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.
At Kent, you are taught by people who have advised government
departments or have conducted international conflict mediation
exercises. They bring this experience to their teaching, giving you the
opportunity to see how theoretical ideas apply in the real world. Many of our lecturers have also won teaching awards for their innovative teaching practices.
As a foundation year student, you are a full member of the University and can take part in all student activities.
Our degree programme
The Foundation Year aims to extend access to university education to students from a wide variety of educational backgrounds and age groups and prepares these students for our three-year Politics and International Relations degrees. On successful completion of your Foundation Year, you move on to the first year of our BA (Hons) programme.
Our programme helps you to think critically about political and international events, ideas and institutions. You study in a supportive and responsive learning environment,
gaining knowledge and understanding of the theory and analysis of
politics and international relations.
We offer a very wide choice of modules, reflecting the research
interests of our staff, including conflict resolution, federalism,
comparative politics, European integration, ethnic conflict, terrorism,
the theory of international relations, political theory, and the politics of countries, such as China, Japan, Russia and the USA.
In the first year, you gain knowledge and understanding of the theory and analysis of politics and international relations. You learn to think like a quantitative researcher, developing a critical eye for statistics and data analysis, both in academic research and the world around you.
In the second year, you deepen your understanding of politics and international relations. A wide range of options allows you to focus on specific areas of interest, such as international conflict and resolution, modern political thought, comparative politics, international organisations and politics of the European Union.
In the final year, you can choose the Specialist Dissertation, 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.
If you are keen to widen your field of interest, you can also choose
to study modules from another school in the second and final years of
Politics and International Relations student Rubaba talks about her course at the University of Kent.
We also offer Politics and International Relations programmes where
it is possible to 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 America
Politics and International Relations with a Year in Continental Europe
Politics and International Relations with a Year in the Asia Pacific
Facilities and resources to support the study of Politics and International Relations include:
access to the European Documentation Centre a dedicated Student Support Officer, who advises on issues related to academic study as well as wider University life a Study Skills Officer, who provides subject-related guidance.
Year in Journalism
The Year in Journalism is a free-standing, self-contained year and can be taken after stage two or three (that is, between your second and final year), or after your final year. You can take a Year in Journalism if you are a current undergraduate student at the University of Kent, studying another non-computing degree programme.
You can only apply for the Year in Journalism once you are a student at Kent.
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 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.