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PAIS > Research-led learning environment

How do departments define a research led environment?

Welcome to PAIS:

  • RAE 2008 - excellent results The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise ranked PAIS 7th in the UK and rated 60 per cent of our research as either 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent'.

Undergraduate Studies in PAIS:

  • Prides itself being placed 7th among UK Politics departments for its research in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

Research in PAIS:

  • ‘PAIS possesses a thriving and dynamic research environment’.
  • Our staff are engaged in numerous national and international research projects, and the department has over 60 PhD students.

One of the student profile's mentions the 'reputation' of Warwick...

I chose the Department of Politics and International Studies at Warwick for my undergraduate studies mainly because of its reputation both in the UK and abroad. 


What Provisions are made for undergraduate students to engage in research?


3 research groups.

International Political Economy:

  • Undergraduate involvement not mentioned/discussed.
  • Brings together 16 members of staff and doctoral students.

International Politics and Security Studies:

  • Undergraduate involvement not mentioned/discussed.

Public Policy and Comparative Political Systems:

  • Undergraduate involvement not mentioned/discussed.

Undergraduate Curriculum

A First year Core Module for Single Honours Politics Students is available which introduces students to academic research methods and their use by political scientists:

Introduction to Research Methods in Political Science:

  • Introduces students to the principle qualitative research methods used by political scientists and the advantages and limitations of these methods.
  • Familiarises students in the process involved in designing a research project
  • Students study the ethical dilemmas that arise in the research process.
  • Students enhance their capabilities to use the internet for information-gathering purposes.
  • The Syllabus includes: research design, the role of theory in the research process, social surveys, questionnaire design and attitude scaling, participant observation, ethical problems, elite interviewing, focus groups, documentary analysis.

One student said in a student profile...

" The area of my course which I enjoy most is the introduction to political research which enabled me to study a topic of my choice in more depth"

Another first year core module mentions research skills

World Politics:

  • ‘develop IT and research skills through the use of the Library, internet and e-mail.’

As does the second year option module:

Politics of the USA:

  • ‘develop IT and research skills through the use of the Library, internet and e-mail.’

Undergraduate Dissertations:

  • It is not until third year that students can develop strong academic research skills in their own project via the route of a dissertation, that students can shoose in stead of a double-weighted module.

Student profile:

'In addition, by allowing students to complete a substantial portion of their assessment through coursework, PAIS is unique in giving undergraduates a taste for academic research early on.'


Statistics from current projects:

URSS Projects 08/09:

  • 3 PAISstudents completed research projects with the URSS and their departments for the academic year 08/09 (out of 114 projects)
  • 2 of the students were second years
  • 1 student was a first year.

Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme:

Notably PAIS does not just provide a link to the URSS but actually first re-directs students to a PAIS page that explains:

  • What the URSS is.
  • How it works.
  • The Benefits of getting involved.
  • How students can get involved.

There are two links on this page that

  • Directs students to the official URSS page
  • Directs students to examples of previous projects