The School of Politics and International Relations is an exciting place to study. You receive high-quality teaching informed by cutting-edge research on a range of political issues, such as ethno-political conflict, human rights, terrorism, social theories of justice, divided societies, and US and European politics.
Our degree programme
In your first and second years, you learn how to use the concepts, approaches and methods of politics to develop an understanding of their contested nature and the problematic character of inquiry in the discipline. You acquire knowledge and understanding of political analysis in a supportive and responsive learning environment.
In the final year, you can choose the specialist dissertation module, where you produce an academic piece of writing on a topic of your choice based on your own research. The module concludes with the student conference, where you present your work to a panel of staff and fellow students.
We have recently developed an internship module which blends practical workplace experience with taught workshops and private study. This final year module helps to develop skills highly prized by employers, such as teamwork, communication and self-organisation
Facilities and resources to support the study of Politics include:
access to the European Documentation Centre a dedicated Student Support Manager, who advises on issues related to academic study as well as wider University life a Study Skills Officer, who provides subject-related guidance.
At Kent, there are many student societies related to your studies, for example:
Current Affairs and Politics Society Kent European Debates Society Debating Society Kent Model United Nations Society.
You are also encouraged to get involved in the programme of events and activities run by the School of Politics and International Relations, which focuses on bridging the gap between academic study and real-life politics. Our Public Speaker Programme features prominent academics and practitioners, who are invited to speak on current issues.
Our main teaching methods are lectures, seminars, working groups, PC laboratory sessions and individual discussions with your personal tutor or module teachers. Assessment is through continuous feedback, written examinations, assessed essays and oral presentations.
Politics Open Forum
We hold a weekly extra-curricular Open Forum organised by our School research groups, where students and staff have the opportunity to discuss and debate key issues of the day that affect higher education and politics in the world today.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- key concepts, theories and methods and how they are used to analyse political ideas, institutions and practices
- the structure, institutions and operation of different political systems
- the social, economic, historical and cultural contexts of political institutions and behaviour
- the political dynamics of interaction between people, events, ideas and institutions
- factors accounting for political change
- the contestable nature of many concepts and different approaches to the study of politics
- the normative and positive foundations of political ideas
- the intersection of politics with related disciplines.
You gain intellectual skills in how to:
- gather, organise and deploy information from a variety of primary and secondary sources
- identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems
- develop reasoned arguments, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement
- reflect on and manage your own learning and seek to make use of constructive feedback to enhance your own performance and personal skills.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- understanding the nature and significance of politics as a human activity
- the application of concepts, theories and methods in the analysis of political ideas, institutions and practices
- how to evaluate different interpretations of political issues and events
- the ability to describe, evaluate and apply different approaches to collecting, analysing and presenting political information.
You develop transferable skills in the following areas:
- communication – how to communicate effectively in speech and writing and with the aid of IT; how to organise information clearly; how to use communication and IT for the retrieval and presentation of information, including statistical or numerical data
- numeracy – how to make sense of statistical materials; integrate numerical and non-numerical information, and understand the limits and potentialities of arguments based on quantitative information
- information technology – how to produce written documents; undertake online research; communicate using email; process information using databases
- working with others – how to define and review the work of others; work co-operatively on group tasks; understand how groups function; collaborate with others and contribute to the achievement of common goals
- improving own learning – how to explore personal strengths and weaknesses; review your working environment; develop specialist learning skills (for example in foreign languages); develop autonomy in learning; demonstrate initiative and manage your own time
- problem solving – how to identify and define problems; explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them.
The programme aims to:
- meet the needs of those who are seeking a career in a variety of fields (for example, the service sector) through the learning of generic intellectual, transferable and subject-specific skills
- respond to your intellectual interest in politics and enhance your competence as a citizen in a rapidly changing political environment
- place questions of political order and decision making at the centre of social-scientific analysis
- ensure that you gain a knowledge and understanding of political analysis in a supportive and responsive learning environment
- enable you to grasp political concepts and methods and understand their contested nature
- develop your capacity to think critically about political events, ideas and institutions
- encourage you to relate the academic study of politics to questions of public concern
- provide a curriculum supported by scholarship and a research culture that promotes wide-ranging intellectual enquiry and debate
- enable you to develop skills relevant to your vocational and personal development.