Politics and International Relations (Including Year Abroad)

Staff member? Login here

Academic Year of Entry: 2023/24 - 2024/25
Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Politics and International Relations (Including Year Abroad)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
Politics and International Relations
BA L226


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

A course qualifier is a bracketed addition to your course title to denote a specialisation or pathway that you have achieved via the completion of specific modules during your course. The specific module requirements for each qualifier title are noted below. Eligibility for any selected qualifier will be determined by the department and confirmed by the final year Board of Examiners. If the required modules are not successfully completed, your course title will remain as described above without any bracketed addition. Selection of a course qualifier is optional and student can register preferences or opt-out via Online Module Enrolment (eNROL).

  • Applied Quantitative Methods: In order to be eligible for the qualifier, you must successfully complete the following modules: Year Two: GV207 (15 credits) – ‘Quantitative Political Analysis’ And at least one of the following: GV217 (15 credits) – ‘Conflict Analysis’ SC202 (15 credits) – ‘Researching the Real World: Quantitative Approaches to Studying Crime and Society (15 credits) ’, SC208 (15 credits) Crime and Inequality Across the Life Course, Final year: GV300 (30 credits) – ‘Advanced Quantitative Political Analysis’ GV840 (30 credits) – 'Project: Politics' (must include sufficient quantitative methods as agreed by your Academic Supervisor, and multivariant regression analysis must be undertaken) [Note: GV840 can be substituted with either of the other final year project modules: GV831-6-FY, GV836, EC831, GV834, or GV830]

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 Max Gallop

Senior Lecturer

University of Strathclyde

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 2024 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  GV103-4-AU-CO  Introduction to International Relations  Core  15  15 
03  GV113-4-SP-CO  Co-Operation and Conflict  Core  15  15 
04  GV151-4-AU-CO  Truth, Justice, and The Nature of Politics  Compulsory  15  15 
05    Social Science option(s) and/or Outside option(s)  Optional  45  45 
06  GV711-4-FY-CO  Career Portfolio  Compulsory 
07  GV164-4-SU-CO  Doing Political Research  Compulsory 

Year 2 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  GV214-5-AU-CO  International Relations: Theories and Approaches  Compulsory  15  15 
02  GV217-5-AU-CO  Conflict Analysis  Compulsory  15  15 
03    GV207-5-AU or GV252-5-SP  Compulsory with Options  15  15 
04    Option(s) from list  Optional  45  45 
05    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
06  GV711-5-FY-CO  Career Portfolio  Compulsory 
07  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  AW121-6-FY-CO  Abroad Module 120 Credits  Compulsory  120  120 

Year 3 - 2026/27

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01    Capstone Project  Compulsory with Options  30  30 
02    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
03    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
04    Option(s) from list  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 develop knowledge and understanding of the major theoretical, conceptual and methodological issues associated with the study of political science, political theory and international relations.
  • To provide the opportunity for students to learn about existing political science and international relations research.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • The aim of the Year Abroad is to enable students to broaden their understanding of politics 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 main theoretical and conceptual issues of Politics and International Relations.

A2: Knowledge of the main findings and trends in Politics and International Relations

A3: Knowledge of issues and debates in specialist subjects.

A4: Knowledge of main research designs and techniques.

A5: Knowledge and understanding in a different academic and national context.

Learning methods

A1-A5 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

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 the importance of epistemological positions.

B4: To evaluate and analyse data.

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 information into simpler conclusions

C2: Find and compile evidence of various kinds

C3: Conduct statistical analyses of data

C4: Present findings confidently to various audiences.

Learning methods

This range of practical skills (C1-C4) is taught in seminars and developed through tutors’ comments on essays, and in supervision of written work.

Assessment methods

Essays, projects and examinations are assessed for these skills.

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 use of evidence in an argument.

D4: To manage projects and timetables.

D5: Collaborating with others

D6: To develop positive responses to feedback and criticism.

Learning methods

D1-5 are employed in assessed work.
D1-6 are employed in seminars, classes and 1:1 discussions with class teachers and supervisors.

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.


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.

If you're a current student and have questions about your course or specific modules, please contact your department.

If you think there might be an error on this page, please contact the Course Records Team by emailing crt@essex.ac.uk.