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Politics (Including Foundation Year)

Course overview

(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Politics (Including Foundation Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
Politics and International Relations
BA L202

UK and EU applicants should have, or expect to have:

72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent.

Examples of the above tariff may include:

  • A-levels: DDD
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP

Essex Pathways Department accepts a wide range of qualifications from applicants. If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.

Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall. Specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

Our Year 0 courses are only open to UK and EU applicants. If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to your chosen degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College.

External Examiners

Dr Nicholas Walter Vivyan
University of Durham
Senior Lecturer
Dr Arzu Kibris
Associate Professor

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 0 - 2019/20

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 IA118-3-FY Becoming Enlightened Citizens: Foundations in Politics and Government Core 30
02 IA195-3-FY Research and Academic Development Skills Core 30
03 IA129-3-FY DATACY Core 30
04 IA158-3-FY or IA108-3-FY Core with Options 30

Year 1 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 GV100-4-FY Introduction to Politics Core 30
02 GV150-4-SP Politics and Power Compulsory 15
03 Social Science option(s) Optional 30
04 Option(s) from list or Outside Option(s) Optional 30
05 GV151-4-AU Truth, Justice, and the Nature of Politics Compulsory 15
06 GV711-4-FY Career Portfolio Compulsory 0

Year 2 - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 GV207-5-AU or GV252-5-SP Compulsory with Options 15
02 GV214-5-AU International Relations: Theories and Approaches Compulsory 15
03 2nd year Politics option(s) Optional 30
04 2nd year Politics option(s) or outside option(s) Optional 30
05 2nd year Politics option(s) Optional 30
06 GV711-5-FY Career Portfolio Compulsory 0

Year 3 - 2022/23

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 Final year Politics option(s) Optional 30
02 Final year Politics option(s) Optional 30
03 GV831-6-FY or GV832-6-FY Compulsory with Options 30
04 Politics option(s) or outside option(s) Optional 30
05 GV711-6-FY Career Portfolio Compulsory 0

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

- To develop students' knowledge and understanding of the major theoretical and conceptual foundations of the discipline of political science, and of quantitative methods for studying politics.
- To offer students, through a wide range of option choices, a varied menu of sub-disciplinary and area-oriented specialisms in order both to provide students with opportunities to develop an empirical base for the study of politics in different contexts and to broaden their theoretical perspectives.
- To provide the opportunity for students to learn about political systems, political behaviour and political ideas.
- To maintain an intellectual environment that is exciting and challenging, fostering students' capacities for creative study and dialogue and maintaining high standards of teaching and learning.
- To develop and promote students' skills and capacities to analyse politics, undertake subsequent academic study and for employment, personal development and social participation.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 Knowledge of different conceptual, theoretical and normative perspectives within political science about eg democracy, justice, liberalism and rights, and of methodological issues.
A2 Knowledge of the main findings of existing political science research about political systems (e.g. Britain, Europe, other areas and the international system), political behaviour (e.g. voting behaviour, public opinion and political parties).
A3 Knowledge of developments, issues and debates in the specialist subjects they choose to study.
A4 Knowledge of statistical methods appropriate for political studies.
A5 Knowledge of sources of information for studying politics.
Learning Methods: A1-A3 are addressed in lectures, participation in seminars and classes and written comments on essays.

A3 is additionally addressed in optional choices in years 2 and 3 and/or in projects.
Assessment Methods: The assessment of most full-year modules is normally based equally on course work and on a written examination, each counting for 50 per cent of the final mark.

An average course work load consists of three essays per modules or equivalent.

Class tests are used to assess A4.

The Project counts as a separate module and is assessed on its own merits.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 To question received thinking.
B2 To develop their own thinking
B3 Advanced knowledge of different modes of explanation and theoretical perspectives in political science and political theory at an appropriate level.
B4 To analyse and evaluate evidence.
B5 To reason critically.
B6 To argue coherently and persuasively.
B7 To present ideas in a structured form in writing.
Learning Methods: These skills are developed in:-

(a) Seminars and classes

(b) class presentations

(c) written comments on essays.

Individual guidance is available for the writing of essays and the construction of presentations.

Opportunities exist to consult a Study Skills Officer.
Assessment Methods: Essays and written examinations.

C: Practical skills

C1 Organise and structure an extended argument, advancing clear critical positions.
C2 Use theoretical terms correctly.
C3 Compile systematic bibliographies.
C4 Provide references according to accepted conventions.
C5 Use quantitative methods, abstract and synthesise relevant information.
Learning Methods: This range of practical skills (C1-C5) is taught in seminars and developed through tutors’ comments on essays, and in supervision of written work.
Assessment Methods: Essays and projects are assessed for these skills while written examinations are assessed for skills C1, C 2 and C5.

D: Key skills

D1 Clear, focused, relevant and effective expression and communication.
D2 To use electronic information sources.
D3 Understand the use of quantitative evidence.
D4 To manage projects and timetables. To find, understand and organise information. To work with ideas.
D5 Advanced knowledge of different modes of explanation and theoretical perspectives in international relations or related fields at an appropriate level.
D6 To be receptive to feedback; to manage time and resources and to be self-critical.
Learning Methods: The five relevant key skills are implicit throughout the degree.

1, 2 and 4 are employed in essays.

1 and 6 are employed in seminars, classes and one-on-one discussions with class teachers.
Assessment Methods: Essays and projects are assessed for qualities that implicitly incorporate all these skills.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: