Politics and International Relations (Cornwall)

Politics and International Relations programmes in Cornwall are part of a world-class research institution. We have a very low student-staff ratio, but very high student satisfaction.

Politics in Cornwall is characterised by its focus on some of the biggest political challenges facing the world today such as inequality, climate change, the global financial crisis, conflict, and the depletion of natural resources, public disillusionment with politics, and the changing balance in world power.

We believe that politics shouldn’t just be an intellectual exercise; it’s the means by which people change the world. So, although we’ll teach you about political systems and theories, we’ll apply these to world events and the major issues setting the modern political agenda.

Our Penryn Campus, and the Politics department in particular, offers a welcoming atmosphere where it’s easy to make new friends and where staff and students know each other well. The stunning campus buildings offer the very best in learning and teaching facilities, with lecture theatres and seminar rooms equipped with the latest technologies. The campus is shared with the University of Falmouth which creates a vibrant mixture of students from science, engineering, humanities and arts backgrounds, both on campus and in the local area.

As our teaching is inspired by our research, you’ll benefit from direct access to the latest thinking. Teaching comprises interactive lectures, small group seminars, visiting practitioners, field trips, simulations, and engagement with local issues and communities. You’ll also acquire research skills valued by employers and will have the opportunity to apply them in a consultancy role for an external organisation. As well as traditional academic essays, we use career-relevant assessments including portfolios, reports, video, online communications and presentations.

We’ll take you out of the classroom to get a bigger perspective. Whether you’re observing a session of the United Nations in New York, talking to local veterans about the legacies of war, or providing consultancy for a political organisation in Cornwall, you’ll have opportunities to experience how politics operates in practice.

We believe our field work and work experience opportunities, combined with what we teach and how we teach it, develop insight and provide you with relevant skills and experience sought by employers. Field work varies from one-day trips in Cornwall to a University-subsidised field trip. You can also choose to undertake a placement with an employer, or you may opt for an internship at Westminster or an MP’s constituency office.

Our research strongly influences the course content of our undergraduate programmes, and students will benefit by being taught by staff who are engaged in world-leading research. We offer a challenging but friendly and supportive environment in which to pursue your own research interests.

Our research is funded by leading research councils and is used by governments and networks around the world. We are currently involved in four major international research projects funded by UK research councils and the European Commission. Members of staff have been engaged in international collaborative research on electoral democracy, citizenship and identity, radicalisation, cities in conflict, ethical statecraft, global governance and regulatory policy.

Our main research strengths lie in public policy and administration, international relations, Middle East politics, political theory and European and comparative politics. All our full-time members of staff are research active with their work published in highly ranked international journals and by major academic and university presses such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Cornell and Paris.

Our core specialisms include:

    Politics of identity
    Security studies
    Feminist International Relations / gender and identity
    Social movements / protest
    Political participation and elections
    Environmental politics
    Regional economic development
    The European Union
    Political psychology
    Pro-environmental behaviour change
    The public policy process
    Foreign policy

Dr Karen Scott

Karen is our Director of Admissions. She is a social scientist interested in the politics of knowledge, evidence and public policy. Her main focus at the moment is on the current international political and policy interest in measuring wellbeing and how this relates to sustainable development issues. She is also researching how to improve evidence for policy evaluation in environmental policy areas, working with government departments and agencies such as Defra; the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy; the Food Standards Agency and the Environment Agency.
Learn more about Karen by visiting her staff profile 

Professor Dan Stevens

Dan’s main interests are in mass political behaviour in the United States and Britain. He looks at the major influences on political attitudes and behaviour, such as the economy, political advertising, and the news media. He has recently published a piece of research on security politics: Everyday Security Threats: perceptions, experiences, and consequences.
Learn more about Dan by visiting his staff profile

Professor Clare Saunders

Clare’s main research interests are social movements / protest and environmental politics. Her research on social movements has been particularly focused on environmental and global justice movements, although she has recently been engaged in a pan-European study of protest on a range of issues. Along with fellow Politics Penryn academic, Dr David Benson, Clare is the co-author of the leading Environmental Politics text book used at universities throughout the world: Politics and the Environment: from theory to practice.
Learn more about Clare by visiting her staff profile

Dr Sabiha Allouche

Sabiha works in the fields of Gender and Sexuality Studies and Middle East politics. She is an interdisciplinary researcher whose work bridges the gap between political analysis and anthropological writing. Feminist theory, affect studies and queer theory are some of her favourite areas of study. She is dedicated to producing decolonized knowledge – a belief that she holds dearly and thrives to implement in her teaching.
Learn more about Sabiha by visiting her staff profile

Dr David Benson

David is a Senior Lecturer in the department. He is an interdisciplinary social scientist with a background in both political and environmental sciences. His main areas of research are environmental politics, policy and governance in different national contexts. Along with fellow Politics Penryn academic, Professor Clare Saunders, David is the co-author of the leading Environmental Politics text book used at universities throughout the world: Politics and the Environment: from theory to practice.
Learn more about David by visiting his staff profile

Dr Sarah Bulmer

Sarah works in the field of Critical Military Studies and International Relations. Her research is deeply interdisciplinary, engaging with political geography, queer theory, sociology and history. She teaches modules on humanitarian intervention and the politics of war, and is currently collaborating with Godfrey Marinigira at University of Western Cape on ex-combatants and veterans issues in UK and Africa.
Learn more about Sarah by visiting her staff profile

Dr James Muldoon

James' research is on political parties, social movements, political campaigns and democratic theory. He offers courses on political theory and a variety of skills for social change such as political communication, public narrative, situation analysis and project planning. 
Learn more about James by visiting his staff profile

Dr Catherine Owen

Catherine is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, 2017 - 2020. The project explores citizen participation in processes of policy making and delivery in Russia and China. In particular, it conducts an interpretive comparison of participatory budgeting initiatives and the implementation of recycling policies in St Petersburg and Shanghai. This approach seeks to remain faithful to the situated nature of local political meanings, while highlighting common trends and processes. 
Learn more about Catherine by visiting her staff profile

Dr Lamprini Rori

Lamprini’s main interests are comparative politics, political behaviour and political communication. Her research on comparative politics has been particularly focused on the party change of socialist parties throughout Europe under the dynamics produced by the rise of public opinion and the professionalisation of political communication frommid-1970s until mid-2010s. She has researched the rise of radicalism in crisis-ridden national contexts, as well as the online political networks of the far right and the far left. She is currently working on psycho-social perspectives related to the rise of right-wing extremism and the electoral rise of the far right in Europe. She has recently co-authored a piece on the role of local party organisation in the electoral breakthrough of right-wing extremism: From dusk to dawn: Local party organisation and party success of right-wing extremism
Learn more about Lamprini by visiting her staff profile

Dr Andrew Schaap

Andrew's main area of research is contemporary political theory, with specific interests in the work of Hannah Arendt, Jacques Rancière and theories of radical democracy. His research draws on debates in democratic theory about agonism to examine issues surrounding reconciliation, human rights and popular sovereignty. He is an editor of the Journal of Contemporary Political Theory. With Alex Thomson and Benjamin Arditi, he also co-edits the Taking on the Political monograph series for Edinburgh University Press.
Learn more about Andrew by visiting his staff profile

Dr Delacey Tedesco

Delacey's work centres on contemporary claims about transitions in politics, with a particular interest in tracing the enactments of global politics in seemingly minor contexts: local politics, built environments, aesthetic practices, and personal interactions. She works with a range of transdisciplinary methods, crossing politics, geography, and aesthetics, to understand the forces that stabilize and destabilize modern configurations of politics and international relations. Her teaching is grounded in the belief that to truly excel, students need to be challenged, engaged, and supported, and so her courses combine research-led instruction, community-connected learning, and professional skills development.
Learn more about Delacey by visiting her staff profile

Dr Owen Thomas

Owen's primary research interests lie in International Relations, British Foreign Policy and Security Studies. He recently completed an ESRC funded research project examining the relationship between openness, secrecy and security in the 2003 Iraq War and subsequent public enquiries, including the recent ‘Chilcot’ Iraq enquiry. The paper from this project can be found here.
Learn more about Owen by visiting his staff profile

Dr Joanie Willett

Joanie’s teaching, research, and publishing specialism is in identity politics; she is particularly interested in the complex inter-relationship between identity, the economy, and the environment. A recent report by Joanie on council engagement led to the Association for Local Democracy (ALDA based in Brussels) inviting her to Brussels to talk about using digital technologies to improve young people’s participation in politics. She presented her work at a meeting in the Committee of the Regions.
Learn more about Joanie by visiting her staff profile 

The student-run Politics Society offers the chance to meet up with other politics students through its wide variety of activities. The Society has organised lectures and visits to Parliament and to local government institutions as well as other academic activities and has a full programme of social events.

