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Politics and International Relations

Course overview

(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Politics and International Relations
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
Politics and International Relations
BA L225

A-levels: BBB

IB: 30 points. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes 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. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on units studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.

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 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 listed above. 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

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.

External Examiners

Dr Mohammed Rodwan Abouharb

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 1 - 2019/20

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 GV100-4-FY Introduction to Politics Core 30
02 GV103-4-AU Introduction to International Relations Core 15
03 GV151-4-AU Truth, Justice, and the Nature of Politics Compulsory 15
04 GV113-4-SP Co-Operation and Conflict Core 15
05 GV150-4-SP Politics and Power Compulsory 15
06 Social Science Option or Outside Option Optional 30
07 GV711-4-FY Career Portfolio Compulsory 0

Year 2 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 GV214-5-AU International Relations: Theories and Approaches Core 15
02 GV217-5-SP Conflict Analysis Compulsory 15
03 GV207-5-AU Political Analysis: Introduction to OLS Compulsory 15
04 Option(s) from list Optional 30
05 Option(s) from list Optional 30
06 Option from list Optional 15
07 GV711-5-FY Career Portfolio Compulsory 0

Year 3 - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 GV831-6-FY or GV832-6-FY Compulsory with Options 30
02 Option(s) from list Optional 30
03 Option(s) from list Optional 30
04 Option(s) from list 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

1. To develop knowledge and understanding of the major theoretical, conceptual and methodological issues associated with the study of political science, political theory and international relations.

2. To provide the opportunity for students to learn about existing political science and international relations research.

3. To develop and promote students' general analytical and research skills, equipping them for employment or further study as well as personal development and social participation.

4. To maintain an intellectual environment that is exciting and challenging, fostering students' capacities for study and dialogue and maintaining high standards of teaching and learning.

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 and understanding of the major theoretical, conceptual and methodological issues associated with the study of political science, political theory and international relations. Knowledge and understanding of the major theoretical, conceptual and methodological issues associated with the study of political science, political theory and international relations.
A2 Knowledge of the main findings of existing research and current trends in politics and international relations.
A3 Knowledge of developments, issues and debates in the specialist subjects they choose to study.
A4 Understanding of the main research designs and techniques appropriate to political science and international relations.
Learning Methods: A1-A4 are addressed in lectures, participation in seminars and classes and written comments on essays.

A3-A4 are given particular attention on the road to the Capstone module.
Assessment Methods: A1-A4 are assessed by either a 50:50 combination of coursework and a written examination or by coursework only (with roughly equal numbers of modules of each type).

An average coursework load consists of three essays per module or equivalent.

Class tests are also sometimes used to assess A2 and A4 in particular.

A3-A4 will be assessed climactically by the Capstone project modules.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 To see the political world from unexpected angles
B2 To ask how do we know about received thinking
B3 To understand how what we know depends on where we look, how we define and what we assume
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 seminars and classes, class presentations, and 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.

There are also more ad hoc opportunities to see and do ‘political science in action’, such as during department roundtables and the annual student conference.
Assessment Methods: Essays, class tests, presentations and written examinations.

C: Practical skills

C1 Synthesise and reduce large amounts of information into simpler conclusions
C2 Find and compile evidence of various kinds
C3 Conduct basic statistical analyses of data
C4 Present findings lucidly and confidently to academic and non-academic audiences
Learning Methods: C1-C2 are learned primarily through coursework, notably the Capstone project.

C3 is learned through a compulsory quantitative methods module as well as some coursework in later modules.

C4 is learned through class presentations and, optionally, the annual student conference.
Assessment Methods: C1-C2 are assessed by coursework and, especially with C1, written examinations.

C3 is assessed through a compulsory quantitative methods module as well as some coursework in later modules.

C4 is assessed via group and individual presentations.

D: Key skills

D1 Clear, focused, relevant and effective expression and communication.
D2 Access and organise information from a variety of electronic sources.
D3 Understand the use of evidence, particularly statistical evidence, in argument, and learn how to generate such evidence.
D4 To manage projects and timetables.
D5 Discuss and debate issues with fellow members of classes and seminars, or work on joint assignments or projects
D6 To develop positive responses to feedback and criticism.
Learning Methods: D1-5. Participation in and presentations to seminars and classes, written assignments and essays, research papers.

D4 specifically in scheduling and balancing requirements for modules taught in parallel.

D6 specifically in individual guidance on essays, oral and written feedback on essays.
Assessment Methods: D1-5. Classroom discussion, written assignments and essays, examinations, research papers

D6 classroom presentations, written assignments and essays.


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: