Politics and International Relations with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)


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

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

At Kent, you are taught by people who have advised government departments or have conducted international conflict mediation exercises. They bring this experience to their teaching, giving you the opportunity to see how theoretical ideas apply in the real world. Many of our lecturers have also won teaching awards for their innovative teaching practices.

As a foundation year student, you are a full member of the University and can take part in all student activities.

Our degree programme

The Foundation Year aims to extend access to university education to students from a wide variety of educational backgrounds and age groups and prepares these students for our three-year Politics and International Relations degrees. On successful completion of your Foundation Year, you move on to the first year of our BA (Hons) programme.

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 offer a very wide choice of modules, reflecting the research interests of our staff, including conflict resolution, federalism, comparative politics, European integration, ethnic conflict, terrorism, the theory of international relations, political theory, and the politics of countries, such as China, Japan, Russia and the USA.

In the first year, you gain knowledge and understanding of the theory and analysis of politics and international relations. You learn to think like a quantitative researcher, developing a critical eye for statistics and data analysis, both in academic research and the world around you.

In the second year, you deepen your understanding of politics and international relations. A wide range of options allows you to focus on specific areas of interest, such as international conflict and resolution, modern political thought, comparative politics, international organisations and politics of the European Union.

In the final year, you can choose the Specialist Dissertation, where you produce an academic piece of writing on a topic of your choice based on your own research. The module concludes with the Student Conference, where you present your work to a panel of staff and fellow students.

If you are keen to widen your field of interest, you can also choose to study modules from another school in the second and final years of your degree.

Student view

Politics and International Relations student Rubaba talks about her course at the University of Kent.

Year abroad

We also offer Politics and International Relations programmes where it is possible to spend a year studying abroad between your second and final year. Studying abroad is a great experience and gives you the opportunity to discover how politics works in other cultures.

For details, see:

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.

Year in Journalism

The Year in Journalism is a free-standing, self-contained year and can be taken after stage two or three (that is, between your second and final year), or after your final year. You can take a Year in Journalism if you are a current undergraduate student at the University of Kent, studying another non-computing degree programme. 

You can only apply for the Year in Journalism once you are a student at Kent.

Extra activities

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

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

You are also encouraged to get involved in the programme of events and activities run by the School of Politics and International Relations, which focuses on bridging the gap between academic study and real-life politics.Our Public Speaker Programme features prominent academics and practitioners, who are invited to speak on current issues. 

Entry requirements

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. 

Please note that meeting this typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee an offer being made.Please also see our general entry requirements.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

  • Certificate

    A level


  • Certificate

    Access to HE Diploma


  • Certificate

    BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)


  • Certificate

    International Baccalaureate

    24 points overall

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. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 


Stay connected

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

Sign up now

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

You're almost there...

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

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

View our Privacy Notice

Course structure

Duration: 4 years full-time

You take a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

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

Foundation year

This programme is for students who do not have the qualifications needed for direct entry to Stage 1 of our degree programmes.

Compulsory modules

LZ036 - Academic Skills Development

Optional modules

LZ035 - Foundation Project

LZ037 - English for Academic Study

LZ007 - Politics and International Relations for University Study

LZ027 - Introductory History for University Study

LZ004 - Economics for University Study

LZ012 - Philosophy for University Study

LZ013 - Mathematics and Statistics for University Study

LZ018 - European and International Business for University Study

LZ019 - Law for University Study

LZ027 - Introductory History for University Study

LZ028 - Introduction to Literature for University Study

LZ029 - Introduction to Sociology for University

LZ030 - Introduction to Economics for University

LZ031 - An Introduction to Politics and International Relations for University

LZ033 - Introductory European and International Business for University

LZ035 - Foundation Project

LZ038 - Art & Design

LZ040 - Psychology for University Study

LZ045 - Life Sciences for University Study

LZ047 - Academic Skills for Maths and Science Foundation

LZ048 - Academic English for Maths and Science Foundation

LZ050 - Introduction to Psychology for University Study

LZ051 - Programming for University Study

Stage 1

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules in Stage 1 will introduce you to the ideas, concepts, methods and historical developments which are foundational and essential for the academic study of political science. The number of compulsory modules you will take varies depending on your programme, and if a module is not compulsory for you, you will still be able to choose it as an option. As you progress to subsequent stages of your programme, the number of compulsory modules will decrease, thus giving you more opportunities to select optional modules on the basis of your interests in the more specialised subfields of our discipline.

Our popular Stage 1 modules cover key areas such as political science concepts and methods, international history, international relations theory, global politics, comparative politics, political theory, conflict analysis and resolution, and British politics. During your first year we will also help you develop key academic skills including essay writing, giving presentations and revising for exams.

Stage 2

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules in Stage 2 will build on and develop the foundations laid in Stage 1. We will introduce you to more advanced techniques of political science methodology, including the analysis of political data. We will also look in greater depth at how political scientists establish, verify and corroborate their findings, how they create concepts and theories, and how knowledge interacts with power. Some of our programmes may require you to take compulsory modules specifically related to subjects that are essential to the programmes in question. For example, Politics and International Relations students will take a compulsory module on international relations concepts, theories and methods.

Optional modules

PO593 - Engendering Politics: Feminist Contribs to Pol Theory

PO611 - Politics of the European Union

PO617 - Contemporary Politics and Government in the USA

PO618 - East European Politics

PO623 - Modern Political Thought

PO657 - Political Research and Analysis

PO658 - The Rise of China

PO660 - International Conflict and Cooperation

PO661 - Fact, Evidence, Knowledge and Power

PO667 - War and Peace in International Society

PO671 - International Security

PO682 - How to Start a Revolution

PO683 - Politics in East Asia

SE606 - Connections

Year abroad

We offer Politics and International Relations programmes where it is possible to spend a year studying abroad between your second and final year. Studying abroad is a great experience and gives you the opportunity to discover how politics works in other cultures.

For details, see:

Year in Journalism

The Year in Journalism is a free-standing, self-contained year and can be taken after stage two or three (that is, between your second and final year), or after your final year. You can take a Year in Journalism if you are a current undergraduate student at the University of Kent, studying another non-computing degree programme. 

Modules currently being offered on the Year in Journalism:

Stage 3

Optional modules

PO559 - Ethics in International Relations

PO563 - Foreign Policy Analysis

PO566 - Europe and the World

PO579 - Postcommunist Russia

PO679 - Research Dissertation

PO592 - Rights, Freedoms and Individualism: Contemporary Liberalism in Question

PO599 - European Security Co-Operation

PO597 - Governance and Politics of Contemporary China

PO607 - Comparative European Politics

PO612 - Policy Making in the European Union

PO616 - Politics of Trust in the USA

PO626 - Placement Year

PO629 - Terrorism and Political Violence

PO630 - Politics of the Middle East

PO634 - Understanding US Foreign Policy: Power, Tradition and Transformation

PO638 - Political Behaviour in Britain

PO639 - Humanitarian Communication

PO645 - Market States and Post Democracy

PO646 - Presidents, Parliaments and Democracy

PO652 - Politics in the Classroom

PO653 - Marxism: Politics and International Relations

PO655 - Public opinion and polling

PO654 - Politics of Deeply Divided Societies

PO656 - Humans at War

PO686 - Resistance, Suffering and Leadership: the Political Lives of Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi

PO662 - The International Politics of Global Climate Change

PO664 - Conflict Analysis and Northern Ireland: History, Politics and Culture

PO665 - Advanced Topics in Politics and IR Andrea: Global Gender Justice

PO665 - Advanced Topics in Politics and International Relation

PO666 - Religion and International Politics

PO668 - International Political Economy

PO669 - Conservatism: Politics and International Relations of the Right

PO672 - Advanced Analysis of British Politics

PO675 - Politics and IR Internship

PO676 - The Radical Right in Western Democracies

PO681 - Landscapes of the Future

PO684 - Contemporary Dev and Sec Challenges in the AP


The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home/EU full-time TBC
  • International full-time TBC

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £9,250.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

General additional costs

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


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.


