Politics and International Studies (BA)
Studying Politics and International Studies enables you to take part in the critical analysis of political ideas in an international context. It will equip you with the theoretical foundations upon which you can build analysis of issue-based problems. It appeals to people interested in subjects such as international conflict and security, problems of international development, issues relating to states and markets, and the politics of the UK, Europe, the Americas, Africa, East Asia and the Middle East.
This course combines the study of Politics with the global and multidisciplinary perspective of International Studies. It examines theoretical and empirical approaches to political ideas and issues, both nationally and globally. It’s centred around the critical analysis of political ideas and global politics, with core modules focusing on political theory and international relations. You can also choose options from within the department, allowing you to pursue specialised sub-fields, or you can study a language or approved option each year in a related discipline. Other opportunities to broaden your study include our guest lecture series, the PAIS Film Club, and the chance to undertake a work placement or study abroad. You’ll gain key skills including investigative and evaluative research and presentation skills, in addition to more general transferable skills.
Our research falls into four clusters that represent major sub-disciplines within the study of Politics and International Studies. These research clusters are reflected in the four pathways within our undergraduate degrees: Political Theory & Public Policy; International Relations & Security; Comparative Politics & Democratisation; and International Political Economy. Each of these subject pathways has a number of optional modules in each year of study so that you can tailor your degree to the particular sub-discipline that you find the most interesting. You can alternatively mix and match across the pathways. Subjects currently offered include: African Politics; Chinese Politics; US Foreign Policy; the Political Economy of Money; Critical Security Studies; the Politics of Religion; and Justice, Democracy and Citizenship.
So, for example, if you choose BA Politics and develop a taste for International Political Economy, then you can select modules within this pathway as a specialism. This strongly prepares you to study that specialist area at postgraduate level or to enter a related career.
Whether you focus on a single area or take a cross-cluster approach, you will have a high degree of intellectual freedom to cross ‘traditional’ topic lines and explore issues that matter to you.
Most modules are taught by a combination of weekly lectures and seminars.
8-12 hours of classroom contact per week. Teaching follows a pattern of weekly lectures and seminars, supplemented by group work, one-to-one advice and feedback hours, and the use of web-based materials.
Lectures vary; Seminars in Year One - maximum 14 students; Seminars in later years - maximum 18 students.
Assessment depends on your choice between coursework and exams; also dependent on modules chosen. The final degree classification is determined by your second (40%) and final year marks (60%).
The Department offers a wide range of opportunities to study abroad. You can apply to spend the second year of your degree on one of our competitive North America exchange placements in the United States at institutions such as the University of California, or in Canada at the University of Waterloo. These integrated study abroad programmes count as the second year of your degree and enable you to still complete your Warwick degree in three years.
If you would rather study abroad for only part of your second year, you can apply for our half-year exchange programme with City University, Hong Kong. We also offer extensive study abroad opportunities as an intercalated year in France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong that extend your degree by a year.
A level: AAA
Additional requirements: You will also need to meet our English Language requirements.
Contextual data and differential offers
Warwick may make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances. These include students participating in the Realising Opportunities programme, or who meet two of the contextual data criteria. Differential offers will be one or two grades below Warwick’s standard offer (to a minimum of BBB).
- Warwick International Foundation Programme (IFP)
All students who successfully complete the Warwick IFP and apply to Warwick through UCAS will receive a guaranteed conditional offer for a related undergraduate programme (selected courses only). For full details of standard offers and conditions visit the IFP website.
- We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications. For more information please visit the international entry requirements page.
Taking a gap year
Applications for deferred entry welcomed.
We do not typically interview applicants. Offers are made based on your UCAS form which includes predicted and actual grades, your personal statement and school reference.
Introduction to Politics
Introduction to Politics gives you a broad overview of main issues and theoretical perspectives. You will learn first to understand and then apply the core concepts of comparative political science and theory to processes, institutions, ideologies and practical policy-making. You will conduct a comparative study of different political systems and political change, both in writing and in open debate.
In this introduction to world politics and international relations, you will gain a solid understanding of the historical underpinnings of the structure and systems of states, and become familiar with major theories of international relations post-1945. You will analyse contemporary writings on world politics and engage critically, both orally and in writing, with key concepts and theoretical debates on the nature of international political systems.
Political Research in the 21st Century
On this course, we aim to make you a better communicator and critical thinker. Armed with cutting-edge research methods and the academic skills to make a successful transition to university-level study. This module focuses on how best we can support you to become independent learners, giving you the firm foundations from which to achieve the best possible degree, in addition to valuable transferable skills post graduation.
Political Theory from Hobbes
How should human beings be governed? The thinkers you will study – from Hobbes to Marx – had very different answers to this question. Building on your understanding of political philosophy, you will read significant primary and secondary texts to develop your understanding of how political convictions are shaped by the context and history of individual thought and social interaction. You will confront and assess complex ideas in political theory, and present and defend your point of view, both orally and in writing.
