BA (Hons)


Power, conflict and political concepts

L200UCAS code 3yrsfull time 1yrplacement option

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

Politics is the study of power: Who has it? How did they get it? How, and for whose benefit, is it used? You will explore critical issues of power such as conflict, the rise of liberal democracy around the world and the relationships between and within states, alongside the development and relevance of political ideas and movements.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Engage with and evaluate current critical debates
  • Shape the course to your interests with a range of options
  • Undertake work or research placements, volunteer roles and internships alongside your study

What opportunities might it lead to?

Through our programme of tutorial units and personal development planning, you will be given the opportunity to practise and develop various skills such as teamworking, time and project management, analysis and presentational skills. These skills open up a range of careers for graduates in politics.

As a result, many of our graduates go into areas related to their degree such as teaching or lecturing, research, voluntary organisations and NGOs, as well as local, national and international government and politics. Many also enter other areas such as advertising and marketing, PR, the media, banking and financial services, and personnel management.

Aoife Crowley, BA (Hons) Politics student

I enjoy studying units which look at both the historical and philosophical theory behind politics and then, applying these theories to the political world today.

Aoife Crowley, BA (Hons) Politics student

Apply for September 2016

There's still time to join us through UCAS or UCAS Extra.

Key Facts

UCAS Course Code:
3 years full time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
240-300 points from 3 A levels or equivalent. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5. Other qualifications

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: full time: £9,000 p/a*

International students
2016/17 entry: full time: £12,000 p/a**

*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.
**Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

+44 (0)23 9284 8299
School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
Programme specification


History, Politics and Social Studies

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • The diverse spread of subjects offered and ability to complete your own research
  • The critical thinking, analytical and debating skills you’ll develop
  • The passionate lecturers with a wide range of specialist research expertise

Browse all courses in History, Politics and Social Studies

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

Year one

All year one units are compulsory.

  • Introduction to Political Thought
  • Introduction to International Relations: States, Conflict and Cooperation
  • Understanding Governance and Politics
  • Introduction to Political Economy
  • Current Political Issues
  • Global Issues

Year two

Alongside year two's core study, you are able to select options that shape your degree to the issues or countries that most interest you.

  • Comparative Politics
  • Policy and Politics

Options from a range, including:

  • Comparative Politics
  • Policy and Politics
  • Comparing Extremism in European Liberal Democracies
  • Conflict and Disaster
  • Culture and Ideas in Twentieth Century Europe
  • International Politics
  • International Politics of the Middle East
  • Democratisation in Latin America
  • US Foreign Policy: Ideals and Self Interests
  • Global Environmental Issues and Concerns
  • American Civil War
  • Nation, Language and Identity
  • Colonialism and End Of Empire in Black Africa
  • Governing the EU
  • German Unity and its Consequences
  • Governing the European Union
  • US Government and Politics
  • Colonialism and End of Empire: France and Algeria
  • International Community Development
  • Chinese Politics and Society
  • Fighting Over Europe
  • The French Exception
  • Learning From Experience (Faculty Wide Option)
  • Languages (University Wide Option)

Year three*

In year three, you will write your dissertation, or undertake a work-based project, alongside further core and optional study.

  • Dissertation
  • Modern Political Ideologies
  • Democracy and Democratisation

Options including:

  • Civil Rights in the USA and its Legacy
  • Global Political Economy
  • Nazi Germany
  • Protecting the Environment
  • Development and Foreign Aid
  • Coming to Terms with the National Socialist Past: 1945–today
  • France in the World: Global Actor or Global Maverick?
  • Strategic and Security Studies
  • Transitional Justice & Human Rights in L America
  • Transnational EU
  • Political Economy of the EU
  • Learning from Experience (Faculty Wide Option)

*Please note that whilst a wide range of options will be offered in every year, there will inevitably be some variation in the availability of individual units at any given time.

Teaching and Assessment

Our teaching approach involves a range of small and large group learning environments with lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. You will be encouraged to participate fully in group discussions in order to develop your communication skills.

How are you assessed?

We use a range of assessment methods including article reviews, essays, projects, briefing papers, individual and group presentations and a 10,000-word dissertation. Examinations include open, pre-seen papers and closed, traditional examinations. This diversity of assessment will allow you to develop a range of writing styles.

Our strong tradition of providing a high standard of guidance and support through your personal tutor, whilst encouraging you to develop as an independent learner through the later stages of your degree, will help you develop the techniques necessary for the assessed work.

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Monitor Facilities & Features

The Study Centre

A suite of rooms with a comfy seating area, desks where you can work, printers, Mac workstations and access to the wireless network so you can log in using your own laptop. There are also several study rooms where you can work on group projects, alongside access to the University 3rd Space.

Research-Active Staff

You will be taught by specialist staff who are actively undertaking research in this field, ensuring your learning keeps you abreast of the latest developments. Staff are members of the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR), the UK's largest research centre of its kind.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
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 to develop.

Other costs to consider

There may be travel costs for placements undertaken during your course. This will be in the region of £500.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Where next?
Where next?

You can expect to pursue careers in local, national or international government, as well as teaching or lecturing, research, voluntary organisations and NGOs. Many also enter areas such as advertising and marketing, PR, media, banking and financial services.

Our graduates have gone on to jobs as:

  • politician’s assistant
  • public affairs consultant
  • social researcher
  • information officer
  • conference producer
  • local government administrator

Work experience

Employment boosting opportunities
Employment boosting opportunities

This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option, which lets you earn credits toward your degree for work/research placements, volunteer roles or internships undertaken alongside your studies.  The option gives you the opportunity to enhance your employability skills, to reflect on the ways in which you've done so, and to learn to express this to potential employers.

The School of Social Historical and Literary Studies can offer you a number of work experience opportunities in a range of local organizations during your degree course. Currently these include projects at the National Museum of the Royal Navy and the New Theatre Royal, with local government departments and political groups, and a number of our students have worked on small research projects for the local community.

Career planning

Career planning
Career planning
6.04 minutes

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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