BSc Politics and International Relations

UCAS codeL292
Duration3 Years
DisciplinePolitics and International Relations
LocationTaught in Exeter Streatham (Exeter)


This exciting and distinctive programme includes study of the major areas of politics and international relations, as well as optional modules which closely reflect the research interests of staff. You’ll have the chance to combine political studies with training in the methods and techniques of political research which will provide you with valuable career-skills. You’ll study how government is constituted and how politics takes place on a global scale. You may also be able to extend your studies by a year in order to convert your degree into a Masters qualification (depending on academic attainment).

Q-Step and applied research skills

This degree programme is offered as part of the prestigious Q-Step programme which aims to equip social sciences students with the types of applied research and data analysis skills sought by employers. If you choose this degree you have the opportunity to undertake work experience with one of our industry partners and receive a work experience bursary of up to £2,000. You’ll build CV enhancing experience in research techniques, quantitative data analysis and software relevant to a variety of careers including business, social research, marketing, policy analysis and politics.

Programme variations

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

The BSc Politics and International Relations degree programme is made up of compulsory (core) and optional modules, which are worth 15 or 30 credits each. Full-time undergraduate students need to complete modules worth a total of 120 credits each year.

Year 1

Core modules provide ‌training in the scientific study of social science and integrate the use ‌of cutting-edge quantitative methods, explanatory theory and techniques of political research with the study of substantive issues. You’ll also gain an understanding of the key concepts and theories used within the discipline The modules provide a foundation in political science and international relations. You’ll learn about key moments in the historical development of the international political system and learn about some of the most pressing issues in world politics.

Compulsory modules

POL1041Data Analysis in Social Science 15
POL1008Introduction to Social Data 15

Optional modules

CodeOptional modulesCredits
POL1019Power and Democracy 15
POL1001BState of Britain15
POL1018Facing the Challenges of World Politics in the Twenty-First Century 15
POL1017Globalization of World Politics 15
POL1026Early Modern Political Thought15
POL1020Politics in Europe 15

Year 2

Compulsory modules

POL2077Quantitative Data Analysis in Social Science II15

Optional modules

15 of the 105 credits you will select must be taken from the Q-Step modules indicated below.

CodeQ-Step ModulesCredits
POL2071Experimental Research in the Social Sciences15
POL2046The Economics of Politics 15
SOC2091Immigration in Western Societies15
SOC2092Introduction to Terrorism Studies15
POL2081Thinking about Race: Perspectives from the Biological and Social Sciences 15
SSI2002Data Analysis in the Workplace.
Those interested in applying for a work placement must take this module.

CodeOther optional modulesCredits
POL2071Experimental Research in the Social Sciences15
POL2052Foreign Policy: Leadership, Power and Responsibility 15
POL2047American Politics15
POL2075 Integration and Disintegration in the European Union15
POL2038International Relations, War and Peace in the Middle East 15
POL2076 Rising Powers, Peace and Conflict15
POL2050Political Philosophy 15
POL2059Political Thought of Modernity15
POL2060Public Policy and Administration 15
POL2072Race Ethnicity and Politics15
POL2057Security Studies 15
POL2046The Economics of Politics 15
POL2027The Politics of the World Economy15
POL2077Data Analysis in Social Science II15
POL2094Data Analysis in Social Science III15
POL2082Changing Character of Warfare15
POL2084European Union Foreign Policy15
POL2091Immigration in Western Societies15
POL2081Thinking about Race: Perspectives from the Biological and Social Sciences15
POL2078Governing the Public Sector: Bureaucratic Power and Politics15
POL2079Contemporary Public Debate in an Age of 'Anti-Politics'15
POL2062Comparative Politics: Approaches and Concepts 15
POL2026Political Analysis: Behaviour, Institutions, Ideas15

Year 3

You will undertake a compulsory research project. This will entail guided research – as an individual or in a group – drawing on your training in research design and methods as well as your increased understanding of the important debates within politics. You’ll also be able to tailor your degree to your own interests by choosing from a long list of optional modules.

POL3040Dissertation 30

Optional modules

30 of the 90 credits you will select must be taken from the Q-Step modules indicated below.

CodeQ-Step ModulesCredits
SOC3094 Statistical Methods for Social Data 15
SOC3091 Immigration in Western Societies 15
SOC2092 Introduction to Terrorism Studies 15
POL3180Latin American Parties, Politics and Elections30
POL3120War and Public Opinion30
POL3136Political Psychology30
POL3077Global Environmental Politics and Policy30
POL3079Money and Policymaking in the United States 30

CodeOther optional modulesCredits
POL3069Globalisation and the Politics of Resistance 30
POL3070Electoral Politics 30
POL3074The Politics of Climate Change30
POL3123Strategy in the Twenty-First Century: From Idea to Practice30
POL3124Anarchism and World Ordering30
POL3125The History and Political Development of Iraq15
POL3126Ethno-Politics: Theoretical Considerations and Case Studies15
POL3127EU Democracy Promotion in the Middle East and North Africa30
POL3128Armed Islamist Movements: Jihadism and Beyond15
POL3129Politics and Reform in the Gulf15
POL3148Human Rights and the Political 30
POL3153Justice, Democracy and Civil Society.30
POL3156Central Asian Politics 30
POL3166Comparing Western Democracies: Parties, Elites, Institutions30
POL3168War and its Aftermath: Interventions and Contemporary Conflict30
POL3170Marxism and Post-Structuralism 30
POL3174International Security and US Foreign Policy 30
POL3175Nationalisms in the Middle East15
POL3177The Refugee Crisis in the Modern World30
POL3179City Politics: Power, Policy and Conflict30
POL3184Politics of Semi-democratic and Authoritarian Countries30
POL3186BGender, Militarization and Resistance 30
POL3187Sub-National and Local Governance: A Practice Approach30

Entry requirements 2018

Typical offer

AAA-AAB; IB: 36-34

Additional selection criteria

We are looking for well-qualified students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the subject.

