Politics and International Relations

Social Anthropology and Politics - BA (Hons)

Canterbury

Overview

This programme allows you to combine the study of social anthropology with an exploration of political theories, movements and institutions, and the drivers of political change.

Anthropologists have studied the political systems of world societies since the early years of the discipline, and, today, political anthropology is central to contemporary anthropological thought.

Within the School of Anthropology and Conservation, we have a range of experts working on politics, in regions as diverse as the Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe, India and Central America. Their research is key to specialist modules such as Violence and Conflict in the Contemporary World; innovative regional modules on European Societies and Southeast Asian Societies, and across a wide range of our core and optional teaching.

A unique strength of anthropological study of politics is its comparative perspective – enabling students to grasp, in concrete ethnographic detail, how power is manifested in diverse cultural practices and institutions across the modern world.

It also reveals how our understanding of political systems urgently needs to be grounded in such 'local' knowledge in a globalised and increasingly connected world. For such reasons, training in anthropology - in political systems and more broadly - offers an ideal complement to undergraduate study in politics.

Independent rankings

Politics at Kent was ranked 5th in The Guardian University Guide 2017, while The Times Good University Guide 2017 ranked Anthropology at Kent 9th for teaching quality. 

In the National Student Survey 2016, Anthropology at Kent was ranked 7th in the UK for overall satisfaction, with Politics at Kent ranked 8th. 

The Guardian University Guide 2017 ranks Anthropology at Kent 5th and Politics 6th for graduate prospects.

 

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

Possible modules may include:

PO326 - Introduction to Political Science (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO327 - Introduction to Comparative Politics (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE301 - Social Anthropology (30 credits)

Social Anthropology is a discipline which arose with other social sciences in the mid- to late-nineteenth century, social and cultural anthropology has made a speciality of studying 'other' peoples worlds and ways of life. With increasing frequency, however, anthropologists have turned towards 'home', using insights gained from studying other cultures to illuminate aspects of their own society. By studying people's lives both at 'home' and 'abroad', social and cultural anthropology attempt to both explain what may at first appear bizarre and alien about other peoples' ways of living whilst also questioning what goes without saying about our own society and beliefs. Or, to put it another way, social and cultural anthropology attempt, among other things, to challenge our ideas about what we take to be natural about 'human nature' and more generally force us to take a fresh look at what we take for granted.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SE302 - Foundations of Biological Anthropology (30 credits)

This module is an introduction to biological anthropology and human prehistory. It provides an exciting introduction to humans as the product of evolutionary processes. We will explore primates and primate behaviour, human growth and development, elementary genetics, the evolution of our species, origins of agriculture and cities, perceptions of race, and current research into human reproduction and sexuality. Students will develop skills in synthesising information from a range of sources and learn to critically evaluate various hypotheses about human evolution, culture, and behaviour. This module is required for all BSc and BA Anthropology students. The module is also suitable for students in other disciplines who want to understand human evolution, and the history and biology of our species. A background in science is not assumed or required, neither are there any preferred A-levels or other qualifications. The module is team-taught by the biological and medical anthropology staff.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage


Stage 2

Possible modules may include:

SE617 - Ethnographies I (15 credits)

The focus of this module is the intensive investigation of the canonical form in which research in social anthropology has been disseminated, the ethnography. The reading list for the module therefore consists exclusively of professional ethnographic monographs of varying thematic and regional focus.

Students will be expected to come to seminars with notes from their reading and will be encouraged to discuss that reading and to relate it to wider anthropological issues raised or implied by the authors of the ethnographies.

Considerable time will be spent, particularly in the earlier seminars, on instruction about how to read an ethnography and what goes into writing it. This might include how to examine its implicit (as opposed to explicit) theoretical assumptions; how to place it within the historical development of the discipline; how to evaluate its empirical investigation of particular theoretical problems; how to evaluate the relationship between description and analysis; how to evaluate its contribution to particular issues and topics within social anthropology; and the examination of its structure, presentation and ability to communicate an understanding of a social and cultural group through the written word.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE618 - Advanced Social Anthropology I (15 credits)

The module is a cross-cultural analysis of economic and political institutions, and the ways in which they transform over time. Throughout the term, we draw upon a range of ethnographic research and social theory, to investigate the political and conceptual questions raised by the study of power and economy. The module engages with the development and key debates of political and economic anthropology, and explores how people experience, and acquire power over social and economic resources. Students are asked to develop perspectives on the course material that are theoretically informed and empirically grounded, and to apply them to the political and economic questions of everyday life. The module covers the following topics: the relationship between power and authority; key concepts and theoretical debates in economic anthropology; sharing and egalitarianism; gift exchange; sexual inequality; violence; the nation state; money; social class; work; commodification; financialisation.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE619 - Advanced Social Anthropology II (15 credits)

