BSocSc Politics and International Relations / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

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 are 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.

Manchester Leadership Programme

Take the MLP as part of your degree and learn directly from leading Manchester academics and high-profile leaders from the public, private and voluntary sectors.

You will discover the challenges facing society in the 21st century, and the leadership approaches needed to address them.

You will also undertake volunteer work, giving back to society and developing the kinds of skills and experiences that graduate employers seek.

Study abroad

If you would like to broaden your horizons and your degree, you can apply to study overseas for a year at one of our partner universities. You apply in Year 2 to spend a year abroad in Year 3. If successful, you will put together a programme of study at the host university in consultation with your Academic Exchange Advisor, to complement your studies at Manchester. You will then come back to Manchester to study for a fourth year and graduate with a degree title including 'with International Study'. See The University of Manchester Study Abroad pages for more information, including eligibility criteria, destinations, costs and funding.

Teaching and learning

Most course units feature formal lectures supported by smaller tutorials or seminars where you explore the contents of lectures and required 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; 
  • learning logs;
  • field reports;
  • blogs;
  • podcasts.

Assessment is primarily by essays and/or examination (in January and May-June) in the first year.

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 POLI10302 20 Mandatory
Introduction to International Politics POLI10601 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Political Theory POLI10702 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Comparative Politics POLI10202 20 Optional
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
Politics by Numbers POLI20311 20 Optional
Security Studies 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
Injustice and Resistance 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 15 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
Morality and Markets POLI30112 20 Optional
The Politics and Philosophy of Nationalism POLI30191 20 Optional
Gender, Sex and Politics POLI30231 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 POLI30282 20 Optional
Public Policy Problems POLI30292 20 Optional
Ethical Issues in World Politics POLI30321 20 Optional
Using Nudge to Change Lives POLI30331 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
Intimate Geopolitics of Global China POLI31021 20 Optional
Children, Family and Social Justice POLI31032 20 Optional
Understanding Political Choice in Britain POLI31041 20 Optional
American Politics: Why Do They Do That? POLI31061 20 Optional
Knowledge Production in Peace-building: Practices and Processes POLI31082 20 Optional
Global Capitalism, Crisis and Revolt POLI31091 20 Optional
Contemporary Parliamentary Studies and the British Political Tradition POLI32041 20 Optional
Postcolonial Politics POLI32062 20 Optional
Sex, Bodies and Money: Feminist, Queer and Intersectional Political Economy POLI32091 20 Optional
United States Foreign Policy: Dominance and Decline in a Complex World POLI32132 20 Optional
United Nations Security Council in Practice POLI32151 20 Optional
Race, Ethnicity, Migration POLI32162 20 Optional
Ukraine Rises: Democracy, Protest, Identity and War in Comparative Perspective POLI32171 20 Optional
Capitalism and Sexuality POLI32182 20 Optional
Indian Politics in Comparative Perspective POLI32192 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 32 course units for year 3

Course content for year 4

If completing a year abroad, you will take the Year 3 course content in Year 4.

What our students say

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

Disability support

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