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.
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.
Politics Degree highlights
Various serving politicians have studied in the School, including Ian Paisley Jr (MP), the Green Party Leader, Stephen Agnew, and ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive.
- Students have the opportunity to spend part of the course studying in other European universities, through our Erasmus programme, and also in the USA and Canada.
- The study of politics is not directed towards any one professional pathway, but rather provides the generic skills for success in a number of professional fields including the civil service, media, the charity sector, education, etc.
- The School offers a range of employment placements where students can gain real world work experience which is invaluable in terms of employment after graduation. Given that Belfast is a regional capital with devolved powers, we can offer students placements in the high profile political and related institutions on our doorstep – for example in the Department of Justice, Equality Commission, Police Ombudsman’s Office, or BBC Northern Ireland.
- Studying for a Politics degree at Queen‘s will assist students in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers and academic institutions. Graduates in Politics enter careers in areas such as marketing, journalism, broadcasting, education, the Civil Service, equal opportunities, banking, business, public relations, local government, and even politics itself.
World Class Facilities
- Research-led Teaching: cutting-edge research drives our externally commended teaching, most recently evidenced in the latest student satisfaction survey.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- The Head of School, Prof. Yvonne Galligan, OBE, is an internationally recognised expert in the politics of gender. She was a member of an Independent Commission of Inquiry on The Consequences of Devolution for the UK House of Commons (the McKay Commission), in 2013. She was also independent chairperson of the Markievicz Commission in Ireland on measures to implement the candidate gender quota of 30%, in 2014. She was awarded an OBE in the Birthday 2014 Honours List. Prof. Beverley Milton Edwards has advised various governments in her role as an expert on the Middle East, and is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Brooking Institution. Prof. David Phinnemore is an expert on EU Treaty reform and EU enlargement, which led to his secondment as an advisor to the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- Our uniquely supportive pastoral care/ personal tutor system is equalled only by the academic guidance available. Our vibrant Politics Society (Polysoc) provides a welcome and stimulating environment for new students.
“I chose Queen’s because the wide choice of modules essentially allows me to build my own degree. I enjoy the way we are taught through lectures and tutorials where we are given an overview of a topic, able to research more for ourselves, and then debate with our peers in tutorial sessions. The School is very open to the input of students and I enjoy the level of student engagement through societies and student-staff consultative committees.”
Jessica Simonds, Colwyn Bay, Wales 3rd Year, BA Politics
- Students have the opportunity to spend part of the course studying in other European universities, through our Erasmus programme, and also in the USA and Canada.
Course Content Students who intend to study Politics at Levels 2 and 3 must choose between two and five of the introductory modules available in the first year.
• Comparative Politics
• Contemporary Europe
• Issues in Contemporary Politics
• 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.
• American Politics
• British Politics
• Democracy, Ethics and Economics
• International Organisations
• Modern Political Thought
• Politics and Policies of the European Union
• Security and Terrorism
• Studying Politics
• The Politics of Deeply Divided Societies
• Arms Control
• Asylum and Migration in Global Politics
• Contemporary Critical Theory
• Contemporary Political Philosophy
• Ethics, Power and International Politics
• Global Resource Politics
• Middle Eastern Politics
• Minorities in Europe
• Northern Ireland: A Case Study
• Political Parties and Elections in Northern Ireland
• Political Parties, Representation and Democracy
• Politics, Public Administration and Policymaking
• Scotland and Northern Ireland
• Security and Technology
• The Far Right in Western Europe and North America
• 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
• The Placement
Dissertation: in their final year, students can to write a dissertation based on a research topic of their choice and under one-to-one supervision by an academic with specialist knowledge in the chosen field.
Stage 1 Optional Courses Contemporary Europe
Issues in Contemporary Politics
Students may also choose two additional courses from throughout the University.
Stage 2 Modern Political Thought
Stage 2 Optional Courses Politics and Policy of the European Union
The Politics of Deeply Divided
Democracy, Ethics & Economics
Security and Terrorism
Stage 3 In their final year, students can to write a dissertation based on a research topic of their choice and under one-to-one supervision by an academic with specialist knowledge in the chosen field. This provides a unique opportunity for students to marshal all the research and writing skills they have learned through the course of their degree to produce an original piece of research which reflects the particular interests that they have acquired in their time studying at Queen’s.
Courses are outlined below:
Dissertation (Politics and International Studies)
Contemporary Critical Theory
The Politics of Irish Literature
Women and Politics
Middle Eastern Politics
Scotland and N Ireland: Points of Political Comparison
Contemporary Political Philosophy
The Politics of Sustainable Development
US Foreign Policy
Asylum and Migration in Global Politics
The Far Right in Western Europe and North America
Northern Ireland: A Case Study
Political parties, representation and democracy
Security and Technology
Ethics, Power and International Politics
National and Ethnic Minorities
Politics, Public Administration and Policy-Making
Political Parties and Election
War and Visual Culture
People teaching you
Contact Teaching Times
Large Group Teaching 6 (hours maximum)
hours of lectures
Medium Group Teaching 3 (hours maximum)
hours of practical classes, workshops or seminars each week
Personal Study 29 (hours maximum)
27–29 hours studying and revising in your own time each week, including some guided study using handouts, online activities, etc.
Learning and Teaching
Examples of opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
- E-Learning technologies
Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online. Many of the course readings are supplied via Queen’s Online, and e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree programme through the use of, for example, interactive support materials, podcasts and web-based learning activities.
These introduce foundation information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. As the module progresses this information becomes more complex. Lectures, which are normally delivered in large groups to all year-group peers, also provide opportunities to ask questions and seek clarification on key issues as well as gain feedback and advice on assessments.
- 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
A significant amount of teaching is carried out in small groups (typically 8-15 students). These sessions are designed to explore, in more depth, the information that has been presented in the lectures, and reading material that has been set for the course. These sessions provide students with the opportunity to engage closely 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 their peers. During these classes on some courses, students will be expected to present their work to academic staff and their peers.
Details of assessments associated with this course are outlined below:
- The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the learning objectives of each module. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction. Politics modules are typically assessed by two coursework assignments in the first semester, and one assignment plus a final written unseen examination in semester two. Variations on this include assessed presentations, group projects, and “learning logs” based on weekly reading.
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 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 you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face to face comment. This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to 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, or during a 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 you can review in your own time.
- Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
- Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.
- E-Learning technologies
In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.Read more Read less
Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by individual University Schools. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.
Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.
For entry last year, applicants for this degree offering A-Level/ BTEC Level 3 qualifications must have had, or been able to achieve, a minimum of 5 GCSE passes at grade C or better (to include English Language). Performance in any AS or A-level examinations already completed would also have been taken into account and the Selector will check that any specific entry requirements in terms of GCSE and/or A-level subjects can be fulfilled.
Offers are normally made on the basis of 3 A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The minimum acceptable is two subjects at A-level plus one at AS though applicants offering this combination will be considered on an individual basis. The offer for repeat applicants is set in terms of 3 A-levels and may be one grade higher than that asked from first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.
Applicants offering two A-Levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification), or one A-Level and a BTEC Diploma/National Diploma (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. Offers will be made in terms of performance in individual BTEC units rather than the overall BTEC grade(s) awarded. Please note that a maximum of one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent) will be counted as part of an applicant’s portfolio of qualifications. The normal GCSE profile will be expected.
Applicants offering other qualifications, such as Higher National Certificates and Diplomas will also be considered.
For applicants offering a HNC, the current requirements are successful completion of the HNC with 2 Distinctions and the remainder of units at Merit grade.
For those offering a Higher National Diploma, to be eligible for an offer, at least half of the units completed in the first year of the HND must be at Merit level and remainder Passes. Applicants must successfully complete the HND with 2 Distinctions and the remainder of units at Merit grade assessed in the final year. Any consideration would be for stage 1 entry only. Some flexibility may be allowed in terms of GCSE profile.
The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of BA degrees, these are not the final deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.
A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking 4 A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.
Applicants are not normally asked to attend for interview, though there are some exceptions and specific information is provided with the relevant subject areas.
If you are made an offer then you may be invited to a Faculty/School Open Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree programme of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen's.
If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions Service (firstname.lastname@example.org), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
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: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
- Academic English: 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.
International Students - Foundation and International Year One Programmes
INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.
These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.
The INTO progression course suited to this programme is
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Graduates from this degree at Queen‘s are well regarded by local, national and international employers and over half of all graduate jobs are now open to graduates of any discipline, including International Politics and Conflict Studies. Although the majority of our graduates are interested in pursuing careers in the public and voluntary/community sectors, significant numbers develop careers in the private sector, working in industries from management consultancy to law and journalism.
Employment after the Course
A degree in Politics provides a stimulating programme of study and intellectual training useful in many walks of life and future career paths. Graduates are 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 areas such as marketing, journalism, broadcasting, education, the Civil Service, equal opportunities, banking, business, public relations, local government, and even politics itself.
We regularly consult and develop links with a large number of employers, including NI government departments and the North/South Ministerial Council, who provide sponsorship for our internships.
In addition, the School offers a range of employment placements where students can gain real world work experience which is invaluable in terms of employment after graduation. Given that Belfast is a regional capital with devolved powers, we can offer students placements in the high profile political and related institutions on our doorstep - for example in the Department of Justice, Equality Commission, Police Ombudsman’s Office, or BBC Northern Ireland.
Additional Awards Gained(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Prizes and Awards(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) £4,275 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £9,250 Other (non-UK) EU £4,275 International £16,400
Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library.
If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.
Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.
Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.
If a final year includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.
Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.
There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
In Year 2 students can apply for a number of optional exchanges with institutions in the USA. The cost will vary depending on the institution and length of exchange and can range from £500 - £6,000.
Students who undertake a period of study or work abroad, are responsible for funding travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. These costs vary depending on the location and duration of the placement. Students should be aware that placement and internship modules do not normally involve payment or financial support from either Queen’s or the placement/internship provider.
If the placement is undertaken under the European Erasmus programme, students are normally eligible to receive a top-up grant to contribute towards these costs of approximately €300 per month. A limited number of Erasmus grants are available.
How do I fund my study?
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.
Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.
Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.
How and when to Apply
How to Apply
Application 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: www.ucas.com/apply.
When to Apply
UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2019 from 1 September 2018.
Advisory closing date: 15 January 2019 (18:00).
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.
Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.
The Institution code for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.
Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/
After an offer is made this will be notified to applicants through UCAS. Confirmation will be emailed by the Admissions and Access Service and this communication will also include Terms and Conditions (www.qub.ac.uk/Study/TermsandConditions) which applicants should read carefully in advance of replying to their offer(s) on UCAS Track.
Additional Information for International (non-EU) Students
- Applying through UCAS
Most students make their applications through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for full-time undergraduate degree programmes at Queen's. The UCAS application deadline for international students is 30 June 2019.
- Applying direct
The Direct Entry Application form is to be used by international applicants who wish to apply directly, and only, to Queen's or who have been asked to provide information in advance of submitting a formal UCAS application. Find out more.
- Applying through agents and partners
The University’s in-country representatives can assist you to submit a UCAS application or a direct application. Please consult the Agent List to find an agent in your country who will help you with your application to Queen’s University.
Fees and Funding
- Applying through UCAS