The School of Politics and International Relations is an exciting place to study - you receive high-quality teaching informed by cutting-edge research on a range of political issues, such as ethno-political conflict, human rights, feminism, social theories of justice, divided societies, and US and European politics.
At Kent, you are taught by people who have advised government departments or have conducted international conflict mediation exercises. They bring this experience to their teaching, giving you the opportunity to see how theoretical ideas apply in the real world.
Many of our lecturers have also won teaching awards for their innovative teaching practices.
Our degree programme
This very popular programme combines all the strengths of our three-year BA degree in Politics and International Relations with the opportunity to spend a year in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore or Taiwan. A full list of our available partnerships is available on our Go Abroad pages.
You spend your first and second years at Kent, you then spend your third year in your chosen country, returning to Kent for your final year. You are taught in English throughout, which allows you to take advantage of the year abroad experience without having to be fluent in the language of the country where you intend to study.
While at Kent, you follow the existing programme of the BA in Politics and International Relations as well as take specific modules tailored to the country where you intend to study. If you spend a year in Japan, you take modules on the Politics of Japan and study Japanese to a basic level. If you spend a year in China/Hong Kong, Singapore or Taiwan, you take modules on the Politics of China. In China or Taiwan, you also study Mandarin to a basic level.
Our programme helps you to think critically about political and international events, ideas and institutions.
In addition, we offer a three-year Politics and International Relations programme without a year abroad. For details, see Politics and International Relations.
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.
Politics at Kent was ranked 9th in The Guardian University Guide 2018. In the National Student Survey 2016, Politics at Kent was 8th for overall satisfaction.
For graduate prospects, Politics at Kent was ranked 8th in the Complete University Guide 2018. Of Politics students who graduated in 2015, 96% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).
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 one compulsory modules (all pathways)
PO326 - Introduction to Political Science
PO327 - Introduction to Comparative Politics
PO310 - Introduction to International Politics
PO314 - Introduction to Political Thought
Stage one: Additional compulsory modules for those spending a year in Japan
PO311 - Politics and Popular Culture in Modern Japan
LA304 - Learning Japanese 1A
LA305 - Learning Japanese 1B (or) LA504 - Learning Japanese 2A (or) LA505 - Learning Japanese 2B
Stage one: Additional compulsory modules for those spending a year in China or Taiwan
LA302 - Learning Mandarin 1A
LA303 - Learning Mandarin 1B
Stage two compulsory modules (all pathways)
PO661 - Fact, Evidence, Knowledge and Power
PO555 - International Organisation: the UN System
PO657 - Political Research and Analysis
Stage two: Additional compulsory modules for those spending a year in Japan
PO557 - Japan in the World
Stage two: Additional compulsory modules for those spending a year in China or Taiwan
PO658 - The Rise of China
PO597 - Governance and Politics of Contemporary China
LA502 - Learning Mandarin 2A
LA503 - Learning Mandarin 2B
Stage two: Additional compulsory modules for those spending a year in in Hong Kong or Singapore
PO658 - The Rise of China
PO597 - Governance and Politics of Contemporary China
Stage three: Additional compulsory modules for those spending a year in Japan
PO558 - The Contemporary Politics of Japan
Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally. You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.
Students on a four-year degree programme spend a year between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore or Taiwan. For a full list, please see Go Abroad. Places are subject to availability, language and degree programme.
You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the year abroad. If the requirement is not met, you are transferred to the equivalent three-year programme. The year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and does not count towards your final degree classification.
Teaching & 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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|
|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.
34 points overall or 15 points at HL
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.
|Qualification||Typical offer/minimum requirement|
|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.
Recent graduates have gone on to develop careers in areas including:
- practical politics
- local and central government
- the diplomatic service
- EU administration
- financial services
- non-governmental organisations
- international business.
Help finding a job
The School of Politics and International Relations runs an Employability Programme, focused on providing you with the skills you need when looking for a job. This includes workshops on a range of topics, for example summer internships, networking, and careers in diplomacy and the civil service.
Students also have access to a weekly Employability Newsletter, featuring jobs for graduates, as well as internship and volunteering opportunities.
The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which can give you advice on how to:
- apply for jobs
- write a good CV
- perform well in interviews.
We have recently developed an internship module, enabling you to gain hands-on experience in the workplace in a field relevant to your studies.
To help you appeal to employers, you also learn key transferable skills that are essential for all graduates. These include the ability to:
- think critically
- communicate your ideas and opinions
- manage your time effectively
- work independently or as part of a team.
You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.
Politics at Kent was ranked 6th in the UK for graduate prospects in The Guardian University Guide 2017. Of Politics students who graduated in 2015, 96% 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.
Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details.
You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.
Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.
The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence
At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence.
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.
Enquire or order a prospectus
T: +44 (0)1227 827272
Our general open days will give you a flavour of what it is like to be an undergraduate, postgraduate or part-time student at Kent. They include a programme of talks for undergraduate students, with subject lectures and demonstrations, plus self-guided walking tours of the campus and accommodation.
Please check which of our locations offers the courses you are interested in before choosing which event to attend.