Theories of International Relations
What has happened and what an event of international importance means might seem common sense, such as in the case of the 9/11 attacks or the global financial crisis, but in this module you will learn to critically examine conventional wisdom about world politics. You will explore different ways of analysing international relations, and what is at stake, exploring theories including those of realism, liberalism, Marxism, constructivism and feminism. Successful completion means you will be able to describe key assumptions in contemporary theories and analyse their purpose, coherence and inherent contradictions.
Politics of International Development
Many policies have been created in the name of international development yet so many in the world remain in poverty. This module challenges questions like, is poverty reduction the same thing as development? Examining key topics through this module, you will focus on why global inequalities persist today. You will be taught how to critically assess policies and ask what roles and responsibilities key actors, like the World Bank and aid agencies, should have in respect to international development.
States and Markets: An Introduction to International Political Economy
Political economy shows that social orders, and the institutions that comprise them, need to be studied as complex wholes: power relations, states and markets, how and why a particular social order might work. You will study the classic theorists of political economy and then explore specific themes and issues. Guest lecturers contribute on themes and issues that marry closely with their areas of research interest and expertise. In your studies you will develop good investigative and research skills, including in IT, and learn how to present your arguments in written and spoken form.
This module will provide you with a comprehensive introduction into theories, concepts and practices of international security. You will examine the study of strategy and warfare, debates about the meaning and scope of security and key security actors, institutions and mechanisms in world politics. By the end of this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge using theoretical debates about security in international relations and their relationship to security practices.
Issues in Political Theory
Should parents send their children to private schools? Is freedom of movement a moral right? Is it unjust to rear animals for food? Who should bear the costs of climate change? You will explore fundamental questions of political morality by critically analysing complex arguments from contemporary political philosophy. You will study closely John Rawls’s theory of justice, and consider the rival theories of Robert Nozick, G. A. Cohen and Ronald Dworkin. You will have practical opportunities to develop and defend your own ethical standpoint through your considered judgements on current dilemmas, taking into account opposing arguments and perspectives.
Examples of optional modules/options for current students
Nine Ideas in International Security; Politics of the USA; Political Geography; Gender and Development; Governing Britain since 1918; International Relations of Latin America; Critical Security Studies; Violence and Reconciliation in Eastern Africa; US Foreign Policy.
Graduates from these courses have gone on to work for employers including: Houses of Parliament, Cancer Research UK, Her Majesty’s Civil Service, United Nations, Lloyds Banking Group and Citizens Advice.
They have pursued roles such as: environment-related professionals; journalists, newspaper and periodical editors; public relations professionals; social and humanities scientists; non-governmental associations professionals; and teachers.
Helping you find the right career
Our department has a dedicated professionally qualified Senior Careers Consultant who works within Student Careers and Skills to help you as an individual. Additionally your Senior Careers Consultant offers impartial advice and guidance together with workshops and events, tailored to our department, throughout the year. Previous examples of workshops and events include:
- Your future awaits - the many things you can do after your degree in the PaIS department
- Careers in Government and Politics
- Warwick careers fairs throughout the year
- What next? No need to panic! Careers thinking for busy PaIS finalists
- Assessment Centres and Interviews: an overview of what to expect for PaIS students
Find out more about our Careers & Skills Services here.
"Studying alone won't prepare you for the world of work."
"The course open day was really good at Warwick and helped make my decision to study here. All the modules I studied were relevant and have stood me in good stead for the future. I studied democratisation in my second year just as the Arab Spring kicked off, and the politics of religion module in my final year was current and still is. Learning about political theory concepts was abstract but really interesting to understand better. I secured a paid internship in my second and third summer which helped me realise my passion for working in policy. I now work as Environment Strategy Manager."
Jennifer Sibley - Environment Strategy Manager
Studied 'Politics' - Graduated 2012
"I can trace the management skills I have now back to my course."
"I chose Warwick because it was a university that provided the mix of courses I was looking for. It was very international, highly ranked and a campus university. I can trace the management skills I have now to the skills that I learnt through my course, and working with different people in ‘One World Week’.
During my second year, I had the opportunity to complement my Politics and International Studies degree with an international law class which I loved. I interned with a law firm in the US over summer in my second year which was great exposure. In my last year, I thrived doing the communications work I was exposed to as Coordinator of One World Week and decided to centre my career in that area."
Ingrid Helsingen Warner - Managing Director, Leidar Norway
Studied 'Politics and International Studies' - Graduated 2006
A level: AAA
Additional requirements: You will also need to meet our English Language requirements.
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
3 years full-time
28 September 2020
Location of study
University of Warwick, Coventry
Find out more about fees and funding
Additional course costs
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course. Students who choose to complete a work placement will pay reduced tuition fees for their third year.
This information is applicable for 2020 entry.
Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.
What our students say...
Straight from the students themselves.