Politics and International Relations BA

International Relations

Key information

Duration:
3 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
AAB-ABB
UCAS code:
L290
Start date:
September 2018

By studying Politics and International Relations at Sussex, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of global issues while studying in one of the UK’s most politically diverse cities.

You'll learn from experts influencing debates of worldwide significance – from political corruption to global health policy.

And you’ll put your knowledge into action through events featuring influential speakers – including UK MPs and NATO representatives.

I loved my Sussex experience. It encouraged the kind of analytical thinking that is invaluable in my work.”Fiona Woods
Politics and International Relations BA 

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

AAB-ABB

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Other UK qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Typical offer

Pass in the Access to HE Diploma with 45 level 3 credits at Merit or above, including 24 at Distinction.

Subjects

The Access to HE Diploma should be in the humanities or social sciences.

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma)

Typical offer

DDD

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Scottish Highers

Typical offer

AABBB

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced

Typical offer

Grade B and AB in two A-levels.

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

International baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of 77%

Other international qualifications

Australia

Typical offer

Relevant state (Year 12) High School Certificate, and over 85% in the ATAR or UAI/TER/ENTER. Or a Queensland OP of 5 or below.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Austria

Typical offer

Reifeprüfung or Matura with an overall result of 2.2 or better for first-year entry. A result of 2.5 or better would be considered for Foundation Year entry.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Belgium

Typical offer

Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur (CESS) or Diploma van Hoger Secundair Onderwijs with a good overall average. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Bulgaria

Typical offer

Diploma za Sredno Obrazovanie with excellent final-year scores (normally 5.5 overall with 6 in key subjects).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Canada

Typical offer

High School Graduation Diploma. Specific requirements vary between provinces.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

China

Typical offer

We usually do not accept Senior High School Graduation for direct entry to our undergraduate courses. However, we do consider applicants who have studied 1 or more years of Higher Education in China at a recognised degree awarding institution or who are following a recognised International Foundation Year.

If you are interested in applying for a business related course which requires an academic ability in Mathematics, you will normally also need a grade B in Mathematics from the Huikao or a score of 90 in Mathematics from the Gaokao.

Applicants who have the Senior High School Graduation may be eligible to apply to our International Foundation Year, which if you complete successfully you can progress on to a relevant undergraduate course at Sussex. You can find more information about the qualifications which are accepted by our International Study Centre at  http://isc.sussex.ac.uk/entry-requirements/international-foundation-year .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Croatia

Typical offer

Maturatna Svjedodžba with an overall score of at least 4-5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Cyprus

Typical offer

Apolytirion of Lykeion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Czech Republic

Typical offer

Maturita with a good overall average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Denmark

Typical offer

Højere Forberedelseseksamen (HF) or studentereksamen with an overall average of at least 7 on the new grading scale.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Finland

Typical offer

Finnish Ylioppilastutkinto with an overall average result in the final matriculation examinations of at least 6.

France

Typical offer

French Baccalauréat with an overall final result of at least 13/20.

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 2.0 or better.

Greece

Typical offer

Apolytirion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hong Kong

Typical offer

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) with grades of 5, 4, 4 from three subjects including two electives. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hungary

Typical offer

Erettsegi/Matura with a good average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

India

Typical offer

Standard XII results from Central and Metro Boards with an overall average of 75-80%. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Iran

Typical offer

High School Diploma and Pre-University Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Ireland

Typical offer

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level) at H1 H2 H2 H3 H3

Israel

Typical offer

Bagrut, with at least 8/10 in at least six subjects, including one five-unit subject.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Italy

Typical offer

Italian Diploma di Maturità or Diploma Pass di Esame di Stato with a Final Diploma mark of at least 81/100.

Japan

Typical offer

Upper Secondary Leaving Certificate is suitable for entry to our Foundation Years. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Latvia

Typical offer

Atestats par Visparejo videjo Izglitibu with very good grades in state exams.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Lithuania

Typical offer

Brandos Atestatas including scores of 80-90% in at least three state examinations (other than English).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Luxembourg

Typical offer

Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes Secondaires.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Malaysia

Typical offer

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). As well as various two or three-year college or polytechnic certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Netherlands

Typical offer

Voorereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs (VWO), normally with an average of at least 7.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Nigeria

Typical offer

You are expected to have one of the following:

  • Higher National Diploma
  • One year at a recognised Nigerian University
  • Professional Diploma (Part IV) from the Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology of Nigeria
  • Advanced Diploma

You must also have a score of C6 or above in WAEC/SSC English.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Norway

Typical offer

Norwegian Vitnemal Fra Den Videregaende Skole- Pass with an overall average of at least 4.

Pakistan

Typical offer

Bachelor (Pass) degree in arts, commerce or science.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Poland

Typical offer

Matura with three extended-level written examinations, normally scored within the 7th stanine.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Portugal

Typical offer

Diploma de Ensino Secundario normally with an overall mark of at least 16/20. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Romania

Typical offer

Diploma de Bacalaureat with an overall average of 8.5-9.5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Singapore

Typical offer

A-levels, as well as certain certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovakia

Typical offer

Maturitna Skuska or Maturita with honours, normally including scores of 1 in at least three subjects.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovenia

Typical offer

Secondary School Leaving Diploma or Matura with at least 23 points overall.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

South Africa

Typical offer

National Senior Certificate with very good grades. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Spain

Typical offer

Spanish Título de Bachillerato (LOGSE) with an overall average result of at least 8.0.

Sri Lanka

Typical offer

Sri Lankan A-levels.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Sweden

Typical offer

Fullstandigt Slutbetyg with good grades.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Switzerland

Typical offer

Federal Maturity Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Turkey

Typical offer

Devlet Lise Diplomasi or Lise Bitirme is normally only suitable for Foundation Years, but very strong applicants may be considered for first year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

USA

Typical offer

We look at your full profile taking into account everything you are studying. You must have your high school graduation diploma and we will be interested in your Grade 12 GPA. However, we will also want to see evidence of the external tests you have taken. Each application is looked at individually, but you should normally have one or two of the following:

  • APs (where we would expect at least three subject with 4/5 in each)
  • SAT Reasoning Tests (normally with a combined score of 1300) or ACT grades
  • and/or SAT Subject Tests (where generally we expect you to have scores of 600 or higher). 

We would normally require APs or SAT Subject Tests in areas relevant to your chosen degree course.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

My country is not listed

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

6.5 overall, including at least 6.0 in each component

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test.

If you are applying for degree-level study we can consider your IELTS test from any test centre, but if you require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for an English language or pre-sessional English course (not combined with a degree) the test must be taken at a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)-approved IELTS test centre.

Find out more about IELTS.

Other English language requirements

Proficiency tests

Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE)

For tests taken before January 2015: Grade B or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CAE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Advanced.

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

For tests taken before January 2015: grade C or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CPE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Proficiency.

Pearson (PTE Academic)

62 overall, including at least 56 in all four skills.

PTE (Academic) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Pearson (PTE Academic).

TOEFL (iBT)

88 overall, including at least 20 in Listening, 19 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 23 in Writing.

TOEFL (iBT) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about TOEFL (iBT).

The TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Sussex is 9166.

English language qualifications

AS/A-level (GCE)

Grade C or above in English Language.

Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE)/ AS or A Level: grade C or above in Use of English

French Baccalaureat

A score of 12 or above in English.

GCE O-level

Grade C or above in English.

