Politics and International Relations

To study politics is to study power, who exercises it, and for whom. It drives us to think about how society should be organised, and how communities and states interact. Politics affects everyone's lives, and is a fascinating and important subject.

Why study Politics and International Relations at Bristol?

At Bristol you will study not only the politics of individual countries and governments, but also the relationships between countries, communities, and individuals. As a student at an institution dedicated to exploring the nature of power and justice, you will become familiar with many different views and methods of analysis, and learn to apply and evaluate them.

Bristol's politics programme is amongst the best in the UK, and is a world leader in many areas of study. Studying politics with us will ensure that you have access to world renowned scholars and outstanding teachers in a vibrant academic and social environment.

First year

In the first year, Single Honours students take four core units in Politics and International Relations and two further units, either optional Politics units or chosen from a subject of interest to you which complements the discipline, such as History, Philosophy or Sociology. Joint Honours students take three Politics and International Relations units and three units from their other subject.

Second year

Teaching in the second year acts as a bridge between the introductory work in the first year and the more specialist options of the third year. There are a range of options available, grouped broadly according to the fields of Comparative Politics, World Politics and Political Theory. Single Honours students must take one unit from each of these streams, but otherwise can specialise (or mix and match) as they wish. Joint honours students must complete their remaining core unit from the first year as well as (normally) two options from the Politics and International Relations list. Their remaining options are made up from their other subject.

Final year

Having established a solid background in the first and second years, the final year of your degree in Politics and International Relations allows for specialisation and development of your particular interests. Single Honours students undertake a Dissertation and four specialist units. Joint Honours students may choose to undertake a Dissertation in Politics, plus one specialist unit. Joint Honours students may also choose not to take a Dissertation at all (replacing this with two specialist units) or to take a Dissertation in their second subject instead and three specialist units in Politics and International Relations.

The Dissertation is an independent piece of work in which, with appropriate supervision, you prepare your own piece of politics/international relations research in an area that interests you. In addition to individual supervision sessions, there will be a programme of guidance and activities throughout the year designed to support you through the process.

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In 2011, 91% of all undergraduate students gained a First or 2:1. Our graduates are in high demand with around 75% of students finding graduate-level employment within six months of graduation and many also going on to further study.

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