Politics BA (Hons)
BA Hons Politics
Applying for 2021/22 entry? See how you'll be taught in our Covid information for applicants.
From Brexit to alternative truth, the NHS to the case for global intervention in North Korea, recent years have seen politics become increasingly divisive. If you want to understand why, and get an understanding of how the politics world works, this is the perfect course for you.
On this BA (Hons) Politics degree you’ll study the contemporary challenges that politicians and the public face, as well as the historic flashpoints that led to the current governance of our society.
You'll finish the course primed for a career in the world of politics, but also with a raft of transferable skills sought after in sectors such as teaching, journalism and risk analysis.
93% Overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2020)
- A levels – BBB–BCC
- UCAS points – 104–120 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
- BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM–DMM
- International Baccalaureate – 25
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
What you'll experience
On this course you’ll:
- Take your interest in politics and add the skills and knowledge you need for a successful career
- Keep up to date with the latest topics and issues in international relations by taking part in 'pop-up seminars' with staff and your peers
- Learn from staff who are members of the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR), the UK's largest research centre of its kind
- Have the opportunity to publish your work in our student journal
- Develop career-enhancing skills alongside your academic study with skills training, opportunities to do work experience and the chance to learn another language
- Do a detailed academic analysis of a major contemporary political issues such as the role of gender in politics, radicalisation and the rise of the far right
- Tailor your degree by choosing optional modules that match your interests and career ambitions
- Have the chance to study abroad at one of our partner institutions – for example, Science Po Strasbourg (France), Maastricht University (Netherlands), Université libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) and University of Szeged (Hungary)
You can also:
- Diversify your skill set by learning another language as part of your course
- Immerse yourself in another culture by studying abroad
Careers and opportunities
When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry.
What jobs can you do with a Politics degree?
The skills you’ll learn on this course lend themselves to many different industries. Previous graduates have gone onto work in jobs such as:
- parliamentary researcher
- politician’s assistant
- public affairs consultant
- social researcher
- information officer
- conference producer
- local government administrator
You can work in areas such as national and local government, teaching, consultancy, marketing and business, and in organisations such as the UN, lobbying organisations, the NHS and think tanks.
Work experience and career planning
To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you plan your career and find relevant work experience during your course.
We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies. You can earn credits towards your degree for the placements you take during your studies. Previous students have done projects for community groups and worked with political parties and local government.
We'll also be available to help, advise and support you for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.
After your second year, you can do an optional work placement sandwich year, to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry.
Previous students have secured placements at:
- The Ministry of Defence
- The House of Commons
- National Museum of the Royal Navy
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
The lecturers were great and made the university experience what it was. The curriculum was varied and they really knew how to push you to achieve great things.
What you'll study
Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.
Core modules in this year include:
- Political Thought
- Analysing Politics: Britain and Beyond
- Global Development
- Key Themes in International Relations
- Politics and IR: Academic Enrichment Programme
- Professional Practice: Skills for Academic and Professional Success
There are no optional modules in this year.
Core modules in this year include:
- British Political Leadership
- Bending the Truth a Little? Researching Politics and International Relations
Optional modules in this year currently include:
- China and East Asian Economies
- Contemporary Populism: Friend or Foe of Democracy?
- Decoding Cultural Space
- Democracies Under Threat: Global Perspectives and Responses
- Development and Democracy in Latin America
- Digital Cultures: Exploring the Digital in the Humanities and Social Sciences
- East Asian States and Societies
- Economics and Politics of Development
- Empire and its Afterlives
- Gender in the Developing World
- Global Environmental Issues and Concerns
- Ideology and Politics
- Introduction to Teaching
- Learning from Experience
- Modern Foreign Language
- People on the Move: Legacy, Integration and Development
- Politics and Policy in Action
- Russian & Eurasian Politics
- Soviet History and Politics
- Study Abroad
- The Rules that Structure the World: the Politics and Governance of Regulation
- US Foreign Policy: from the Great War to 9/11
- US Politics
On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Core units in this year include:
- Autocracy And Democracy
Optional units in this year currently include:
- Africa Revisited: Nation Building and 'State Fragility' in Post-Colonial Africa
- Digital Media and Democracy
- Dissertation / Major Project
- Ethnicity Class & Culture in the Developing World
- France in the World: Global Actor or Global Maverick?
- Germany in the American Century
- Global Capitalism: Past, Present and Future
- Global Health
- Independent Project
- Learning From Experience
- Looking for Utopia, Finding Dystopia? Ideas and Ideologies in the New Millennium
- NGOs and Social Movements
- Politics and Culture of the Hispanic World in 20Th Century Literature and Film
- Professional Development: Recruiters and Candidates
- Rethinking Nazi Germany: Politics, History, Society
- Revolution and Repression: Spain
- Security Challenges in the Twenty-First Century
- Strategic Management and Leadership
- The Making of a Republic
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
This course was an enriching, exciting and thought-provoking experience that helped me to nurture my academic abilities as well as provide enormous opportunities for my own personal development. The staff have been incredibly engaging across my years of study and they are exceptionally thoughtful in the support they provide.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- article reviews
- briefing papers
- individual and group presentations
- 10,000 word dissertation
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
The way you’re assessed may depend on the modules you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:
- Year 1 students: 25% written exams, 8% practical exams and 67% coursework
- Year 2 students: 15% written exams, 5% practical exams and 80% coursework
- Year 3 students: 100% coursework
Teaching methods on this course include:
You'll take part in discussions with large and small groups, developing your communication skills.
You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.
For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.
How you'll spend your time
One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.
In 2021/22, we're planning for most of your learning to be supported by timetabled face-to-face teaching with some elements of online provision. Please be aware, the balance between face-to-face teaching and online provision may change depending on Government restrictions. You'll also do lots of independent study with support from staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle. Find out more about how our teaching has transformed to best support your learning.
A typical week
We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your BA Hons Politics degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 9 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.
The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.
It's divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:
- Teaching block 1 – early October to January
- Assessment period 1 – late January to early February
- Teaching block 2 – February to May
- Assessment period 2 – May to June
Extra learning support
The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get face-to-face support from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:
Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.
As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next scheduled meeting.
Learning development tutors
You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.
They can help with:
- Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
- Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
- Understanding and using assignment feedback
- Managing your time and workload
- Revision and exam techniques
Academic skills support
As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- Academic writing
- Note taking
- Time management
- Critical thinking
- Presentation skills
- Working in groups
- Revision, memory and exam techniques
If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.
Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.
The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.
Support with English
If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.
Tuition fees (2021 start)
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £15,500 per year (subject to annual increase)
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.
For optional placements or placements abroad, you may need to pay additional costs, such as travel costs. These costs will vary depending on the location and duration of the placement. They'll range from £50 to £1000.
How to apply
To start this course in 2021, apply through UCAS. You'll need:
- the UCAS course code – L200
- our institution code – P80
If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.
You can also sign up to an Open Day to:
- Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
- Speak with lecturers and chat with our students
- Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join
If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
How to apply from outside the UK
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS or apply directly to us (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.
If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.