Brunei/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

Singapore/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

GCSE or IGCSE

Grade C or above in English as a First Language.

Grade B or above in English as a Second Language

German Abitur

A score of 12 or above in English.

Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate

If awarded before 1993: grades 1-6 in English language.

If awarded between 1993 and 2005: grades A-D in English language.

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

 Level 4, including at least 3 in each component in English Language.

Indian School Certificate (Standard XII)

The Indian School Certificate is accepted at the grades below when awarded by the following examination boards:

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) – English Core only: 70%

Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) - English: 70% 

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)

English A or English B at grade 5 or above.

Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) 119/GCE O-level

If taken before the end of 2008: grades 1-5 in English Language.

If taken from 2009 onwards: grade C or above in English Language.

The qualification must be jointly awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).

West African Senior School Certificate

Grades 1-6 in English language when awarded by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or the National Examinations Council (NECO).

Country exceptions

Select to see the list of exempt English-speaking countries

If you are a national of one of the countries below, or if you have recently completed a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or higher in one of these countries, you will normally meet our English requirements. Note that qualifications obtained by distance learning or awarded by studying outside these countries cannot be accepted for English language purposes.

You will normally be expected to have completed the qualification within two years before starting your course at Sussex. If the qualification was obtained earlier than this we would expect you to be able to demonstrate that you have maintained a good level of English, for example by living in an English-speaking country or working in an occupation that required you to use English regularly and to a high level.

Please note that this list is determined by the UK’s Home Office, not by the University of Sussex.

List of exempt countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada**
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

** Canada: you must be a national of Canada; other nationals not on this list who have a degree from a Canadian institution will not normally be exempt from needing to provide evidence of English.

Admissions information for applicants

Transfers into Year 2

Yes. Find out more about transferring into Year 2 of this course. We don’t accept transfers into the third or final year.

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

Why choose this course?

  • Politics and International Relations at Sussex is ranked in the top 15 in the UK (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
  • 95% of our Politics students were in work or further study six months after graduating (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015).
  • 94% for overall satisfaction for International Relations (National Student Survey 2016).

Course information

How will I study?

You learn through lectures, seminars and workshops.

You study key political theories and learn where power lies in the UK and abroad. You also carry out research in political science. Topics include:

  • British political history
  • international politics
  • contemporary issues in politics.

In International Relations, you explore:

  • the different approaches to studying international relations
  • major events in modern international history
  • the role and purpose of theory and its relevance to major issues in international relations.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules


Customise your course

Our courses are designed to broaden your horizons and give you the skills and experience necessary to have the sort of career that has an impact.

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

How will I study?

You study – and compare – how politics and power are structured differently in countries and regions across the world.

We are experts on East Asia, Eastern Europe, France, Germany, India, the EU and the USA. You could gain first-hand experience of Germany and France by joining us on a field trip.

In International Relations, you learn how to use the concepts, approaches and methods of the discipline. You learn about areas such as contemporary international theory and global political economy, and choose options to suit your interests.

Trips abroad

We organise trips to Germany and France so you can learn more about the current political scene and meet with politicians and academics there.

If you study German politics, you can go on a trip to Berlin to visit the German parliament for discussions with politicians from all major parties.

You also visit other prominent historical landmarks such as the Holocaust Memorial, Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options


Customise your course

Our courses are designed to broaden your horizons and give you the skills and experience necessary to have the sort of career that has an impact.

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

Study abroad (optional)

Apply to study abroad – you’ll develop an international perspective and gain an edge when it comes to your career. Find out where your course could take you.

“I have come away more knowledgeable, more confident and with some excellent memories.” Michael GrayPolitics and International Relations BA
Studied abroad in South Korea

Placement (optional)

A placement is a great way to network and gain practical skills. When you leave Sussex, you’ll benefit from having the experience employers are looking for. Find out more about placements and internships.

I’ve developed my interests via an internship with BBC News and with a political party. My degree has thoroughly prepared me to enter a globally competitive job market.”Patrick Scott
Politics BA

Please note

If you’re receiving – or applying for – USA federal Direct Loan funds, you can’t transfer to the version of this program with an optional study abroad period in any country or optional placement in the USA. Find out more about American Student Loans and Federal Student Aid

How will I study?

You work closely with us to study when, where and why political change happens.

You can pick a region that interests you most, or you might choose to study one of the topics that we specialise in. We have strong expertise in the study of:

  • political corruption
  • immigration
  • political parties.

You do intensive studies of one or more specialised areas of International Relations. You can also explore themes in the fields of international relations theory, international security and global political economy.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Options

How politics students at Sussex engage with current political events and contemporary issues – Kai Oppermann, Politics lecturer

Fees

Fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. Note that your fees, once they’re set, may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

The UK Government has confirmed that if you’re an EU student applying for entry in September 2018, you'll pay the same fee rate as UK students for the duration of your course, even if the UK leaves the EU before the end of your course. You'll also continue to have access to student loans and grants. Find out more on the UK Government website.

Find out about typical living costs for studying at Sussex

Scholarships

Our focus is personal development and social mobility. To help you meet your ambitions to study at Sussex, we deliver one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university.

Careers

Graduate destinations

92% of Politics and International Relations BA students were in work or further study six months after graduating. 

Recent Politics graduates have gone on to jobs such as:

  • political researcher, Leader of the Opposition
  • business analyst, Global Markets Consultants
  • press and communications intern, British Academy for the Social Sciences and Humanities.

(HESA EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

By studying a Politics and International Relations BA, you gain the analytical and research skills to work for multinational businesses, government and international organisations, or go into politics.

You could go on to jobs such as:

  • parliamentary or think-tank researcher in the UK, EU and UN civil services
  • campaign manager for pressure groups or non-governmental organisations
  • press or communications officer.

We also offer sessions to help you apply for UK and international graduate schemes and jobs in the public, private, and voluntary sectors.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

I applied for a place on the BBC’s Journalism Trainee scheme and having a good politics degree from a well-respected university helped secure my interview.”Fiona Woods
Broadcast Journalist/Producer, BBC

British Political History

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module provides an overview of the major developments in British political history since 1900, focusing mainly (but not exclusively) on the post-war period. You focus on the major challenges domestic and international which have confronted political elites and masses during the period. It provides a critical understanding of some of the major debates between and within the UK's major political parties, and introduces some of the academic arguments generated by them. Politicians, and indeed political scientists, often make use of particular versions of history in order to persuade people that what they are offering is either tried and trusted or, on the other hand, new and improved. Pundits are also fond of making casual allusions to political events of the past in order to illustrate or support their arguments about the present often based on little more than second-hand knowledge and outdated received wisdom. This module provides a firm foundation of knowledge on which to build the more advanced understanding promoted by more advanced modules. And, by subjecting to critical analysis what is often taken for granted, it encourages a degree of healthy scepticism towards any references to politics in the past made in both public and academic discourse.

Explanatory Concepts in Political Science

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

In this module, you gain a firm understanding of some of the basic theories of the state including majoritarian and consensus democracy, pluralism, elite theory, Marxism and public choice theory.

The module applies the theories to British politics in order to gain a better understanding of particular political interests for example: the constitutions, political parties, voting, interest groups and globalisation.

The module develops a dialogue, which confronts established theories with the changing reality of British politics.

Introduction to International Relations

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module introduces you to the academic study of international relations. The module outlines the specific characteristics of International Relations (IR) as a distinct scholarly discipline, separate from other disciplines such as politics or sociology. The module considers what has defined IR as a discipline and what constitutes its core conceptual and methodological coordinates at the present time. The module approaches these questions through a consideration of the historical development of IR through a series of conceptual and methodological debates. Classically these debates are conceived of as tracing a path from idealism via realism to a pluralist methodological position. Understanding these debates, the circumstances that have given rise to them, and the methods they have generated will give you a good orientation in the disciplinary terrain of IR that will help them in contextualising the ideas they will encounter in the international theory courses in Years 1 and 2.

The Rise of the Modern International Order

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

Today we take it for granted that the peoples and governments of the world are linked in a single international system. Yet it was only during 'the long 19th century' that, for the first time in history, a truly 'world' politics began to emerge. This module examines how this came about by reviewing some major events and process of international history in the period from 1789 to 1914.

It begins with the international impact of the French revolution and the industrial revolution, and moves on to the formation of nation-states in Europe and outside. It analyses the role played by Great Britain in organising the Victorian international system, as well as the occupation of the non-European world by European imperialism. Finally, the module reflects upon the combination of factors that caused this 'long 19th century' to end in the carnage of the Great War. At the same time, by looking at some of the major controversies that historians have had about how to understand these events, the module also raises key questions about the nature of historical knowledge itself.

Classical Political Theory & International Relations

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module will introduce you to the primary texts of authors such as Hobbes, Kant, Machiavelli, Marx, Mill, Thucydides, Vitoria and others who are commonly cited as precursors of contemporary international thought. It asks what relevance these authors have had for the establishment of International Relations as a discipline, and how far they can be used to analyse contemporary international politics. Finally, the module demonstrates how classical authors can also be read to provide a radical critique of contemporary international thought and practice.

Foundations of Politics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

You are introduced to some of the central concepts and issues in political theory.

The module offers you an opportunity to think not just about the way politics is, but also about the way it ought to be.

We will ask questions such as 'why should we obey the state?', 'is democracy the best form of government?', and 'what makes a just society?'

We begin with some of the most fundamental and enduring questions in political theory, and we finish with some more recent debates.

The module is designed to be cumulative, so that the analysis developed in one week is built on in the weeks that follow.

By the end of the term you should have acquired a basic understanding of the central questions in political theory, and you should have begun to develop some of your own answers to these questions.

Research Skills and Methods in Political Science

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module is designed to introduce you to some of the fundamental issues faced by scholars as they try to analyse the political world around them.  We begin by examining the discipline of political science, what 'studying politics', and introduce some of the key terms such as epistemology, behaviouralism, quantitative methods.

You will be introduced to the basics of quantitative methods and the advantages and disadvantages of using surveys, questionnaires and statistical packages to analyse real world political activity. 

The next set of lectures analyse a completely different mode of enquiry; those based on interpretist understandings of political affairs. There are, obviously, all sorts of ways of collecting evidence to support your case/answer a question, and some of the most popular involve doing interviews, focus groups, simple participation etc. We discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses of using these methods, analysing why they are chosen in the first place and how they link with more quantitative approaches. 

By the end of the module, you should have an enhanced understanding of what the political science discipline is, how political scholars conduct their research and how they reach the conclusions that they do. You should also be able to critically interpret many of the claims and counter-claims, often based on statistical indicators, that are a feature of contemporary political debate.

Most of the lectures will necessarily focus on presenting various, often rather abstract, concepts and procedures. However, the relevance of these in modern political analysis will be demonstrated by incorporating practical exercises in which the concepts and methods learnt will be applied in seminars and computer workshops.

The Short Twentieth Century and Beyond

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

Few periods in history have been more tumultuous than the 20th century, racked almost from start to finish by wars, revolutions and global ideological conflicts. In the same period, however, the international system also developed new mechanisms of stability and international organisation - the League of Nations and the United Nations, the 'Bretton Woods' institutions and, increasingly, European integration. This module reviews some major international events and processes of 'the short 20th century' (1914-1989), focusing on this theme of order and disorder in international history.

Contemporary International Theory

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module examines the role this tradition plays in the development of contemporary international theory (post-1945) and the establishment of orthodoxy. Major approaches and debates in the discipline will be examined and evaluated, and placed in the more general context of what is problematic about developing cumulative knowledge of social relations. Varieties of realism, liberalism and the English school approach will be considered as well as more recent critical engagements coming from Marxism, feminism, constructivism, postmodernism and globalism.

European Politics

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The political map of contemporary Europe is changing rapidly and fundamentally, as the traditional boundaries between East and West and between domestic and international governance break down.

This module aims to provide a pan-European introduction to the continent's politics, rooted in a comparative rather than a country-by-country approach. After setting the historical and socio-economic context, it moves on to tackle not just institutions (the nation-state, government and policy-making, legislatures, parties, pressure groups and the media) but also issues – participation, immigration, the supposed blurring of the left-right divide, and Europe in the world.

Introduction to International Political Economy

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The intensity and scope of the relationship between politics and economics has become a central element of international relations. This module offers a distinctive perspective in terms of which traditional issues of international relations - such as war, trade, integration and international society - can be studied. It considers the central theoretical traditions of international political economy: liberalism, realism, Marxism, neo-institutionalism, and critical theory. It then applies these diverse theoretical traditions in an analysis of the evolution of the state system from the 16th to the 20th century, paying particular attention to the relationship between class and state power, on the one hand, and the capitalist world economy, on the other.

Modern Political Thought

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module addresses some of the most important texts in the history of western political philosophy. It covers the work of seven major political thinkers and aims to provide you with knowledge of the broad contours of modern political thought from the 17th to the 20th century. You will develop your ability to analyse philosophical arguments and to situate the texts studied in the appropriate historical contexts. Throughout, the aim will be to encourage close textual reading whilst developing an awareness of the wider themes and concepts that inform modern political thought.

Development and the State

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module is concerned with the role of the state in development. It considers this subject matter theoretically (that is by exploring debates in state theory, and on the relationship between the state and development), empirically (by investigating a range of historical and contemporary state forms, and the impacts of these state forms on processes of development) and normatively (by posing questions about what the nature and role of the state should ideally be).

The module examines the main theoretical approaches to the state and historical state forms and their attendant development experiences, in the North and in the post-colonial South. Finally, the module moves to Development since the 1980s, exploring the impacts of state failure, neo-liberalism, democratisation and global governance on state forms and patterns of development.

Globalisation and Global Governance

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This course complements Introduction to International Political Economy by applying a holistic, political and economic approach to an analysis of the changing character of the contemporary world. It examines the emergence and subsequent decline of the multilateral system and the rise of globalisation, especially the nature of global institutions such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the G8 meetings. We also cover the rise of a global offshore financial system and delve deeper into the changing nature of state, firm and society in the age of globalisation. The course examines the changing character of the development project, from decolonialisation and the decline of the formal empires to the emergence of the third world and the contemporary debates concerning the nature of development, economic growth, human welfare and the environment.

Assessed by a 3,000-word essay.

Politics of Governance: East Asia

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module studies government in East Asia (both Northeast and Southeast Asia) covering the great diversity of polities in the region ranging from totalitarian systems (for example, China and North Korea), to 'soft' authoritarian states (for example, Singapore and Malaysia), to 'defective' democracies (for example, Indonesia and Thailand) and fully consolidated democratic regimes (for example, Japan and South Korea). We will analyse political systems through general frameworks of comparative politics to discuss two principal questions: How can existing theories help us further our understanding of Asian politics? And, conversely, how can the study of Asian politics contribute to theory building in political science? The analysis will be framed around key concepts such as political parties, elections, corruption and civil-military relations.

Politics of Governance: Eastern Europe

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The module begins by examining the kind of legacies that the communist period left in these countries before moving on to consider their institutional structures and party and electoral politics of the new post-communist democracies. You then considers some of the major issues raised by the process of post-communist democratisation. These include: how to deal with functionaries of the previous non-democratic regime, how to introduce radical economic reform, and how to accommodate the existence of the numerous ethnic minorities that most of these states encompass? The impact of attempts to integrate into Euro-Atlantic international structures (the EU and NATO) on Central and East European domestic politics is considered before a final session that attempts to evaluate the nature of the regimes that are emerging in the region.

Politics of Governance: France

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Democracy in France has a troubled history, which continues to impact on contemporary politics in significant ways that have contributed to the representation of France as being in many ways 'exceptional'. This idea of 'the French Exception' will serve as a context for this module, which aims to give you a basic understanding of the institutions, policies and issues which dominate political life in France today. The module uses current affairs in France as its starting point in order to encourage engagement, and will use this to build up a grasp of the institutional framework in which political power operates. Important themes to be analysed will be: institutional and constitutional change, party dynamics, and policy reforms.

Politics of Governance: Germany

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The overall intellectual aim of this module is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the structure and norms of governance in the Federal Republic of Germany. The module examines the structure of German governance post-1945, looking at the formal codified arrangements of German federalism and the relationship between the constitution, parties and the wider polity. Particular emphasis is placed on Germany's role within the broader international community and the effects that unification has had on the structures and practices of German governance. We will also look at two particular policy fields (foreign policy, asylum and immigration policy) in order to see how the structures of governance affect policy making and policy development in individual policy areas. Learning objectives are specified by week for each topic. You should use these to think about when reading the material and preparing for each seminar.

Politics of Governance: India

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The politics and governance component of the politics degrees concentrates on the relationship between political institutions and the wider society. This module is concerned with the ability of institutions such as structures of governance, bureaucracies and political parties to adapt to changing circumstances and respond to demands from interest groups while dealing with the ongoing pressures of social and economic development in India. 

This module will be divided into two main parts. The first part will deal with India's political history and independence with a focus on analysing the institutional mechanisms of governance in the country. We will look at the design of the Indian constitution at independence, examining its key features such as federalism, secularism and the choice of political and electoral system. The module would also examine and evaluate how key constitutional features have functioned in India to support governance and its democracy. We also analyse the evolution of the party system in India focusing on its key features, attributes, determinants and the linkages between the national and the sub-national party systems. 

The second part of the module will analyse the key instruments of governance in India: the legislatures, bureaucracy, judiciary, army and the election commission. We will examine the ability of these institutions to support governance in a highly complex political and social environment. The focus will be on the relationship between politics and economy, politics and society, and politics and conflict. 

The module primarily uses an empirical approach but also presents relevant theoretical constructs and some comparative analysis to provide you with a rich insight into the politics of governance in India.

Politics of Governance: International Institutions and Issues

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module critically analyses the evolution of the international institutional order since World War II up to contemporary times. It examines the emergence and transformations of these bodies in the face of evolving and emerging issues and challenges. You will focus on institutions such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation, as well as non-state actors and then gauge and assess their response to the issues and challenges in their respective fields of competence (for example, the environment, global ethics, intervention, failing states, self-determination, the changing nature of war and global governance).

Politics of Governance: The European Union

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module treats the EU as a system of governance and examines it on that basis looking at the nature of executive, legislative and judicial politics as well as looking at the nature of interest representation and examining the nature of democracy in the EU and the impact of the EU on European states. It does so the basis of a variety of theoretical accounts derived from international relations and political science that have been applied to the EU

Politics of Governance: USA

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module examines four approaches to understanding contemporary US politics that emphasise the role of institutions, ideas, individuals and interests. These approaches are applied to the three main institutions of the Presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court and to the nature of political parties and voting in the US.

Security and Insecurity in Global Politics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Security is central to the issue agenda of international relations. Traditionally security has been understood to comprise the question of the protection of sovereign territory through armed force. Security has thus examined issues such as arms races, war and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Traditionally these issues were addressed through a realist lens that regarded the state and its survival as the central conceptual maxims. However, contemporary scholarship concerning security has broadened this agenda considerably. New sources of insecurity have emerged outside the traditional state form, as can be seen in the rise of issues such as terrorism as well as wider 'complex emergencies' on the international security agenda. Moreover, the conceptual lenses for examining these questions of (in)security have also multiplied, giving rise to new referent objects of security and a wider security agenda encompassing issues such as identity, genocide, and the environment. This module introduces you to the broad issue agenda that shapes the contemporary study of (in)security. Each week it will focus on a different issue that defines the agenda of International Security.

Assessed by a 3,000-word essay.

The Politics of Foreign Policy

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Who acts in international relations, and why? All too often, in international relations theory the answer seems to be states, or other collective actors, with their interactions determined by the logic of broad systemic forces. However, this leaves out that actors may have choices and how they arrive at such choices. Foreign policy making is a political process with domestic implications, and concepts such as 'the national interest' are by no means as clear and uncontested as foreign policy elites would like to make out. The module draws on classical and critical literature in foreign policy analysis to explore the broad tension between agency and structure (domestic and international) in international politics. It asks how decision-making in international politics may be less than rational, for a variety of reasons; how lobby groups and (perhaps) public opinion may influence foreign policy; and whether foreign policy still matters in an age of globalisation. The module will conclude with a look at the contemporary foreign policies of selected states.

This module will be assessed by a 3,000-word essay.

Contemporary Issues in the Global Political Economy

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

The central theme running through this module is how the architecture of existing capitalism has to be adjusted or brought into balance with the needs of expanding markets. We begin by looking at attempts by global governance institutions like the WTO (World Trade Organisation) to create a largely deregulated world market. We then examine how financial systems are expanding and how the stock market has become a key institution of modern capitalism. We discuss then the changing nature of multinational corporations and the state as they reorient themselves towards a global market. We examine empirically the post-Cold War expansion of capitalism into Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. Finally, we analyse the most recent developments in world affairs from a political economy perspective, looking at the increasing military bias of foreign policy of major capitalist states, as well as at the changing nature of anti-capitalist protest in the wake of 9/11.

Death of Socialism

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module looks at the contemporary condition of socialism following the collapse of state socialism in Central and Eastern Europe and elsewhere, the erosion of the central principles of Western social democracy and the prevalence of free market and capitalist ideas at the start of the century. Is socialism a relevant, feasible or desirable idea in contemporary society? Or is it dead, merely a historical relic of the 20th century?

We will start by looking at the two predominant conceptions and experiences of socialism of the twentieth century - ­ Marxist and social democratic socialism. What are the main features of these models of socialism? You will then examine criticisms of socialism from liberals and libertarians ­ such as Hayek and Nozick ­ and from new social movements ­ such as the women's movement and the green movement. What critical points are raised by these perspectives and how telling are they? We will look at reasons for the collapse of state socialism in the late 1980s and at attempts in the West to rethink socialism during an era in which neo­liberalism was a predominant force. Do liberal and new social movements' criticisms and the collapse of state socialism suggest that socialism is dead? Do attempts to redefine socialism (as market socialism or radical democratic socialism) escape the criticisms of liberals and the new social movements and the problems experienced under old social democracy and state socialism? Or do they indicate that the era of socialism has well and truly passed?

In the final two topics we shall address this question a little more. We will examine the attempt of New Labour and current European social democrats to respond to the crisis of social democracy and will ask whether there is anything remaining of socialism in such attempts. And we shall examine theses such as that of Fukuyama: that the day of socialism has passed and that capitalism has won the battle.

Gender and (Global) Politics: Subjects Practices and Institutions

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Learn a critical way of analysing (global) politics.

Historically, politics has been thought of as a discrete activity taking place in the public sphere, which was the exclusive domain of men. It was assumed that women were incapable of participating in this sphere and less interested in politics than men. These assumptions that perpetuated the relative exclusion of women from political life. This actual and symbolic marginalisation rests on gendered assumptions about what politics is, where it is located, and who 'does' politics. Our gendered assumptions affect not only the real lives of 'women' and 'men' but conceptions of politics and political subjects as such. 

During the module, you examine how an understanding of gender helps us ask critical questions about the spaces, institutions and practices of politics. It introduces you to prominent theories of gender (biological, psychological, social constructivist etc.). It surveys the theorisation of masculinity, and the historical evolution of feminism as critical theory and practice. From such theoretical bases it then examines:

  • the gendered nature of central political institutions, such ast he state and law
  • political practices such as democratic participation, acts of citizenship, acts of protest and resistance, development
  • the gendering of political subjects such as human rights holders, soldiers, and the expendable subjects of neoliberalism.

Marxism and International Relations

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Mercenaries, Gangs and Terrorists: Private Security in International Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

The module looks at the nature of security in international politics from the non-traditional perspective of private actors who are willing to use force to advance the objectives that (for better or worse) they place a high value on. The first section of the module provides a theoretical context that will enable you to develop your ideas about: what 'security' is and how it relates to other values; why sovereign states are often treated as the starting-point for the study of global security; the ways in which the private use of force can be conceptualised as both a problem and a solution to security dilemmas; and the ways in which actors in the global South face security challenges that are often unique from the challenges of those in the North.

In the second section of the module, you will have the opportunity to study particular actors, issues and cases, including private military companies, gangs, political insurgency movements and transnational terrorist groups. you will be challenged to think through the assumption that the private use of force automatically constitutes a threat that needs to be dealt with by sovereign actors, particularly at the international level. By the end of the module, you will demonstrate your theoretical and empirical understanding of the nature and significance of private security in international politics through a case-based research essay.

The assessment for this module is a piece of coursework (weighted 10%) and a long term paper of 6000 words (weighted 90%). The teaching mode is a one-hour lecture and a two-hour seminar each week.

Photography and Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Political Change: Eastern Europe in Transition

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Political Change: India

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Indian politics, society and economy have undergone substantial changes since the country's independence in 1947. Today India is an important emerging economy with a well developed party system and has a reasonable record of holding regular elections. Indian democracy has been an important area of research for scholars, especially with regard to its ability to survive and function amidst high social heterogeneity, widespread poverty and illiteracy. It is an interesting case to further our insights into the dynamics of political change in a large country amidst multiple social cleavages, significant intra-country differences and an evolving party system. 

This module explores key themes in Indian politics and society to understand the process of political change since its independence. You will analyse how the relationship between political actors and the wider society has been transformed through the rise of ethnic parties and identity politics, the growing importance of state-level parties and civil society movements. It explores how political parties are faced with the need to respond to demands from these organised interests and social movements. 

The key themes analysed in this module are:

  • The transformation of Indian party system from single party dominated system to a fragmented and multi-party competitive system
  • Political importance of socially underprivileged groups, ethnic parties and identity politics
  • The increased prominence of regional parties and emergence of coalition politics
  • The growing influence of civil society, mass movements and media
  • The key challenges facing the Indian nation


While exploring the key themes above the module analyses major factors that have led to political change and the ways in which this change has affected political actors in India. The module primarily uses an empirical approach but also presents relevant theoretical constructs and some comparative analysis to provide you with a rich insight into the politics of change in India.

Political Change: Political Parties and Party Systems

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you look at the factors behind political change within political parties and party systems.

You examine the development of political parties and their importance in modern advanced industrial democracies in Western Europe - and learn how to use theoretical and analytical models to study parties and party systems in a wide range of countries. 

Topics include: 

  • examining where political parties and party systems were formed and how they have changed over time
  • investigating the role of political parties
  • exploring if political parties are fulfilling the functions that democracy requires of them.

Political Change: The European Union as a Global Actor

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

The emergence, over the last five and a half decades, of the European Union as a global actor of real relevance forms the basis for this module. It will chart and critically analyse this process of change from a community of six member states consumed with internal economic priorities to a union of 27 member states (and growing) whose decisions frequently have a global reach and whose troops  have undertaken missions in south-east Europe, Central Africa and the Far East. What have been the key actors and factors behind this transformation? And where is this process of political change headed? The tutor will encourage and assist you in tackling these and other related questions in a critical manner. The module will cover the following distinct but related topics: foreign policy integration at EU level and its limits; the impact of new member states; the militarization of the Union; the EU and crisis management; the EU and conflict prevention; the impact of the USA and Russia on this process of change; and the soft power/hard power debate.

Political Change: the Evolution of Post War European Integration

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module explores in depth the historical development of the European Union. In doing so, it provides an opportunity to review the various debates which have emerged within the social sciences and history about the dynamics of integration, the motivations of policy-makers and the influence of different actors. Drawing upon a range of concepts and approaches from those disciplines, the module focuses on a series of milestones, turning points and crises in the evolution of the EU.

Political Economy of the Environment

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

In this module you: 

  • develop an in-depth knowledge of the key debates in climate change and environmental degradation
  • carry out advanced and independent research on a political economy of the environment topic
  • critically review relevant literature on a specific topic.

Topics include:

  • capitalism and the environment
  • sustainable consumption
  • cultural political economy
  • environmental economics
  • ecological economics
  • private environmental governance
  • climate change denial and case studies on China and India.

Religions in Global Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

During this module you will explore the implications of the 'return' of religions, both for world politics and for thinking about international relations.

Many sociologists and philosophers have interpreted this return as 'the end of modernity' or the 'de-secularisation of the world'. You will primarily focus on the renewed centrality of religious identities as strategic frames of reference for politics in the post-Cold War world.

Against the background of the growing multicultural nature of contemporary international society resulting from what Hedley Bull has aptly termed the 'revolt against the West', the module will encourage you to:

  • consider the implicit and predominant reading of religion in international relations as the ultimate threat to international order and stability (especially in the forms of the identity politics of the 'new wars' and the terrorist attacks of religious fundamentalists)
  • engage critically with Huntington's thesis of the 'clash of civilisations'
  • discuss the implications of this 'return' for the future of foreign policy and the normative structure and world order of contemporary international society.

Sex and Death in Global Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Sex and Death in Global Politics explores the multiple connections between gender and violence in contemporary international politics. Whilst war and other forms of collective violence seem to be everywhere in world affairs, it has often been commented that the many manifestations of gender are less visible, even invisible, in the realms of high politics. Today, some issues of gender (sexual violence in war, the inclusion of homosexuals in the military, 'cultural' forms of misogyny) enter public and policy debate. But many others (such as media representations of gender violence, the continuum between 'peace' and 'war' violence or the connection between armies and prostitution) are neglected by both practitioners and scholars of international relations.

This module will examine a broad range of these issues in theoretical and historical perspective. Topics will include: gender in war and society; imperial gender violence; military masculinity; women at war; wartime sexual violence; sex industries and human trafficking; homosexuality and military culture (including queer theory perspectives and recent debates about 'homonationalism'); feminism, anti-feminism and gender studies in the academy; and gender violence in popular culture.

This module is assessed by a single piece of coursework (10% of the final grade) and an essay of 6,000 words (90% of the final grade). We meet each week for a three-hour seminar combining mini-lectures, group work, analytical exercises and open discussion.

The Political Economy of Latin American Development

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module provides a long-term historical account and analysis of Latin America's formation and integration into the modern world system.  You will investigate patterns of growth and distribution of wealth over different periods of time and between countries.  In particular, the module investigates how these patterns have influenced and have been shaped by three interrelated factors - domestic social structures, state formation and integration to the evolving world system. 

Key issues covered include: the Iberian political economic lethargy; attempts at constructing cohesive state structures and state-led economic development; the influence of rural and urban social movements on the politico-economic structures of different countries; responses to globalisation, including the attempt at creating blocs across the region; and a discussion of the extent to which the current 'pink tide' (or red wave) constitutes a realistic alternative political-economic trajectory for the mass of the continent's population. 

The Politics of International Trade

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module aims to equip you with an understanding of the modern international trading system and the theoretical traditions and political practices that have helped to shape it. The first section examines the core theories around trade and trade liberalisation, particularly those of liberalism, economic nationalism and neo-Marxism, in order to explore different understandings of the relationship between free trade, protectionism, and development.

The second section of the module examines the evolution of a liberal trade regime in the world economy from its collapse in the interwar period to its resurrection and extension in the form of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947 and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1995. Core elements of, and controversies within, the global trade system will be scrutinised and situated within this historical context. These will include the recurring threat and changing forms of protectionism, the increasing fragmentation of the trade system engendered by regional trade agreements, the role of emerging powers, and the differential impact of the trade system on developed and developing countries. This survey will establish the empirical and theoretical resources to move in the third section towards an assessment of the deadlocked WTO Doha Round and the ongoing negotiations of a Transatlantic Free-Trade Agreement (TAFTA).

The aim of this section is to understand the main actors and areas of contention and to assess the potential for a more equitable and ethical trading system.

The module is taught through a weekly three-hour seminar that normally consists of a combination of `mini-lectures' and seminar discussions on the week's topics. The assessment for this module is a research exercise (weighted 10%) and a long term paper of 6000 words (weighted 90%).

The Reign of Rights in Global Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Proponents and opponents alike would today concur that human rights are becoming the world's secular religion (Eli Wiesel). This course systematically interrogates the rise of human rights to such prominence. Early on, the module examines the history and evolution of rights within the history of western liberalism and introduces the prominent ways of defining and understanding human rights. It then explores new theorisations of rights as practices of governing and forms of subjectification in global politics. Moreover, the course discusses well-known critiques of the universality of human rights and their Western-centric conception of the human.

Following these initial sessions, the module analyses the challenges that rights present to state sovereignty and examines the violent global politics associated with human rights, such as the emergence of human rights wars (Beck) and the more recent, often racist, trade-off between rights and security within the ensemble of practices we call the 'war on terror'.

Finally, the course reflects on the link between human rights and power: how might we make sense of the apparent tension between human rights as essential to both the sustenance of hegemony and to the politics of resistance? Moreover, it investigates the use of rights in our practices of resistance, analysing how rights delegitimise other paths of action whilst inciting rights-holders as appropriate political subjectivities (Foucault). It discusses the expansion of human rights into emergent areas such as women's rights, indigenous rights, economic rights etc (you will be able to select specific cases for further research and presentation to suit your particular interests) and explores the ways in which human rights talk becomes the hegemonic register in which to articulate and legitimate dissent and social/political action. The module concludes by discussing problems of human rights advocacy by NGOs and poses the philosophical and practical question of who can speak on behalf of sub-altern others (Alcoff).

The assessment for this module is a research plan due in week 7 (weighted 10%) and a long term paper of 6,000 words (weighted 90%). The teaching method is a three-hour seminar, though this includes a 50-minute talk by the convenor each week.

What is War

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

You will gain an advanced understanding of the place of war in the political world. What is war and how, if at all, is it different from other forms of violence? What is the relationship between war and politics? We will ask what war is and then investigate its relation to the fields of ethics, gender, sexuality, and culture. You will then use this knowledge to investigate specific forms of warfare, including genocide as a war of annihilation, insurgency/guerrilla warfare, and counterinsurgency. We conclude by addressing anti-war activism and related forms of civil disobedience as alternatives to war. You are provided with an advanced knowledge and analytical skills that will help you to think, talk, and write in an informed and critical manner about war.

Capitalism and Geopolitics

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This multi-disciplinary module is designed to examine the relations between capitalism and geopolitics and how their interaction has shaped different political communities and world orders from the 17th century up to the 21st century. It explores the major theoretical traditions and debates, old and new, on the nexus between capitalism and geopolitics and combines these theoretical perspectives with in-depth interrogations of the historical material the key events, processes, actors that shaped this turbulent international history of war and peace; crises and revolutions; conquest and exploitation.

The terms 'capitalism' and 'geopolitics' have made a remarkable comeback in the public discourse and in academia. Until very recently both terms were regarded as almost obsolete, if not 'beyond history', given the relative absence of major inter-state wars since WWII and the apparent achievements of social market economies in the advanced capitalist countries. The sudden resurrection of both vocabularies in 21st century debates across a wide range of disciplines (IR/IPE, sociology, political geography etc) indicates a return to a harsher social and international climate. This calls for a critical re-examination of their origins and co-development as real historical phenomena and associated discourses, and a closer inspection of these two fundamental dimensions of the world we inhabit.

However, in conventional literature, 'geopolitics' and 'capitalism' tend to be treated as two separate phenomena. 'Geopolitics' is conceived as the sphere of strategic conflicts between states over space and resources, conceptualised primarily at the level of inter-political relations. 'Capitalism' is seen as the sphere of conflicts between social actors over chances of reproduction, sometimes simply seen in the economic literature as the market-mediated allocation of resources, and conceptualised primarily at the level of society. In this module we challenge this persisting dualism and opposition by probing their inter-relation across various historical periods and diverse theoretical registers. This specific research course is at the center of the emerging sub-fields of International Historical Sociology and the Political Economy of Geopolitics.

The first part of the module starts with an overview of the three classical traditions that have most centrally informed this discourse:

  • The writings of Max Weber and Otto Hintze that assert the primacy of military competition for geopolitical orders and that have - since the mid-1980s inspired a Neo-Weberian turn in Historical Sociology and IR
  • The works of Fernand Braudel and Immanuel Wallerstein, updated and extended by neo-Gramscian IR Theory, that stress the rise of commercial exchange and the construction of successive world hegemonies
  • The ideas of Karl Marx that, although short on specific arguments on geopolitics, have more recently led to intense debates within the Neo-Marxist literature on how to conceptualise capitalist social relations and class conflict in their effects on inter-state conflict and co-operation across the centuries.

Against this theoretical setting, the second part of the module examines sequentially a number of different historical geopolitical orders (dynastic-absolutist, 19th century British Hegemony, imperialist, fascist, liberal and contemporary) and the transitions between them on the basis of divergent and contested interpretations deriving from the three classical traditions. The aim is to provide a set of theoretically-informed and empirically-controlled analyses of the ways in which capitalism and geopolitics have shaped each other and constituted varieties of territorial orders in historical perspective.

The assessment for this module is a long term paper of 7000 words. The teaching method is a three-hour seminar each week.

Development and Geopolitics in East Asia

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The aim of this module is to understand the rise of East Asia through examining the interconnections between regional development and geopolitical contestation in the Cold War and contemporary eras. The module will adopt a historical approach, beginning with an examination of the legacies of European and Japanese imperialism in East Asia and an analysis of the establishment of post-war US hegemony in the region and its implications for subsequent economic development. The module examines the divergent experiences of Northeast and Southeast Asia and the rise of China. We then examine the implications of the decline of Cold War geopolitical rivalry and the rise of globalisation and its role in explaining subsequent trends such as the East Asian financial crisis, East Asian regionalism and the changing nature of US-China relations. Within this historical context varying analytical frameworks and debates concerning late development will be examined, such as neoclassical versus structural institutionalism, Marxist vs. dependency theories, international/regional vs. domestic factors etc. Such theories are examined critically both in terms of their analytical purchase and their origins and role in geopolitical rivalry itself.

The assessment for this module is a long term paper of 7000 words. The teaching method is a three-hour seminar each week.

Dirty Wars? Conflict and Military Intervention

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module analyses what might loosely be called the 'new security environment' and its impacts on international relations. Specifically the course focuses on the role of 'hard power', its uses and limitations in the context of civil war, insurgency, the Global War on Terror and intervention. This will allow students to familiarise themselves with the causes and dynamics of intra-state conflict as well as the efforts that the international community makes to manage and resolve it. Using a number of theoretical lenses to study conflict and intervention the course is concerned with developing policy-relevant analysis of the security threats that have emerged since the Cold War.

You will be encouraged to think critically about the role of 'hard power' in world politics, applying some of your learning from your first and second year studies. However, the main emphasis of this course is to explain and understand conflict and its resolution from an empirical, pragmatic and policy-oriented perspective. In this sense, this module option is a 'nuts and bolts' analysis of new security challenges complementing the reflexive and philosophical approach that you may have seen in other courses. Intensive study will be required as many of the case studies and themes may well be new to you.

The assessment for this module is a long term paper of 7000 words. The teaching method is a three-hour seminar each week.

Ethics in Global Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The module will cover conceptual and normative questions about ethics in global politics. It introduces you to the academic study of global ethics by exploring its origins within contemporary political philosophy in the Anglo-American tradition, and within the IR sub-field of ‘normative International Relations’. In particular, the module explores the inter-relationship between normative, conceptual and practical questions in international relations.

You will explore the substantive areas of international distributive justice and international human rights, which are thought by many to constitute the core of the subject of global ethics. This is followed by the more cutting-edge areas of agency, responsibility, judgement and authority. Several sessions are devoted to bridging the theoretical concerns of global ethics with particular areas of contemporary practical and policy relevance, including:

  • the responsibility to protect human rights
  • international criminal justice
  • acting on obligations to distant strangers.

By taking this module, you will explore some of the following questions, among others:

  • Are the obligations that we have to those inside our national communities different from obligations to outsiders?
  • Do we all have ‘human rights duties’, or do these fall only on states?
  • Would action to curb global climate change place an unfair burden on developing countries?
  • Should political leaders be indicted by international courts for humanitarian atrocities, even if doing so could prolong civil conflict?
  • What is the best way to understand the relationship between ‘security’ and other values (for example, in the context of contemporary debates about humanitarian intervention, torture, or privacy)?

The assessment is a 7000-word term paper.

Foreign Policy Analysis in Comparative Perspective

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module provides you with the analytical skills to critically investigate the foreign policies of different countries in Europe and beyond. The first part of the module will introduce the academic field of foreign policy analysis and familiarise you with its most important methods and theories. Specifically, the module will cover theoretical approaches on the international, state and individual level of analysis. It will unpack the process of foreign policy decision-making in order to identify the most significant actors and influences on different types of foreign policy decisions. The second part of the module will explore key issues in foreign policy analysis. We will compare and contrast the foreign policies of different countries and discuss variations in the foreign policy outlook of small, middle and great powers. We will also look into some of the most pressing topics on the current foreign policy agenda in different issue areas such as military interventions, the fight against terrorism and the foreign policy implications of globalisation or the protection of human rights. In discussing these topics particular emphasis will be placed on theory-guided analysis. While the module has a regional focus on the foreign policies of selected European countries we will also cover issues related to the foreign policies of the US and the rising powers.

Global Resistance: Subjects and Practices

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you explore the 'global movement' of opposition to neoliberalism, capitalism and imperialism.

You learn about the global summit protests of the early 21st Century, the Zapatista movement in Mexico, international trade unionism and the most recent anti-austerity protests in Europe.

You look at:

  • the history of global resistance
  • the main concepts and theories used to make sense of resistance – including Marxist, post-structuralist, decolonial, feminist and anarchist approaches
  • political groups who have been hailed as responsible for revolutionary movements, for example the anti-globalisation movement
  • the politics of resistance
  • campaigns against multinational corporations. 

Ideas of Progress and Decline in Modern British Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Ideas about progress and decline are central to political discourse. This module focuses on how they have been used in modern Britain. You will gain an overview of the main ideological theories about progress and decline and explore how they have informed political debates about Britain's economy, culture and society. You will also examine how concepts of absolute and relative progress and decline have shaped understandings of Britain's place in the world.

Immigration and the Liberal State

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you examine why immigration has become one of the most contested issues on the political agenda of liberal states across Europe and North America.

You look at representative democracy, constitutionalism, capitalism, and nationhood - and examine how these generate conflicting imperatives for immigration policymaking, which lead to contradictory policies.

You develop an understanding of how immigration policies in liberal democracies are shaped and study recent trends in the immigration, citizenship and integration policies of immigrant-receiving countries in Europe and North America.

Independent Study/Internship Option

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This option provides an opportunity for you to carry out your own research project - working independently but with the help of a project tutor. In order to be accepted onto this option you produce a project outline by the end of you second year which needs to be approved by the module convenor. This many be linked to a period as an intern in the place of work (eg, in a local authority or at Westminster).

International Relations of the Modern Middle East

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The Middle East remains at the centre-stage of international politics and media. Yet its specificities and complexities continue to challenge politicians and academics alike. This module explores the explanatory potentials of a three-dimensional international, social and historical approach to modern political history of the Middle East. It consists of three major parts:

  • Firstly, it critically surveys the traditional theoretical approaches to the analysis of Middle East politics
  • Secondly, it delineates the broader historical contours of the contemporary politics of the region by retracing the socio-international context and outcomes of the formation of 'modern' Middle Eastern states
  • Thirdly, and drawing on the second part, it provides in-depth analysis of three major contemporary political developments in the region, namely The Iranian Revolution, the Arab-Israeli conflict and Iraq War.

The module concludes with a brief evaluation of the broader implications of an international-historical approach to the study of the Middle East for theory and practice of international relations.

Mercenaries, Gangs and Terrorists: Private Security in International Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module looks at the nature of security in international politics, from the non-traditional perspective of private actors who are willing to use force to advance the objectives that - for better or worse - they place a high value on.

The first section of the module provides a theoretical context that will enable you to develop your ideas about: what 'security' is and how it relates to other values; why sovereign states are often treated as the starting-point for the study of global security; the ways in which the private use of force can be conceptualised as both a problem and a solution to security dilemmas; and the ways in which actors in the global South face security challenges that are often unique from the challenges of those in the North.

In the second section of the module, you will have the opportunity to study particular actors, issues and cases, including private military companies, gangs, political insurgency movements, and transnational terrorist groups.

You will be challenged to think through the assumption that the private use of force automatically constitutes a threat that needs to be dealt with by sovereign actors, particularly at the international level. By the end of the module, you will demonstrate your theoretical and practical understanding of the nature and significance of private security in international politics through a case-based research essay.

Political Corruption

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The objective of this module is to shed some light on the dark side of politics by developing analytical and theoretical tools that will allow us to analyse corruption across both time and space. We begin by analysing exactly what we understand by ‘corrupt’ behaviour and how this appears to differ (often quite starkly) across national boundaries. Are humans naturally corrupt? If so, does this matter? Is corrupt behaviour absolute and universal or does it depend on location and context? Indeed, can corruption sometimes even be a good thing?

Armed with the analytical tools aimed at unpacking the complex phenomenon of political corruption, we examine specific examples of corruption across the developed world, ranging from systematic abuses of power by parties and politicians to small-scale, almost trivial, petty misdemeanours. This analysis then provides a foundation for examining what reforms might contribute to lessening instances of political corruption in the western world.

Populism and Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Populism is a widely used term in politics but rarely conceptualised in political science. This module explores the phenomenon of populism and its relationship to politics and particularly to representative politics and considers populism, its meaning, its causes and effects in a systematic and comparative way. Populism is understood in its widest possible sense in this module so that we explore populism of the right and of the left and we examine a wider range of disparate cases of populism from different parts of the world. The module has essentially two elements: the first is the examination of a range of different examples of populist movements, moments, personalities and parties (eg from Russia, North America, Latin America and Europe). The second element is to examine the conceptualisation of populism and to engage with the debates about whether to and how to define populism. The module will be empirically oriented allowing you to develop interests in a small number of cases with an eye to clarifying your positions on the wider conceptual debates regarding populism.

Russia and the Former Soviet Union in Global Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module explores the international politics of post-Soviet Russia and the former Soviet space. After a period of relative decline in the 1990s, Russia has more recently been described as 'rising Great Power' and developments in the CIS have returned to the news - from 'gas wars' to the conflict between Russia and Georgia, from the 'democratic revolutions' in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan to the apparent erosion of democracy in Russia and talk of a "new Cold War" between Russia and the West.

These are developments with implications for Western Europe and beyond, touching on traditional and new security issues alike, and shedding light on the implications of Western democracy promotion and the role of norms and identity in contemporary global politics.

The module will investigate the background for and current development of international relations in the region - in particular Russia's status as great power, the 'colour revolutions' in Ukraine and Georgia and the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia, NATO and the US in the former Soviet space, the question of Europe's 'energy security' and its relations with Russia, and what has been called the 'new Great Game' between Russia, China and the US in Central Asia. In doing this, it will introduce relevant theoretical concepts related to foreign policy analysis and constructivist explanations of the role of norms and identity in the international politics of Russia and the FSU.

The Arms Trade in International Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module investigates the social and international relations of the arms trade. You may already be familiar with allegations of corruption, human rights violations and war profiteering associated with the arms trade. You may also have heard justifications in terms of national security, international alliances and jobs.

This module analyses these, and other, claims through a series of historically and theoretically informed empirical case studies. We will ask: what are the main features of global patterns of arms production and transfers? How have these patterns developed historically? What international relations are fostered through arms transfers, and (how) have these changed over time? How is military production embedded in the economic, political and social life of societies and states? What efforts at arms regulation, control and abolition are in play, and how effective are they? Sample case studies include: the production, transfer and use of drones in the 'war on terror'; Chinese arms transfers to African states and new forms of international hierarchy; arms transfers to the Middle East and the supposed 'tension' between human rights and weapons sales; and the institutionalisation of a world military order through the UN Arms Trade Treaty.

The assessment for this module is a long term paper of 7000 words. The teaching method is a three-hour seminar each week.

The Global Politics of Health

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The Political Economy of Latin American Development

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module provides a long-term historical account and analysis of Latin America's formation and integration into the modern world system. It investigates patterns of growth and distribution of wealth over different periods of time and between countries.

The module investigates how these patterns have influenced and have been shaped by three interrelated factors: domestic social structures, state formation and integration to the evolving world system. Key issues to be discussed in the module include: the Iberian political economic lethargy; attempts at constructing cohesive state structures and state-led economic development; the influence of rural and urban social movements on the political-conomic-economic structures of different countries; responses to globalisation, including the attempt at creating regional blocs across the region; and a discussion of the extent to which the current 'pink tide' (or red wave?) constitutes a realistic alternative political-economic trajectory for the mass of the continents population.

The assessment for this module is a long term paper of 7000 words. The teaching method is a three-hour seminar each week.

The Politics of Terror

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module offers an advanced-level introduction to terrorism and political violence in modern societies. Through attention to case studies, academic literatures and a variety of media and other primary sources the module focuses on:

  • The conceptual and analytical challenges of defining and understanding terrorism and political violence
  • Terror as a political instrument
  • The relationship between state and non-state terror
  • The historical development of terrorism and counter-terrorism
  • The organisational, ideological and strategic dynamics of terrorist organisations
  • The policy dilemmas faced and principle methodologies employed by democratic and other states in countering terrorism
  • The role of media, mass communication and 'public discourse' in political violence

The curriculum is roughly divided into two sections. The first, 'Studying Terrorism: Historical and Conceptual Issues', offers a thematic exploration of terrorism considering its historical development in modern societies; relation to other forms of organised violence; some of the animating ideas historically associated with the use of terror for political purposes; the phenomenon of 'suicide terrorism' and the ideas, organisations and practices used by states in their efforts to counter terrorism. The second section, 'Cases and Contexts', situates terrorism and political violence within the changing context of state power, international and global politics, exploring the historical and contemporary relations between them. The course concludes by looking at how terror campaigns end.

The assessment for this module is a long term paper of 7000 words. The teaching method is a three-hour seminar each week.

The United States in the World

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

As the 21st century begins, the United States is still the world's only superpower: no other nation possesses comparable military and economic power or has interests that reach the entire globe. To understand the place and power of the US in the contemporary world, it is vital to understand how its geopolitical strategies function, militarily and economically. Yet because US power is also secured through cultural and discursive strategies, it is equally important to analyse how US cultural/discursive products and processes participate in the construction of the US in all the varied ways it imagines itself. The aim of this module is to analyse how US cultural/discursive strategies participate in imagining the US in the world, either by being embedded within traditional geopolitical strategies or by sitting alongside them. Rather than taking an historical approach, the module is organised around specific theoretical and cultural/discursive themes and practices.

These include:

  • architectural theory and the building of embassies abroad
  • design theory and designing the nation through everyday objects
  • film theory and screening the nation through popular film
  • remediation theory and virtually remediating the nation
  • entertainmentality theory and exhibiting the nation in museums
  • performance/performativity theory and re-enacting the nation though historical re-enactments as well as song
  • advertising theory and advertising the nation to US citizens.

Along the way, significant foreign and domestic policy debates from Cold War politics to the 'War on Terror' to the US domestic 'War on Illegal Immigration' will be considered through political, cultural and discursive theories (eg Said's notion of orientalism, Foucault's notion of governmentality, Butler's notion of performativity and Ranciere's notion of the birth of the nation). 

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