, sending shockwaves throughout the world as for the very first time an EU member state chose exit over voice or loyalty. Membership of the EU is now clearly contingent and the reverberations of this decision will affect both the EU and the UK for many years to come. The focus of this module is on assessing the capacity of the EU as a system of public policy-making as it faces these myriad challenges. In so doing we endeavour to understand how the EU's system of governance works, how it is driven by both the politics and economics of its member states and the global system and how its policy-making capacity may evolve in the future. This module focuses on the EU’s 'outputs’ in terms of public policy in this context, with particular attention paid to the fields of market regulation, monetary union, environmental policy, agriculture policy, regional policy, justice and home affairs, foreign policy and trade policy. As well as analysing the effectiveness of EU policy-making in these policy areas, we also evaluate the impact of Brexit on their operation, how it is being managed by the UK and the EU27 and its implications for the future of the EU.

Find out more about POLI6120

PO617 offers a comprehensive introduction to the politics and national government of the United States. The course is divided into four inter-linked parts. In Part I students will be introduced to the 'foundations' of the US political system. Students will examine the history of the republic, its economy and society, the values and beliefs American people subscribe to, and the basic structure of the political system. Part I therefore provides essential knowledge upon which the rest of the course builds. In Part II students will examine those ‘intermediate’ institutions (interest groups, parties, elections and the media) that link people to their government. We will look at why Americans vote the way they do; at the role US parties play and their relevance to Americans’ lives; at whether interest groups have usurped the role of parties; and at whether the media exacerbate cynicism about politicians and the wider political system. In Part III students focus on the three institutions of the federal government: the Congress, Presidency and Supreme Court. We will examine both the institution that is Congress and the individuals that are elected to it and ask whether they have compatible goals or not, and whether Congress has usurped some of the roles and power of the presidency. Similarly, we will examine the extent to which the Presidency is an institution in decline or resurgent in the new century. Finally, we will examine the political and legal role that the Supreme Court plays in the modern US political system. In the fourth and final part of the course, students focus on the policymaking process in the US. We will look at how and why policy is made, and examine the extent to which the policy solutions produced by the political system are optimal.

Find out more about POLI6170

The module examines the politics of transition and change in the post-communist states in their effort to establish new democratic regimes and find their place in the world. The module consists of three main parts.

Part I focuses on the experience and nature of communist rule, to develop basic understanding of communism as an ideal, political system, and a life style.

Part II looks at transitions, examining regional patterns of change and relating them to the 3rd and 4th waves (coloured revolutions) of democratisation globally.

Part III discusses the issues of post-communist politics in Europe, by way of exploring the forms and quality of democracy in the new states, considering the effect of EU enlargements on the new Member States and the EU neighbours; and discussing the future of communism in the world.

Find out more about POLI6180

This module provides an introduction to some of the major developments in Western political thought from the seventeenth century onwards by discussing the life, work and impact of key figures such as Nicolo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Mary Wollstonecraft, JS Mill, and Karl Marx. While these thinkers will be studied mostly in terms of their respective self-understanding, the overall concern of these studies is to examine the problems which 'modernity' poses for political theory in Western societies.

Find out more about POLI6230

This module introduces students into the study of terrorism and political violence, and thereafter deepens their knowledge of the controversial aspects of this subject. The initial lectures will deal with definitional problems involved in the concept of "terrorism" and various theories about the causes of political violence in its different forms. With a point of departure in a chronological review tracing the origins of the phenomenon long back in history, the module will later study the emergence of political terrorism during the second half of the 19th century. This will be followed by a study of state and dissident terrorism in different parts of the world. The module will also address the relationship between religious radicalism and different forms of political violence, including “new terrorism” and possible use of weapons of mass destruction. Then, the focus of attention will be shifted to implications of various counter-terrorism strategies and “The War on Terrorism” for democracy and human rights. These issues will addressed with a special focus on methodological problems involved in the study of terrorism and political violence.

Find out more about POLI6290

This module introduces students into the study of the Middle East as a region and an arena of international conflict. Against the background of a historical review of the developments in the 20th century, the module will focus on the colonial past of the region, the imperial legacy, the emergence of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the origins of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the impact of sub-state loyalties – i.e. factors which have shaped the Middle East as a region and as a security complex. In this context, the students will explore the ideological developments in the region, most important among them, the rise and fall of Arab nationalism, the emergence of Islamic radicalism and the consolidation of the Israeli right. Adopting an international relations perspective, the module will also cover the impact of outside state actors, such as USA, Russia and EU on the Middle East as a whole and on the relationships among those states that compose this region. Finally, the students will study the debate about "Orientalism" and the problematic aspects of the Western academic study of the Middle East and the Islamic world. These issues will be addressed with a special focus on the problem of bias involved in the academic study of the Middle East.

Find out more about POLI6300

This module explores the linkages between mediation theory and the practice of conflict resolution in deeply divided societies. Topics include the theory and practice of negotiations, conflict escalation and peace mediations while specific emphasis will be given to the role of regional or international institutions in early conflict prevention. The module applies negotiation theory in the study of state disintegration, demographic and environmental conflict, property rights, federal management and transitional justice. The course engages with the core literature in negotiation theory and exposes students to a number of simulations aiming to improve negotiation skills (identifying best alternatives, revealing or not preferences, identifying win-win arrangements, defeating spoilers and exercising veto rights). Because of the practical skills taught in the module and the interactive nature of in-class simulations, students are expected to attend lectures and tutorials. Finally, the course examines the role of citizens and community organizations in peace mediations focusing on a number of selected case studies from deeply divided societies specifically Israel/Palestine, the former Yugoslavia, South Africa, Greece/Turkey (including Cyprus & the Kurdish issue), Rwanda and Northern Ireland.

Find out more about POLI6540

Democracy rests on the will of citizens. But how can we identify this 'will'? Elections are one method; but more regular expressions of citizen views are possible via opinion polls. Indeed, a range of public and private bodies routinely use polls to identify popular attitudes. But what are the ‘opinions’ supposedly revealed by these polls, how do surveys go about identifying opinions and how valid are their results?

This module introduces students to the theory and practice of public opinion and its measurement. The module focuses on two main questions. First, what is public opinion? How far do people’s attitudes pre-exist and how far are they instead ‘shaped’ by the way questions are asked? Are attitudes informed and considered, or are they largely knee-jerk responses based on little information? If, in fact, citizens know little about politics, are there ways in which they can, nonetheless, form meaningful views on important public issues? The answers to these questions are central to the task of assessing the proper role of public opinion in modern democracies. The second question asks how public opinion is measured. What are the main features of social surveys, and how well do they measure public attitudes? This section of the module pays particular attention to the ways that different types of survey can affect the responses that people give, and to the principles and practices of effective survey design.

Find out more about POLI6550

A thread running through this module is a belief that to understand today's China we have to know how it has come to the present, as present-day China is a product of its deep imperial past and of its revolutions in the 20th century, the Republican, the Nationalist and the Communist. Before studying the 'rise' of contemporary China, we must therefore understand the decline collapse of imperial China from the mid-19th to the early 20th century. We can perceive the said rise of China as the process of regaining its rightful place in the Western-dominated international system and of mutual accommodation between China and the rest of the world.

The narrative of modern China starts from the late 16th century when China, ruled by the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), was the regional hegemon. The demise of the Sino-centric regional order began in the early 19th century. Since then, Chinese rulers, officials and intellectuals have repeatedly groped for ways to modernise their country to counter mounting pressures from the West. Seen in this perspective, this module will be primarily focused on how China adapted itself to the modernising West in order to be accepted as a full and respected member of the international society while preserving its own non-Western identity. With this, you should be able to understand towards the end of this module why China now values the respect for national sovereignty, territorial integrity and the right of all nations to freely choose their own paths to development. Also, for many students of International Relations, China’s entry and integration into the international society since the 1970s has been strikingly non-violent. A secondary focus of this module will be on how China and other key members of the world have been mutually accommodating to each other and whether China’s 'peaceful rise’ can continue.

Find out more about POLI6580

The course provides an overview of the broad field of international conflict analysis and resolution. Students have the opportunity to explore the motivations driving different forms of conflict, including interpersonal, group and civil violence. Students will also be exposed to a range of theories and approaches used to understand violent conflict, and a number of different methods of conflict resolution (e.g. negotiation, mediation, peacekeeping operations, and transitional justice.) The approach is interdisciplinary and juxtaposes traditional approaches used to study conflict management with new scientific studies of conflict and cooperation.

Find out more about POLI6600

This module is designed to offer Stage 3 Politics and International Relations students an opportunity to study a topic in politics and international relations at an advanced level. Participation will be limited to students who have demonstrated strong writing and analytical skills in their Stage 2 coursework (with a minimum average of 60%) and the topics may vary from year to year depending on the research and teaching interests of academic staff. The module will build on the concepts, theories and methods that students have acquired in their previous studies, introducing them to more advanced readings and further developing their knowledge and understanding of the scholarship at the forefront of their discipline in a given issue area. Students will work very closely with academic staff and will benefit from their research expertise and individual feedback in a small group setting. The module will assist students in developing their critical and analytical skills and help them to understand the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge concerning their advanced topic in politics and/or international relations.

FOR THE 2021/22 ACADEMIC YEAR

Please ignore the information above regarding convenors, the below details are correct for the 2021/22 academic year.

Two topics will be offered in 2021/22, one in the Autumn term and one in the Spring term. Students may only take one topic within this module.

Topic title: The Politics of Climate Change, Convenor: Dr Frank Grundig - AUTUMN TERM

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges global society will face this century. To successfully address this challenge changes will require action at the individual level, the domestic politics level and the international level. This module will look at the politics of climate change by looking at individual attitudes and behaviour, national policies in a comparative perspective, climate change mobilisation / movements, and international institutions dealing with climate change. Since climate change cuts across many academic disciplines this module will also deal with reports that reference the science of climate change as well as economic models dealing with the costs of climate change.

Topic title: The Politics of Technology: Utopia or Dystopia? Convenor: Dr Ben Turner - SPRING TERM

Predictions regarding the consequences of technological developments are rife. We are told that artificial intelligence, automation and big data are poised to transform our lives in unimaginable ways. For some, these technologies promise greater freedom, higher productivity and better lives for all. For others, they exacerbate inequalities, undermine democracy, and grant greater powers of surveillance and control to both governments and private corporations. This module will introduce students to key transformations in the realm of technology and give them the opportunity to critically analyse the political consequences of these changes.

Students will gain an awareness of a range of understandings of technology from political theory and philosophy, including approaches from Marxism, Critical Theory, Feminism and Critical Race Theory, which they will apply to a range of issues in the study of politics. Some of these themes will be explicitly political, such as the relationship between technology, the state, inequality and democracy. Students will also study the impact of technology upon areas of our lives that appear to be distant from politics, but when considered in relationship to technology can be seen to be deeply political. These will include work, the household and the links between technology, gender and race.

Students will benefit from some prior knowledge of political theory in this module, however it is not strictly a 'theory' module and will introduce students to a range of theoretical concepts and case studies. The two-hour weekly seminar will involve the close reading of both theoretical and empirical texts and documents and will emphasise student led learning.

Find out more about POLI6650

This course is intended to familiarise students with the conservative tradition in modern politics. This is achieved by reference to a range of key conservative thinkers selected to help students understand the diversity of the conservative tradition and consider what factors help to cohere it. Comparison within the tradition and across a variety of thinkers is achieved by examining these thinkers' views on four basic categories of modern politics, namely the state, the market, society and international relations. In order to meet these broad learning outcomes, essay questions will be designed in order to ensure that students have to compare different thinkers.

Find out more about POLI6690

This module blends practical workplace experience, in the form of an internship in the area of politics and international relations, with taught seminars and private study. The internship will allow students to experience first-hand the practical application of their degree subject in the wider world of work, and will provide the opportunity to develop transferable skills such as teamwork, communication and self-organisation. The taught seminars will provide an opportunity to reflect upon, and develop, knowledge of the sector and its relationship with the academic field of study, using the student's internship experiences and a range of other resources. This will include input from School staff and alumni working in relevant fields, as well as appropriate support from employability and careers-guidance professionals.

It will be the student's responsibility to source and apply for internship opportunities, but assistance will be provided both by the School's Employability Co-ordinator and the University's Careers and Employability Service. These opportunities should be in an organisation whose aims and activities are broadly related to politics and international relations, and the internship should reflect these activities and give the student the opportunity to work in a way which allows the module learning objectives to be achieved. Students on pre-approved School-administered internships will also be eligible to take this module.

The internship must consist of at least 60 hours of work, but this may be spread across a number of days / weeks and need not be a full-time position. The module convenor will approve of all internship opportunities prior to their commencement and students are advised to liaise closely with the module convenor and other appropriate staff in good time. Internships must finish by the date of the final seminar, and the School will provide all documentation and relevant insurance / health and safety checks to ensure that the placement meets both University and sector requirements and guidance on work-related learning opportunities. Students who fail to complete necessary paperwork relating to their internship and the module will be unable to proceed.

Find out more about POLI6750

This module prepares students both to think about the ways in which the landscapes are evolving and being shaped by contemporary developments in technical, scientific, and theoretical fields; and to think about how they want to take part in these developments in their own lives, through professional activity or further study. It will prepare students to think critically about the opportunities and dangers that come with the future, notably through the changes taking place in production techniques (through three-dimensional printing), ecological change and planning, scientific advancements and their impact on the humanities and social sciences (such as quantum theory's challenge to historical studies). By building on bodies of work that have already discussed the potential impact of new technologies and scientific innovations on our understanding of the human, this module will demand intellectual reflection on the potential for change and transformation, with reference to past events and how transformation has occurred to this day. In additional, the module will provide practical guidance on how to think about the student’s own future, whether professionally or for further studies. It will guide students through the possibilities open to them, and give them practical skills to secure an interview and present themselves successfully.

Find out more about POLI6810

This module will address the major milestones in the politics and international relations of East Asia since 1945. We will analyse the causes and significance for East Asian countries of events such as the Korean War, the Cultural Revolution, the economic take-off of both Japan and South Korea, China's economic reforms, democratisation across the region, and US-China competition.

A central theme of the module will be analysing the decisions that leaders take in order to hold onto power – from repression and liberalisation to corruption, purges, and propaganda – and how these decisions continue to influence the domestic and international politics of East Asian countries. We will explore differences in the countries’ domestic political systems to help understand major historical and contemporary policies, and the influence of economic and security considerations.

Find out more about POLI6830

POLI6880 allows students to do independent, original research under supervision on a political science, or liberal arts topic close to their specialist interests. The dissertation module gives them the opportunity to further these interests and acquire a wide range of study and research skills in the process. All dissertation topics have to be approved by the module convenor as well as by an academic supervisor. The module takes students through the entire process of writing a dissertation (8,000 words long): from the original 'problem' to a suitable research ‘question’, to choosing a method, to designing the research, to conducting the research; from taking notes to drafting the dissertation, to revising and writing the dissertation, and finally to submitting the dissertation. Lectures, supervision and a conference help students along the way. The curriculum includes structured opportunities for students to discuss their research ideas with each other as well as mock panel presentations in preparation for the student conference.

Find out more about POLI6880

The main title can be read in two ways. On the one hand, it is an appeal to reflect on the conditions of our subjectivity. On the other hand, it can be read as the expression of a judgement upon a subject's ability to act/speak/feel etc. In this module, both of these aspects will be explored: 'what are the conditions of our identity, and how do these relate to differences between us?’, and ‘what is the nature of judgement and when, if ever, is it legitimate to judge others?’. This will then form the basis for a third part of the module which will consider the extent to which reflection on oneself and the judgement of others are related or not. This nexus of issues is at the heart of contemporary debates about identity politics and the primary literature for the module will draw from these debates. Equally importantly, however, is that these contemporary debates speak directly to concepts and theories first developed within the canon of critical work within modern European philosophy. The module, therefore, will explore contemporary debates with reference to this philosophical background to assess the ways in which the critical tradition can inform the debates as well as considering the ways in which the contemporary debates can help redefine what we understand by the critical tradition.

