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Politics

BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons)

Start dates: September 2023

Full time: 3 years

Part time: up to 6 years

Location: Headington

Department(s): School of Social Sciences

Overview

Expose the link between people and political power. Our politics degree helps you make sense of an ever-changing world, understand the facts and use them to form coherent, compelling arguments about what’s going on in our times.

You’ll grapple with some of the most pressing issues of the modern era, such as:

  • nationalism and populism
  • regional politics, e.g. Russia, South Africa, and Europe
  • conflict and peacebuilding
  • gender equality and racial justice

And you’ll be joining a community where those around you are socially, politically, and environmentally conscious and active.

As this is a joint honours degree, you can study it alongside another discipline of your choice and explore how they overlap. You may combine politics with:

  • Communication, Media and Culture
  • Criminology
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology

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Students having a discussion

Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • The heart of politics

    From colonialism to refugee action, Oxford is at the epicentre of modern political debate.

  • Constant support

    Our classes are small, meaning you’ll receive the attention and guidance you need.

  • Familiar faces

    Develop good working relationships with your tutors – many of whom are active researchers.

  • Relevant topics

    The course deals with contemporary political and social issues, like rising nationalism and tensions in Eastern Europe.

  • Stimulating activity

    We don’t just assess you with coursework and essays – you’ll get involved with NGO briefings, peace negotiation simulations and reflective diaries.

  • Free language courses

    Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Course Details

Course Structure

In Year 1, you’ll discover the essentials of modern political issues. By exploring a broad range of political systems and ideologies, you’ll develop skills essential for success in your future career.

During your second year, you’ll debate the great issues of contemporary politics. You’ll sharpen your analytical and debating techniques, mould critical perspectives and turn facts and opinions into a clear, persuasive argument. The optional placement lets you get experience in the working world, boosting your job prospects.

In your third year, you have the opportunity to complete a dissertation on an aspect of politics, your other subject or a combination of both. This is a fascinating opportunity to see how your two disciplines inform each other. Optional modules let you explore specialist political topics.

Student studying

Learning and Teaching

Our teaching staff are active researchers and their research directly informs your learning.

Our teaching methods include:

  • role play exercises
  • group work
  • video presentations
  • podcasts
  • placement learning
  • individual tutorials
  • lectures and seminars. 

You can attend our Centre for Global Politics, Economy and Society seminars, where speakers from other universities discuss their research.

We host our ‘Politics at Work’ seminar series for those interested in a career in international development / humanitarian aid. 

Assessment

We assess you with coursework and examinations. Coursework includes:

  • essays
  • group projects
  • field trips
  • role play
  • individual and group seminar presentations.

We assess some modules through an examination, and others solely through your work during the semester.

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Political Socialisation and Ideology

Why do we vote the way we do? What affects our actions, and our political decisions? In this module, we’ll investigate politics through human behaviour. You’ll explore political culture, and how we participate in a democratic society. We’ll also look at how humans are socialised to hold various political views. You’ll gain a key insight into how ideas and ideologies affect our behaviour individually and as a group. 

Politics in Comparative Perspective

In this module, you’ll investigate politics, and the struggle for power, across the nations. You’ll gain a clear introduction to how and why political systems differ in our world today. You’ll examine case studies from a wide range of states, and gain a strong insight into how different regimes function – from the democratic to the totalitarian.

Critical Skills in Politics and International Relations

In this module, you’ll explore the art and science of Politics and International Relations. You’ll develop the critical research and study skills you need to succeed in your degree, as you explore how these two disciplines work. You’ll get to grips with the scope of International Relations and Politics, and consider:

  • the issues they explore
  • the questions they seek to answer
  • their academic, educational and social value. 

Optional modules

Global Challenges in International Relations

In this module, you’ll explore the leading issues of current world politics.

You’ll investigate the key figures, structures and processes in world politics - like states, political economies and multinational societies.

You’ll also analyse concepts such as:

  • anarchy
  • order
  • sovereignty
  • conflict and cooperation among states, and non-state figures.

You’ll also investigate the chronic issues of world politics, including:

  • gender
  • migration
  • human rights
  • humanitarian intervention
  • energy resources and the environment
  • development, inequality and poverty.

