Politics and international relations is a fast-changing, broad-based discipline, allowing you to engage with the key issues of today. Our degree programme at Kent gives you a strong foundation in the subject with a specific focus on the global aspects of contemporary world politics.
The School of Politics and International Relations is an exciting place to study - you receive high-quality teaching informed by cutting-edge research on a range of political issues, such as ethno-political conflict, human rights, feminism, social theories of justice, divided societies, and US and European politics.
At Kent, you are taught by people who have advised government departments or have conducted international conflict mediation exercises. They bring this experience to their teaching, giving you the opportunity to see how theoretical ideas apply in the real world.
Many of our lecturers have also won teaching awards for their innovative teaching practices.
Our degree programme
The School of Politics and International Relations was among the pioneers in the UK in developing a degree with a language. You focus on politics and international relations while also acquiring strong linguistic abilities.
Alongside modules covering areas such as conflict resolution, federalism, comparative politics and European integration, you study modules in the language of your choice. For the language component, you can choose from French, German, Italian and Spanish.
You spend your first and second year at Kent, moving to study in your chosen country in your third year, and returning to Kent for your final year of study. Spending a year abroad is a great way to develop your language skills and to increase your understanding of the politics and culture of the country you are studying in. A full list of our available partnerships is available on our Go Abroad pages.
Our programme helps you to think critically about political and international events, ideas and institutions.
You study in a supportive and responsive learning environment, gaining knowledge and understanding of the theory and analysis of politics and international relations.
We also offer you the opportunity to study in various locations in Europe where the teaching is in English. For details, see Politics and International Relations with a Year in Continental Europe.
It is also possible to study abroad at other destinations. For details, see:
- Politics and International Relations with a Year in North America
- Politics and International Relations with a Year in Continental Europe
- Politics and International Relations with a Year in the Asia Pacific
In addition, we offer a three-year Politics and International Relations programme without a year abroad. For details, see Politics and International Relations.
Facilities and resources to support the study of Politics and International Relations include:
- access to the European Documentation Centre
- a dedicated Student Support Officer, who advises on issues related to academic study as well as wider University life
- a Study Skills Officer, who provides subject-related guidance.
At Kent, there are many student societies related to your studies, for example:
- Current Affairs and Politics Society
- Kent European Debates Society
- Debating Society
- Kent Model United Nations Society.
You are also encouraged to get involved in the programme of events and activities run by the School of Politics and International Relations, which focuses on bridging the gap between academic study and real-life politics. Our Public Speaker Programme features prominent academics and practitioners, who are invited to speak on current issues.
In The Guardian University Guide 2020, over 91% of final-year Politics students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.
Over 90% of final-year Politics students were satisfied with the quality of teaching on their course in The Guardian University Guide 2020.
Of Politics graduates who responded to the most recent national survey of graduate destinations, over 95% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE, 2017).
Teaching Excellence Framework
All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.
Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.
Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.
The BA in Politics and International Relations with a language is composed of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.
The modules below are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.
The compulsory modules in Stage 1 will introduce you to the ideas, concepts, methods and historical developments which are foundational and essential for the academic study of political science. The number of compulsory modules you will take varies depending on your programme, and if a module is not compulsory for you, you will still be able to choose it as an option. As you progress to subsequent stages of your programme, the number of compulsory modules will decrease, thus giving you more opportunities to select optional modules on the basis of your interests in the more specialised subfields of our discipline. Our popular Stage 1 modules cover key areas such as political science concepts and methods, international history, international relations theory, global politics, comparative politics, political theory, conflict analysis and resolution, and British politics. During your first year we will also help you develop key academic skills including essay writing, giving presentations and revising for exams.
The compulsory modules in Stage 2 will build on and develop the foundations laid in Stage 1. We will introduce you to more advanced techniques of political science methodology, including the analysis of political data. We will also look in greater depth at how political scientists establish, verify and corroborate their findings, how they create concepts and theories, and how knowledge interacts with power. Some of our programmes may require you to take compulsory modules specifically related to subjects that are essential to the programmes in question. For example, Politics and International Relations students will take a compulsory module on international relations concepts, theories and methods.
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 spend a year between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities in France, Belgium, Canada (French); Germany (German); Italy (Italian); Spain, Argentina or Uruguay (Spanish), For a full list, please see Go Abroad. Places are subject to availability, language and degree programme.
You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the year abroad. If the requirement is not met, you are transferred to the equivalent three-year programme. The year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification.
Teaching and assessment
Our main teaching methods are lectures, seminars, working groups, PC laboratory sessions and individual discussions with your personal tutor or module teachers. Assessment is through continuous feedback, written examinations, assessed essays and oral presentations.
Politics Open Forum
We hold a weekly extra-curricular Open Forum organised by our School research groups, where students and staff have the opportunity to discuss and debate key issues of the day that affect higher education and politics in the world today.
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.
This programme aims to:
- attract, and meet the needs of, those who wish to combine the study of Politics and International Relations in the United Kingdom with a year abroad (either studying at a university or gaining professional experience through a suitable internship in a field relevant to the study of Politics and International Relations)
- be compatible with widening participation in higher education by offering a wide variety of entry routes
- place questions of political and international order and decision-making at the centre of social-scientific analysis
- ensure that students of politics and international relations acquire knowledge and understanding of political and international relations theory and analysis in a supportive and responsive learning environment
- enable students to understand and use the concepts, approaches and methods of politics and international relations and develop an understanding of their contested nature and the problematic character of enquiry in the discipline
- develop students’ capacities to think critically about political events, ideas and institutions
- encourage students to relate the academic study of politics and international relations to questions of public concern
- provide a curriculum supported by scholarship, staff development and a research culture that promotes breadth and depth of intellectual enquiry and debate
- assist students in developing cognitive and transferable skills relevant to their vocational and personal development
- introduce students to different academic or professional cultures
- develop the ability to use the target language
- develop knowledge of the language
- develop knowledge of aspects of the cultures, communities and societies where the language is used
- develop intercultural awareness and understanding.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- key concepts, theories and methods used in the study of politics and international relations and their application to the analysis of political ideas, institutions, practices and issues in the global arena
- the structure, institutions and operation of different political systems.
- the social, economic, historical and cultural contexts of political institutions and behaviour
- the political dynamics of interaction between people, events, ideas and institutions.
- factors accounting for political change
- the contestable nature of many concepts and different approaches to the study of Politics and International Relations
- the normative and positive foundations of political ideas
- the reliance of politics on knowledge from cognate disciplines
- the nature and significance of politics as a global activity
- the origins and evolution of the international political system, including contemporary changes underway
- different interpretations of world political events and issues.
- target language
- cultures and societies linked to target language.
You will develop intellectual skills in how to:
- gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources
- identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems
- develop reasoned arguments, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement
- reflect on, and manage, their own learning and seek to make use of constructive feedback from peers and staff to enhance their performance and personal skills
- manage their own learning self-critically
- employ their understanding of different educational curricula and pedagogic methods in their own work
- integrate into a different educational, cultural, social, linguistic and, in some cases, professional environment.
You gain the following subject-specific skills:
- understanding the nature and significance of politics as a human and global activity
- applying concepts, theories and methods used in the study of politics and international relations to the analysis of political ideas, institutions, practices and issues in the global arena
- evaluating different interpretations of world political events and issues
- describing, evaluating and applying different approaches to collecting, analysing and presenting political information
- building knowledge of competing approaches to theories and concepts of politics and international relations
- understanding the nature of political conflict between and within states
- reading, writing, listening and speaking in the target language
- ability to describe and analyse the main features of the language studied
- gaining knowledge and understanding of the cultures and societies where the language is used.
You develop transferable skills in how to:
- communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing
- use communication and information technology to retrieve and present information, including, where appropriate, statistical or numerical information
- work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management
- collaborate with others to achieve common goals
- communicate fluently and appropriately both orally and in writing in the target language.
Recent graduates have gone on to develop careers in areas including:
- practical politics
- local and central government
- the diplomatic service
- EU administration
- financial services
- non-governmental organisations
- international business.
Help finding a job
The School of Politics and International Relations runs an Employability Programme, focused on providing you with the skills you need when looking for a job. This includes workshops on a range of topics, for example summer internships, networking, and careers in diplomacy and the civil service.
Students also have access to a weekly Employability Newsletter, featuring jobs for graduates, as well as internship and volunteering opportunities.
The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which can give you advice on how to:
- apply for jobs
- write a good CV
- perform well in interviews.
We have recently developed an internship module, enabling you to gain hands-on experience in the workplace in a field relevant to your studies.
To help you appeal to employers, you also learn key transferable skills that are essential for all graduates. These include the ability to:
- think critically
- communicate your ideas and opinions
- manage your time effectively
- work independently or as part of a team.
You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering..
Please note that in addition to the entry requirements set out below, you are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad.
The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice.
It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.
New GCSE grades
If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.
|Qualification||Typical offer/minimum requirement|
Grade C in a modern European language other than English
|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.
|BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)||
Distinction, Distinction, Merit
34 points overall or 15 points at HL with 4 at HL or 5 at SL in a modern European language other than English
The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.
However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.
If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.
Meet our staff in your country
For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.
English Language Requirements
Please see our English language entry requirements web page.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.
General entry requirements
Please also see our general entry requirements.
The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for UK undergraduate courses have not yet been set by the UK Government and are displayed as TBC. As a guide only full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates for 2019/20 entry are £9,250.
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.
There are no compulsory additional costs associated with this course. All textbooks are available from the library, although some students prefer to purchase their own.
General additional costs
Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details.
You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.
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 AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.
The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either mathematics or a modern foreign language. Please review the eligibility criteria.