Politics and International Relations

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Academic Year of Entry: 2024/25
Course overview
(BSc) Bachelor of Science
Politics and International Relations
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
Politics and International Relations
BSC L222


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

  • A-levels: BBB - BBC or 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A-levels.
  • BTEC: DDM - DMM or 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of the equivalent of 2 full A-levels. The acceptability of BTECs is dependent on subject studied and optional units taken - email ugquery@essex.ac.uk for advice.
  • Combined qualifications on the UCAS tariff: 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A levels or equivalent. Tariff point offers may be made if you are taking a qualification, or mixture of qualifications, from the list on our undergraduate application information page.
  • IB: 30 - 29 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555-554.
  • IB Career-related Programme: We consider combinations of IB Diploma Programme courses with BTECs or other qualifications. Advice on acceptability can be provided, email Undergraduate Admissions.
  • QAA-approved Access to HE Diploma: 6 level 3 credits at Distinction and 39 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided, email Undergraduate Admissions.
  • T-levels: We consider T-levels on a case-by-case basis, depending on subject studied. The offer for most courses is Distinction overall. Depending on the course applied for there may be additional requirements, which may include a specific grade in the Core.

Contextual Offers:

We are committed to ensuring that all students with the merit and potential to benefit from an Essex education are supported to do so. For October 2024 entry, if you are a home fee paying student residing in the UK you may be eligible for a Contextual Offer of up to two A-level grades, or equivalent, below our standard conditional offer.
Factors we consider:

  • Applicants from underrepresented groups
  • Applicants progressing from University of Essex Schools Membership schools/colleges
  • Applicants who attend a compulsory admissions interview
  • Applicants who attend an Offer Holder Day at our Colchester or Southend campus

Our contextual offers policy outlines additional circumstances and eligibility criteria.

For further information about what a contextual offer may look like for your specific qualification profile, email ugquery@essex.ac.uk.

If you haven't got the grades you hoped for, have a non-traditional academic background, are a mature student, or have any questions about eligibility for your course, more information can be found on our undergraduate application information page or get in touch with our Undergraduate Admissions Team.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

Details of English language requirements, including component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

English language shelf-life

Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Pre-sessional English courses

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.

Pending English language qualifications

You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email ugquery@essex.ac.uk .

Requirements for second and final year entry

Different requirements apply for second and final year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK. Details of English language requirements, including UK Visas and Immigration minimum component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

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

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 Data Science: 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, 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 - 2024/25

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  Contemporary Topics in International Relations  Core  15  15 
04  GV110-4-SP-CO  Thinking Like a Social Scientist  Compulsory  15  15 
05  GV151-4-AU-CO  Truth, Justice, and The Nature of Politics  Compulsory  15  15 
06    Options from list  Optional  30  30 
07  GV711-4-FY-CO  Career Portfolio  Compulsory 
08  GV164-4-SU-CO  Doing Political Research  Compulsory 

Year 2 - 2025/26

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-CO  Quantitative Political Analysis  Compulsory  15  15 
04  GV212-5-SP-CO  International Organisations  Compulsory  15  15 
05    Option(s) from list  Optional  60  60 
06  GV711-5-FY-CO  Career Portfolio  Compulsory 
07  GV275-5-SU-CO  Issues in Politics: Final Year Project preparation  Compulsory 

Year 3 - 2026/27

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  GV300-6-FY-CO  Advanced Quantitative Political Analysis  Compulsory  30  30 
02    Capstone Project  Compulsory with Options  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.

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.