This module is focused on a diverse range of approaches deployed by anthropologists to the study of religion, and belief and symbolic systems. It introduces a range of anthropological insights to the ongoing transformations of religious traditions and belief systems vis-à-vis colonial encounters, post-colonial settings, as well as globalisation. The aim of the module is to familiarize students with the complex interactions between lived religious practice, religious traditions, and the ways in which these are intertwined with other domains of social life, politics, economics and ideology. The key topics covered in this module focus on ritual and sacrifice; witchcraft and sorcery; secularisation and fundamentalism; millennialism and conversion; cosmology and ideology; human and non-human relationships; modes of religiosity, rationality and belief; mediation and ethics. This module will develop students' awareness of the strengths and limitations of anthropological insights compared to other disciplinary perspectives on religion such as theology, cognitive science or sociology.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE620 - Ethnographies II (15 credits)

This module builds on Ethnographies I, and its focus is to further investigate the canonical form in which research in social anthropology has been disseminated, the ethnography. The reading list for the module therefore consists exclusively of professional ethnographic monographs of varying thematic and regional focus.

Students will be expected to come to seminars with notes from their reading and will be encouraged to discuss that reading and to relate it to wider anthropological issues raised or implied by the authors of the ethnographies.

Considerable time will be spent, particularly in the earlier seminars, on instruction about how to read an ethnography and what goes into writing it. This might include how to examine its implicit (as opposed to explicit) theoretical assumptions; how to place it within the historical development of the discipline; how to evaluate its empirical investigation of particular theoretical problems; how to evaluate the relationship between description and analysis; how to evaluate its contribution to particular issues and topics within social anthropology; and the examination of its structure, presentation and ability to communicate an understanding of a social and cultural group through the written word.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO661 - Fact, Evidence, Knowledge and Power (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO657 - Political Research and Analysis (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE549 - The Anthropology of Health, Illness and Medicine (15 credits)

The module addresses the causes, effects, treatments and meanings of health and illness. Health and illness are of major concern to most of us, irrespective of our cultural, social and biological contexts. In this module we will begin with an overview of the major theoretical paradigms and methods in medical anthropology. We will then focus on how and why different diseases have affected various human populations throughout history and the ways perceptions of what constitutes health and illness vary greatly, cross-culturally as well as within one particular cultural domain. This will be followed by an overview of ethnomedical systems as a response to illness and disease. Anthropological studies in the sphere of medicine originally tended to concentrate on other people's perceptions of illness, but have increasingly come to focus on the difficulties encountered when trying to define what constitutes health in general. Anthropology has also turned its attention to a critical examination of biomedicine: originally thought of as providing a 'value free, objective and true' assessment of various diseases (epidemiology), biomedicine is now itself the subject of intense anthropological scrutiny and is seen as the expression of a culturally specific system of values. The module will also consider practical applications of medical anthropology.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE621 - The Human-Environment Nexus: Contemporary Issues & Critical Approaches (15 credits)

This module emerges out of the fact that the human-environment nexus has, in recent years, become an area of intense debate and polarisation, both social and intellectual; a space in which many of the core categories within the natural and social sciences- be these the 'nature', 'society', 'humanity' or indeed 'life'- are being reconsidered and reconfigured. By engaging with recent debates and case studies from different regions it seeks to critically assess, compare and contrast some of the key contemporary, at times controversial, debates that engage collaborators, colleagues and critics from diverse academic specialties and perspectives. Through the use of lectures, and student-led seminar discussions focused on specific papers and case studies it seeks to review and compare some of concepts and approaches used to research, analyze and theorise the intersecting and mutually constituting material, symbolic, historical, political dimensions of human-plant and human-environment relations. It also seeks to assess how such an understanding can better guide our attempts to address the complex socio-environmental problems facing our world and our future by explicitly addressing the issue of complexity and scale, both in space and over time.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE615 - Belief, Thought and Ethics (15 credits)

Since Durkheim, social scientists have explored the ways in which people's thought and ethics reflect the structure of their societies and cultures. Meanwhile, economists, psychologists and moral philosophers have explained human thought and action in terms of individual actors' beliefs and motivations. Both approaches seem to have important things to teach us, but they also appear to be mutually contradictory.

From at least the 1970s, anthropologists have been making attempts to resolve this tension—which came to be known as the structure and agency problem. Their efforts have given rise to some of the most exciting debates in anthropology from its beginnings down to the most recent issues that divide scholars working in the field today on issues such as the anthropology of ethics. In this module students will learn about the most important of these controversies, learning to address questions such as the following:

• Are you truly responsible for your thoughts and actions or are you just a product of your society?

• If we understand things through cultural categories, can there be real communication with people from other cultures or are we doomed to misunderstand each other?

• Does everyone think about freedom in the same way or is it something specific to western liberal societies?

• Is what we don't know just as much a product of culture as what we do know?

• Is the concept of 'culture' helpful or misleading in studying human action?

• Can individuals' actions be explained in terms of the social functions they fulfil, or only in terms of the individuals' personal interests?

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE752 - Anthropology of Creativity (15 credits)

This module critically surveys anthropological approaches to creativity and creative expression—selected from research on creativity itself, and on the anthropology of art and literature (both oral and written). We explore three fields of creative practice as they relate to contemporary anthropology. 1) We review classic approaches to the anthropology of art, in both non-Western and Western contexts. We assess recent breakthroughs which challenge the borders between artistic and ethnographic discourse, exploring how the ethnographic encounter can be rethought via dialogue with contemporary artists. 2) We review the anthropology of literature, and assess both pioneering forms of literary expression in the work of anthropologists, and the output of anthropological practitioners of literary fiction and poetry. 3) We examine how anthropology itself can be conceptualised as the creative expression of an encounter with others, lived experience, and the unknown, and explore the implications for anthropological modes of representation (including public anthropology). Students have the option to develop a creative project during the module that builds on this training, and can submit both academic and practice-led creative anthropological research as their assessment.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE623 - Urban Anthropology (15 credits)

Starting in the 1930s, Urban Anthropology has been one of the main sub-fields of Social Anthropology, but it is also an area where our discipline has engaged very intensely in interdisciplinary relations. After the 1950s the world changed globally, with an ever-increasing percentage of the world's population living in urban contexts. As a result, the relevance of urban and modern modes of living became central for anthropological research. Ethnographic methodology too had to be adapted as a consequence with an increased attention to matters of bureaucracy and technology. Today, in a world where global mobility is intense and consumerism dominates, it can be argued that even rural populations live in a periurban condition. Traditionally, urban anthropology dealt centrally with problems of marginality and deviance, but now increasingly the focus is on the interaction between urban planning and the politics of everyday living. Most of our students are likely to go on to do academic research in areas of applied research in urban settings. Therefore, it is especially important that they should be introduced to the problems that urban anthropology raises.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE575 - Medicinal Plants in Holistic Perspective (15 credits)

This module is an introduction to ethnopharmacology, a multidisciplinary field of study that employs chemistry, ecology, biology, pharmacology and anthropology to evaluate and understand the use of plants (and other substances) in non-western medical systems. While students will be introduced to all of the disciplines involved in ethnopharmacological research, this module will have a heavy anthropological focus. Lecture and reading materials will address questions related to the actions of natural products in the human body, the ecological and evolutionary basis of medicinal plants use, the epistemology of non-western medical systems, the efficacy of medicinal plants and the development of pharmaceuticals based on traditional medicines. Topics discussed in class will provide ideas and models for student research projects. This module should appeal to students with interests in anthropology and/or medical care/research.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE551 - Anthropology and Language (15 credits)

This module introduces linguistic anthropology and a critical exploration of the relationship between language, culture, and social organisation. Indicative topics covered are: language and thought in the history of anthropology; the rudiments of linguistic description; language as a social phenomenon; oratory and ritual speech; the significance of the written word and literacy; speech variation; the links between language; social structure and culture; linguistic aspects of symbolism; the relationship between words and categories; colour classification and universalist versus relativist theories.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE550 - The Anthropology of Gender (15 credits)

This module focuses on gender issues. The study of gender in anthropology developed in the 1970s, with the rise of the feminist movement in Europe and America. However, gender studies came to reflect a bias evident in most feminist discourses: an interest in gender was equated with an interest in women's issues, and the anthropological theories at this time replicated a bias similar to that of which male researchers had previously been accused. Not until recently has the study of gender come to incorporate an examination of the discourse of power, knowledge and social action generated through the interface between men and women in society. The module proposes to trace the developments of the theoretical debate in anthropology, while simultaneously providing ethnographic material illustrating the theoretical perspectives and the cross-cultural variations in the definition of gender identities. Concepts of sex and gender will be examined using anthropological material stemming from the study of religion, ritual and politics

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE579 - The Anthropology of Amazonia (15 credits)

Throughout the five hundred years of contact between Europe and the Americas, Amazonia has captivated the political, scientific and popular imagination of industrialized nations. To many people in our society, "the Amazon" epitomizes the mysterious, the wild, the uncivilized -- an image that anthropologists have variously exploited and criticized. Either way, they usually describe Amazonian societies as being either isolated from or opposed to "civilization" (i.e. the capitalist state). As Amazonians are incorporated into the nation-state and the global economy, however, it has become impossible to view them as either isolated or silent. Today, there is increased interest and concern relating to the place of humans in the environment and the future of indigenous peoples and the areas in which they dwell.



This course will employ several classic ethnographic studies of South America – by anthropologists, such as Claude Levi-Strauss, Pierre Clastres, Philippe Descola, William Fisher, Neil Whitehead and Michael Taussig – to examine how the Amazon has inscribed itself on the imagination of anthropologists, as well as how anthropologists have used their experiences in non-Western societies to contribute to broad debates in Western philosophy. Ethnographic case-studies will provide the basis for discussing issues of theoretical and topical importance, such as environmentalism; political ecology, ethnogenesis, gender relations, kinship and exchange. Ultimately, this engagement challenges some of the most basic categories of our discipline: "the state," "society," and "culture."

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE552 - Culture and Cognition (15 credits)

An introduction to cognitive anthropology and a critical exploration of theories concerning the relationship between cognitive processes, culture and social organisation. The topics covered will include the forming of categories, relations between categories, the symbolic construction of nature, the classification of natural kinds, the convergence of cognitive and symbolic approaches, the evolution of hominid cognitive processes, the development of second order representations, social cognition and classification, spatial orientation, time reckoning and the cultural construction of knowledge.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE611 - Violence and Conflict in the Contemporary World (15 credits)

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the relevance of anthropological debates to contemporary political issues, specifically in relation to one of the most pertinent and persistent phenomena of the 20th century: violent conflict and war. Students will gain a firsthand insight into one of anthropology's main contributions: the way that small-scale issues can be related to much broader and perhaps universal questions about human nature, violence, poverty and inequality. Even though this module will focus on anthropological approaches to violence and conflict, it will also draw on discussions from other disciplines (such as philosophy and political theory), such as human nature, war and genocide, legitimacy and the state. Other topics that will be covered include memory, gender, subjectivity, structural violence, reconstruction and reconciliation, as well as anthropological approaches to peace, emotions and human suffering. In addition, by discussing the ethics of doing research in conflict situations, this module will allow students to critically engage with the challenges, dilemmas and limitations of anthropological research methods. The module is designed in a way that it encourages students to engage with current affairs and to get first insights into how anthropology can contribute to our understanding of political, social and historical events.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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Stage 3

Possible modules may include:

SE596 - Theoretical Perspectives in Social Anthropology (15 credits)

This module aims to develop the anthropological imagination of Stage 3 students, that is, to instill the ability to apprehend theoretical issues and apply them with a critical and informed sense of difference in the human experience. The module is not a 'history of theory' survey; rather, it will proceed by means of a set of topics through which different theoretical approaches to the same ethnographic problem or issue have been explored. The module may be organised around a single theme that has long dominated anthropological discussions (such as 'the gift', hierarchy and scale, structure and agency etc.) which will be used as a lens through which to view theoretical discussions within social anthropology as well as its appropriations from other disciplines.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE597 - Theoretical Topics in Social Anthropology (15 credits)

This module aims to aid Stage 3 students in making connections between theoretical issues and the ways in which they recur in the practices and debates of social anthropologists. The module teaches theoretical engagement by means of tracking the way that similar problems in ethnographic practice have been approached by different theoretical schools. The module engages a series of themes that illustrate how social anthropologists throughout the history of the discipline, and from different national traditions within the discipline, have engaged with the pressing political and social concerns of their day.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE606 - Connections (30 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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PO658 - The Rise of China (15 credits)

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?

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO659 - Resistance, Suffering and Leadership (15 credits)

The module will begin with an introduction to biographical narrative as a method in political science and to 'leadership' as a concept. Following this introduction, the module will present three 'icons' of 20th/21st Century world politics in three blocks of three weeks each, leaving one week for a concluding and comparative discussion (and one reading week). Throughout the module, the three themes of the title – resistance, suffering (sacrifice) and leadership – will be highlighted and will serve as a focus as the module considers the lives of Gandhi, Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi and their impact on world politics. Considering the lives of these iconic figures will allow us to discuss a number of important question, e.g. how they, as individuals, made choices that led them to occupy such prominent roles, how they understood themselves and how that self-understanding evolved over time, how the historical context provided them with opportunities to exercise influence and mobilise mass movements, how resistance and suffering enhanced their leadership roles, and how they used the influence they gained. While political science often studies political reality from an aggregate point of view, incorporating large numbers of observations through quantitative analyses, PO659 endeavours to explore general patterns in political reality through the unique experiences of three individuals and their journey to political stardom. We will also be able to take a critical look at how Western culture and politics often appropriate prominent individuals as representatives of liberal values without paying attention to the complexities of the relevant local contexts, customs and traditions.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO660 - International Conflict and Cooperation (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO664 - Conflict Analysis and Northern Ireland: History, Politics & Culture (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO666 - Religion and International Politics (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO667 - War and Peace in International Society (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO669 - Conservatism: Politics and International Relations of the Right (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO671 - International Security (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO675 - Politics and IR Internship (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO676 - The Radical Right in Western Democracies (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO679 - Research Dissertation (45 credits)

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

Credits: 45 credits (22.5 ECTS credits).

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PO681 - Landscapes of the Future (15 credits)

This module prepares students both to think about the ways in which the landscapes are evolving and being shaped by contemporary developments in technical, scientific, and theoretical fields; and to think about how they want to take part in these developments in their own lives, through professional activity or further study. It will prepare students to think critically about the opportunities and dangers that come with the future, notably through the changes taking place in production techniques (through three-dimensional printing), ecological change and planning, scientific advancements and their impact on the humanities and social sciences (such as quantum theory's challenge to historical studies). By building on bodies of work that have already discussed the potential impact of new technologies and scientific innovations on our understanding of the human, this module will demand intellectual reflection on the potential for change and transformation, with reference to past events and how transformation has occurred to this day. In additional, the module will provide practical guidance on how to think about the student's own future, whether professionally or for further studies. It will guide students through the possibilities open to them, and give them practical skills to secure an interview and present themselves successfully.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO683 - Politics in East Asia (15 credits)

This module will address the major milestones in the politics and international relations of East Asia since 1945.The significance for East Asian countries of events such as the Korean War, the Cultural Revolution, the economic take-off of both Japan and South Korea, China's economic reforms, the end of the Cold War, and US changing policies towards East Asia will be analysed.



A central theme of the module will be the nexus between domestic factors and international behaviour – hence the internal political cultures and national identities of China, South Korea and Japan will be studied in relation to their particular world-views and their foreign policy initiatives. Each of these countries' domestic political systems will also be analysed to enhance understanding of the impetus for policy making decisions both domestically and internationally. Analysis will also be made of how the imperative to achieve economic development influences political decision making. Finally, an assessment will be made as to the future of East Asia.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO684 - Contemporary Development and Security Challenges in the Asia-Pacific (15 credits)

In this course, we shall examine the primary development and security issues that affect the major states and their populations in the Asia-Pacific.



It will start with an overview of International Relations theories and their applications to the study of a non-Western region, and an exploration of whether non-Western International Relations theories will be a better alternative to Western theories in understanding the development and security challenges in the Asia-Pacific.



Following on that, key development and security issues and key actors and their mutual interactions will be discussed in detail. The main development and security issues include: national identity, national sovereignty, nationalism, irredentism, territorial disputes, arms proliferation, regionalism, regional security architecture, and economic interdependence and trade. The main actors are: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia, China, Japan, two Koreas, Russia, Taiwan, and the US.



Finally, it will engage with the debate as to whether the influence and authority of the US, the incumbent hegemon in the Asia-Pacific region, are in decline and its preeminent role will soon be replaced by a rising China, and whether great-power confrontation is inevitable. It will also explore what the resultant regional order would likely be.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO555 - International Organisation: The UN System (15 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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO563 - Foreign Policy Analysis and Management (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO579 - Post Communist Russia (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO593 - Engendering Politics:Feminist Contributions to Political Theory (15 credits)

In western countries feminism has had a considerable impact on the conduct of practical politics. The purpose of this module is to consider the ways in which feminist thought has influenced political theory. Returning to some of the earliest feminist critiques of modern politics by Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill, we examine a range of feminist approaches to politics, asking what unifies them and where and why they diverge from one another. Throughout, we ask how meaningful it is to speak of feminism in the singular: given the immense variety displayed by feminist thinking, should we talk about feminisms? Another guiding question will be the extent to which these approaches pose a fundamental challenge to traditional political theory. Can feminist theories of politics just 'add women and stir'? Or do feminist approaches compel us to new or different methodologies, conceptual tools and even definitions of politics?

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO597 - Governance & Politics of Contemporary China (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO599 - European Security Co-operation (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO611 - Politics of the European Union (15 credits)

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!

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO612 - Policy-making in the EU (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO616 - The Politics of Trust (in the USA) (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO617 - Contemporary Politics and Government in the United States (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PO618 - East European Politics (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO623 - Modern Political Thought (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO629 - Terrorism and Political Violence (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO630 - Politics of The Middle East (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO634 - Understanding US Foreign Policy: Power, Tradition and Transformation (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO646 - Presidents, Parliaments and Democracy (15 credits)

This module introduces students to central debates about the influence of different executive formats on democratic government. The course examines the differences between and within presidential, parliamentary and semi-presidential constitutions and examines their consequences for the quality of democracy and for policy outcomes. The course initially focuses on identifying the key institutions and processes that shape the behaviour and strategies of politicians in the executive, before moving on to consider the consequences of these for governance, policy-making and democratic stability. Throughout the central focus is on understanding the extent and the ways that formal political institutions may shape how politicians respond to citizen preferences, bargain with each other to resolve political conflict and choose policies. Students will be exposed to different ways of thinking about the impact of political institutions on politics, different ways of conceptualizing and measuring democratic performance and encouraged to think about how a broad range of other factors may interact with constitutional formats to shape outcomes. The approach used will be broadly comparative and will use case-specific and cross-national evidence from both developed and less developed democracies in all regions of the world.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO653 - Marxism: Politics and International Relations (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO654 - Politics of Deeply Divided Societies (15 credits)

This module explores the linkages between mediation theory and the practice of conflict resolution in deeply divided societies. Topics include the theory and practice of negotiations, conflict escalation and peace mediations while specific emphasis will be given to the role of regional or international institutions in early conflict prevention. The module applies negotiation theory in the study of state disintegration, demographic and environmental conflict, property rights, federal management and transitional justice. The course engages with the core literature in negotiation theory and exposes students to a number of simulations aiming to improve negotiation skills (identifying best alternatives, revealing or not preferences, identifying win-win arrangements, defeating spoilers and exercising veto rights). Because of the practical skills taught in the module and the interactive nature of in-class simulations, students are expected to attend lectures and tutorials. Finally, the course examines the role of citizens and community organizations in peace mediations focusing on a number of selected case studies from deeply divided societies specifically Israel/Palestine, the former Yugoslavia, South Africa, Greece/Turkey (including Cyprus & the Kurdish issue), Rwanda and Northern Ireland.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO655 - Public Opinion and Polling (15 credits)

Democracy rests on the will of citizens. But how can we identify this 'will'? Elections are one method; but more regular expressions of citizen views are possible via opinion polls. Indeed, a range of public and private bodies routinely use polls to identify popular attitudes. But what are the 'opinions' supposedly revealed by these polls, how do surveys go about identifying opinions and how valid are their results?



This module introduces students to the theory and practice of public opinion and its measurement. The module focuses on two main questions. First, what is public opinion? How far do people's attitudes pre-exist and how far are they instead 'shaped' by the way questions are asked? Are attitudes informed and considered, or are they largely knee-jerk responses based on little information? If, in fact, citizens know little about politics, are there ways in which they can, nonetheless, form meaningful views on important public issues? The answers to these questions are central to the task of assessing the proper role of public opinion in modern democracies. The second question asks how public opinion is measured. What are the main features of social surveys, and how well do they measure public attitudes? This section of the module pays particular attention to the ways that different types of survey can affect the responses that people give, and to the principles and practices of effective survey design.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO656 - Humans at War (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE534 - Special Project in Social Anthropology (30 credits)

This module offers Stage 3 students the opportunity to design, execute, and write up a dissertation project of their own devising. Students may pursue a module of library-based research under supervision on a particular topic and/or undertake limited ethnographic research on that topic. The topic, and the way it is researched, will be of the student's own choosing. All projects must be supervised by a member of staff in Social Anthropology, with whom the student has arranged to work before registering for the module. Students who wish to do a project on this module should collect the information sheet from the School Office during Stage 2 (this includes students on a Year Abroad programme) not later than then end of the online module registration period in the Spring Term.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SE549 - The Anthropology of Health, Illness and Medicine (15 credits)

The module addresses the causes, effects, treatments and meanings of health and illness. Health and illness are of major concern to most of us, irrespective of our cultural, social and biological contexts. In this module we will begin with an overview of the major theoretical paradigms and methods in medical anthropology. We will then focus on how and why different diseases have affected various human populations throughout history and the ways perceptions of what constitutes health and illness vary greatly, cross-culturally as well as within one particular cultural domain. This will be followed by an overview of ethnomedical systems as a response to illness and disease. Anthropological studies in the sphere of medicine originally tended to concentrate on other people's perceptions of illness, but have increasingly come to focus on the difficulties encountered when trying to define what constitutes health in general. Anthropology has also turned its attention to a critical examination of biomedicine: originally thought of as providing a 'value free, objective and true' assessment of various diseases (epidemiology), biomedicine is now itself the subject of intense anthropological scrutiny and is seen as the expression of a culturally specific system of values. The module will also consider practical applications of medical anthropology.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE611 - Violence and Conflict in the Contemporary World (15 credits)

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the relevance of anthropological debates to contemporary political issues, specifically in relation to one of the most pertinent and persistent phenomena of the 20th century: violent conflict and war. Students will gain a firsthand insight into one of anthropology's main contributions: the way that small-scale issues can be related to much broader and perhaps universal questions about human nature, violence, poverty and inequality. Even though this module will focus on anthropological approaches to violence and conflict, it will also draw on discussions from other disciplines (such as philosophy and political theory), such as human nature, war and genocide, legitimacy and the state. Other topics that will be covered include memory, gender, subjectivity, structural violence, reconstruction and reconciliation, as well as anthropological approaches to peace, emotions and human suffering. In addition, by discussing the ethics of doing research in conflict situations, this module will allow students to critically engage with the challenges, dilemmas and limitations of anthropological research methods. The module is designed in a way that it encourages students to engage with current affairs and to get first insights into how anthropology can contribute to our understanding of political, social and historical events.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE552 - Culture and Cognition (15 credits)

An introduction to cognitive anthropology and a critical exploration of theories concerning the relationship between cognitive processes, culture and social organisation. The topics covered will include the forming of categories, relations between categories, the symbolic construction of nature, the classification of natural kinds, the convergence of cognitive and symbolic approaches, the evolution of hominid cognitive processes, the development of second order representations, social cognition and classification, spatial orientation, time reckoning and the cultural construction of knowledge.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE579 - The Anthropology of Amazonia (15 credits)

Throughout the five hundred years of contact between Europe and the Americas, Amazonia has captivated the political, scientific and popular imagination of industrialized nations. To many people in our society, "the Amazon" epitomizes the mysterious, the wild, the uncivilized -- an image that anthropologists have variously exploited and criticized. Either way, they usually describe Amazonian societies as being either isolated from or opposed to "civilization" (i.e. the capitalist state). As Amazonians are incorporated into the nation-state and the global economy, however, it has become impossible to view them as either isolated or silent. Today, there is increased interest and concern relating to the place of humans in the environment and the future of indigenous peoples and the areas in which they dwell.



This course will employ several classic ethnographic studies of South America – by anthropologists, such as Claude Levi-Strauss, Pierre Clastres, Philippe Descola, William Fisher, Neil Whitehead and Michael Taussig – to examine how the Amazon has inscribed itself on the imagination of anthropologists, as well as how anthropologists have used their experiences in non-Western societies to contribute to broad debates in Western philosophy. Ethnographic case-studies will provide the basis for discussing issues of theoretical and topical importance, such as environmentalism; political ecology, ethnogenesis, gender relations, kinship and exchange. Ultimately, this engagement challenges some of the most basic categories of our discipline: "the state," "society," and "culture."

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE550 - The Anthropology of Gender (15 credits)

This module focuses on gender issues. The study of gender in anthropology developed in the 1970s, with the rise of the feminist movement in Europe and America. However, gender studies came to reflect a bias evident in most feminist discourses: an interest in gender was equated with an interest in women's issues, and the anthropological theories at this time replicated a bias similar to that of which male researchers had previously been accused. Not until recently has the study of gender come to incorporate an examination of the discourse of power, knowledge and social action generated through the interface between men and women in society. The module proposes to trace the developments of the theoretical debate in anthropology, while simultaneously providing ethnographic material illustrating the theoretical perspectives and the cross-cultural variations in the definition of gender identities. Concepts of sex and gender will be examined using anthropological material stemming from the study of religion, ritual and politics

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE551 - Anthropology and Language (15 credits)

This module introduces linguistic anthropology and a critical exploration of the relationship between language, culture, and social organisation. Indicative topics covered are: language and thought in the history of anthropology; the rudiments of linguistic description; language as a social phenomenon; oratory and ritual speech; the significance of the written word and literacy; speech variation; the links between language; social structure and culture; linguistic aspects of symbolism; the relationship between words and categories; colour classification and universalist versus relativist theories.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE554 - Visual Anthropology (15 credits)

This module introduces visual anthropology via the encounter between media maker and subject and framed in relation to the concepts of reflexivity and intersubjectivity. Central concerns are the cross-cultural reception of media, the use of video and photography as and for research, the social history of film and photography relating to ethnographic subjects, the study of national and regional cinematic traditions (outside Europe and America) and the comparative ethnography of television and broader consideration of issues of social representation and political ideology in visual imagery. Indicative areas covered in the module include:



1) Collaborative Media and Intersubjectivity

2) Soundscapes and Sensory Ethnography

3) Photography and Sociality

4) Observational and Participatory Cinema

5) Ethno-fiction and Indigenous Media

6) Intersections of medical and visual anthropology

7) New Media and Activism

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE555 - Project in Visual Anthropology (15 credits)

This module explores the use of audio-visual media as research, reflexive and transformational ethnographic practice in tune with contemporary anthropological theorising of ethnographic and documentary film. The collaborative and feedback oriented process of using audio-visual media in the production of a short video film that is presented online delivers experiential insights and re-evaluation of the value of video, photography and audio to research, represent and influence aspects of people's lifeworlds. The practical instruction in how to develop a project is grounded in exercises that explore cultural and personal assumptions of what a camera does. Further training in cinematography, interviewing and sound, camera movement and improvisation, and the flexible uses of DSLR cameras present the key pre-production training. Editing theory and practice is taught with a view to efficient workflow and minimal post-production, facilitating knowledge of use in independent multi-media production. Web based interactive platforms are introduced with a view to facilitate wider communication and dissemination. The value of feedback is emphasised in creating media productions that have academic and personal integrity, resonance with and impact on particular audiences.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE575 - Medicinal Plants in Holistic Perspective (15 credits)

This module is an introduction to ethnopharmacology, a multidisciplinary field of study that employs chemistry, ecology, biology, pharmacology and anthropology to evaluate and understand the use of plants (and other substances) in non-western medical systems. While students will be introduced to all of the disciplines involved in ethnopharmacological research, this module will have a heavy anthropological focus. Lecture and reading materials will address questions related to the actions of natural products in the human body, the ecological and evolutionary basis of medicinal plants use, the epistemology of non-western medical systems, the efficacy of medicinal plants and the development of pharmaceuticals based on traditional medicines. Topics discussed in class will provide ideas and models for student research projects. This module should appeal to students with interests in anthropology and/or medical care/research.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE615 - Belief, Thought and Ethics (15 credits)

Since Durkheim, social scientists have explored the ways in which people's thought and ethics reflect the structure of their societies and cultures. Meanwhile, economists, psychologists and moral philosophers have explained human thought and action in terms of individual actors' beliefs and motivations. Both approaches seem to have important things to teach us, but they also appear to be mutually contradictory.

From at least the 1970s, anthropologists have been making attempts to resolve this tension—which came to be known as the structure and agency problem. Their efforts have given rise to some of the most exciting debates in anthropology from its beginnings down to the most recent issues that divide scholars working in the field today on issues such as the anthropology of ethics. In this module students will learn about the most important of these controversies, learning to address questions such as the following:

• Are you truly responsible for your thoughts and actions or are you just a product of your society?

• If we understand things through cultural categories, can there be real communication with people from other cultures or are we doomed to misunderstand each other?

• Does everyone think about freedom in the same way or is it something specific to western liberal societies?

• Is what we don't know just as much a product of culture as what we do know?

• Is the concept of 'culture' helpful or misleading in studying human action?

• Can individuals' actions be explained in terms of the social functions they fulfil, or only in terms of the individuals' personal interests?

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE621 - The Human-Environment Nexus: Contemporary Issues & Critical Approaches (15 credits)

This module emerges out of the fact that the human-environment nexus has, in recent years, become an area of intense debate and polarisation, both social and intellectual; a space in which many of the core categories within the natural and social sciences- be these the 'nature', 'society', 'humanity' or indeed 'life'- are being reconsidered and reconfigured. By engaging with recent debates and case studies from different regions it seeks to critically assess, compare and contrast some of the key contemporary, at times controversial, debates that engage collaborators, colleagues and critics from diverse academic specialties and perspectives. Through the use of lectures, and student-led seminar discussions focused on specific papers and case studies it seeks to review and compare some of concepts and approaches used to research, analyze and theorise the intersecting and mutually constituting material, symbolic, historical, political dimensions of human-plant and human-environment relations. It also seeks to assess how such an understanding can better guide our attempts to address the complex socio-environmental problems facing our world and our future by explicitly addressing the issue of complexity and scale, both in space and over time.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE623 - Urban Anthropology (15 credits)

Starting in the 1930s, Urban Anthropology has been one of the main sub-fields of Social Anthropology, but it is also an area where our discipline has engaged very intensely in interdisciplinary relations. After the 1950s the world changed globally, with an ever-increasing percentage of the world's population living in urban contexts. As a result, the relevance of urban and modern modes of living became central for anthropological research. Ethnographic methodology too had to be adapted as a consequence with an increased attention to matters of bureaucracy and technology. Today, in a world where global mobility is intense and consumerism dominates, it can be argued that even rural populations live in a periurban condition. Traditionally, urban anthropology dealt centrally with problems of marginality and deviance, but now increasingly the focus is on the interaction between urban planning and the politics of everyday living. Most of our students are likely to go on to do academic research in areas of applied research in urban settings. Therefore, it is especially important that they should be introduced to the problems that urban anthropology raises.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE752 - Anthropology of Creativity (15 credits)

This module critically surveys anthropological approaches to creativity and creative expression—selected from research on creativity itself, and on the anthropology of art and literature (both oral and written). We explore three fields of creative practice as they relate to contemporary anthropology. 1) We review classic approaches to the anthropology of art, in both non-Western and Western contexts. We assess recent breakthroughs which challenge the borders between artistic and ethnographic discourse, exploring how the ethnographic encounter can be rethought via dialogue with contemporary artists. 2) We review the anthropology of literature, and assess both pioneering forms of literary expression in the work of anthropologists, and the output of anthropological practitioners of literary fiction and poetry. 3) We examine how anthropology itself can be conceptualised as the creative expression of an encounter with others, lived experience, and the unknown, and explore the implications for anthropological modes of representation (including public anthropology). Students have the option to develop a creative project during the module that builds on this training, and can submit both academic and practice-led creative anthropological research as their assessment.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Teaching & Assessment

Social Anthropology

Anthropology at Kent uses a stimulating mix of teaching methods, including lectures, small seminar groups and laboratory sessions. For project work, you will be assigned to a supervisor with whom you meet regularly. You will also have access to a wide range of learning resources, including the Templeman Library, research laboratories and computer-based learning packages.

Assessment ranges from 80:20 exam/coursework to 100% coursework. At Stages 2 and 3, most core modules are split 50% end-of-year examination and 50% coursework. Both Stage 2 and 3 marks count towards your final degree result.

Politics

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.

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 that affect higher education and politics in the world today.

Programme aims

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

 

KIS Course data

UNISTATS / KIS

Key Information Sets

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.

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

ABB

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 16 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.

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.

Careers

Studying Social Anthropology and Politics gives you an exciting range of career opportunities. We work with you to help direct your module choices to the career paths you are considering. 

Through your studies you learn how to work independently, plan and organise projects, analyse complex data, express your opinions coherently and with sensitivity, and present your work with clarity and flair. These are all key skills that graduate employers are looking for.

Recent graduates have gone into many different areas including teaching, publishing, practical politics, local and central government, the diplomatic service, EU administration, financial services,non-governmental organisations, overseas development and aid work, media research or production (TV and radio), journalism, advertising, social work, international consultancy and work with community groups. Many have also gone on to postgraduate study.

Funding

University funding

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

Government funding

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

Scholarships

General scholarships

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

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

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

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

Resources


Read our student profiles


Contacts

Related schools

Enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

Open days

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.

 

The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

*Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department for Education or Research Council UK) permitted increases are normally inflationary and the University therefore reserves the right to increase tuition fees by inflation (RPI excluding mortgage interest payments) as permitted by law or Government policy in the second and subsequent years of your course. If we intend to exercise this right to increase tuition fees, we will let you know by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which we intend to exercise that right.

If, in the future, the increases to regulated fees permitted by law or Government policy exceed the rate of inflation, we reserve the right to increase fees to the maximum permitted level. If we intend to exercise this extended right to increase tuition fees, we will let you know by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which we intend to exercise that right.

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Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 824429 or email the school

Last Updated: 10/03/2015

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