Politics with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad)

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Academic Year of Entry: 2023/24
Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Politics with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
Politics and International Relations


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A-levels: ABB

BTEC: DDD, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 32 points or three Higher Level certificates with 655
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programme Courses (formerly certificates) at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for.
We can also consider combinations with BTECs or other qualifications in the Career-related programme – the acceptability of BTECs and other qualifications depends on the subject studied, advice on acceptability can be provided. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Access to HE Diploma:15 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 30 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

T-levels: Distinction, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?

If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.

You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here

If you are a mature student, further information is here

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a 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 listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a 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

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this 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 here.

Course qualifiers


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

Staff photo
Dr Katharine Dommett

Senior Lecturer

The University of Sheffield

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 23 October 2023 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.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
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.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2023/24

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  GV100-4-FY-CO  Introduction to Politics  Core  30  30 
02  HU100-4-FY-CO  Foundations of Human Rights  Core  30  30 
03    GV103-4-AU and/or Social Science option(s)  Optional  30  30 
04    CS101-4-FY or Outside option(s)  Optional  30  30 
05  GV711-4-FY-CO  Career Portfolio  Compulsory 
06  GV164-4-SU-CO  Doing Political Research  Compulsory 

Year 2 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  HU200-5-FY-CO  Human Rights & Social Justice: Structures, Theory and Practice  Core  30  30 
02  GV250-5-AU-CO  Principles of Social Justice  Compulsory  15  15 
03  GV254-5-SP-CO  Ethics and Public Policy  Compulsory  15  15 
04  GV110-5-SP-CO  Thinking Like a Social Scientist  Compulsory  15  15 
05    GV207-5-AU or GV252-5-SP  Compulsory with Options  15  15 
06    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
07  GV711-5-FY-CO  Career Portfolio  Compulsory 
08  GV275-5-SU-CO  Issues in Politics: Final Year Project preparation  Compulsory 

Year Abroad/Placement - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  AW600-6-FY-CO  Abroad Modules 60 Credits  Compulsory  60  60 

Year 3 - 2026/27

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  HU300-6-FY-CO  Selected Issues in Human Rights  Compulsory  30  30 
02    Capstone Project  Compulsory with Options  30  30 
03    Final year Politics option(s)  Optional  30  30 
04    Politics option or outside option  Optional  30  30 
05  GV711-6-FY-CO  Career Portfolio  Compulsory 

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 provide students with a basic knowledge and understanding of the major theoretical and conceptual foundations of the discipline of political science with a knowledge of human rights.
  • To encourage in students the acquisition of autonomous study skills and the adoption of an investigative approach to tackle political and human rights problems.
  • To provide the opportunity for students to learn about political systems, political behaviour and political ideas.
  • To provide students with a foundation for further studies in political science, human rights and allied disciplines.
  • To develop in students the ability to construct logical arguments, to communicate arguments clearly in writing and to appreciate, evaluate and respond to potentially conflicting interpretation of political phenomena and human rights principles.
  • To allow students through the study of politics and human rights to acquire critical, analytical and research skills, problem solving skills and transferable skills.

  • The aim of the Year Abroad is to enable students to broaden their understanding of politics and human rights by studying in a partner institution abroad for one academic year.

    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 the fundamental conceptual, theoretical and normative perspectives of political science e.g. democracy, justice, tolerance.

    A2: Knowledge of the essential terms and concepts necessary to understand the field of human rights.

    A3: Knowledge of the international regional and domestic systems for the promotion and protection of human rights.

    A4: Awareness of the sources of political and human rights information.

    A5: Knowledge of the statistical methods appropriate to political science.

    A6: Knowledge and understanding of some philosophical, political, sociological, historical and legal perspectives on human rights in depth.

    A7: Knowledge of how political science studies key issues, problems and debates in the field of human rights.

    Learning methods

    Lectures are the principal method of delivery for the principles, concepts and arguments in A1-A7.
    Students are also assigned readings from textbooks, academic journal papers, and on-line resources.
    Students understanding is reinforced by classes and written components on assignments especially for outcomes A1 - A7.
    A2, A3 , A4, A6 and A7 are particularly acquired through HU100 Foundations of Human Rights, HU200 Issues and Methods in Human Rights and HU300 Honours Human Rights Colloquium

    Assessment methods

    Achievement of knowledge and understanding is assessed through marked assignments, term papers, essays and written examinations.
    For most modules assessment is 50% written exam and 50% coursework.
    An average coursework load consists of 3 essays or its equivalent Class tests are use to assess A5.

    B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

    B1: Analyse a specified problem and choose the most suitable methods for its solution.

    B2: Assess the relative merits of a range of theories, techniques and tools needed to articulate arguments and policies.

    B3: Synthesise and interpret information from a range of sources (lectures, classes, journals, books, etc.) developing a critical evaluation of the importance and relevance of the sources to an area of study.

    B4: Construct reasoned, informed and concise descriptions and assessments of political ideas and human rights principles.

    B5: Identify and interpret the philosophical, political, sociological, historical and legal dimensions of human rights issues.

    Learning methods

    Students’‘ acquisition of intellectual and cognitive skills, B1-B5, is enabled primarily through lectures and further sustained via classes.
    Outcome B1 is developed particularly in exercises designed for courses in qualitative and quantitative methods.
    Outcomes B2-B5 are key elements in students’‘ preparation for assignments.
    Individual project supervision and guidance for term paper study are especially important in providing opportunities for students to acquire B2-B5.
    Skill B5 will be obtained in particular in HU100, Foundations of Human Rights, HU200, Issues and Methods in Human Rights, and HU300, Honours Human Rights Colloquium.

    Assessment methods

    Achievement of intellectual/cognitive skills is assessed through marked assignments (especially B1, B3 and B5), tests (especially B1), term papers (especially B2, B3, B4), project work (especially B2, B3 and B4) and examinations (especially B1, B2, B4 and B5).

    C: Practical skills

    C1: Identify, select and gather human rights information, using the relevant sources.

    C2: Organise ideas in a systematic way.

    C3: Present political and human rights ideas and arguments coherently in writing.

    C4: Use and apply political science terminology and concepts.

    C5: Use quantitative methods, abstract and synthesise relevant information.

    C6: Plan ,undertake and word-process a project in the areas of politics and/or human rights with minimum of guidance.

    Learning methods

    Skill C1 is developed via directed reading from textbooks and academic journal articles together with searches for online materials.
    Skill C2 is acquired during lectures and classes, and as a consequence of studying course materials.
    Skill C3 is articulated in the preparation of assignments.
    Skills C4 and C5 are developed in GV110 and classes and emphasised in the preparation of assignments, term papers and projects on HU300 Skill C6 is acquired in the research for the project and the preparation of the resulting documentation for submission.

    Assessment methods

    Achievement of practical skills C1, C3 and C4 is assessed directly through marked assignments, tests, term papers, project work and examinations.
    Skill C2 is assessed indirectly via assignments, term papers, projects and final examinations.
    Skill C5 is assessed particularly in coursework, GV110 and HU300, Honours Human Rights Colloquium although these are also relevant for skills C1-C4 and HU300.
    Skill C6 is assessed particularly in the final year project and HU300, Honours Human Rights Colloquium although these are also relevant for skills C1-C5.

    D: Key skills

    D1: Communication in writing, using appropriate terminology and technical language: the articulation of political theories, (b) the description of political evidence, (c) the critical assessment of political theories and policies, (d) the critical assessment of human rights arguments and policies.

    D2: To use electronic information sources.

    D3: To use basic quantitative methods.

    D4: To manage projects and timetables. To find, understand and organise information. To work with ideas.

    D5: Understanding the main political science methods for using quantitative and qualitative evidence to support arguments

    D6: Capacity to organise and implement a plan of independent study, reflect on his or her own learning experience and adapt in response to feedback.

    Learning methods

    Students are guided in lectures, classes and individual advice from teachers in acquiring skills D1, D3, D4, D6.
    Skill D2 is developed as students pursue the learning activities associated with their courses, in the preparation of assignments, term papers and the final year project.
    Skills D3 and D4 are reinforced through the courses which touch or focus on qualitative or quantitative methods: GV 200 Political Analysis
    Skill D6 is enhanced as students reflect upon the knowledge they need when researching term papers, and feedback on their essays and other written work.
    Only minimal formally assessed requirements for the completion of the programme are listed here. In reality, the overwhelming majority of Politics with Human Rights students acquire a much broader range of key skills, and at greater depth, in ways that are integrated seamlessly throughout their studies of the subject.

    Assessment methods

    Skills D1 and D4 are assessed through marked assignments, tests, term papers, projects and unseen examinations.

    Skill D2 is assessed via research projects and essays submitted by each student and the dissertation component of HU300, Honours Human Rights Colloquium.

    Skill D3 is assessed particularly through tests and examinations for GV200 Political Analysis.

    D6 is assessed indirectly through students' capacity to construct submitted work (assignments, term papers and projects for which feedback is given) and their


    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.


    If you are thinking of studying at Essex and have questions about the course, please contact Undergraduate Admissions by emailing admit@essex.ac.uk, or Postgraduate Admissions by emailing pgadmit@essex.ac.uk.

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