Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Politics and International Relations with a Year in Continental Europe - BA (Hons)

UCAS code L255

2018

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.

2018

Overview

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

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

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

Our degree programme

This very popular programme combines all the strengths of our three-year BA degree in Politics and International Relations with the opportunity to spend a year in continental Europe at a partner institution. You can choose to study in the Czech Republic, Finland, Norway, Poland, Russia or Turkey where the teaching is in English. A full list of our available partnerships is available on our Go Abroad pages.

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

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 the opportunity to combine the study of politics and international relations with a European language. For the language component, you can choose from French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. For details, see Politics and International Relations with a Language.

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

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

Study resources

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

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

Extra activities

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

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

You are also encouraged to get involved in the programme of events and activities run by the School of Politics and International Relations, which focuses on bridging the gap between academic study and real-life politics.

Our Public Speaker Programme features prominent academics and practitioners, who are invited to speak on current issues. You can also attend the Open Forum, a weekly debating group where staff and students discuss the hot topic of the week.

Independent rankings

Politics at Kent was ranked 9th in The Guardian University Guide 2018. In the National Student Survey 2017, over 91% of final-year Politics students  were satisfied with the overall quality of their course

For graduate prospects, Politics at Kent was ranked 3rd in The Guardian University Guide 2018, 7th in The Complete University Guide 2018 and 9th in The Times Good University Guide 2017Of Politics students who graduated in 2016, 94% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

Politics & International Studies at Kent was ranked in the top 100 in the QS World University Rankings 2017.

Teaching Excellence Framework

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.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

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 ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

This module is addressed to students who have hitherto had no training in the academic field of International Relations. It aims to establish a good basis from which to appreciate at a higher level the theoretical schools of thought in the study of international relations, and to provide a strong grounding in the study of international politics as the basis for the further study in Stage 2 on the subject matter of the discipline of international relations. The course proceeds by examining a number of theoretical perspectives on International Relations and offers examples from history and current affairs to demonstrate the extent to which theories can be used to make sense of major issues in areas such as international security and international political economy.

Read more
15

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

Read more
15

This core module introduces students to the wide range of different methodologies commonly employed in political science. This includes the scientific method and both traditional and newer forms of research. Students will also be introduced to some of the fields of inquiry that dominate the study of politics, including public choice, social movements, political behaviour, economic development and democracy. The module integrates these two main components to create both an awareness of the breadth of political science and its approaches, ultimately providing students with the foundation for further study in political science. Substantive topics include: the nature of inquiry (questioning and determining what constitutes evidence), methods of comparison, theory and hypotheses. They will also be introduced to and explore quantitative methods, formal methods, experimental methods and empirical quantitative methods. Students will implement basic quantitative research techniques for themselves. Finally, they will be introduced to concepts such as equivalence, selection bias, spuriousness, value bias and ecological and individualist fallacy in order to illuminate the difficulties faced when making comparisons.

Read more
15

The module introduces students to the empirical study of the key structures, institutions and processes in political life. It does so through the lens of the comparative method, in which political systems are compared and contrasted to test hypotheses about the factors producing similarities and differences across countries and over time. The module first introduces the comparative method, and then discusses the different ways in which political systems can be organized and classified. It focuses on the three key powers in all political systems – executive, legislative and judicial – the ‘intermediate’ actors that link people to their governments, namely political parties, interest groups and the media, and how citizens behave politically in relations to such institutions and actors. Throughout the module, students are encouraged to identify the factors and the processes leading to different political outcomes across states and over time and to use both qualitative and quantitative data to support their arguments.

Read more
15

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.

.

Read more
15

This module introduces first year undergraduate students to some of the key historical events of modern history, and related debates and questions that have occupied the discipline of International Relations (IR). The focus is on communicating a few key themes, ideas, issues and principles that recur throughout the history of the last hundred years, and that cut across various theoretical approaches and different schools of thought. These key ideas include: war, conflict, violence and terror; international reformism; the nature of international order under conditions of anarchy; the balance of power; the influence of ideology on international affairs and on theorising; the tension between order and justice in the international sphere; and the nature of imperialism and its effects. Exploration of these themes, ideas, and issues emerges through analysis of the World Wars, the Cold War, decolonisation and the emergence of the US as the world's sole superpower in the post-Cold War era. The course places an emphasis on historical events between the global North and South, as these events often led to dramatic shifts and changes in international relations and foreign policy. Students will be encouraged to identify significant continuities and changes in international politics across the period studied.

Read more
15

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.

Read more
15

This module utilises literature and film as well as political theory to assess the political marketplace in Japan. It will analyse the core values and problems that Japan faces and affect political beliefs. Rising nationalism, a pacifistic Constitution, a failing political engagement and rising social problems will be analysed utilising key modern writers such as Mishima Yukio and Murakami Haruki and landmark Japanese films such as the anime, Grave of the Fireflies, and more recent films to show employment issues such as Tokyo Sonata.

Read more
15

Globalisation is a contentious phenomenon with opinions divided as to whether it has (mostly) positive or negative consequences. This module assesses the complex process of globalisation by exploring the economic and political dimensions of globalisation, what drives the process, how it affects states and domestic constituencies and to what degree it can be managed. The module explores the role of individuals, states, international economic organisations, and non-state actors in processes and governance of globalisation as well as the growing resistance movements against globalisation. It also examines the relationship between globalisation and (in)equality, economic development, personal rights, environment and armed conflict.

Read more
15

One of the impediments to communication between different academic disciplines is their use of different ways of making, and validating, arguments and proofs. A key element of the programme in Liberal Arts is to develop a genuine inter-disciplinary approach so that students can understand, appreciate and assimilate the findings from diverse academic approaches. This module examines the varying modes of developing scientific, social scientific and humanities discourses to facilitate cross-disciplinary understanding of qualitative and quantitative reasoning. Following an introduction to Modes of Thought, engaging students with concepts of rationality as elaborated in logic and analytical reasoning, it will familiarise students in lectures and readings with quantitative and qualitative methodologies as well as with associated processes of data presentation, validation and conclusion reaching. Seminars will serve both to discuss and assess approaches and to familiarise students with working with techniques of data analysis and representation (quantitatively through statistical methods and software packages such as Excel and SPSS and qualitatively through sessions engaging grounded theory, narratology, actor network theory and image studies). Insofar as an element at the core of reasoning is representation per se, the issue of cognition and its unconscious shaping by both social and psychological forces will be addressed.

Themes introduced here not only intertwine with teaching and practical exercises in the two concurrent first year core modules (for instance the training in research design, statistical methods, and data analysis carried out here will be drawn upon in Understanding the Contemporaries' study of social and historical changes in local communities) but also recur throughout the rest of the programme. The cross-disciplinary debates – and communications – opened in this module will be revisited, and nuanced, over the following three years.

The module Modes of Reasoning is rich in transferable skills training, helping students to develop numeric and analytical skills, engaging them in the formulation and design of research questions and hypotheses, and familiarising them with select software packages.

Read more
30

'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 furthermore apply insights drawn from their readings and discussions to practical analysis of contemporary situations, not only through developing awareness of current events but also through designing and carrying out field analysis of social and historical changes in local communities (linked both to the research plan designed in Modes of Reasoning and to SSPSSR’s quantitative teaching methods programme). The focus of the module will be on the period since 2000, though clearly it will be necessary to 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 disciplines. Week by week, seminars and lectures will address topics that define the present period, for instance, migration, environmental change, financial crisis, democratic agency, and new media. The module will consider how different disciplines and intellectual traditions are responding to and framing such issues and developments so developing skills of comparative and cross-disciplinary reading. It is in the nature of the module that its study topics will vary from year to year. Overall, the module will develop multi-disciplinary understandings of the contemporary world and will encourage students to consider their role in shaping it.

Read more
15

The module will prepare students to think critically about the forces shaping ways of being in the contemporary world, with attention to how ‘the modern’ has emerged from innovations and continuities in modes of production, reproduction and communication in the past two centuries.

This module examines the technological and economic revolutions that shape human cultures, with a particular focus on the 19th and early 20th century roots of modernity and the impacts of recent and developing technological innovations. Students will be introduced to basic issues in scientific and technological developments impacting upon the contemporary world and will, building on their understanding of these, investigate their ramifications in social practices and ideations, in philosophical discourse and in the fields of aesthetic and literary production.

Students will be required to think critically about the ways different disciplines respond to and are shaped by technological and social developments, and will be encouraged to engage these from a cross-disciplinary perspective.

Overall, the module will develop multi-disciplinary understandings of the history of the contemporary world and will encourage students to become aware of, and to understand, the ‘unseen’ influences which enable and constrain our ways of being so as to both work with them and, where appropriate, seek to shape them.

Read more
15
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

This module explores the origins, evolution and role of international organisations in world politics. The aim is to understand how these institutions have developed, why states choose, refuse and fail to use these institutions as a means to achieve their objectives, and to what extent international organisations can promote international cooperation. The module takes the United Nations system as its central focus, but will also consider historical forms of international organisation as well as the processes of global governance. International organisations are involved in a wide variety of issues in contemporary international politics. This module will survey a selection of them, exploring the political differences and questions that arise in international responses to these issues.

Read more
15

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. This 15 credit intermediate-level module is normally taken in Stage II. 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.

The module is divided into two main components: In the first part, students will be introduced to both the logic of empirical research in the social sciences and to basic concepts and techniques of descriptive uni-, bi-, and multi-variate data analysis. The second part will focus on uni-, bi-, and multi-variate inferential statistics. ICT skills will be acquired/enhanced of students by the introduction to and use of statistical software (SPSS). The focus will be on student-centred learning and critical reflection of selected examples of quantitative work in seminars and group work.

Read more
15

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.

Read more
15

This course will provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the recent political history of Northern Ireland. The course will be accessible to all students, whether they are new to the topic or not. The main objective of the course is to provide students with a greater understanding of one of the most complex regions within the United Kingdom. Students who take the course will learn about the central issues that underpinned community conflict, why sectarian conflict broke out in the region in the late 1960s, why it continued for so long, and what political dynamics led to the ‘peace process’ of the 1990s. In addition to looking at the conventional historical and political development of Northern Ireland, the course will also focus on wider aspects of the society such as representations in Irish poetry, music and sport, and the way in which these have mirrored political and cultural relationships within the region.

Read more
15

This module aims to provide students with a critical review of China’s hegemonic role in pre-modern East Asia and its political development since the 1840s when it was forced to open up to the outside world and to lay a solid foundation for even more detailed study of present-day China.

It deals with a recurrent theme in the study of Chinese politics, that is, how successive Chinese leaderships since the 1840s have reconciled Chinese indigenous political culture with models of modernisations that originated in the West. Focus is on how indigenous and foreign models for state-building and political development have guided Chinese thinking about national rejuvenation and modernisation.

This module assumes no prior knowledge of Chinese history or politics, and introduces students to the defining features of the Chinese traditional political system, including: Confucianism and Legalism, the causes of the demise of imperial China in 1911, the abortive attempts of republicanism and constitutionalism between 1912 and 1949, the rise of communism, and major political events since 1949 as well as its recent ascendancy.

Questions to be explored in this module include: Why did the Chinese imperial system fail to meet the challenges and encroachment from the West and Japan? How did Chinese leaders understand ‘modernisation’? Why did Chinese political elites embrace communism? What have been the impacts of revolutions on China’s external behaviour and relations, post-1949? How has China’s worldview been ‘socially constructed’ in its interactions with Western powers? What is China’s grand strategy for development in the early 21st century?

Read more
15

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 the 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.

Read more
15

This module provides an introduction to some of the major developments in Western political thought by discussing the work and impact of key figures such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Rousseau, Kant, Wollstonecraft, Mill, Marx, and Nietzsche. Focusing on reading the primary works of these thinkers, putting them in their historical context, and understanding their reception in contemporary scholarship, this module addresses the overall problems which ‘modernity’ poses for political theory in Western societies.

Read more
15

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 be addressed with a special focus on methodological problems involved in the study of terrorism and political violence.

Read more
15

The module examines the nature of political behaviour in Britain today. It focuses on two key issues. The first is the way that citizens participate in politics. The module explores the nature of political participation, and how this has changed in the last few decades. It also examines the characteristics of people who participate, and the factors that motivate individuals to engage in different forms of political participation. The second key issue examined is voting behaviour. The module considers how far electoral decisions are shaped by stable ‘sociological’ factors, and how far voters today are less closely aligned with parties and more open to the influence of particular policy messages, personalities and media coverage. Alongside this focus on the behaviour of citizens, the module also considers the activities of key intermediary organisations, such as legislators. Throughout, the module seeks to develop students’ understanding and analytical skills, by considering theories and models of political behaviour along with the way data and other evidence can be brought to bear in testing the validity of these models.

Read more
15

This module provides an introduction to the various approaches to security studies by way of introducing key thinkers, the key literature. Its core aim is to provide a solid theoretical and conceptual grounding for students interested in the diversity of issues, institutions and actors engaged in the practice of international security.

Read more
15

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.

Read more
15

This module introduces students to the complex set of questions surrounding religion in international politics. The module begins by exploring contending political and sociological understandings of religion at the turn of the 20th century. It looks, in particular, at the constructed nature of the categories of the ‘religious’ and the ‘secular’, and at the limits of the secularization thesis, which anticipated the privatization, decline and ultimately disappearance of religion in modernity. The discussion then turns to the relation between religion and secularism in Europe – with a focus on the question of European identity, multiculturalism, the relation between Europe and Islam and the numerous controversies surrounding Islam in Europe – and in the United States – with a focus on the concept of civil religion and the role of religious rhetoric and thinking in US foreign policy, particularly in the so-called ‘war on terror’. The module then explores the relation between religion and violence by looking at the role of the 16th and 17th wars of religion in the process of modern state formation and by asking whether there is a genuine connection between religion and violence. The concluding part of the module focuses on the emerging concept of the ‘postsecular’, its contending meanings, understandings and possible applications by focusing on the case of the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

Read more
15

The purpose of the module is to enable students to critically engage with the International Society (or “English School”) approach to International Relations. Combining political theory, IR theory, philosophy, sociology, and history this approach seeks to understand the theory and practice of international politics by reference to the historical development of relations between large scale political entities (from empires, hordes, kingdoms, to the modern nation-state and beyond) and the discourses that have emerged (Machiavellian, Grotian, Kantian) in response to the development of first European international society and eventually world society. The course focuses on the central features of international society - war and peace - as they have been conceived by the three traditions and members of the English School from Martin Wight to more contemporary figures.

Read more
15

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.

Read more
15

This module explores the place of Japan in today’s international system. It not only investigates Japan’s most important bilateral relationships, such as the Japan-US axis and relations with China, Korea, etc., but also Japan’s increasing role in multilateral bodies, such as the UN, ASEAN and APEC. Economic questions and security issues will both be addressed alongside the problems of Japanese energy. Students are encouraged to develop an understanding of how the China/Japan conflict gets more important and how Japan’s perception may differ from those in Europe or the USA.

Read more
15

This module will examine the domestic politics of Japan, starting with the changes made by the American occupation. We will then explain the institutions and informal practices which maintained long-term one-party-dominant rule of the LDP (1955-1993). Attention will be paid to electoral rules, the government and opposition parties, collusion between the LDP/business/bureaucracy and voting behaviour.

Attention will then move to how the system has changed since the 1993 election which saw the LDP lose its majority. We will analyse the successes of Koizumi and the new era of post-Koizumi politics. We will assess the current Prime Minister and how he is running Japan. We will analyse the 2009 DPJ government and assess its' successes and failures. The module will end with assessment of the Fukushima management of the disaster and the new LDP government.

Read more
15

This module examines the complex relationship between foreign policy analysis and foreign policy practice. It does so by exploring shifting approaches to making and examing foreign policy, including the contributions of IR theory to Foreign Policy Analysis. Historical antecedents of foreign policy as a practice are examined via observations of traditional bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, followed by traditional state-based actors, non-state actors, and the nature of the structure they inhabit. FP decision-making is then examined, followed by the process of foreign policy implementation. The issue of motivation is tackled through analyses of the largely domestic impact of culture, interests and identity and broader effect of intra-state norms, ethics, the issue of human rights. Case studies of key countries reinforce the practical implications of above-mentioned issues throughout the module.

Read more
15

This module focuses on European foreign policy, i.e. the ‘external dimension’ of European politics, exploring the relationship between Europe and the rest of the world. Following the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU now stands poised to unleash significant foreign policy potential in its neighbourhood, and beyond. The difference between the EU and ‘Europe’ will be examined in component fashion through the foreign policies of some of the major European states.

Thereafter, the foreign policy tools of the EU will be looked at, after moving into an in-depth thematic treatment of the key foreign policy issues facing the EU vis-à-vis its security, defence, economic, trade and development relations, and its dynamics with ‘rising powers’, the US, its eastern and southern neighbours in Central Europe, Asia and North Africa.

Other issues include its burgeoning military capacity and a growing set of overseas military missions. Broader themes will include the impact of global developments on Europe, the international significance of European integration and the more general role of Europe in the new world order This course will draw on theories from political science and international relations and concepts defining Europe’s global role.

Read more
15

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.

Read more
15

This module aims to provide students with a critical review of China's political development in the 20th and early 21st centuries. After a brief overview of China's political history since 1949, it is designed around two core blocks of study.

The first block looks at the principal political institutions that include the Communist Party, the government (the State Council), the legislature (the National People's Congress) and the military (the People's Liberation Army).

The second block examines the socio-political issues and challenges facing the country in its ongoing development. They range from the prospects of democratisation and the growth of civil society, the issue of quality of life in the areas of the environment and public health, corruption, nationalism and ethnic minorities, national reunification, territorial disputes with neighbouring countries to China's engagement with global governance.

A major theme of the module is to address why the Chinese communist regime is more durable and resilient than other non-democratic countries in achieving both economic growth and political stability and acquiring international influence, despite the fact that it faces numerous mounting development and governance challenges.

Read more
15

This module places the contemporary developments in European security integration within a historical context while focusing on institutional formation and the role of nation-states with the view to highlight continuities and changes constituted in the new Security Architecture. The module locates (Western) Europe’s place in international security vis-à-vis other actors including the United States and emerging powers in order to determine what type of security identity Europe has carved for itself in the post-War period. The module further considers the implications of cooperation for Europe’s ability to respond to external New Security Challenges.

Read more
15

The decision by a majority of the British electorate who voted on Thursday 23rd June 2016 to leave the EU sent shockwaves throughout Europe and the world and created a political earthquake within the UK's political system. Focusing on the European level, as this module does, the result of the referendum plunged the EU into its most serious existential crisis as, for the first time, a member state has signalled its desire to exit. According to Marine Le Pen, leader of France's Front National, the Brexit vote was 'by far the most important political event taking place in our continent since the fall of the Berlin Wall'. The reverberations of this decision will be felt for many years to come and affect an EU experiencing what some commentators have termed a 'polycrisis’ since the Euro-crisis erupted in Greece six years ago. As well as bailing out Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus and the economic fall-out from the global financial crisis of 2008-9, the EU has also witnessed the worst refugee crisis since the end of the Second World War, terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels and heightened tension with Putin’s Russia over the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. The EU has never been under such pressure and its resilience so tested. The purpose of this module in this context is thus two-fold. First, we learn and understand how the EU has reached where it is today, how its political system works, its strengths and weaknesses and how it is driven both the politics and economics of its member states and the global system. At the same time, we analyse the process of Brexit, how it will be managed by the UK and the EU27 and its implications for the future of the EU. There has certainly never been a more challenging or interesting time to learn about the EU!

Read more
15

Since 2009, the European Union (EU) has been grappling with a crisis in the Eurozone, a refugee crisis, terrorist attacks in France and Belgium, 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 and how it is driven by both the politics and economics of its member states and the global system. 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, as well as the process of Brexit itself, how it is being managed by the UK and the EU27 and its implications for the future of the EU.

Read more
15

PO617 offers a comprehensive introduction to the politics and national government of the United States. It introduces students to the ‘foundations’ of the US political system, examining 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. We will also examine those ‘intermediate’ institutions (interest groups, parties, elections and the media) that link people to their government, and the three key institutions of the federal government: the Congress, Presidency and Supreme Court. Lastly, we focus on the policymaking process in the US. We will look at economic policy, civil rights and liberties and foreign policy, ask how and why policy is made as it is, and examine the extent to which the policy solutions produced by the political system are optimal.

Read more
30

The module examines the politics of transition and change in post-communist countries 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.

Read more
15

Connections is an innovative module that aims to provide a 'diagnosis of the present' informed by an interdisciplinary variety of approaches such as historical narratives, life writings (auto-biography), literature, photography and data analysis. A key question to be discussed is: what are the themes and issues that define our contemporary era, and how are they connected and impact on each other? In previous years, the module explored issues of class, peace(-keeping) and violence, borders and imagination, exile, media and democracy, and others. The module further aims to make connections with current events as they are unfolding, and depending on circumstances may include sessions on topics of particular relevance at the time that the module is being taught.

Read more
30
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Year abroad

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

Students on a four-year degree programme spend a year between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities in Czech Republic, Finland, Norway, Poland or Turkey. For a full list, please see Go Abroad. Places are subject to availability, language and degree programme.

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

Modules may include Credits

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

Read more
120

Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

Connections is an innovative module that aims to provide a 'diagnosis of the present' informed by an interdisciplinary variety of approaches such as historical narratives, life writings (auto-biography), literature, photography and data analysis. A key question to be discussed is: what are the themes and issues that define our contemporary era, and how are they connected and impact on each other? In previous years, the module explored issues of class, peace(-keeping) and violence, borders and imagination, exile, media and democracy, and others. The module further aims to make connections with current events as they are unfolding, and depending on circumstances may include sessions on topics of particular relevance at the time that the module is being taught.

Read more
30

The module examines the politics of transition and change in post-communist countries 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.

Read more
15

PO617 offers a comprehensive introduction to the politics and national government of the United States. It introduces students to the ‘foundations’ of the US political system, examining 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. We will also examine those ‘intermediate’ institutions (interest groups, parties, elections and the media) that link people to their government, and the three key institutions of the federal government: the Congress, Presidency and Supreme Court. Lastly, we focus on the policymaking process in the US. We will look at economic policy, civil rights and liberties and foreign policy, ask how and why policy is made as it is, and examine the extent to which the policy solutions produced by the political system are optimal.

Read more
30

Since 2009, the European Union (EU) has been grappling with a crisis in the Eurozone, a refugee crisis, terrorist attacks in France and Belgium, 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 and how it is driven by both the politics and economics of its member states and the global system. 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, as well as the process of Brexit itself, how it is being managed by the UK and the EU27 and its implications for the future of the EU.

Read more
15

Much recent academic and popular commentary has focused on citizens’ supposed mistrust of government, especially in the United States of America. The central aim of the Politics of Trust is to uncover the reasons for Americans’ malaise. However, students will also examine other western democracies where trust has fallen to see if these countries’ experiences can inform our understanding of the US case specifically and the politics of trust more generally. The course begins with a history of trust in America, with an overview of the putative reasons for declining trust in the post-World War II period, with an examination of the experiences of other western democracies. The second part turns to the specific explanations for declining trust as posited by academics and political commentators. Explanations include the crisis of government performance, spin, the internecine warfare between Republicans and Democrats, the changing nature of the modern labour market, declining social capital, and the media.

Read more
15

The decision by a majority of the British electorate who voted on Thursday 23rd June 2016 to leave the EU sent shockwaves throughout Europe and the world and created a political earthquake within the UK's political system. Focusing on the European level, as this module does, the result of the referendum plunged the EU into its most serious existential crisis as, for the first time, a member state has signalled its desire to exit. According to Marine Le Pen, leader of France's Front National, the Brexit vote was 'by far the most important political event taking place in our continent since the fall of the Berlin Wall'. The reverberations of this decision will be felt for many years to come and affect an EU experiencing what some commentators have termed a 'polycrisis’ since the Euro-crisis erupted in Greece six years ago. As well as bailing out Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus and the economic fall-out from the global financial crisis of 2008-9, the EU has also witnessed the worst refugee crisis since the end of the Second World War, terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels and heightened tension with Putin’s Russia over the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. The EU has never been under such pressure and its resilience so tested. The purpose of this module in this context is thus two-fold. First, we learn and understand how the EU has reached where it is today, how its political system works, its strengths and weaknesses and how it is driven both the politics and economics of its member states and the global system. At the same time, we analyse the process of Brexit, how it will be managed by the UK and the EU27 and its implications for the future of the EU. There has certainly never been a more challenging or interesting time to learn about the EU!

Read more
15

This module places the contemporary developments in European security integration within a historical context while focusing on institutional formation and the role of nation-states with the view to highlight continuities and changes constituted in the new Security Architecture. The module locates (Western) Europe’s place in international security vis-à-vis other actors including the United States and emerging powers in order to determine what type of security identity Europe has carved for itself in the post-War period. The module further considers the implications of cooperation for Europe’s ability to respond to external New Security Challenges.

Read more
15

This module aims to provide students with a critical review of China's political development in the 20th and early 21st centuries. After a brief overview of China's political history since 1949, it is designed around two core blocks of study.

The first block looks at the principal political institutions that include the Communist Party, the government (the State Council), the legislature (the National People's Congress) and the military (the People's Liberation Army).

The second block examines the socio-political issues and challenges facing the country in its ongoing development. They range from the prospects of democratisation and the growth of civil society, the issue of quality of life in the areas of the environment and public health, corruption, nationalism and ethnic minorities, national reunification, territorial disputes with neighbouring countries to China's engagement with global governance.

A major theme of the module is to address why the Chinese communist regime is more durable and resilient than other non-democratic countries in achieving both economic growth and political stability and acquiring international influence, despite the fact that it faces numerous mounting development and governance challenges.

Read more
15

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.

Read more
15

This module focuses on European foreign policy, i.e. the ‘external dimension’ of European politics, exploring the relationship between Europe and the rest of the world. Following the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU now stands poised to unleash significant foreign policy potential in its neighbourhood, and beyond. The difference between the EU and ‘Europe’ will be examined in component fashion through the foreign policies of some of the major European states.

Thereafter, the foreign policy tools of the EU will be looked at, after moving into an in-depth thematic treatment of the key foreign policy issues facing the EU vis-à-vis its security, defence, economic, trade and development relations, and its dynamics with ‘rising powers’, the US, its eastern and southern neighbours in Central Europe, Asia and North Africa.

Other issues include its burgeoning military capacity and a growing set of overseas military missions. Broader themes will include the impact of global developments on Europe, the international significance of European integration and the more general role of Europe in the new world order This course will draw on theories from political science and international relations and concepts defining Europe’s global role.

Read more
15

This module examines the complex relationship between foreign policy analysis and foreign policy practice. It does so by exploring shifting approaches to making and examing foreign policy, including the contributions of IR theory to Foreign Policy Analysis. Historical antecedents of foreign policy as a practice are examined via observations of traditional bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, followed by traditional state-based actors, non-state actors, and the nature of the structure they inhabit. FP decision-making is then examined, followed by the process of foreign policy implementation. The issue of motivation is tackled through analyses of the largely domestic impact of culture, interests and identity and broader effect of intra-state norms, ethics, the issue of human rights. Case studies of key countries reinforce the practical implications of above-mentioned issues throughout the module.

Read more
15

This module will examine the domestic politics of Japan, starting with the changes made by the American occupation. We will then explain the institutions and informal practices which maintained long-term one-party-dominant rule of the LDP (1955-1993). Attention will be paid to electoral rules, the government and opposition parties, collusion between the LDP/business/bureaucracy and voting behaviour.

Attention will then move to how the system has changed since the 1993 election which saw the LDP lose its majority. We will analyse the successes of Koizumi and the new era of post-Koizumi politics. We will assess the current Prime Minister and how he is running Japan. We will analyse the 2009 DPJ government and assess its' successes and failures. The module will end with assessment of the Fukushima management of the disaster and the new LDP government.

Read more
15

This module explores the place of Japan in today’s international system. It not only investigates Japan’s most important bilateral relationships, such as the Japan-US axis and relations with China, Korea, etc., but also Japan’s increasing role in multilateral bodies, such as the UN, ASEAN and APEC. Economic questions and security issues will both be addressed alongside the problems of Japanese energy. Students are encouraged to develop an understanding of how the China/Japan conflict gets more important and how Japan’s perception may differ from those in Europe or the USA.

Read more
15

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.

Read more
15

The purpose of the module is to enable students to critically engage with the International Society (or “English School”) approach to International Relations. Combining political theory, IR theory, philosophy, sociology, and history this approach seeks to understand the theory and practice of international politics by reference to the historical development of relations between large scale political entities (from empires, hordes, kingdoms, to the modern nation-state and beyond) and the discourses that have emerged (Machiavellian, Grotian, Kantian) in response to the development of first European international society and eventually world society. The course focuses on the central features of international society - war and peace - as they have been conceived by the three traditions and members of the English School from Martin Wight to more contemporary figures.

Read more
15

This module introduces students to the complex set of questions surrounding religion in international politics. The module begins by exploring contending political and sociological understandings of religion at the turn of the 20th century. It looks, in particular, at the constructed nature of the categories of the ‘religious’ and the ‘secular’, and at the limits of the secularization thesis, which anticipated the privatization, decline and ultimately disappearance of religion in modernity. The discussion then turns to the relation between religion and secularism in Europe – with a focus on the question of European identity, multiculturalism, the relation between Europe and Islam and the numerous controversies surrounding Islam in Europe – and in the United States – with a focus on the concept of civil religion and the role of religious rhetoric and thinking in US foreign policy, particularly in the so-called ‘war on terror’. The module then explores the relation between religion and violence by looking at the role of the 16th and 17th wars of religion in the process of modern state formation and by asking whether there is a genuine connection between religion and violence. The concluding part of the module focuses on the emerging concept of the ‘postsecular’, its contending meanings, understandings and possible applications by focusing on the case of the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

Read more
15

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.

Read more
15

This module provides an introduction to the various approaches to security studies by way of introducing key thinkers, the key literature. Its core aim is to provide a solid theoretical and conceptual grounding for students interested in the diversity of issues, institutions and actors engaged in the practice of international security.

Read more
15

This module blends practical workplace experience, in the form of an internship in the area of politics and international relations, with taught workshops and private study. The internship will allow students to experience first-hand the practical application of their degree subject in the wider world of work, and will provide the opportunity to develop transferable skills such as teamwork, communication and self-organisation. The taught workshops will provide an opportunity to reflect upon, and develop, knowledge of the sector and its relationship with the academic field of study, using the student's internship experiences and a range of other resources. Students will also examine learning theory and consider the value of experiential learning experiences within Higher Education.

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

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

Read more
15

One of the most striking developments in established Western democracies has been the electoral growth of extreme right and radical right-wing political parties. In this module students will investigate the nature and rise of extreme and radical right-wing parties, while also exploring other related issues such as right-wing extremist and racially-motivated violence and/or terrorism. This module will introduce students to the academic literature that has followed a resurgence of support for the extreme right. The module will familiarise students with conceptual and theoretical debates within this literature, and introduce students to some of the associated methodological debates. Students will be encouraged to think critically about concepts, classifications, ideologies, electoral behaviour and the broader implications of the rise of these parties and social movements in areas such as public policy and social cohesion.

Read more
15

PO679 allows students to do independent, original research under supervision on a political science 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.

PLEASE NOTE: PO679 is worth 45 credits. If you wish to take PO679, please keep this in mind when choosing your other modules. PO679 is worth 15 credits in autumn term, and 30 in spring. The module is weighted more to the Spring term to enable you to dedicate the time needed to produce your dissertation.

As you can chose the equivalent of 4 x 15 credits in the autumn and 4 x 15 in the Spring, picking PO679 would look like this:

Autumn:

PO679

XX

XX

XX

Spring:

PO679

PO679

XX

XX

Read more
45

The module examines the nature of political behaviour in Britain today. It focuses on two key issues. The first is the way that citizens participate in politics. The module explores the nature of political participation, and how this has changed in the last few decades. It also examines the characteristics of people who participate, and the factors that motivate individuals to engage in different forms of political participation. The second key issue examined is voting behaviour. The module considers how far electoral decisions are shaped by stable ‘sociological’ factors, and how far voters today are less closely aligned with parties and more open to the influence of particular policy messages, personalities and media coverage. Alongside this focus on the behaviour of citizens, the module also considers the activities of key intermediary organisations, such as legislators. Throughout, the module seeks to develop students’ understanding and analytical skills, by considering theories and models of political behaviour along with the way data and other evidence can be brought to bear in testing the validity of these models.

Read more
15

The module will begin with training sessions for the students in the Autumn term. These will include sessions on the relationship with the teacher, how to behave with pupils, as well as how to organise an engaging and informative session on an aspect of politics drawn from the national curriculum. These sessions will be run by the Partnership Development Office.

After training the student will spend one session per week for six weeks in a school in Spring term (this session includes time to travel to and from the School, preparation and debrief time with the teacher and ‘in class’ time with the teacher and pupils – 3 hours in total). They will begin by observing lessons taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Later they will act somewhat in the role of a teaching assistant by working with individual pupils or with a small group. They may take ‘hotspots’: brief sessions with the whole class where they explain a topic or talk about aspects of university life. Finally the student will progress to the role of “teacher” and will be expected to lead an entire lesson.

The student will be required to keep a weekly log of their activities. Each student will also create resources to aid in the delivery of citizenship and politics within the curriculum. Finally, the student will devise a special project (final taught lesson) in consultation with the teacher and with the module convener. They must then implement and evaluate the project.

Read more
15

The module is aimed to introduce students to Marxist theory and to enable them to assess both the contemporary and historical significance of Marxism in world politics. Students are expected to read some of the key texts of Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels and to consider varied interpretations and critiques of Marxist methods, writings and theories. Students are also expected to consider the political contexts in which these theories and debates emerged and their implications for political practice. Students are not expected to demonstrate any detailed knowledge of the history of Marxist-inspired governments, regimes or political movements.

Read more
15

This module aims to investigate the different roles and experiences of human beings at and in war. Following an introduction to issues regarding agency (How do people act in the social world? How much freedom do they have? What impact can their actions have?), the course will examine the roles of combatants (both state and non-state), civilians (men, women and children), and third parties (peacekeepers, humanitarian workers, journalists, and academics). The module will draw on academic literature, but also written, oral and video testimony and artwork to examine these categories first as a social group (examining questions such as age brackets, income brackets, education, life expectancy), then in terms of their political functions and roles, and finally in an attempt to access some degree of experiential knowledge of war and peace. Due to the sensitive nature of the material examined, the module will not be using lecture capture.

Read more
15

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 be addressed with a special focus on methodological problems involved in the study of terrorism and political violence.

Read more
15

This module provides an introduction to some of the major developments in Western political thought by discussing the work and impact of key figures such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Rousseau, Kant, Wollstonecraft, Mill, Marx, and Nietzsche. Focusing on reading the primary works of these thinkers, putting them in their historical context, and understanding their reception in contemporary scholarship, this module addresses the overall problems which ‘modernity’ poses for political theory in Western societies.

Read more
15

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 the 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.

Read more
15

This module offers a comprehensive study of US foreign policy since 1945. Ranging from ‘containment’, ‘democratic enlargement’, and ‘the war on terror’ the module introduces students to the concept of ‘grand strategy’ and the need to understand the broader intellectual platform and foundations of the way in which the United States engages with the world. A number of case studies are used to explore this such as the work of George Kennan, the Vietnam War, and the move towards ‘smart power’ under presidents Bush and Obama. In addition to this the course also explores questions on the social construction of state identity in the American national consciousness and how both the media and political elites help to shape public opinion and attitudes that relate to America’s ‘friends’, ‘allies’, and ‘enemies’. The course also explores the concept of ‘soft power’ as a method of extending American influence and power in the world and questions the idea of American decline.

Read more
15

This module aims to provide students with a critical review of China’s hegemonic role in pre-modern East Asia and its political development since the 1840s when it was forced to open up to the outside world and to lay a solid foundation for even more detailed study of present-day China.

It deals with a recurrent theme in the study of Chinese politics, that is, how successive Chinese leaderships since the 1840s have reconciled Chinese indigenous political culture with models of modernisations that originated in the West. Focus is on how indigenous and foreign models for state-building and political development have guided Chinese thinking about national rejuvenation and modernisation.

This module assumes no prior knowledge of Chinese history or politics, and introduces students to the defining features of the Chinese traditional political system, including: Confucianism and Legalism, the causes of the demise of imperial China in 1911, the abortive attempts of republicanism and constitutionalism between 1912 and 1949, the rise of communism, and major political events since 1949 as well as its recent ascendancy.

Questions to be explored in this module include: Why did the Chinese imperial system fail to meet the challenges and encroachment from the West and Japan? How did Chinese leaders understand ‘modernisation’? Why did Chinese political elites embrace communism? What have been the impacts of revolutions on China’s external behaviour and relations, post-1949? How has China’s worldview been ‘socially constructed’ in its interactions with Western powers? What is China’s grand strategy for development in the early 21st century?

Read more
15

This course will provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the recent political history of Northern Ireland. The course will be accessible to all students, whether they are new to the topic or not. The main objective of the course is to provide students with a greater understanding of one of the most complex regions within the United Kingdom. Students who take the course will learn about the central issues that underpinned community conflict, why sectarian conflict broke out in the region in the late 1960s, why it continued for so long, and what political dynamics led to the ‘peace process’ of the 1990s. In addition to looking at the conventional historical and political development of Northern Ireland, the course will also focus on wider aspects of the society such as representations in Irish poetry, music and sport, and the way in which these have mirrored political and cultural relationships within the region.

Read more
15

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 2017/2018 ACADEMIC YEAR

Two topics will be offered in 2017/18, one in the Autumn term and one in the Spring term. Students may only take one topic within this module.

Topic title: Global Gender Justice, Convenor: Dr Andrea Den Boer - AUTUMN TERM

This module addresses some of the complex issues regarding achieving justice for women internationally through a thematic examination of classical and cutting-edge scholarship in the areas of gender, security, and human rights. We will interrogate practices of representation of women as victims and explore the cultural, religious, political, and social challenges and barriers to achieving gender justice within the family, the community, the state and global society. We will analyse the effectiveness and limits of international organisations, international human rights instruments, NGOs and activists to bring about change in women's lives. The seminar will be guided by an overall aim to explore the extent to which gender inequality within the state has an impact on state behaviour, with a specific focus on state development and state security.

Students gain an awareness of the following themes: the situation of women around the world; the ways in which gender affects social, political, and economic status; the evolving study of gender in international politics (with an emphasis on security and human rights); the political implications of scholarship; and the links between gender, feminism, and activism.

The seminar requires previous knowledge of international relations, but will introduce students to feminist theories relevant to the study of gender in international relations. The two-hour weekly seminar will involve a close reading of key texts as a group as well as discussion/debate of the weekly topics.

Topic title: Russia and its Neighbours, Convenor: Professor Richard Sakwa - SPRING TERM

The crisis over Ukraine from 2013 was stark demonstration of the failure to establish an inclusive and mutually legitimate system of European security and international politics after the end of the Cold War. On the one side, Russia was treated as a defeated power, even though the country did not see itself as such, and was assigned a modest role in world affairs. In the end this provoked a type of Weimar syndrome in a country whose dignity and interests were perceived to have been ignored. On the other side, the European Union and NATO have claimed to be advancing a type of 'post-modern' politics in which traditional Westphalian notions of balance of power and geopolitical interests have given way to a benign notion of economic and normative homogenization. Two contrasting visions of world order came into contestation.

The module will examine the evolution of Russian foreign policy since the end of the Cold War and its interactions with the EU and NATO. The broader context of the tension between greater and wider visions of Europe will be analysed, as well as the tensions within representations of Europe itself. More specifically, Russia's relations with its immediate neighbours will be studied in the context of moves towards the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union and the development of greater Asian ideas, notably in the consolidation of 'non-Western' institutions (such as the SCO and BRICS) accompanied by the emergence of a narrative of resistance and insulation from Western hegemony.

The seminar requires some familiarity with international relations theory and European politics, but will introduce students to the fundamental developments in Russian and Euro-Asian politics and international relations. The two-hour weekly seminar will involve a reading of key texts as a group as well as discussion/debate of the weekly topics.

Read more
15
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

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.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

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

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • key concepts, theories and methods used in the study of politics and international relations and their application to the analysis of political ideas, institutions, practices and issues
  • the structure, institutions and operation of different political systems
  • the social, economic, historical and cultural contexts of political institutions and behaviour
  • the political dynamics of interaction between people, events, ideas and institutions
  • factors accounting for political change
  • the contestable nature of many concepts and different approaches to the study of politics and international relations
  • the normative and positive foundations of political ideas
  • the intersection of politics with related disciplines
  • the nature and significance of politics as a global activity
  • the origins and evolution of the international political system, including contemporary changes underway
  • different interpretations of world political events and issues
  • a European language and cultures and societies linked to that language.

Intellectual skills

You gain intellectual skills in how to:

  • gather, organise and deploy information from a variety of primary and secondary sources
  • identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems
  • develop reasoned arguments, synthesise information and exercise critical judgement
  • reflect on and manage your own learning and seek to make use of constructive feedback to enhance your performance
  • employ an understanding of different educational curricula and teaching methods in your own work
  • integrate into a different educational, cultural, social and, in some cases, linguistic and/or professional environment.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • understanding the nature and significance of politics as a human activity
  • the application of concepts, theories and methods in the analysis of political ideas, institutions and practices in the global arena
  • how to evaluate different interpretations of political issues and events
  • the ability to describe, evaluate and apply different approaches to collecting, analysing and presenting political information
  • understanding the competing approaches to theories of politics and international relations
  • the nature of political conflict between and within states
  • reading, writing, listening and speaking in your chosen European language
  • the ability to analyse the main features of the language studied and an understanding of the cultures and societies where the language is used.

Transferable skills

You develop transferable skills in how to:

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

Careers

Graduate destinations

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

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

Help finding a job

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

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

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

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

Work experience

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

Career-enhancing skills

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

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

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

Independent rankings

For graduate prospects, Politics at Kent was ranked 3rd in The Guardian University Guide 2018, 7th in The Complete University Guide 2018 and 9th in The Times Good University Guide 2017Of Politics students who graduated in 2016, 94% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

According to Which? University (2017), the average starting salary for graduates of this degree is £20,000.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

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
A level

BBB

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)

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.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 15 points at HL

International students

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.

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.

Fees

The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £15200

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

For 2018/19 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385

Fees for Year Abroad

UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2018/19 academic year pay £1,385 for that year. 

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

Additional costs

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

General additional costs

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

Funding

University funding

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

Government funding

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

Scholarships

General scholarships

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

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

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

For 2018/19 entry, 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.

The lectures and seminars are really engaging, and you get very helpful feedback on your essays. All the professors are excellent, and are experts in so many different specialities.

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.