Mode of StudyFull-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
Duration3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start dateSeptember 2023
Understand the political issues shaping – and dividing – societies around the world, and discover the integral role politics plays in every aspect of people’s lives globally.
On this BA (Hons) Politics degree, you’ll tackle the major issues facing people and politicians today, including Brexit, the NHS, and life in a ‘post-truth’ world.
You’ll learn how the political world works and look at how our Parliament functions, and how the law and our institutions interact. You’ll study the historic moments that have shaped our democracy – and learn the skills required to play your part in changing minds, shaping policy and fighting inequality.
- Learn from staff at our Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR), whose research directly impacts government policy
- Tailor your degree by choosing optional modules that match your interests and career ambitions, from gender in politics, to radicalisation and the rise of the far-right
- Attend events and talks led by people working in local, national and international government (including current MPs and staff from the US Department of Defence), and political journalism
- Go on field trips to locations such as the Houses of Parliament
- Take part in a simulated ‘academic conference’, where you’ll present a paper that will be discussed with your peers
- Have the opportunity to organise your own political campaign in your 2nd year, on a political issue you care about
- Have the chance to study abroad at one of our partner institutions – including Science Po Strasbourg (France), Maastricht University (Netherlands), Université libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) and Carleton University (Canada)
of graduates in work or further study 15 months after this course
(HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2018/19)
- A levels – ABB–BBC
- UCAS points – 112-128 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
- T levels – Merit
- BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM–DMM
- International Baccalaureate – 25
You may need to have studied specific subjects – See full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
See alternative English language qualifications
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.
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.
Careers and opportunities
What sectors can you work in with a politics degree?
Many of our politics graduates go into people-focused roles, or in roles that allow them to do research, shape social policies or bring about social change.
Areas you could go into include:
- local and central government
- consultancy and think tanks
- research and policy
- teaching and lecturing (with additional training or further study)
- community development
- charity work
- careers advice
- marketing and media
Placement year (optional)
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.
What jobs can you do with a politics degree?
Previous graduates have gone onto work in jobs such as:
- political researcher, Houses of Parliament
- assistant to Member of Parliament
- civil servant, Department for the Cabinet Office
- senior policy advisor, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
- communications officer, House of Commons
- local government administrator, Government of Jersey
- public affairs consultant
- social researcher
- information officer
- conference producer
Ongoing career support - up to 5 years after you graduate
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.
International Relations and Politics research at the University of Portsmouth
Ed Stoddard, Reader in International Security, explains how cutting-edge research like his (into the changing character of warfare) informs our courses and talks about some of the career opportunities this course can lead to.
Ed Stoddard: So the research I do here at the University is focused on the changing character of warfare.
Over the last few years I've been particularly focusing on questions to do with terrorism and violent extremism in the West African region, especially around the Lake Chad area.
And we use that research and distribute it at conferences and events with policymakers, both here in the UK, but also in West Africa as well. Armed conflicts are so destructive and, you know, I think it's incumbent on us as researchers who work in this area to try and think of ways they can be avoided, of course, in the first instance.
But if, when those armed conflicts do happen, try and think of measures that we can put in place to reduce their impact.
So the research connects with students here in a number of different ways. It supports the work they do in terms of their dissertations, but also directly into the modules that they study.
You know, our research, once we've done it and we've written the papers and we've publish the outputs, that gets then translated into the lectures that we deliver. So they will be directly learning and benefiting from that research that we've done out in the field in their studies and contributing to their degree.
There's a really broad range of different career opportunities that are available to students. The Foreign Office, the Civil Service and more broadly, the Ministry of Defence.
But also we have students who go to international organisations, NGOs, charities that work internationally in conflict zones, and we also have quite a lot of students who go into various research roles and risk analysis roles.
Portsmouth is a really exciting and vibrant city and the university is literally at the heart of the city. I think also the university has a really strong focus on student support and a really strong focus on teaching quality.
And I know that my colleagues spend very considerable amount of that time working to make sure that the experience for Portsmouth students is a really brilliant one. And I think those are some of the key reasons why students who are here really enjoy their degrees.
What you'll study
Core modules in this year include:
- Analysing Politics: Britain and Beyond – 20 credits
- Global Development – 20 credits
- Key Themes in International Relations – 20 credits
- Political Thought – 20 credits
- Professional Practice: Skills for Academic and Professional Success – 40 credits
There are no optional modules in this year.
Core modules in this year include:
- Bending the Truth a Little? Researching Politics and International Relations – 20 credits
- Comparative European Politics – 20 credits
Optional modules in this year include:
- Autocracy and Democracy - 20 credits
- British Political Leadership - 20 credits
- Campaigning in Action – 20 credits
- Comparative European Politics - 20 credits
- Economics and Politics of Development – 20 credits
- Empire and Its Afterlives in Britain, Europe, and Africa – 20 credits
- Engaged Citizenship in Humanities and Social Sciences - 20 credits
- Global Security - 20 credits
- Ideology and Politics – 20 credits
- Intercultural Perspectives on Communication – 20 credits
- Introduction to Teaching – 20 credits
- Marketing and Communication - 20 credits
- Modern Foreign Language (Institution-wide Language Programme) – 20 credits
- Modernity and Globalisation - 20 credits
- Nationalism and Migration: Chaos, Crisis and the Everyday - 20 credits
- News, Discourse and Media - 20 credits
- Principles of Economic Crime Investigation - 20 credits
- Professional Experience – 20 credits
- Rethinking Nazi Germany: Politics, History, Society – 20 credits
- Space, Place and Being - 20 credits
- Transitional Justice and Human Rights - 20 credits
- Wildlife Crime: Threats and Response - 20 credits
- US Politics – 20 credits
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 modules in this year include:
- Dissertation / Major Project - 40 credits
- Post Brexit Politics - 20 credits
Optional modules in this year include:
- Digital Media and Democracy – 20 credits
- Global Capitalism: Past, Present and Future – 20 credits
- Independent Project (Politics) - 20 credits
- Looking for Utopia, Finding Dystopia? Ideas and Ideologies in the New Millennium – 20 credits
- NGOs and Social Movements – 20 credits
- Politics and Culture of the Hispanic World in 20th Century Literature And Film – 20 credits
- Professional Development: Recruiters and Candidates – 20 credits
- Professional Experience – 20 credits
- Religion and Politics in Global Perspective - 20 credits
- The European Union: A Global Power in the Making? - 20 credits
Changes to course content
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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
What is the Academic Enrichment Programme?
As part of this course, you'll have the chance to take part in our Academic Enrichment Programme (AEP) - an interactive set of workshops, seminars, employability events and other activities, including our Model United Nations. Here's what the AEP is all about.
Melita Lazell: The Academic Enrichment Programme is a programme of events that sits alongside the students' normal academic classes, including the model 'United Nations', an annual student conference, alumni coming in and telling students about their experience in the workplace. Quite often these seminars and also the events are run by the students themselves.
Alex: The events of what's happening in the future career and they will definitely give me that positive boost that I will be looking for and the different skills that they're able to bring and offer me.
Melita Lazell: The Academic Enrichment Programme events are really connected to the degree courses that the students are doing.
Aleksandia: I think that this is a brilliant opportunity to test yourself in discussion, arguments and the statements you're making and to critical thinking.
Simao: Today, I attended the jobs in the EU after Brexit and I found it really interesting.
Alex: I learnt what sort of links I could use and what sorts of contacts I could go to in order to find those particular jobs and places and what skills are employers looking for generally on a day to day basis, so I'm really happy with the experience that I've had so far.
Aleksandia: The University is all about planning. If you've got the schedule and if you give yourself some time for your activities that's going to enrich you beyond the University, beyond the assessments you're doing, beyond the lectures you're going to and seminars you're attending, this is what helps you to develop yourself, your professional skills and knowledge as well.
Husnain: Many students should definitely consider the Academic Enrichment Programme because not only is it a huge investment in their potential career and their time, but it's a brilliant way for them to really consolidate their learning in a way where they're leading the investigation.
Melita Lazell: They can actually be involved in organising the events in inviting speakers, they could sit on a panel themselves to debate a particular topic, and we get really great feedback from students about the Academic Enrichment Programme.
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.
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.
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.
We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies. As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.
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 10 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.
Supporting your learning
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 support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:
Types of support
Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.
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 meeting.
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
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.
Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.
You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.
If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.
They'll help you to
- discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
- liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
- access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
- liaise with external services
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.
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.
Course costs and funding
Tuition fees (2023 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 – £17,200 per year (subject to annual increase)
Funding your studies
Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.
Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.
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 show your accommodation options and highlight 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.
You’ll need to cover additional costs, such as travel costs, if you take an optional placement or placement abroad.
These costs will vary depending on the location and duration of the placement, and can range from £50–£1000.
During your placement year or study abroad year, you’ll be eligible for a discounted rate on your tuition fees. Currently, this discount amounts to 90% of the year’s fees.
Tuition fees for that year are:
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £925 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £925 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £1,800 a year (subject to annual increase)
The costs associated with your specific destination will be discussed during your second year, as well as possible sources of additional funding.
How to apply
To start this course in 2023, 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
See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. 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.