Making an Application

Politics and International Relations is committed to widening participation in political education and ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background are encouraged to apply to study with us.

What does this mean?

Each case is considered on an individual basis and the information used is primarily drawn from your UCAS application form, with the information on participation in widening participation/outreach activities provided by the University’s Outreach team.

The following contextual information will be taken into consideration and a student will be flagged if:

  1. Your home postcode is in a Low Participation Neighbourhood - if you currently live in a postcode assigned to the lowest POLAR4 quintile according to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and identified by UCAS in the data it transmits to us. HEFCE provides more information about its classification of neighbourhoods including an easy-to-use interactive map and a postcode look-up tool
  2. You have attended a lower-performing school/college - if you attended a school/college whose performance places it into the lowest two quintiles for average QCA points per A level student (or equivalent) (in England, Wales or Northern Ireland) as identified by the Department for Education dataset and provided to the University via UCAS
  3. You have been in care or ‘looked after’ for 3 months or more
  4. You have Participated in a recognised outreach or widening participation programme, such as Exeter Scholars

As part of our commitment to widening participation in higher education in Cornwall we encourage students resident in Cornwall, who fall into one or more of these categories to apply.

Outreach and Widening Participation Events

We have an ongoing programme of events and opportunities to learn more about studying Politics and International Relations. These include:

A day in the life of a Politics student: for Year 12 students in the Autumn and Spring Terms - this is a day run by student ambassadors. Visiting Year 12 students will explore campus, experience lectures, and get a taste of what university life is like

Humanities, Business, & Social Sciences Conference - Friday 27th March. It is now more important than ever for students to have an inquiring mind to help navigate the modern world. This event is designed to aid your Year 10 and Year 12 students in developing this skill. The conference will offer some interactive sessions alongside taster lectures in History, Law, Politics, and Business. Your students will also be able to explore our coastal campus and meet current students to gain a flavour of university life. 

Exeter Scholars Programme- Business, Law, and Politics - November 2019 to July 2020. Growing inequality, environmental crisis, racism and sexism, intolerance, and conflict: we face a number of challenges in our modern, globally-interconnected world. These are questions of society, ethics and justice. The academic disciplines of Business, Law, and Politics work together to address these questions. We believe that this multi-disciplinary approach enables us to better understand our position and responsibilities as local and global citizens, the 'wicked problems' that we face, and the opportunities and challenges that follow. In this programme Year 12 students will take part in sessions led by academics from the Business School, Law School, and Politics department, and work towards sustainable solutions for the various social, political, economic, and environmental issues we face.

For further information:

Please contact Hannah Goodfellow, Widening Participation and Student Recruitment Assistant at penrynoutreach@exeter.ac.uk or Tel: 01326 371801

Open Days, campus tours and virtual tours

If you are interested in studying Politics and International Relations at our Penryn Campus, Cornwall, we would encourage you to visit the campus and offer a number of ways in which you can do this.

You can check the accessibility of our buildings on the DisabledGo website.

Open Days

Our Open Days are a great way to find out more about the University and decide whether Exeter is the right choice for you. To find out more about our next events visit our Open Days page. 

Offer Holder Visit Days

If you’ve already applied to Exeter and you are offered a place, you’ll be invited to an Offer Holder Visit Day during the spring term. Offer holders can book a place on one of our Offer Holder Visit Days online using your UCAS id number and date of birth.

Campus tours

Campus tours run regularly during term-time, with a limited number available outside of these dates. To find out more visit our campus tours page.

Virtual tours

You can also view the campus via our virtual tours.

Contact us

For more information about the opportunities to visit the University please contact the Student Recruitment Office.

Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801
WebEnquire online

Meet our students

student profile