Philosophy and Politics - BA (Hons)

Visit us in person or virtually

Our Open Days offer face-to-face and virtual options and they are a fantastic way to meet our staff and students. Join our Virtual Open Day on Thursday 13 January from 16.00 - 19.00 GMT to find out why Kent is right for you.

Studying Philosophy and Politics, you engage with the world’s major philosophies and the thinkers who describe the processes shaping our lives from within, alongside the global political environment that shapes our lives from without.

Overview

What is philosophy? Why is it important? Is it relevant? As a student of Philosophy at Kent, you do not so much learn about philosophy as learn to do it yourself. This includes not only studying major philosophies and philosophers, but also contributing your own ideas to an ongoing dialogue. You develop the ability to connect the most abstract ideas to the most concrete things in our experience.

There is active research culture in the Department of Philosophy at Kent, with internationally recognised experts whose interests range from philosophers such as Hegel, Kant and Wittgenstein to topics such as the philosophy of the mind, ethics, aesthetics, logic, political philosophy, metaphysics and artificial intelligence.

Politics is an exciting, fast-changing, broad-based discipline. Our programmes are extremely flexible and offer extensive module choice, reflecting the research interests of our staff, including conflict resolution, federalism, comparative politics, European integration, ethnic conflict, terrorism, the theory of international relations, political theory, and the politics of countries such as China, Japan, Russia and the USA.

The School of Politics and International Relations is one of the UK's most exciting and dynamic places to study. This programme gives you a solid grounding in politics as well as focusing on the international and global dimension of contemporary world politics and international relations

This is an ideal combination for anyone wanting to appreciate the breadth and complexities of our ideas as well as engage with the fast-changing key issues of today's world.

Entry requirements

Make Kent your firm choice – The Kent Guarantee

We understand that applying for university can be stressful, especially when you are also studying for exams. Choose Kent as your firm choice on UCAS and we will guarantee you a place, even if you narrowly miss your offer (for example, by 1 A Level grade)*.

*exceptions apply. Please note that we are unable to offer The Kent Guarantee to those who have already been given a reduced or contextual offer.

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 or ABC

  • 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)

    The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances. A typical offer would be to achieve DDM.

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    30 points overall or 15 points at HL

  • medal-empty International Foundation Programme

    Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average including 60% in Academic Skills Development.

  • medal-empty T level

    The University will consider applicants holding T Level qualifications in subjects which are closely aligned to the programme applied for. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you do not meet our English language requirements, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

Form

Stay connected

Sign up here to receive all the latest news and events from Kent.  

Sign up now

This field is required
This field is required
Please enter a valid email address
This field is required

You're almost there...

Just a little more information and we'll keep you up-to-date with everything that's happening at the University of Kent.

This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required

View our Privacy Notice

Course structure

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

Modules

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

On most programmes, you study a combination 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.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules currently include

This module will cover classic and contemporary philosophical topics concerning what reality is like, and whether (and how) we come to know about it. A variety of topics will be covered, such as problems of scepticism, sources of knowledge, the relation between mind and body, identity of people over time, and whether there is more to reality than is discussed in natural science.

Find out more about PHIL3020

This module will introduce students to a number of big questions in ethics. The questions may include the following: What makes a life good? Is it happiness? Or is it something else? Another big question is: What makes actions right or wrong? Is it God demanding or forbidding them? Or are actions perhaps right to the extent that they serve to make lives better off, and wrong to the extent that they make lives worse off? Some philosophers have thought so. Others wonder: What if I steal money from someone so rich that my act in no way makes their life go any worse. Might it still be the case that I have acted wrongly—even if I haven't made anyone worse off? A third bit question is this: What’s the status of morality? Is it, for example, the case that what’s right for me might be wrong for you? Does it make any sense at all to talk about moral claims being true or false, even relative to moral communities? Might moral judgments be nothing but expressions of sentiments? Throughout the course, students will be examining these and similar questions from the point of view of a variety of philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, and David Hume.

Find out more about PHIL3030

Since Plato's Dialogues, it has been part of philosophical enquiry to consider philosophical questions using logic and common sense alone. This module aims to train students to continue in that tradition. In the first part students will be introduced to basic themes in introductory formal logic and critical thinking. In the second part students will be presented with a problem each week in the form of a short argument, question, or philosophical puzzle and will be asked to think about it without consulting the literature. The problem, and students’ responses to it, will then form the basis of a structured discussion. By the end of the module, students (a) will have acquired a basic logical vocabulary and techniques for the evaluation of arguments; (b) will have practised applying these techniques to short passages of philosophical argument; and (c) will have acquired the ability to look at new claims or problems and to apply their newly acquired argumentative and critical skills in order to generate philosophical discussions of them.

