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BSocSc Politics and International Relations / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course description

Gabriel McArdle

Studying Politics and International Relations really makes you think about the world in a more comprehensive way.

The great thing is that this course gives you the foundation from which to create change.

Gabriel McArdle / BSocSc Politics and International Relations

The BSocSc (Hons) in Politics and International Relations is our single honours course for politics specialists.

Our teaching and top-level research is structured around three core themes:

  • Comparative Politics; 
  • International Politics; 
  • Political Theory. 

In Year 1 and 2, you will take course units from across the three core areas, plus options from other disciplines, such as Economics, Sociology, History, Philosophy or Languages.

By your final year, you will have an advanced understanding of politics, which reflect the research expertise of our staff.

Our significant size allows us to support internationally recognised research across a range of areas including several large and distinctive research clusters

This also contributes to the quality of our teaching; we offer you a variety of course units that builds directly on our research expertise.

We will help you to develop solid intellectual foundations within the discipline, while also giving you increasing choice and diversity of subjects and approaches as you progress through your second and third years.

You can also apply to spend Year 3 studying abroad at one of our partner universities as part of a four-year degree option.


  • provide the opportunity to study Politics in the breadth and depth that a single-honours specialisation makes possible;
  • help you develop solid intellectual foundations within the discipline while offering a choice of subject matter and approaches as you progress;
  • develop your intellectual independence and autonomy;
  • help you develop the skills to undertake independent research of a high standard; 
  • develop your intellectual flexibility and adaptability - the ability to learn how to succeed.

Special features

Award-winning teaching

Politics staff have:

  • won the Manchester Student Union teaching awards;
  • achieved recognition at the University teaching awards;
  • achieved national recognition, three times winning the Political Studies Association Sir Bernard Crick Prize for Outstanding Teaching.

Course content informed by research

We offer a wide variety of course units that build directly on our research expertise.

We're also home to one of the longest running election studies in the world, the British Election Study while our research examines issues such as the critique and critical challenge of orthodoxies, security, migration, war, gender, ethics, resistance, and international institutions.

Paid placement opportunity

You can apply for a paid Q-Step internship between the Years 2 and 3.

You can apply for study abroad in Year 2 and if successful, you will put together a package of course units at your host university with your Academic Exchange Advisor in Manchester.

Teaching and learning

Course units feature formal lectures supported by smaller tutorials or seminars where you explore the contents of lectures and recommended reading in greater depth.

Tutorials and seminars are key to improving your written and oral communication skills through group discussions, essay-writing and presentations.

You are assigned an Academic Advisor who can advise you on selecting course units and career opportunities.

We foster a vibrant Politics learning community among our staff and students through several initiatives, including an annual undergraduate conference, a seminar series, peer-mentoring scheme and an undergraduate journal.

Coursework and assessment

We offer a wide array of assessment types throughout your course, including:

  • policy briefs;
  • book or article reviews;
  • presentations; 
  • podcasts.

Assessment is primarily by examination in the first year, in January and May to June.

Course unit details

Each year of study consists of 120 course credits. Each unit is worth either 10 or 20 credits.

Course content for year 1

Year 1 introduces the three core areas of comparative politics, political theory, and international politics, as well as training in research and study skills.

You can take up to 40 credits outside Politics.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Making Sense of Politics POLI10301 20 Mandatory
Introduction to International Politics POLI10601 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Political Theory POLI10702 20 Mandatory
British Politics: Power and the State POLI10401 20 Optional
Politics of the Global Economy POLI10502 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

You will develop your understanding in the three core areas, taking at least 20 credits in each, and begin to focus on your own areas of interest.

You can take up to 20 credits outside Politics.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
How to Conduct Politics Research POLI20902 20 Mandatory
Politics by Numbers POLI20311 20 Optional
The Politics of (in)Security POLI20332 20 Optional
Questions About International Politics POLI20521 20 Optional
Politics & Society in Britain Since 1940: From Blitz to Brexit POLI20531 20 Optional
Arguing About Politics: Political Theory in the World POLI20602 20 Optional
The Politics of Globalisation POLI20711 20 Optional
The Politics of Development POLI20722 20 Optional
Gender and Politics in Comparative Perspective POLI20742 20 Optional
The Politics of Policy Making POLI20802 20 Optional
Ideals of Social Justice POLI20881 20 Optional
Challenges for Democratic Politics POLI20961 20 Optional
Environmental Politics POLI20982 20 Optional
Comparative West European Politics POLI21001 20 Optional
Southern European Politics POLI21012 20 Optional
Asia-Pacific Security POLI21041 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 16 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

You will pick your final areas of specialisation, including a dissertation on a topic of your choosing.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Dissertation A POLI30300 40 Mandatory
The Politics of the European Union POLI30032 20 Optional
The Politics and Philosophy of Nationalism POLI30191 20 Optional
Intersectional Political Economy POLI30201 20 Optional
Elections and Voters in Britain POLI30242 20 Optional
Liberalism and Empire POLI30252 20 Optional
Dimensions of Peace and Conflict: Disciplinary and Regional Approaches POLI30262 20 Optional
Political Morality and Dirty Hands POLI30271 20 Optional
Chinese Politics POLI30281 20 Optional
Public Policy Problems POLI30291 20 Optional
Ethical Issues in World Politics POLI30321 20 Optional
Political Ideologies in Modern Britain POLI30362 20 Optional
The Politics of Hate POLI30452 20 Optional
Power, Space & Popular Culture: Thinking Critically About Geopolitics POLI30461 20 Optional
Introduction to International Political Economy POLI30721 20 Optional
Gender, War & Militarism POLI30791 20 Optional
Africa & Global Politics POLI30862 20 Optional
War Memories and Reconciliation in East Asia POLI31011 20 Optional
Children, Family and Social Justice POLI31031 20 Optional
Understanding Political Choice in Britain POLI31041 20 Optional
American Politics: Why Do They Do That? POLI31061 20 Optional
Contemporary Parliamentary Studies and the British Political Tradition POLI32041 20 Optional
Postcolonial Politics POLI32062 20 Optional
The International Political Economy of Trade POLI32082 20 Optional
Sex, Bodies and Money: Gendering International Political Economy POLI32092 20 Optional
United States Foreign Policy: Dominance and Decline in a Complex World POLI32132 20 Optional
Race, Ethnicity, Migration POLI32162 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 27 course units for year 3

What our students say

Read profiles of our students to find out more about studying Politics at Manchester.


You will benefit from access to:

  • one of the UK's largest academic libraries;
  • 24/7 access to computer facilities across campus;
  • a wide variety of extra-curricular facilities, all in the heart of the UK's most popular student city.

Find out more about facilities at Manchester

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: