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BA in Politics and International Studies with Chinese

Learning style and contact time | Assessment | Degree structure

If you are interested in both the political world and in Chinese language and culture, this course considers approaches to national and global political issues and political theory alongside international relations, and Chinese language study.

This four-year degree gives you the opportunity to acquire Chinese language skills while receiving a thorough training in the study of Politics and International Studies. You will critically engage with the political world from national and global perspectives, exploring the theoretical and empirical approaches to political ideas, and have the opportunity to study in China for a year.

The Department of Politics and International Studies has a vibrant environment of international faculty and students. We have a wide range of specialisms including expertise in the politics of East Asia. As well as modules led by faculty who are innovative teachers and world class researchers, you will have opportunities to take part in the PAIS Film Club, to attend research seminars featuring visiting speakers, and take part in social events with students from all over the world

The course combines the study of theory and practice in a broad range of subjects within the discipline from political theory, to international security, to comparative politics, to international political economy, to political systems. One quarter of your degree will focus on developing your Chinese language skills, including a year spent studying at a Chinese university. Your language study can be combined with optional modules in PAIS such as the Politics of Contemporary China and East Asian Transformations. You will develop an ability to understand complex theoretical positions and apply them to political problems and issues from the local to the global level. The confidence to debate with colleagues, to develop independent research skills, and to make individual and group presentations.

Political theory and international theory will provide the core of your studies in year one with progressively more option choices throughout the years of the degree. Introductory ideas you study in year one World Politics can be built upon in more specialised modules in year two such as International Security and the final year US Foreign Policy. Across the first two years, you will take core modules in Chinese Language at a level appropriate to your existing knowledge, before studying at a partner university in China during your third year. This will be an invaluable opportunity to learn about Chinese culture, politics and society and to deepen your language skills. There will be a further Chinese Language module in your fourth year.

Learning style and contact time

Warwick operates on a three term basis with all PAIS modules running for the full year and you can normally expect to take four modules in each year of your degree. Teaching follows a pattern of weekly lectures and seminars supplemented by a range of innovative teaching and learning techniques including group work, screening of relevant documentaries and films, and the use of web-based material. Guest speakers are sometimes invited to share their experiences or research. Every student is also given the opportunity to make at least one seminar presentation on the topic of your choice in each module and focused open debates in seminars are encouraged. You will also write a number of formative essays for which you will receive extensive feedback in preparation for your module assessments.

You will typically have eight hours per week of classroom contact with faculty. However, if further help is needed, all PAIS faculty hold at least two office hours each week during which you can bring questions about their modules and assessment. These meetings offer excellent opportunities to discuss your progress on a one-to-one basis with your tutors. Each PAIS student is also assigned a Personal Tutor who is responsible for monitoring your progress on your degree.


Assessment on PAIS modules is mainly through a combination of examinations and extended essays at the end of each year. In almost all modules, second and third year students have the option to either take a full three hours examination or write a 3000 word essay and sit an hour and a half examination. Final year students have the option to write two 3000 word essays instead of sitting an examination on some of their modules. Final year students can also choose to research and write a 10,000 word dissertation in place of one of their modules.

Yearly structure

Year 1

1. Core module: Introduction to Politics
2. Core module: World Politics
3. Core module: Chinese – Beginners
4. Optional module(s): 30 CATS in PAIS or approved outside modules

Year 2

1. Core module: Political Theory From Hobbes
2. Core module: Theories of International Relations
3. Core module: Chinese – Intermediate
4. Option module(s): 30 CATS in PAIS or approved outside modules

Year 3

The third year is spent studying in a country where Chinese is the native language. Please see Warwick’s central study abroad page to see the list of current Chinese partners available to our students in 2017/18. The list is illustrative of the types of options that will be available in future years.

During the study abroad, students must fill 120 CATS of modules, at least 50% Politics and International Studies and 25% Chinese Language – all must be approved by the PAIS department.

Year 4

1. Core module: Issues in Political Theory
2. Core module: Chinese – Advanced
3. Optional module(s): 60 CATS of PAIS modules; OR 30 CATS in PAIS and 30 CATS approved outside modules