We receive a large number of applications from well-qualified applicants and may not be able to make offers to all those applicants who have achieved or are predicted to achieve grades in line with the typical offer shown above.

In addition to the specific requirements listed above, we look for excellent A level* results/predictions and we may also take into account results up to and including GCSEs* and AS Levels* as part of our holistic assessment of an application.

*Equivalent qualifications will be considered. For more information about our equivalencies for specific qualifications please contact our Admissions Office.

Programmes with Study Abroad

Entry for programmes ‘with Study Abroad’ is offered on the basis that you will spend your time abroad at an institution where the teaching and examining is delivered in English. However, we also have partners that teach in French, Spanish and German. Should you wish to study at one of these institutions you will need to take modules through the Foreign Language Centre up to ‘Advanced’ standard in the appropriate language. In order to reach this standard before the year abroad, students usually need to have entered the University with the equivalent of a good GCSE or AS level (or higher) in that language.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programmes.

Further information

Please read the important information about our Typical offer.

For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.

Learning and teaching

Your teaching will include lectures, tutorials and seminars, with a growing emphasis at each successive level on student-led learning.

We place considerable emphasis on teaching in small groups (15-20 students), which gives you ample opportunity to participate, as well as providing close contact between you and members of staff. In the final year much of your learning occurs in seminar groups led by a member of faculty on a specialised area of their research.

You’ll have a personal tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies.

Research-inspired teaching

Teaching that is inspired by research ensures lectures are up-to-date and relevant and you will benefit from access to the latest thinking, equipment and resources. All staff teach final year options which are linked to their own interests which include the study of Middle East politics, comparative politics, public policy and administration, climate change and sustainability, ethno-politics, terrorism and security studies, electoral and political behaviour, and political theory.


You will be assessed through a variety of tasks, including essays, individual and small group presentations, projects and exams. You may also complete a dissertation and/or project work, including a work placement project. You must pass your first year modules in order to proceed but your performance at this level does not count towards your final degree classification.

Teaching is at the heart of university life and is something that I throw myself into with relish. I teach public policy and administration focused modules across all undergraduate years and was delighted to be shortlisted for the Best Lecturer Award in Exeter’s the Students’ Guild Teaching Awards 2010. My teaching is led both by my academic research and by my own experience of working in government. Real world policy dilemmas are used to explore how decision-makers experience and engage in politics bringing otherwise abstract theories to life. For example, the assessment in my second year course on policy analysis casts students in the role of policy advisers. By writing about a policy problem of their choice, and researching the various possible decisions that decision-makers in government could make, students change from being analysts who are one-step removed from the political process to policymakers who must win attention for their issue and design a policy response that is politically, economically and ethically credible. I use my experience from working in the civil service, and my own research on policy advice, to teach the analytical methods and research skills essential for ‘speaking truth to power’ (and knowing how to respond when power speaks back!).

Dr Claire Dunlop, Senior Lecturer in Politics.


Your brilliant career

Find out how we can help you build your brilliant career.

Politics and international relations graduates from the University of Exeter are highly successful in obtaining graduate employment or moving on to further study. Whilst studying for your degree, you will develop a number of skills that are useful in professional and managerial careers. The ability to research and analyse information from a variety of sources, together with the written and verbal skills needed to present and discuss your opinions and conclusions, are attributes that many employers look for in graduates. Your understanding of complex political and cultural issues, often in continually changing environments, can also be relevant to both business and public sector appointments.

Many students from the department take part in the Exeter Award and the Exeter Leaders Award. These schemes encourage you to participate in employability related workshops, skills events, volunteering and employment which will contribute to your career decision-making skills and success in the employment market.

We are building a network of placement providers through our Exeter Politics Internship Programme, which provides you with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience during the summer vacation of the second year (mostly based in Westminster working with an MP, although they can also be in an MP’s constituency office).

Exeter has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and our students and graduates compete very successfully in the employment market. Many employers target the University when recruiting new graduates.

Graduate destinations

Below are a few examples* of initial jobs undertaken by Politics and International Relations graduates. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Job title Organisation
Management Consultant
Parliamentary Caseworker and Researcher
Civil Servant
Film Production Coordinator
Officer Cadet
Trainee Insurance Broker
Investment Assistant
Estate Agent
Communications Officer
National Health Service
Barclays Bank PLC
Ogilvy and Mather
Treehouse PR Ltd
Easton Aerospace
Orchards of London
Arcadia Group

Further study

Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation. Below are a few examples* of further study undertaken by recent graduates of undergraduate programmes. Please note that, due to data protection, the subjects of study and institutions are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Subject area Institution
MA Crisis Management
MSc Public Policy
MA EU Politics
MA Globalisation and Communications
MA International Relations in the Middle East
MA Public Policy and Administration
University of Leicester
University of Exeter
King's College, London
University of Bristol

Find out more

Further information about the opportunities the University of Exeter offers to maximise our graduates’ employment prospects can be found on the CareerZone website.

* This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey

Contact us

Streatham Campus, Exeter

Phone: +44 (0)1392 723192

Penryn Campus, Cornwall

Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801

Website: Visit the Politics and International Relations website

How to apply Get a prospectus Visit subject website 2017 degrees

View our Politics and International Relations brochure

Download PDF

Q-Step programme

The BSc is offered under the Q-Step programme with the purpose of developing data/statistical analysis and applied research skills amongst social sciences students.