Find out more about POLI6890

This module provides an overview of the degree to which cyberspace continues to revolutionise the operations of both state and non-state actors, and the challenges of governing this 'fifth sphere' of power projection. Whilst this module is not entrenched in International Relations or Security Studies theory, students will have the opportunity to apply both traditional and non-traditional approaches to the politics of cyberspace. Key themes include: 21st century technology, cyber warfare, espionage, surveillance, deterrence theory, cyberterrorism, and representation of threatening cyber-entities. Students will develop a toolkit to critique the existing state and NGO-based governance regime for cyberspace, and will convey arguments both for and against a ‘Geneva Convention’ for cyberspace.

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The aim of the module is offer an understanding of nationalism as a political phenomenon, approached from different perspectives and appreciated in its manifestations across time and space. The module first introduces and discusses the concepts of nations and nationalism and their distinctions from related concepts such as state, ethnic group, region etc. It then charts the emergence of nationalism, its success in becoming the dominant principle of political organisation, and its diffusion around the world. Subsequently, it engages with the main theories seeking to account for this process, discussing their respective strengths and weaknesses. It then explores the tensions between state and regional nationalism and some of the theories put forward to explain the latter. In a further step, it discusses some of the key aspects of nationalism, such as nation-building, national identity, nationalism and state structures, nationalism and secession, and the challenge of supra-national integration. It concludes by discussing some of the key normative questions raised by nationalism and assessing the likely trajectory of nationalism in the foreseeable future. By so doing, the module offers an analysis of the past, present, and future of nationalism and its significance in contemporary politics.

Find out more about POLI6920

This module explores topics and themes in post-colonial sub-Saharan African politics, with a particular focus on conflict and peacebuilding. We will look at colonial legacies, processes of state formation, and the nature and dynamics of political development at the national and local levels. We will also critically reflect on theories and concepts developed in the fields of comparative politics, peace and conflict research, and international relations and apply them to the study of Africa. In this module, we aim at offering solid foundations to the understanding of politics and conflict in Africa, which include colonial legacies, societal characteristics and economic challenges that shape the politics of sub-Saharan African states until today.

Find out more about POLI6930

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

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.

Fees for Year in Industry

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Additional costs

There are no compulsory additional costs associated with stages 1,2 or 3 of this course. All textbooks are available from the library, although some students prefer to purchase their own.

Students cover all travel and accommodation costs associated with the Year Abroad. 

You must make sure you have sufficient funds available to you on arrival at your host university or work placement, to cover the initial costs. You should also budget for the remainder of your time abroad. More advice can be found on our Go Abroad website.

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

The programme aims to:

  • allow our students to study politics and international relations in the UK and take a year abroad (either studying at a university or gaining professional experience through an internship)
  • place questions of political and international order and decision-making at the centre of social-scientific analysis
  • ensure that students gain an understanding of political and international relations theory in a supportive learning environment
  • enable students to grasp political concepts and methods and understand their contested nature
  • develop students' abilities 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 and a research culture that promotes wide-ranging intellectual enquiry and debate
  • enable students to develop skills relevant to their vocational and personal development
  • introduce students to different academic or professional cultures.

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
  • 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 intersection of politics with related 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.

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 information and exercise critical judgement
  • reflect on and manage your own learning and seek to make use of constructive feedback to enhance your performance
  • employ an understanding of different educational curricula and teaching methods in your own work
  • integrate into a different educational, cultural, social and, in some cases, linguistic and/or professional environment.

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 in the global arena
  • 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
  • understanding the competing approaches to theories of politics and international relations
  • the nature of political conflict between and within states.

Transferable skills

You develop transferable skills in how to:

  • communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing
  • use communication and IT for the retrieval and presentation of information, including statistical or numerical data
  • work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management
  • collaborate with others to achieve common goals.

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

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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.

Apply for this course

If you are from the UK or Ireland, you must apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not from the UK or Ireland, you can choose to apply through UCAS or directly on our website.

Find out more about how to apply

All applicants

Apply through UCAS

International applicants

Apply now to Kent

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

Discover Uni information

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Discover Uni is designed to support prospective students in deciding whether, where and what to study. The site replaces Unistats from September 2019.

Discover Uni is jointly owned by the Office for Students, the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Scottish Funding Council.

It includes:

  • Information and guidance about higher education
  • Information about courses
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Find out more about the Unistats dataset on the Higher Education Statistics Agency website.