We’ll explore how different nations manage these issues and what this tells us about international governance.

Foundations of Social Theory

What is social theory? Who are the major social theorists, and what do they have to say about things like power, beliefs and values, capitalism, feminism and more? In this module, you’ll explore key concepts and theories in classical and contemporary sociology. You’ll also immerse yourself in current debates, developments and approaches to social theory. And you’ll encounter theories like Marxism, postcolonialism, functionalism and more.

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Political Thought 1: Sovereignty, Rights and the Social Contract

In this module, you’ll dive into political thought and international theory, encountering thinkers from Machiavelli to Mill. You’ll gain fantastic critical skills as you analyse key texts on modern political theory, and understand states and international contexts. You’ll explore classic texts, including Hobbes’ Leviathan and Rousseau's The Social Contract. You’ll also analyse key ideas in modern political thought, including:

  • natural rights
  • sovereignty 
  • representation. 

Researching Politics and International Relations

In this module, you’ll develop the practical research skills you need to design and carry out your first piece of social sciences research. You’ll start with the ‘big questions’ of ‘What exists?’ and ‘How can we know about what exists?’ From here, you’ll move on to consider the different research methods and their implications. You’ll take part in hands-on workshops and practical sessions, preparing you to conduct your research for your final-year dissertation.

Optional modules

Dilemmas of Governing

How much did world leaders rely on history to make decisions? In this module, you’ll look at governing strategy from the 20th century to the present day. You’ll choose either the British or Soviet states, and analyse how their leaders managed crises and issues. You’ll also explore the relationship between politics and economics, and apply key approaches to the problems of governing.  

Nationalism and Regime Change

In this module, you’ll explore the effect of nationalism, ethnicity and regime change on a country. You’ll get to grips with the different approaches we use to explore them. You’ll gain fantastic analytical skills as you apply these approaches to real world cases, and investigate the implications of their different perspectives. 
You’ll also look at how globalisation impacts the politics and identity of a country. You’ll analyse the ways in which globalisation can be a force for good (spreading democracy) and bad (divisive, leading to nationalist resistance). 

Political Thought 2: Progress, Oppression and Liberation

In this module, you’ll plunge into the history of modern political thought from Kant to de Beauvoir. You’ll also explore the thinking of:

  • Hegel 
  • Marx
  • Nietzsche
  • Fanon.

You’ll investigate key theories of politics - international and national. And you’ll explore issues such as the end of history, gender, feminism and race.
 

State and Society: Europe and the United States

In this module, you can investigate the politics of either Europe or the USA, subject to student numbers and staff availability. 

In the European strand, you’ll explore themes of democracy and citizenship. You’ll look closely at what democracy and citizenship might mean to people living in the UK, France, Germany and in Europe’s post-communist countries. You’ll also look at the future of European states and societies, and how they can adapt to challenges such as migration.

In the American strand, you’ll focus on governmental and political institutions. You’ll also explore explosive issues in American politics, including religion, race and capital punishment.

Work-based Learning

In this module, you’ll have the chance to carry out a work placement closely linked to your Politics course. You’ll be supported by your module leader to find a placement that meets your needs, and which will support your learning. With a carefully chosen placement, you’ll build on the skills and knowledge you’ve already gained in Year 1, and you’ll also strengthen vital skills for the workplace, like time management, communication and team-working. 

Students have found placements in organisations like:

  • Asylum Welcome, working with asylum seekers in Oxford
  • Viva, an international children’s charity
  • Depaul, working with homeless people and immigrants in Paris.

During and after your placement, you’ll:

  • create a placement portfolio, recording what you’ve done and achieved
  • craft a CV showing your experience
  • give a presentation on your placement.

Year 3

Compulsory modules

Double Dissertation in Politics or Interdisciplinary Dissertation in Politics or Dissertation in combined subject

This module gives you the chance to do independent research on a topic that fascinates you. You’ll have the support of an expert lecturer in Politics. You’ll gain fantastic project management and research skills for your future career, as you design and conduct your own research over two semesters. Whatever your topic, you’ll shape your project around your passions, and gain the core skills to succeed in your degree. 

Previous students’ dissertations have tackled topics such as:

  • The Brexit vote and national identity
  • Hong Kong’s relationship with China and the UK
  • The changing roles of Arab women in peacemaking
  • The role of social media in US elections
  • Boko Haram and state fragility in Nigeria.

Optional modules

Rethinking democracy and public space: Russia and the EU

In this module, you’ll develop key critical skills as you explore the democratic challenges confronting Russia and the EU. Both are currently facing enormous social, political and economic transformation.You’ll gain an understanding of the forces affecting a large, diverse multi-ethnic state or supranational entity. You’ll look at the roles of the media, civil society and political institutions in identity and the formation of states.

You can choose to study either Russia or the EU. You’ll take either Democratic Challenges in Contemporary Russia: State and Society, or Democratic Challenges in the European Union: Integration and Disintegration, depending on staff and student availability.

Violence, and the Politics of Peace and Identity

From terrorism to mass protests, how do we make sense of violence and resistance? In this module, you’ll explore the tensions between local and global communities in building peace. You’ll investigate how identity markers such as gender, race, nationality and ethnicity relate to violence and resistance. You can choose to focus on violence, resistance and identity politics, or violent conflict and peacebuilding.

Freedom and Justice: Contemporary and Feminist Perspectives

In this module, you’ll explore theories of freedom and justice in relation to specific political problems and puzzles. You’ll ask questions like: 

  • Is it possible to have universal principles of justice within complex multicultural societies? 
  • Do conventional identities limit our freedom? 
  • Do freedom and justice require ‘empowerment’? 

You’ll also look at relevant concepts such as rights and equality. You’ll gain valuable critical skills as you explore the different methods we use to explore these concepts, and how they play out in the practical world of politics. 

You’ll be able to choose between two streams, depending on staff availability:

  • Contemporary Political Philosophy
  • Feminist/Queer Theory.

South African Politics: From Apartheid to Democracy

In this module, you’ll trace South African politics from apartheid to democracy. You’ll gain valuable critical skills as you analyse South Africa’s history, and explore key issues in its post-apartheid political economy.  And you’ll analyse links between the injustices of apartheid, and the unique challenges in contemporary South Africa.

Independent Study

This module gives you the chance to research a topic in Politics that fascinates you. With support from a supervisor, you’ll choose, plan and carry out your independent research. You’ll gain in-depth knowledge of your subject. You’ll also build great project management and research skills, which will help you in your future career.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Careers

The skills you pick up on this course will come in useful in a variety of settings. This includes government, law, journalism, trade unions, publishing, management, and social work. Or you may look to work with MPs or within political parties.

Our graduates can be found working with:

  • The Civil Service Fast Track Programme
  • Oxford University Press
  • Hestia (charity supporting those who experience domestic abuse)
  • The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women.

Our Life After Uni events let you network and have discussions with industry professionals. At our past events, there have been speakers from:

You can also pursue postgraduate study, where you can research an aspect of politics you’re fascinated with on a deeper level. We have masters’ degrees in International Relations and International Security. The former is also available as a distance learning course.

Our Staff

Dr Cristiano Bee

His area of expertise focuses on civil society studies, with a particular interest in the activities of social NGOs operating at the EU level but also in a number of countries (such as the UK, Italy, and Turkey).

Read more about Cristiano

Joint honours options

You can study this course as part of a joint honours degree. This course can be joined with:

Entry requirements

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29

BTEC: DMM

Contextual offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 88

A Level: CCD

IB Points: 27

BTEC: MMM

Further offer details

For combined honours, normally the offer will lie between the offers quoted for each subject.

Applications are also welcomed for consideration from applicants with European qualifications, international qualifications or recognised foundation courses. For advice on eligibility please contact Admissions: admissions@brookes.ac.uk

International qualifications and equivalences

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time
£9,250

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£14,600

Home (UK) full time
£9,250

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£15,200

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2022 / 23
Home (UK) full time
£9,250

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£14,600

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time
£9,250

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£15,200

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 483088

financefees@brookes.ac.uk

Please note tuition fees for Home students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning Home students at the maximum permitted level.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Programme Changes:

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Note:

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements