Politics (BA Hons) L200

BA Single Honours


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Key Course Information

Entry Year


Course length

3 year(s)

A-Level Requirements *



Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences



Professional Year Out





History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics

*Indicative Only. Please see the Course Entry Requirements section for details on subject specific or GCSE requirements.


The academic study of politics is concerned with the sources of conflict, co-operation, power and decision-making within and between societies, how differences are expressed through ideology and organisation, and how, if at all, disagreements and problems are resolved.

We look at conflict, co-operation and its origins, dynamics and trajectories, at theories of society, at the value and ethical basis of political ideas and action, and at politics in different national and historical contexts.

Politics in deeply-divided societies, the politics and theory of international relations, political ideologies, the politics of self and other in a media culture, gender inequality, political institutions, parties and elections, the politics of sustainable development, energy, climate change, international political economy and finance, public policy and public administration, and the politics of the European Union - these are just some of the areas that we cover.

With over 30 staff at the cutting edge of research and publication, the School is the largest in Ireland and one of the largest in the UK and Ireland with specialisms in Irish and British politics, political theory, sustainable development, the politics of film and literature, gender, the Middle East, European Union politics, ethnic conflict and international relations.


Why Queen's?

Study Abroad: students have study opportunities in other European universities through our Erasmus programme, and also in the USA and Canada.

Internship: students in their final year have the opportunity to secure a semester-long internship, giving them hands-on experience of political issues and policy-making.

Research-led Teaching: cutting-edge research drives our externally commended teaching, most recently evidenced in the latest student satisfaction survey.

Support: our uniquely supportive pastoral care/personal tutor system is equalled only by the academic guidance available. Our vibrant undergrad Politics Society (Polysoc) provides a welcome and stimulating environment for new students.

Diversity of Students: we have students from around the UK, Ireland, Europe and the wider world, ensuring a rich mix of students with different experiences and backgrounds.

The Placement: Unique to the BA Politics programme is the opportunity in the final year to undertake a part-time placement within a local organisation to gain direct experience of policy-making and political decision-making.

Entry Requirements


Selection Criteria

In addition to the entrance requirements below, it is essential that you read the How We Choose Our Students pdf prior to submitting your UCAS application.

Entrance Requirements

A-level: ABB for BA Single Honours and BA Joint Honours with English, French, History, International Studies, Irish and Spanish. BBB for other BA Joint options.

Irish Leaving Certificate: H3H3H3H3H3H3/H2H3H3H3H3

All applicants: there are no specific subject requirements to study Politics, however, if you plan to study Politics as a Joint Honours degree or with Law you should refer to the subject requirements for the other course.


International Students

For information on international qualification equivalents, please click on Your Country in the International Students website.

If you are an international student and you do not meet the entrance requirements, you should consider a preparation course at INTO Queen's University Belfast, which will prepare you for successful study on these degree courses. INTO at Queen's is based on the University campus and offers a range of courses including the International Foundation in Business, Humanities and Social Science.

For students whose first language is not English

An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability to entry to this degree. Please click the links below for more information:

  • English for University Study - an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English - a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English

How To Apply

How to Apply

Applications for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at:

When to Apply

UCAS will start processing applications for entry in Autumn 2017 from 1 September 2016.

The normal closing date for the receipt of applications is 15 January 2017.

For candidates applying to Oxford or Cambridge and for those whose choices include Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Medicine/Science the closing date is 15 October 2015.

Currently there are two intakes to Adult Nursing (one in September and the other in February).Those applying for entry in February 2016 should apply prior to 15 January 2015.

Applicants are advised to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.

Earlier applicants normally receive decisions more quickly, however, UCAS accepts that some applicants, especially those from outside the UK, may find this difficult. Late applications are, in practice, accepted by UCAS throughout the remainder of the application cycle, but you should understand that they are considered by institutions at their discretion, and there can be no guarantee that they will be given the same full level of consideration as applications received by the advisory closing date.

Take care to enter the details of the institutions and courses clearly and correctly on the application. For Queen's, the institution code name is QBELF and the institution code is Q75. These should be entered in the Choices section of your UCAS application. Please note a Campus Code is not required. For further information on applying to study at Queen’s, please click here.

Course Content (including module information)

Students who intend to study Politics at Levels 2 and 3 must choose between two and six of the introductory modules available in the first year.

Level 1 modules

  • Comparative Politics
  • Issues in Contemporary Politics
  • Contemporary Europe
  • Perspectives on Politics
  • World Politics: Conflict and Peace

Thereafter, Politics may be studied at Levels 2 and 3 as a Single Honours subject (12 modules) on its own, or as a Major (eight modules), Joint (six modules), or Minor (four modules) component along with another subject. The Politics element of the Law with Politics LLB comprises four modules, two at each of Levels 2 and 3.

At each Level there is a mix of compulsory and optional modules, depending on the mode of study. Students select the appropriate number of modules from the following indicative list.

