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, feminism, social theories of justice, divided societies, and US and European politics.
Our degree programme
On this programme you explore questions such as: What causes violent conflict? Is war legal? What can be done to reduce violent conflict? Is conflict always a bad thing? What is the role of international and civil society in managing and resolving destructive wars?
The first year of our degree is designed to appeal to students who have not formally studied politics before, while also stimulating those already familiar with the subject. You study a combination of compulsory and optional modules which introduce you to a range of subjects including political science, modes of reasoning, international relations, and conflict analysis and resolution.
In the second and third years you gain a more detailed understanding of the subject. Subjects covered may include political research and analysis, international conflict and cooperation, terrorism and political violence, foreign policy and politics of the European Union.
While the majority of teaching takes place within the School of Politics and International Relations, you also have the option to take courses in international law, criminology and history. You can explore a range of related topics such as sociology, philosophy, anthropology and economics, or focus on specific conflict-prone regions including Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Russia.
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 used in the study of international relations, politics, strategic studies, history, criminology, international law and their application to the analysis of conflict and peace
- the study of war and peace in a historical context
- the political and social dynamics of interaction between people, events, ideas and institutions in the context of conflict and peace
- factors accounting for political change
- the normative and positive foundations of political ideas
- the reliance of international relations on knowledge from cognate disciplines
- the nature and significance of politics as a global activity
- the origins and evolution of the international political system, including contemporary changes underway
- different interpretations of world political events and issues.
You develop the following intellectual skills:
- gathering, organising and deploying evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources
- identifying, investigating, analysing, formulating and advocating solutions to problems
- developing reasoned arguments, synthesising relevant information and exercising critical judgement
- reflecting on, and managing, your own learning and seeking to make use of constructive feedback from peers and staff to enhance your performance and personal skills
- managing your own learning self-critically.
You gain the following subject-specific skills:
- understanding the nature and significance of conflict as a human and global activity
- the application of concepts, theories and methods used in the study of conflict, peace and security to the analysis of political ideas, institutions, practices and issues in the global arena
- evaluating different interpretations of world political events and issues
- describing, evaluating and applying different approaches to collecting, analysing and presenting issues in international relations
- developing knowledge of contending and comparative approaches to theories and concepts of international relations.
You gain the following transferable skills:
- communication: communicating effectively and fluently in speech and writing (including, where appropriate, the use of IT); organising information clearly and coherently; using communication and information technology for the retrieval and presentation of information, including, where appropriate, statistical or numerical information
- information technology: producing written documents; undertaking online research; communicating using email; processing information using databases
- working with others: defining and reviewing the work of others; working co-operatively on group tasks; understanding how groups function; collaborating with others and contributing effectively to the achievement of common goals
- improving own learning: exploring personal strengths and weaknesses; time management; reviewing working environment (especially student-staff relationship); developing specialist learning skills (for example, foreign languages); developing autonomy in learning; working independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation
- problem-solving: identifying and defining problems; exploring alternative solutions and discriminating between them.
This programme aims to:
- offer a thematic pathway in areas and issues relating to the study of conflict, peace and security constructed in a progressive core, based on the strong offerings in the School of Politics and International Relations in the areas of conflict, war and peace
- offer a broad-based approach to the study of conflict and security from the disciplines of history, anthropology, international law, sociology, political science and international relations. This gives you access to the key areas of conflict, peace and security offered by other schools of the University, enhancing the inter-disciplinary nature of the programme
- place questions of political and international order and decision-making at the centre of social-scientific analysis
- enables you to understand and use the concepts, approaches and methods of politics and international relations, and to develop an understanding of their contested nature and the problematic character of inquiry in the discipline
- develop your capacity to think critically about political and international events, ideas and institutions
- encourage you to relate the academic study of politics and international relations to questions of public concern
- provide a curriculum supported by scholarship, staff development and a research culture that promotes breadth and depth of intellectual enquiry and debate
- assist you to develop cognitive and transferable skills relevant to your vocational and personal development.