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.
You will develop an in-depth understanding of politics, political theory, how states are governed, and the place of citizens in politics.
Politics is a very dynamic subject area, and Queen’s Politics and International Relations staff study such topical issues as environmental politics, Brexit, democratic reforms (such as Citizens’ Assemblies and other democratic innovations), migration, citizenship, conflict, and security.
Politics Degree highlights
Politics was ranked joint 1st in the UK for Research Intensity (Complete University Guide 2021)
- 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 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.
Internship: students in their final year have the opportunity to secure a semester long internship, giving them hands-on experience of political issues and policymaking.
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.
- Queen’s is ranked in the top 170 in the world for graduate prospects (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022).
World Class Facilities
- The School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics at Queen‘s has over 70 full-time academics, making it the largest institutional centre for the study of these subjects in Ireland and one of the largest in the UK.
The School also boasts the following:
• Centre for Public History
• The Senator George J Mitchell Institute for
Global Peace, Security and Justice
• Institute of Cognition and Culture
• Institute of Irish Studies
• Two International Summer Schools (the Irish
Studies Summer School; and the Conflict
Transformation and Social Justice Summer
Internationally Renowned Experts
- With over 30 staff at the cutting edge of research and publication, the politics unit 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, democratic innovations, European Union politics, ethnic conflict, and international relations.
- Professor 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.
- Professor John Garry is an internationally recognised expert in the areas of citizens’ political attitudes and voting behaviour. His research has informed governments both in Belfast and Dublin on offering ordinary citizens the chance to have greater input on policymaking.
- 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.
- Northern Ireland's post-conflict society offers a globally significant location for studying key political themes.
- 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.
- Politics at Queen's is ranked in the top 200 in the world (QS World Rankings by subject 2022).
- Queen’s is the 25th most international university in the world and has staff and students from over 80 countries.
"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.”
|Course Content||The degree programme does not presuppose any prior training in Politics and can profitably be taken by those who have studied the subject at school – as well as those who have not.|
|Stage 1||You will choose six modules from a range of introductory modules, including the following:|
• Comparative Politics
• Contemporary Europe
• Issues in Contemporary Politics
• Perspectives on Politics
• World Politics.
• What is to be done? Sustainability, climate change and just energy transitions in the Anthropocene.
You may take up to two modules from across the Faculty.
|Stage 2||You will take two modules that will provide you with a solid grounding in political theory (Modern Political Thought) and research methods (Studying Politics), along with 4 optional modules, including:|
• American Politics
• British Politics in crisis?
• Irish Politics
• International Organisations
• Politics and Policies of the European Union
• Security and Terrorism
• International Relations
• The Politics of Deeply Divided Societies
• Apocalypse! The End of the World
• The Northern Ireland Conflict and paths to Peace
• Identity Politics in Diverse Societies
• Theory Counts
Note: Modules at Stage 2 and 3 are subject to change based on availability.
|Stage 3||You can choose to |
(1) take 6 taught modules,
(2) take 5 taught modules and do a placement,
(3) take 4 taught modules and do an internship, or
(4) take 4 taught modules and write a dissertation.
Here are some of the modules available at level 3:
• Arms Control
• Asylum and Migration in Global Politics
• Contemporary Political Philosophy
• Global Political Economy of Energy
• Politics of the Global Economy
• European Cultural Identities
• National and Ethnic Minorities in European Politics
• Northern Ireland: A Case Study
• Political Parties and Elections in Northern Ireland
• Challenges to Contemporary Party Politics
• Politics, Public Administration and Policymaking
• Security and Technology
• The Far Right in Western Europe and North America
• The Politics of Irish Literature
• Earth, Energy, Ethics and Economy
• Radical Hope: Inspiring Present-day Sustainability Transformations
• Social Identity
• Modelling the Social World
• The Placement
Dissertation: in their final year, students can choose 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.
Note: Modules at Stage 2 and 3 are subject to change based on availability.
People teaching youDr Cillian McBride
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: +44(0)28 9097 5028
Contact Teaching Times
|Personal Study||30 (hours maximum)|
30 hours studying and revising in your own time each week, including some guided study using handouts, online activities, etc.
|Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial||3 (hours maximum)|
3 hours of practical classes, workshops or seminars each week
|Large Group Teaching||6 (hours maximum)|
hours of lectures
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 our students to achieve their full academic potential.
On the BA in Politics 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. We create a supportive environment in which we get to know each of our students individually. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
- E-Learning technologies
Information associated with lectures and assignments is normally communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Canvas. This means that each course has its own mini-website containing all of the relevant course information, essential readings, recordings, discussion boards, etc. 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. Assessments may also 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.
|A level requirements|
A maximum of one BTEC/OCR Single Award or AQA Extended Certificate will be accepted as part of an applicant's portfolio of qualifications with a Distinction* being equated to grade A at A-Level and a Distinction being equated to a grade B at A-level.
|Irish leaving certificate requirements|
Successful completion of Access Course with an average of 70%.
|International Baccalaureate Diploma|
33 points overall, including 6,5,5 at Higher Level. If not offered at Higher Level/GCSE then Standard Level grade 4 in English would be accepted.
|BTEC Level 3 Extended/National Extended Diploma|
QCF BTEC Extended Diploma (180 credits at Level 3) with overall grades of D*DD
RQF BTEC National Extended Diploma (1080 GLH at Level 3) with overall grades of D*DD
A minimum of a 2:2 Honours Degree
All applicants must have GCSE English Language grade C/4 or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.
There are no specific Level 3 subject requirements to study Politics.
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.
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/4 or better (to include English Language). 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 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 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.
For applicants offering Irish Leaving Certificate, please note that performance at Irish Junior Certificate is taken into account. Applicants must have a minimum of 5 IJC grades C/ Merit. The Selector also checks that any specific entry requirements in terms of Leaving Certificate subjects can be satisfied.
For applicants offering a HNC, the current requirements are successful completion of the HNC with 2 Distinctions and remainder Merits.
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 remainder Merits in all units 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 (email@example.com), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.
Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.
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 Relations 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.
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, marketing, local government etc.
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/Future Ready 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/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.
Fees and Funding
|Northern Ireland (NI) 1||TBC|
|Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2||TBC|
|England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1||£9,250|
|EU Other 3||£20,800|
1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.
2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.
3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.
All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study and will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Note that the tuition fees quoted above are for the 2023-24 academic year and are for indicative purposes only as the fees for 2024-25 have not yet been finalised. These fees will be subject to an inflationary increase. All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study and will be subject to an annual inflationary increase for each year of the course, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
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.
A limited amount of funding may be available to contribute towards these additional costs, if the placement takes place through a government student mobility scheme.
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 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 www.qub.ac.uk/Study/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/students.
When to Apply
UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2024 from 1 September 2023.
Advisory closing date: 31 January 2024 (18:00). This is the 'equal consideration' deadline for this course.
Applications from UK and EU (Republic of Ireland) students after this date are, in practice, considered by Queen’s for entry to this course throughout the remainder of the application cycle (30 June 2024) subject to the availability of places.
Applications from International and EU (Other) students are normally considered by Queen’s for entry to this course until 30 June 2024. If you apply for 2024 entry after this deadline, you will automatically be entered into Clearing.
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 name for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.
Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at: www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/
Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study. Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.
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 2024.
- 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