Find out more about PHIL3100

What do philosophers do? How do they think? What do they typically think about? How do philosophers write? What sorts of writing are acceptable in philosophy? How should you write? How should philosophy best be read in order to be understood and assessed?'

In this module we will introduce you to some of the most interesting questions in philosophy, both from its history and from current debates. As we do this we will show you how to think, read and write as a philosopher.

Find out more about PHIL3150

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

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

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 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 provides a thematic introduction to selected topics and debates that span global philosophical, religious and cultural traditions. It will explore issues such as the nature of reality, of the self, and of goodness or value, the foundations of ethics and the ideal society, and the goals of life in a variety of worldviews. Cross-referencing cultural traditions with broader theoretical and philosophical debates, it seeks to provide a foundation for understanding key concepts and themes found within the world's traditions of philosophy and religion, and exploring their implications for fundamental debates about truth, society, psychology and the good life.

Find out more about RSST3500

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

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

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

Optional modules may include

This module introduces some of the major works in ancient philosophy in relation to ethics, aesthetics, political theory, ontology and metaphysics. Students will study substantial portions of primary texts by the Presocratics, Plato, Aristotle the Epicureans, Stoics and/or the Skeptics. The emphasis throughout will be on the philosophical significance of the ideas studied. The module will concentrate on understanding key philosophical arguments and concepts within the context of the ancient intellectual tradition. This means that students will gain a critical distance from normative and modern definitions of philosophical terms in order to understand how ancient philosophy generally approached questions and problems with different suppositions and conceptions of reality, reason and the purpose of human existence.

Find out more about CLAS7080

What is knowledge? How do we arrive at knowledge? Why is knowledge more valuable than mere belief, or even true belief? Is there some level of justification that turns a belief into knowledge? Do we really have any knowledge at all? Such questions are central to philosophy. Indeed, the theory of knowledge—otherwise known as epistemology—is often taken to be one of the three main branches of philosophy, together with metaphysics and ethics.

In this module, we will investigate various epistemological questions and consider some of the answers that have been proposed by various theories of knowledge. In particular, we will consider possible responses to the sceptical claim that it is not possible to know anything. In doing so, we will consider competing theories of a priori knowledge, knowledge by perception, knowledge by introspection, and knowledge by testimony. In addition, we will look at the debate between foundationalism and coherentism, as well as the debate between internalists and externalists about justification. Lastly, we will discuss how knowledge is related to social power by considering the theory of testimonial injustice.

Find out more about PHIL5001

Groups of marks or bursts of sound are just physical entities but, when produced by a writer or a speaker, they are used to point beyond themselves. This is the property of aboutness or intentionality. Other physical entities generally do not have this property. When you hear a sentence, you hear a burst of sound, but typically you also understand a meaning conveyed by the speaker. What is the meaning of a word – some weird entity that floats alongside the word, a set of rules associating the word with objects, an intention in the mind of the speaker….? What is the difference between what your words imply and what you convey in saying them? How are words used non-literally, how do hearers catch on to the meaning of a newly minted metaphor? How can we mean and convey so much when uttering a concise sentence? When someone says something offensive, is it part of its meaning that it is offensive, or just how it is used? In this module we shall try to find some answers to the questions listed above.

Find out more about PHIL6020

How does truth relate to existence? This module looks at the connection between truths and the things that make them true. We consider questions relating to the connection between truth and ontology (or existence) concerning time, persistence, possibility, generality, composition, and causation. We will look at how these issues are discussed in contemporary analytic metaphysics. We will explore both what solutions looking at the connections between truth and ontology might offer, whether this approach to the problems is useful, and how best to communicate the problems we discuss.

Find out more about PHIL6110

Is it right that the talented profit from their (undeserved) talents? Should the government provide compensation for people who find it hard to meet that special someone? Should we think our duties to our compatriots are more important than our duties to people in other countries?

This course is divided into two parts. The first part examines classic topics in political philosophy, such as Rawls Theory of Justice, Nozick's libertarianism and the feminist and communitarian criticism of political liberalism. The second part of the course will explore issues within contemporary political philosophy, such as equality, our obligations to those in the developing world, and the politics of immigration. We will consider whether we can make sense of political obligation between states as well as within states. We will look at these issues in the context of particular recent case studies.

Find out more about PHIL6180

This course is designed to introduce students to a number of approaches in what is often referred to as "normative ethics". We face and hear about moral problems every day. These problems range from life and death matters concerning abortion, euthanasia and the like to other types of case such as whether to tell a lie to prevent hurting someone's feelings. At some point we might wonder whether there is a set of rules or principles (such as 'Do not lie') which will help us through these tricky problems; we might wonder whether there is something more simple underlying all of this 'ethical mess’ that we can discern.

