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Why are there more food banks than branches of McDonald's in the UK today? Are political leaders and parties out of touch with the views of the citizens they govern? Are our existing political institutions capable of dealing with global challenges like climate change, world poverty, and threats to global health, or social issues like racial injustice, gender-based violence, and economic inequality?
If you're interested in asking – and answering – questions like these, our Politics and International Relations course is for you. Study a broad and contemporary curriculum designed to help you think critically about the local, national and global political issues that matter to you. Debate and discuss different perspectives, guided by an experienced and dedicated course team with wide-ranging expertise in politics and policy, and develop a skillset for the career of your choice.
We understand that when it comes to deciding where you’d like to study, there are a lot of things to consider. Come along to our Open Day and discover why BNU could be the place for you. You can find out more about your course, meet the course team, and get all your questions answered.
For everything you need to know about applying, check out our Application Guide. You can find useful information for each stage of your application journey – from before you even apply to what to do if you receive an offer, and everything in between.
Why study this subject?
Politics influences all aspects of our lives – from our educational and economic opportunities, to our personal freedoms and protections against discrimination, and even the extent to which the countries we live in face threats of armed conflict, poverty or climate meltdown. It is about which views are listened to and what interests are served by decisions about how our societies and our world should be governed – and who has the power to make these decisions.
Studying politics and international relations will give you a far-reaching understanding of local, national and global issues affecting us today – and the interests, ideas and forms of power that lie behind these. It will teach you how to conduct reliable political research and analysis, debate ethical questions about what ought to happen, and propose policies and practical solutions to guide political action – equipping you with a skillset that is highly valued in many different forms of professional practice in various walks of life.
Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?
Is society too unequal? Why do people still face discrimination because of who they are? Will global trade help developing countries tackle poverty or subject them to new forms of colonisation? Is 'cancel culture' threatening freedom of speech? Should the law allow people to change their gender? Is there a new ‘Cold War’, and what will this mean for international security? Should the rich pay more tax? Has Brexit left Britain isolated or helped its citizens take back control? What should governments be doing to stop climate change?
Our Politics and International relations course is designed to fire-up your political imagination, helping you to think critically about questions like these, understand how the challenges have come about, and propose strategies for political action. You'll be guided by an experienced and dedicated course team with wide-ranging expertise in politics and policy, and you'll gain practical knowledge from guest speakers with professional experience.
Studying this programme will develop your ability to break down complex issues, present informed arguments and solutions to problems, and communicate your ideas in a clear and convincing way. Equipped with practical skills and advanced knowledge of real-world issues, you'll be well set to pursue professional career pathways in politics, policy research, campaigning, public affairs, and much more - and ready to make your voice heard.
What facilities can I use?
Our library facility is often open 24/7 and has a variety of books and journals, scientific studies and documents which can help you learn.
In addition, the virtual learning environment is an online resource for learning outside campus. Much of your course material can be accessed here, so you can study wherever you are, whenever you want.
BNU has heavily invested in our facilities to provide you with a state-of-the-art learning experience, and we are focused on providing you with an up to date place to study, that fits around your schedule. You can meet for groupwork in an inclusive environment, with the means to gain practical first-hand experience of the important skills you need.
What will I study?
Our course has a broad and contemporary curriculum, examining the ideas, interests and forms of power that influence politics at local, national and global levels, and building on your existing knowledge of political institutions and leadership. You’ll learn about current trends and challenges in British politics, world politics, and the latest research on political systems in different countries. Explore issues relating to economic prosperity and inequality, new media and political communication, political ideologies, divisions and identities, global governance, and the challenges of armed conflict. Get to grips with environmental sustainability, international development and global health, and the effects of rapid advances in technology and forms of surveillance.
You’ll also analyse and assess new forms of politics that take place online or on the streets and investigate social and policy issues relating to identities and discrimination, employment, welfare, health and wellbeing, crime, and more, to gain a holistic understanding of the needs, wants and demands which inform political action – and to enrich political perspectives with wider insights from the social sciences and humanities.
Furthermore, you’ll discover the methods used to conduct reliable political research, and how to present it for maximum impact. Politics and International Relations at BNU will provide you with a significant set of transferable skills, including report writing, policy analysis, podcast making, blogging, presentation, group-work, materials design and research.
The learning outcomes of the programme will ultimately increase your knowledge, social awareness, leadership skills and creativity in the world of politics and international relations and prepares you for a career confronting challenges and crises.
At the end of your politics and international relations degree you will have gained:
- advanced knowledge and critical perspectives on a range of topics in politics and international relations, related to a career in this area.
- knowledge of political institutions and systems at national, regional, and international levels.
- knowledge of themes, issues and crises that characterize the modern world, and the driving forces of political, economic, and sociocultural change.
- solutions-based approaches to political, economic, and socio-cultural problems using research skills and your knowledge of policy.
- insight into how you could implement solutions to complex political and policy issues that matter to you.
- prepare for entry into careers in politics and international relations and related sectors through the development of written, oral, and digital skills.
- ideas from around the world, and critical knowledge about social issues and social movements.
How will I be taught and assessed?
The learning, teaching and assessment for this programme is specifically curated to provide students with employability skills needed to enter careers in politics and international relations.
Most of the learning and teaching activities will involve attendance-based learning through lectures, seminars, supervisions, project workshops. You may also benefit from visits to political institutions. You will also be expected to fulfil independent study through readings, group work and engaging with digital learning resources.
Students should arrive to lessons having undertaken the required readings, prepared to engage in substantial questions regarding theory, policy, history and contemporary politics. You’ll need to be prepared to debate, influence and discuss your ideas, encounter opposing viewpoints and overcome them.
All assessments are designed to equip you with important transferrable skills and so prepare you for the world of work. These include:
- research essays
- policy briefing reports
- action plans
- group presentations
- written essay
- written assignments
- project based
- demonstrations and practical’s
You will have individualised tutorials, allowing you to further clarify substantive topics with your tutor, review assessments and discuss issues related to their progression and achievement as well as gain any support you need.
BNU is a Placements Plus university. So, whatever degree you do, you can be sure there’ll be plenty of industry-relevant opportunities on offer, to help you get into your chosen field.
We’ll also prepare you for work beforehand, with special skills for work training, further boosting your CV, and building skills employers will value. In recognition of the value we place on these skills we have incorporated this experience into your study time.
Placements Plus is all about helping you get some valuable experience under your belt while you’re a student, to increase your choices later, and help you get the graduate-level job you want.
What are the course entry requirements?
A typical offer will require a UCAS tariff score of: 88 - 112
A minimum of two full A-levels (or equivalent) is required. Every application is considered on an individual basis.
For further details of our international English entry requirements, please visit our international pages.
Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements for the three-year undergraduate programme, or those who do not feel fully prepared for a degree course, can apply for a four-year programme including a Foundation Year; find out more.
This provides a guide of the modules that make up your course. You can find more information about how your course is structured on our Academic Advice section.
Year 1 Modules
Making Sense of Society: Understanding the Social World
Making Sense of Society: The Sociological Imagination
Media, Communications and Society
Political Ideologies in Society
Policy and Strategy
Year 2 Modules
Resistance, Rebellion and Revolution
International Political Economy
Political Research Project
Art, Culture and Politics
Politics of Global Development
Employability and Professional Development
Year 3 Modules
Students choose ONE core dissertation pathway
Applied Dissertation (optional)
The European Union, Democracy and its Discontents
Politics, Surveillance and Technology
Uncertain Futures: Politics in the 21st Century
Diplomacy and Statecraft
What are the tuition fees
Home, Academic Year 2022 - 2023
£9,250 per year
Overseas/International, Academic Year 2022 - 2023
£14,250 per year
What are my career prospects?
Throughout your time with us we’ll support you on the route to your chosen career. We’ll help you to develop crucial skills, encouraging you to become enterprising, employable and good leaders. We also help you find employment after graduation. Have a look at our Careers and Employability pages to find out more.
Following successful completion of the degree, you will be well prepared for further studies and research in political and international relations. You will also have the skills and knowledge relevant for careers in policy research, campaigning, public affairs, the foreign and civil service, national and local government, and print or digital political media.
Our dedicated course team with wide-ranging expertise in politics and policy, and can help you identify career pathways and how to pursue them.
Other relevant sectors include charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) promoting global development and sustainability or facilitating community organisation at a local level. You might also use your knowledge in international business or consultancy, or train to teach. You may also undertake further professional qualifications in areas such as law or criminal justice policy.
If you want to continue your studies, you will be well placed to pursue a master’s degree. You could transfer your skillset into a master’s degree specifically related to a matter that interests you, such as our MSc Migration Studies: Policy and Practice. Or perhaps you would like to look at education policy? Our MSc Mental Health and Wellbeing in Education could ideally set you up for a role in the public sector dealing with educational practice and government policy.
If you decide to take a break from politics, your skills will be equally useful in other areas, including marketing and PR, charities, law, or international business.