BA Political Studies

The information on this page relates to September 2016 entry. For 2017 information, including grade requirements, please check our prospectus.

A group of BA Political Studies students discussing notes with their lecturer

Politics is about the ability to change lives. It is not simply about how we are governed, it is not just about politicians and governments, but also about the relationship between each one of us to others as individuals and as members of groups and organisations. The study of politics, as developed on our Political Studies course, seeks to understand the inner mechanisms of politics as well as the ideas which shape our daily lives: ideas of justice, freedom, power, citizenship and the morality of political decision making. This degree is suitable for students who want to develop a thorough understanding of politics. You will explore the perennial questions of politics, such as ‘What is the best form of government?’ or ‘How equality of people can be achieved?’. While the Political Studies teaching team focuses on developing your knowledge of politics, you are also exposed to the study of international affairs. This is invaluable in a globalised world, where ever local action is at least partly global as well.

Overview

The Political Studies degree scheme is suitable for students who want to develop understanding of politics. You will explore the perennial questions of politics, such as ‘What is the best form of government?’ or ‘How equality of people can be achieved?’. These questions can be applied to your own country or any other place you wish to study. In this sense, the Political Studies degree scheme dovetails with the study of world politics also offered at the Department. We believe that studying Politics (Political Studies) within the Department of International Politics makes this course particularly strong and attractive to students (and their future employers). While the Political Studies teaching team focuses on development of students’ knowledge of politics, students are also exposed to the study of international affairs. In the globalized word, where every local action is at least partly also global, this is an invaluable skill.

Why Study Politics at Aberystwyth University?

Founded in 1919 after the end of World War I, the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth is the world's first university department of International Politics. The Department has over 30 academic and research staff, all of whom are research active and contribute to the teaching programme. The Department's vibrant and cosmopolitan learning environment welcomes students from all over the world, and provides a lively venue for contemporary political debate.

The Department is renowned for its pioneering research and is recognised as number one in the UK for the study of international politics. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014), the Department of International Politics was placed best in Wales with 76% of publications submitted rated as world leading and internationally excellent.

The recent 2015 National Student Satisfaction survey results show high levels of satisfaction amongst Politics students, with 92% reporting satisfaction with the quality of the teaching they received, above average for the subject nationally.

The course draws upon a range of different study topics including the issues of legitimacy, power, accountability and historical legacies; political institutions such as government, devolution and democracy; as well as concepts of political analysis like the political regime and political values. Our staff’s particular expertise is in the areas of justice, multiculturalism, national minorities, devolution, stateless nations, vulnerabilities and redresses of historical injustices, leadership and political charisma, and the questions of ethics and political values. With staff and students from all over the world, the Department offers a vibrant and cosmopolitan learning environment welcomes, which is particularly suitable for the study of politics, where comparison and navigation between the familiar and the unfamiliar are established methods since Plato and Aristotle.

The Department operates a prestigious Parliamentary Placement scheme, enabling you to gain valuable experience working alongside an MP (House of Commons, Westminster) or an AM (Welsh Assembly, Cardiff) for a period of 4-6 weeks during the summer. The scheme is particularly suitable for students of Political Studies. During this time you will write reports and speeches, undertake research projects, and respond to constituency issues. There may be further opportunities for you to get involved in elections and various other campaigns.

Dr Kamila Stullerova is the degree scheme coordinator and you are encouraged to contact her with any queries regarding Political Studies.

Our Staff

Lecturers in the Department of International Politics are all research active and qualified to PhD level, and most also have a PGCHE.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Options All students MUST take the Department's core module Exploring the International 1 and 2 (40 credits over both semesters)

Semester 1

Cyflwyniad I Wleidyddiaeth Ryngwladol 1 GW12420

Exploring The International 1 IP12420

Semester 2

Cyflwyniad I Wleidyddiaeth Ryngwladol 2 GW12520

Exploring The International 2 IP12520

Year 1 Options Single and Major Honours students must take the following module

Semester 1

Y Tu ôl I'r Penawdau GW12620

Behind The Headlines IP12620

Year 1 Options Part One students may take the following optional modules

Semester 1

The Making Of The Modern World: International History Since 1789 IP12820

Understanding The Social World SA10120

Semester 2

War, Strategy And Intelligence IP10320

Approaching The Political IP10820

Year 1 Options Student wishing to study modules through the medium of Welsh can take the following:

Semester 1

Cefn Gwlad A'r Ddinas DA10210

Y Tu ôl I'r Penawdau GW12620

Creu'r Byd Modern: Hanes Ryngwladol Ers 1789 GW12820

Concwest, Uno A Hunaniaeth Yng Nghymru 1250-1800 HC11120

Cymru A'r Byd: Cysylltiadau A Dylanwadau 1860 - 2000 HC11520

Semester 2

Pobl A Lle DA10110

Amgylchedd Cymru DA10810

Rhyfel Strategaeth A Chuddwybodaeth GW10320

Defnyddio Syniadau Gwleidyddol GW11220

Argyfwng, Gwrthryfel A Ffydd Yn Ewrop C.1000-1540 HA10820

Year 2 Options Students must take the following Degree Scheme Core Module (IP32220 or GW32220) in International Politics in order to be eligible to graduate.

Semester 2

Damcaniaethau Gwleidyddiaeth GW32220

Political Theory IP32220

Available both years Options Student must take at least 180 credits of International Politics (GW / IP) modules (students may take 40 credits outside the department). See below for options:

Semester 1

Y Meddwl Cymreig Mewn Syniadaeth Ryngwladol GQ30920

Rhyfel Diarbed, Heddwch Diarbed GQ33420

Amlddiwylliannedd Mewn Polisi Ac Ymarfer GQ33720

Cymru A Datganoli GW35020

Cudd-wybodaeth A Diogelwch Rhyngwladol GW35620

The Vietnam War IP31920

Nato: The Making And Breaking Of Alliances IP33320

European Politics IP33820

The Ethics Of War In Theory And Practice IP34320

Wales And Devolution IP35020

Warfare After Waterloo: Military History 1815 - 1918 IP35320

Intelligence And International Security IP35620

The Past And Present Of Us Intelligence IP36020

Warfare In The 20th Century:technology And Strategy IP36520

Contemporary Latin America IP38720

The League Of Nations IQ32420

Capitalism And International Politics IQ32820

Total War, Total Peace IQ33420

Multiculturalism In Policy And Practice IQ33720

Semester 2

Damcaniaethau Gwleidyddiaeth GW32220

Gwleidyddiaeth Ryngwladol A Bydoedd Anorllewinol GW39220

Theorizing International Relations IP30120

War, Politics And Strategy IP30320

Special Forces: Theory And Practice IP31520

The Cold War IP32020

Political Theory IP32220

Eu Simulation IP34020

Ideas And Practice In American Politics IP34420

The Cuban Missile Crisis IP35520

America At War: A Military History Of The United States IP36920

Britain And Ireland In War And Peace Since 1800 IP38820

International Politics And Non-western Worlds IP39220

Global Economic Governance IQ30820

Espionage Studies IQ31320

Global Health And International Politics IQ32020

Gender And Sexuality In Latin America IQ32320

The Diplomacy Of Decline: Britain & World Politics 1851-2001 IQ32620

Aesthetics, Image And Narrative In Global Politics IQ33620

Final Year Options Students in their Final Year MUST take the core Dissertation module GW/IP30040 which runs over Semesters One and Two.

Semester 1

Dulliau Ymchwil + Traethawd Estynedig GW30000

Dissertation IP30000

Semester 2

Dulliau Ymchwil + Traethawd Estynedig GW30040

Dissertation IP30040

Available both years Options Student must take at least 180 credits of International Politics (GW / IP) modules (students may take 40 credits outside the department). See below for options:

Semester 1

Y Meddwl Cymreig Mewn Syniadaeth Ryngwladol GQ30920

Rhyfel Diarbed, Heddwch Diarbed GQ33420

Amlddiwylliannedd Mewn Polisi Ac Ymarfer GQ33720

Cymru A Datganoli GW35020

Cudd-wybodaeth A Diogelwch Rhyngwladol GW35620

The Vietnam War IP31920

Nato: The Making And Breaking Of Alliances IP33320

European Politics IP33820

The Ethics Of War In Theory And Practice IP34320

Wales And Devolution IP35020

Warfare After Waterloo: Military History 1815 - 1918 IP35320

Intelligence And International Security IP35620

The Past And Present Of Us Intelligence IP36020

Warfare In The 20th Century:technology And Strategy IP36520

Contemporary Latin America IP38720

The League Of Nations IQ32420

Capitalism And International Politics IQ32820

Total War, Total Peace IQ33420

Multiculturalism In Policy And Practice IQ33720

Semester 2

Damcaniaethau Gwleidyddiaeth GW32220

Gwleidyddiaeth Ryngwladol A Bydoedd Anorllewinol GW39220

Theorizing International Relations IP30120

War, Politics And Strategy IP30320

Special Forces: Theory And Practice IP31520

The Cold War IP32020

Political Theory IP32220

Eu Simulation IP34020

Ideas And Practice In American Politics IP34420

The Cuban Missile Crisis IP35520

America At War: A Military History Of The United States IP36920

Britain And Ireland In War And Peace Since 1800 IP38820

International Politics And Non-western Worlds IP39220

Global Economic Governance IQ30820

Espionage Studies IQ31320

Global Health And International Politics IQ32020

Gender And Sexuality In Latin America IQ32320

The Diplomacy Of Decline: Britain & World Politics 1851-2001 IQ32620

Aesthetics, Image And Narrative In Global Politics IQ33620

Employability

Career Prospects

Your degree in Political Studies opens up a range of exciting opportunities for employment and further training. You will be suited to work as a public affairs consultant (lobbyist), politician's assistant, government social research officer, social researcher or civil service fast streamer. Your skills would also be useful in the Diplomatic Service, local government, the charitable sector or in journalism as a political specialist. Career options with an International Politics degree.

Throughout your degree you will develop a wealth of core and other skills that can be easily transferred into almost any graduate or professional employment situation. For instance, you will learn to critically appraise historic political decision-making in case studies and apply the lessons in scenarios and papers. This sort of analysis and application of learning will equip you for any job in the political arena or in generic graduate employment.

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree in Political Studies will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. These include:

• the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form
• effective problem-solving and creative thinking skills
• the ability to work independently
• time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines
• the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form
• self-motivation and self-reliance
• team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement
• research skills

Year in Employment scheme (YES)

The University operates a Year in Employment Scheme (YES), which offers you a fantastic opportunity to take a year out between your second and third year to work in an organisation in the UK or overseas. YES provides a very rewarding and worthwhile experience, both personally and professionally, and can help you to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive job market. The University’s Career Service will help you to explore your options and secure a suitable work placement.

GO Wales

GO Wales is administered by the University’s Career Service, working with local businesses to create paid work placements of a few weeks’ duration for students. It gives you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience which will enhance your CV and make you more attractive to potential employers.

Personal Development Plan

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

This course will be delivered through a balanced programme of lectures, seminars, and lively tutorials. You will also be encouraged to attend as many conferences that the Department of International Politics (and its affiliates) puts on. By taking every opportunity to engage with the subject, you will receive comprehensive training in the theory and implementation of international political thought from the UK's most prestigious institution.

As you gain subject-specific expertise, you will develop a valuable collection of study skills. In tackling each module, you will need to learn to assimilate demanding topics quickly and accurately, and you will learn how to analyse and respond to political strategy and debate persuasively in written and oral forms.

You will be assessed through exams, written and oral presentations, group work and an extended dissertation. You will also be required to complete additional assignments throughout each term and adhere to strict deadlines. In all these areas you will need self discipline, academic rigour and an open mind to succeed. To help in this, you will also have access to a personal tutor throughout your degree scheme who will meet with you regularly and handle your queries.

The lectures, seminars and the Department's supportive staff will only take you so far in your political training. You must assume responsibility for your learning and engage fully with this fascinating, but demanding, subject of Political Studies. You must also take advantage of the many opportunities within the Department and the University to develop your academic rigour and professionalism so that, upon graduation, you are perfectly positioned for the next stage of your career.

Your personal tutor

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

Student Views

What I love about my course is the variation in module choices, the depth of discussion and the freedom to take a unique perspective on an issue whilst still remaining in a structured environment.
Alex John Haden (Political Studies graduate 2013)

This is a course that is different from any other. It examines elements of power, order and security more than any other discipline. In essence, it focuses on the way in which societies and governments react to certain events. It entails the study of knowledge in so deep and complex a way that, in the end, nobody can ever possess it completely. Passion is one thing and reason is something else, but the two things combined make Politics. A story of love and death - incline and decline - so charming that you can only love it once, meaning for ever...’
Antel Ompeintat (International Politics graduate 2014)

What's great about Political Studies is the variety of choice you have in exactly what you want to study. Politics is such a broad subject and therefore needs a wide variety of choices for modules to study. Furthermore as a subject it encourages interaction and participation. There is no other course that has quite the same level of interaction between students.
Emma Rammell (Political Studies graduate 2014)

Key Information Set