Normative ethics contains a number of theories that attempt to give us such principles and to sort out the mess. In particular, different normative ethical theories are attempts to articulate reasons why a certain course of action is ethically best; they are attempts to say what types of feature we should concentrate on when thinking about ethical problems and why it is that such features are features which have ‘intrinsic moral significance’. Of course, ethical theories do not exist in a vacuum. As we shall see, our everyday intuitions about what is morally best are both the origin of normative ethical theories and the origin of thoughts raised against them.

Find out more about PHIL6400

Many people today are reluctant to identify themselves as 'feminist': either because they see feminism as a useful political movement that has essentially served its purposes; or because they view feminism as a 'single-issue', militant ideology that they cannot identify with. This module is intended to give students an opportunity to reflect philosophically on what claims like this could mean: if we live in a post-feminist era, why do women earn, on average, two thirds of what their male counterparts earn? If we live in post-feminist era, why are women still under-represented in many fields (including politics, science and academic philosophy?). If feminism is a ‘single-issue’ ideology, why is it that feminists have proposed such a variety of solutions to the above problems, and from such a wide range of political standpoints?

The module explores some key debates in contemporary feminist philosophy, with particularly emphasis on its uncomfortable relationship with liberalism. The course draws attention to feminist critiques of key liberal concepts, such as consent, the social contract, autonomy, universal rights, and the private/public distinction. We go on to apply theoretical debates in feminist thought to the following political issues: prostitution, pornography, feminine appearance, multiculturalism, and human rights.

Find out more about PHIL6420

Philosophers have conceived of their subject in a variety of ways, as rational systematisation, as a guide to the good life, as continuous with science, as dialogue, as critique, as therapy, and so on. In this module a small sample of topics will be chosen from a range of fields, for instance, ethics, politics, and science. Through team teaching, students are shown various—sometimes competing—ways to approach, discuss and respond to the chosen topics. This will include consideration of a number of techniques adopted by philosophers, such as, the use of the history of philosophy, conceptual analysis, thought experiments, formal philosophy, public philosophy and experimental philosophy.

Find out more about PHIL6700

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

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

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

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

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

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.

You can apply to add a year abroad to your degree programme from your arrival at Kent until the autumn term of your second year. The year abroad takes place between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities. Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme. For a full list, please see Go Abroad.

You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the year abroad.  The year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and does not count towards your final degree classification.

Stage 3

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

What is knowledge? How do we arrive at knowledge? Why is knowledge more valuable than mere belief, or even true belief? Is there some level of justification that turns a belief into knowledge? Do we really have any knowledge at all? Such questions are central to philosophy. Indeed, the theory of knowledge—otherwise known as epistemology—is often taken to be one of the three main branches of philosophy, together with metaphysics and ethics.

In this module, we will investigate various epistemological questions and consider some of the answers that have been proposed by various theories of knowledge. In particular, we will consider possible responses to the sceptical claim that it is not possible to know anything. In doing so, we will consider competing theories of a priori knowledge, knowledge by perception, knowledge by introspection, and knowledge by testimony. In addition, we will look at the debate between foundationalism and coherentism, as well as the debate between internalists and externalists about justification. Lastly, we will discuss how knowledge is related to social power by considering the theory of testimonial injustice.

Find out more about PHIL5001

The module will enable students to acquire knowledge and understanding of Wittgenstein's approach to philosophy, and to acquire familiarity with major themes especially in the areas of epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language. The module will give students practice in deploying their critical philosophical skills.

Find out more about PHIL5730

The aim of this course is to engage in the study of specific topics in the philosophy of mind, language, or action and to engage with the criticism of contemporary approaches as it is found in the works of Wittgenstein, Ryle, Anscombe, and/or Austin.

Find out more about PHIL5780

The module will study some of the major works in the history of modern philosophy of cognitive science and artificial intelligence. An indicative list of topics is: The Turing test; the Chinese Room argument; the frame problem; connectionism; extended and embodied cognition; artificial consciousness. The approach will be philosophical and critical, and will involve the close reading of texts. Students will be expected to engage critically with the works being studied and to formulate and argue for their own views on the issues covered.

Find out more about PHIL5830

Groups of marks or bursts of sound are just physical entities but, when produced by a writer or a speaker, they are used to point beyond themselves. This is the property of aboutness or intentionality. Other physical entities generally do not have this property. When you hear a sentence, you hear a burst of sound, but typically you also understand a meaning conveyed by the speaker. What is the meaning of a word – some weird entity that floats alongside the word, a set of rules associating the word with objects, an intention in the mind of the speaker….? What is the difference between what your words imply and what you convey in saying them? How are words used non-literally, how do hearers catch on to the meaning of a newly minted metaphor? How can we mean and convey so much when uttering a concise sentence? When someone says something offensive, is it part of its meaning that it is offensive, or just how it is used? In this module we shall try to find some answers to the questions listed above.

Find out more about PHIL6020

How does truth relate to existence? This module looks at the connection between truths and the things that make them true. We consider questions relating to the connection between truth and ontology (or existence) concerning time, persistence, possibility, generality, composition, and causation. We will look at how these issues are discussed in contemporary analytic metaphysics. We will explore both what solutions looking at the connections between truth and ontology might offer, whether this approach to the problems is useful, and how best to communicate the problems we discuss.

Find out more about PHIL6110

Is it right that the talented profit from their (undeserved) talents? Should the government provide compensation for people who find it hard to meet that special someone? Should we think our duties to our compatriots are more important than our duties to people in other countries?

This course is divided into two parts. The first part examines classic topics in political philosophy, such as Rawls Theory of Justice, Nozick's libertarianism and the feminist and communitarian criticism of political liberalism. The second part of the course will explore issues within contemporary political philosophy, such as equality, our obligations to those in the developing world, and the politics of immigration. We will consider whether we can make sense of political obligation between states as well as within states. We will look at these issues in the context of particular recent case studies.

Find out more about PHIL6180

The curriculum will focus on an important classic texts on reason and metaphysics in the European tradition. The relation between reason and metaphysics has been a focus of philosophy ever since Plato. This includes questions concerning the nature of the mind, the scope and limits only knowledge, the essence of reality, of space, time and existence, and the possible existence of the soul, free will and God. Students will be expected to read such classic texts (for example, Kant's Critique of Pure Reason), but also contemporary critical commentaries.

Find out more about PHIL6240

This module concerns ideas of two of the most interesting of Western philosophers: Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche. Both thinkers developed ideas that transformed much of the intellectual landscape of the twentieth century, and both wrote books that prove fruitful for successive generations. They wrote on many themes: ethics, religion, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology. Both take their starting point from those thinkers that came before, notably Kant and Hegel. However, they are interesting to compare because they have such different views on philosophical thought and various themes. In particular, some of Nietzsche's thought is framed explicitly in opposition to Schopenhauer's, with the former casting the latter as the great pessimist. An appreciation of their ideas is an important part of the education of many philosophy students. However, both Schopenhauer and Nietzsche can be hard writers to read and understand. This module is designed both to introduce some of their ideas and develop a student’s appreciation of them such that he or she can discuss them with confidence and critical insight.

The module will not cover all of the writings of either or both thinkers. Students will typically read selections from Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation, and his essays, and then selections from a variety of Nietzsche’s works, or one work in full. These will be read on their own, with ideas from both thinkers compared. Modern writers and commentators will be read in addition to help reveal the importance of Schopenhauer’s and Nietzsche’s ideas.

Find out more about PHIL6390

This course is designed to introduce students to a number of approaches in what is often referred to as "normative ethics". We face and hear about moral problems every day. These problems range from life and death matters concerning abortion, euthanasia and the like to other types of case such as whether to tell a lie to prevent hurting someone's feelings. At some point we might wonder whether there is a set of rules or principles (such as 'Do not lie') which will help us through these tricky problems; we might wonder whether there is something more simple underlying all of this 'ethical mess’ that we can discern.

Normative ethics contains a number of theories that attempt to give us such principles and to sort out the mess. In particular, different normative ethical theories are attempts to articulate reasons why a certain course of action is ethically best; they are attempts to say what types of feature we should concentrate on when thinking about ethical problems and why it is that such features are features which have ‘intrinsic moral significance’. Of course, ethical theories do not exist in a vacuum. As we shall see, our everyday intuitions about what is morally best are both the origin of normative ethical theories and the origin of thoughts raised against them.

Find out more about PHIL6400

Many people today are reluctant to identify themselves as 'feminist': either because they see feminism as a useful political movement that has essentially served its purposes; or because they view feminism as a 'single-issue', militant ideology that they cannot identify with. This module is intended to give students an opportunity to reflect philosophically on what claims like this could mean: if we live in a post-feminist era, why do women earn, on average, two thirds of what their male counterparts earn? If we live in post-feminist era, why are women still under-represented in many fields (including politics, science and academic philosophy?). If feminism is a ‘single-issue’ ideology, why is it that feminists have proposed such a variety of solutions to the above problems, and from such a wide range of political standpoints?

The module explores some key debates in contemporary feminist philosophy, with particularly emphasis on its uncomfortable relationship with liberalism. The course draws attention to feminist critiques of key liberal concepts, such as consent, the social contract, autonomy, universal rights, and the private/public distinction. We go on to apply theoretical debates in feminist thought to the following political issues: prostitution, pornography, feminine appearance, multiculturalism, and human rights.

Find out more about PHIL6420

This module will introduce students to classical as well as contemporary discussions in the intersection between politics, philosophy, and economics. Topics to be covered will vary from year to year, in light of the expertise of the person convening it and student feedback from previous years. Topics that may be covered include Authoritarianism, Behavioural economics, Rational Choice Theory, Game Theory, Libertarianism and Paternalism, Markets and Trade, Private Property and the Legitimacy of Organ Sale.

Through these and related topics, students will gain a good understanding of the complementary and in some cases conflicting perspectives and methodologies contained in politics, philosophy, and economics, and enable them to evaluate contemporary issues in a manner that's informed by a comprehensive set of relevant traditions.

Find out more about PHIL6530

In this module we consider what it is that history studies—individual actions, social structures, states, empires, religious movements, social classes, periods and regions, civilizations, large causal or law-governed processes. We explore whether history as a whole has meaning, structure, or direction, beyond the individual events and actions that make it up and the nature of causal influence among historical events or structures that underwrites historical explanations.

We continue by examining what is involved in our knowing, representing, and explaining history by asking what role is played by the interpretation of the "lived experience" of past actors in our historical understanding, and how the historian arrives at justified statements about this lived experience. Can we arrive at justified and objective interpretations of long-dead actors, their mentalities and their actions, or does all historical knowledge remain permanently questionable?

Finally, we consider the extent to which human history is constitutive of the human present. Can historical understanding of events in the past inform our policies and actions in current situations judged in important respects to be sufficiently similar?

Find out more about PHIL6690

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 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

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

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.

Find out more about POLI6910

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 2022/23 annual tuition fees for UK undergraduate courses have not yet been set by the UK Government. As a guide only the 2021/2022 fees for this course were £9,250.

  • Home full-time TBC
  • EU full-time £13000
  • International full-time £17400
  • Home part-time TBC
  • EU part-time £6500
  • International part-time £8700

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

The 2022/23 annual tuition fees for UK undergraduate courses have not yet been set by the UK Government. As a guide only full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates for 2021/22 entry are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

The 2022/23 annual tuition fees for UK undergraduate courses have not yet been set by the UK Government. As a guide only full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates for 2021/22 entry are £1,385.

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

Additional costs

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

Philosophy

Some modules have lectures, some have seminars, and all have class discussions. Some promote ‘student active’ learning techniques which encourage you to work on individual or group research, and present your findings to the rest of the class.

Assessment of philosophy modules is by essays, in-class assignments, seminar participation or tests, or a combination of these methods.

Politics and International Relations

Our main teaching methods are lectures, seminars, working groups, PC laboratory sessions and individual discussions with your academic adviser 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

For programme aims and learning outcomes please see the programmes specification for each subject below. Please note that outcomes depend on your specific module selection:

Independent rankings

Philosophy at Kent was ranked 1st for research intensity in The Complete University Guide 2022.

Politics at Kent scored 88% for research intensity in The Complete University Guide 2022.

Careers

Politics

You gain much more than an academic qualification when you graduate from the School of Politics & International Relations. From the moment you begin your studies with us, our efforts are focused on helping you gain the knowledge, skills and experience you need to thrive in an increasingly competitive workplace. 

Recent graduates have gone into areas such as:

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

Our degrees provide you not only with specific subject training but also with key transferable skills. The School has a dedicated Employability Officer to help and support you in finding a suitable career and making the most of the skills you have developed through your degree.

Philosophy

The Philosophy Department at Kent takes employability seriously, and all of our modules are designed to give you important skills that transfer to the workplace. 

Recent graduates have gone into areas such as:

  • teaching
  • publishing
  • journalism
  • media
  • marketing
  • the civil service
  • the legal profession.

Our modules not only improve your grasp of philosophy, but also teach you how to critically evaluate ideas, think through problems and clearly communicate even complex material. We offer opportunities to discuss and defend your ideas, to give oral presentations, to work both individually and as part of a group, all of which equips you with useful instruments for your future careers, whatever they may be.

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

bubble-text

United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

Enquire online for part-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

earth

International student enquiries

Enquire online

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

Discover Uni information

DiscoverUni logo

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
  • Information about providers

Find out more about the Unistats dataset on the Higher Education Statistics Agency website.