Level 2 modules

  • American Politics
  • Democracy, Ethics and Economics
  • International Organisations
  • Modern Political Thought
  • British Politics
  • Politics and Policies of the European Union
  • Security and Terrorism
  • Studying Politics
  • The Politics of Deeply Divided Societies

Level 3 modules

  • Arms Control
  • Contemporary Political Theory
  • Asylum and Migration in Global Politics
  • Contemporary Political Philosophy
  • Ethics, Power and International Politics
  • Global Resource Politics
  • Security and Technology
  • Far Right in Western Europe and North America
  • Minorities in Europe
  • Northern Ireland: A Case Study
  • Political Parties and Elections in Northern Ireland
  • Political Parties, Representation and Democracy
  • Politics, Public Administration and Policy-making
  • Middle Eastern Politics
  • Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • The Politics of Irish Literature
  • The Politics of Sustainable Development
  • Theories of Global Justice
  • US Foreign Policy: War
  • War and Visual Culture
  • Women and Politics
  • Internship
  • The Placement
  • Dissertation

Fees & Scholarships

There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union. Higher education funding arrangements mean that students can study now and pay later.

Further details can be found on our fees and funding section.

Queen's works to ensure that all those who can benefit from a university education have the chance to do so, and a generous system of financial support is in place to help them. Each year Queen’s offer a range of scholarships and prize for new students. The most up to date listings are available here.

For international students, information on tuition fees, can be found here. Information on scholarships for international students, can be found here.

Learning and Teaching

At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable student to achieve their full academic potential.

On the Politics degree programme we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners.   Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:

  • Lectures: introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading.  Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).
  • E-Learning technologies:   Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online.  A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree through, for example:  interactive group workshops in a flexible learning space; IT and statistics modules; podcasts and interactive web-based learning activities; opportunities to use IT programmes associated with design in practicals and project- based work etc.
  • Seminars/tutorials:  Significant amounts of teaching are carried out in small groups (typically 10-20 students).  These provide an opportunity for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of peers.  Students should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups.
  • Self-directed study: This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out.
  • Supervised projects:  In final year, students may choose a year-long double-weighted dissertation module in Politics which requires them to carry out a significant piece of research on a topic that they have chosen.Alternatively, students can apply for an internship (a double-weighted module) where they will produce a learning journal and a 12,000 word project that relates directly to their placement.They will receive support from a supervisor in both cases who will guide them in terms of how to carry out your research and who will provide feedback throughout.
  • Personal Tutor:  Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor at the start of Level 1 for the duration of their degree programme. The Personal Tutor meets with their tutees on several occasions during the year to discuss and support a student’s academic progression and development. 

Career Prospects

A degree in Politics is not a passport to a particular career, but provides a stimulating programme of study and intellectual training useful in many walks of life. Transferable skills such as team-working, analytical understanding, debating and presentation skills, and increasingly information technology and communication skills are embedded in the curriculum. Graduates are thus equipped with the necessary attributes for graduate employment or postgraduate education and training, and are able to ‘make a difference’ in whatever future career they choose. Graduates in politics enter careers in, for example, marketing, journalism, broadcasting, education, the civil service, equal opportunities, banking, business, public relations, local government, even politics itself.

For those wishing to pursue further study after their first degree, the School provides a range of MA programmes, each of which can be taken either full-time in one year or part-time over two years. The MA programmes, each of which consists of four taught courses and a dissertation, are: Politics; Irish Politics; Comparative Ethnic Conflict;; Violence, Terrorism and Security; European Union Politics; Gender and Society; Legilsative Studies and Practice. There are also opportunities to do an MRes in Politics, and an MPhil or PhD by thesis.

Other Career-related information: Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group and, therefore, one of the 20 universities most-targeted by leading graduate employers.  Queen’s students will be advised and guided about career choice and, through the Degree Plusinitiative, will have an opportunity to seek accreditation for skills development and experience gained through the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer.  See Queen’s University Belfast fullEmployability Statementfor further information.

Degree Plus and other related initiatives:  Recognising student diversity, as well as promoting employability enhancements and other interests, is part of the developmental experience at Queen’s.  Students are encouraged to plan and build their own, personal skill and experiential profile through a range of activities including; recognised Queen’s Certificates, placements and other work experiences (at home or overseas), Erasmus study options elsewhere in Europe, learning development opportunities and involvement in wider university life through activities, such as clubs, societies, and sports. 

Queen’s actively encourages this type of activity by offering students an additional qualification, the Degree Plus Award (and the related Researcher Plus Award for PhD and MPhil students).  Degree Plus accredits wider experiential and skill development gained through extra-curricular activities that promote the enhancement of academic, career management, personal and employability skills in a variety of contexts.  As part of the Award, students are also trained on how to reflect on the experience(s) and make the link between academic achievement, extracurricular activities, transferable skills and graduate employment. Participating students will also be trained in how to reflect on their skills and experiences and can gain an understanding of how to articulate the significance of these to others, e.g. employers.

Overall, these initiatives, and Degree Plus in particular, reward the energy, drive, determination and enthusiasm shown by students engaging in activities over-and-above the requirements of their academic studies.  These qualities are amongst those valued highly by graduate employers.

Assessment & Feedback

Assessment (general):  The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each module.  Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments.  Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations.  Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction.

Feedback (general):  As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and your peers.  University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:

  • Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that students, as individuals or as part of a group, have submitted. 
  • Face to face comment.  This may include occasions when students make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help address a specific query.
  • Placement employer comments or references.
  • Online or emailed comment.
  • General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
  • Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid.  In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which students can review in their own time. 
  • Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
  • Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.

Once students have reviewed their feedback, they are encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of their work. 

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