Explore the complex way in which societies, states and cultures interact around the world. Our innovative lecturers provide expert insights into issues from human rights and feminism to war and security. Develop the skills so you can make a difference.
The Foundation Year offers students from a wide variety of educational backgrounds and age groups access to university education and prepares you for our three-year Politics and International Relations degrees. On passing your Foundation Year you move on to the first year of our BA (Hons) programme.
Reasons to study Politics and International Relations with a Foundation Year at Kent You’ll study a wide range of modules developed by our innovative lecturers, who advise governments around the world. Build your degree around your interests. You join the supportive and welcoming community on our Canterbury campus, set among green and tranquil open spaces, with access to the world-class resources of our Templeman Library. You can shape your degree outside of the classroom through our Politics and IR Society and Kent Model UN. These student-led societies host regular events, talks and debates with high-profile speakers, such as Jess Phillips MP, on tackling domestic violence.
What you’ll learn
You learn to explore the challenges facing the world, utilising the different concepts and approaches of political theory. You benefit from the expertise of staff who have advised governments and conducted conflict mediation exercises, deepening your understanding and developing solutions to a range of issues, from terrorism to the impact of the pandemic on politics, and political polarisation.
See the modules you'll study
We also offer four-year Politics and International Relations courses where you spend a year studying abroad between your second and final year. Studying abroad is a great experience and gives you the opportunity to discover how politics works in other cultures.
For details, see:
Politics and International Relations with a Year in North AmericaPolitics and International Relations with a Year in Continental EuropePolitics and International Relations with a Year in the Asia PacificPolitics and international Relations with a Language
Year in Computing/Journalism
The Year in Computing and the Year in Journalism are both free-standing, self-contained years and can be taken after stage 2 or 3 (that is, between your second and final year, or after your final year). You can take a Year in Computing or a Year in Journalism if you are a current undergraduate student at the University of Kent, studying a non-computing or non-journalism degree respectively.
You can only apply for a Year in Computing or a Year in Journalism once you are a student at Kent.
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 to use them to analyse political ideas, institutions, practices and issues in the global arena
- 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 and international relations
- the normative and positive foundations of political ideas
- the nature and significance of politics as a global activity
- the origins and evolution of the international political system, including contemporary changes
- different interpretations of world political events and issues.
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 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 and global activity
- the application of concepts, theories and methods to the analysis of political ideas, institutions, practices and issues in the global arena
- how to evaluate different interpretations of world political events and issues
- the ability to describe, evaluate and apply different approaches to collecting, analysing and presenting political information
- the contending and comparative approaches to politics and international relations
- understanding the nature of conflict in relations between and within states.
You develop transferable skills in how to:
- communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing
- use communication and IT for the retrieval and presentation of information, including statistical or numerical data
- work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management
- collaborate with others to achieve common goals.
The programme aims to:
- place questions of political and international order and decision-making at the centre of social-scientific analysis
- provide knowledge of political and international relations theory and analysis within a supportive learning environment
- enable students to grasp the concepts, approaches and methods of politics and international relations, and to understand their contested nature
- encourage students to think critically about political and international events, ideas and institutions
- enable students to relate the academic study of politics and international relations to questions of public concern
- provide a curriculum supported by scholarship and a research culture that promotes wide-ranging intellectual enquiry and debate
- enable students to develop cognitive and transferable skills relevant to their vocational and personal development.