General scholarships

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

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

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

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of 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.

Teaching and assessment

Our main teaching methods are lectures, seminars, working groups, PC laboratory sessions and individual discussions with your personal tutor or module teachers. Assessment is through continuous feedback, written examinations, assessed essays and oral presentations.

Politics Open Forum

We hold a weekly extra-curricular Open Forum organised by our School research groups, where students and staff have the opportunity to discuss and debate key issues of the day that affect higher education and politics in the world today.

Contact Hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • place questions of political and international order and decision-making at the centre of social-scientific analysis
  • provide knowledge of political and international relations theory and analysis within a supportive learning environment
  • enable students to grasp the concepts, approaches and methods of politics and international relations, and to understand their contested nature
  • encourage students to think critically about political and international events, ideas and institutions
  • enable 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 cognitive and transferable skills relevant to their vocational and personal development.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • key concepts, theories and methods and how to use them to analyse political ideas, institutions, practices and issues in the global arena
  • the structure, institutions and operation of different political systems
  • the social, economic, historical and cultural contexts of political institutions and behaviour
  • the political dynamics of interaction between people, events, ideas and institutions
  • factors accounting for political change
  • the contestable nature of many concepts and different approaches to the study of politics and international relations
  • the normative and positive foundations of political ideas
  • the nature and significance of politics as a global activity
  • the origins and evolution of the international political system, including contemporary changes
  • different interpretations of world political events and issues.

Intellectual skills

You gain intellectual skills in how to:

  • gather, organise and deploy information from a variety of primary and secondary sources
  • identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems
  • develop reasoned arguments, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement
  • reflect on and manage your own learning and make use of constructive feedback to enhance your own performance and personal skills.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • understanding the nature and significance of politics as a human and global activity
  • the application of concepts, theories and methods to the analysis of political ideas, institutions, practices and issues in the global arena
  • how to evaluate different interpretations of world political events and issues
  • the ability to describe, evaluate and apply different approaches to collecting, analysing and presenting political information
  • the contending and comparative approaches to politics and international relations
  • understanding the nature of conflict in relations between and within states.

Transferable skills

You develop transferable skills in how to:

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

Teaching Excellence Framework

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

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

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

Independent rankings

In The Guardian University Guide 2020, over 91% of final-year Politics students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

Over 90% of final-year Politics students were satisfied with the quality of teaching on their course in The Guardian University Guide 2020.

Of Politics graduates who responded to the most recent national survey of graduate destinations, over 95% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE, 2017).


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.

Alumni profiles

Kami Asamani (née Peters) was at Kent between 2001 and 2006. She studied BA Politics and International Relations and LLM International Law with International Relations. She works for the British Council, as Head of Business Management for Arts Sub Saharan Africa.  

See Kami's full profile

Career profile quotes

Alex Guirakhoo

Students come from a variety of different backgrounds, which helps you to gain a better understanding of the issues we cover.

Alex Guirakhoo - Politics and International Relations BA
Kami Asamani

Kent offered all the things that mattered to me in one place and opened up the world.

Kami Asamani - Politics and International Relations BA

Apply for Politics and International Relations with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

Full-time study through Clearing

The Start now button below takes you to Kent's short form, which you need to fill in and submit. We'll review your application and let you know if we can offer you a place. If you wish to accept our offer and are already in UCAS, you need to confirm this via UCAS Track. To do so, you'll need the following:

  • Your UCAS Track login details
  • UCAS code L250
  • Institution ID K24
Start now

Contact us


United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896


International student enquiries

Enquire online

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

Discover Uni information

DiscoverUni logo

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

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

It includes:

  • Information and guidance about higher education
  • Information about courses
  • Information about providers

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