BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with Optional Sandwich Placement/ Study Abroad

in the School of Law

About the course

1/1

This programme is due to be reviewed at a Periodic Review event which will be held in October. We expect that there will be further enhancements made to the programme as a result of the Review. Our website will therefore be updated after successful completion of the Periodic Review in order to provide applicants with further confirmed details on the following:

  • module titles
  • whether the modules are core or optional.

The BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations is an exciting new programme based on the modern de Havilland Campus, supported by a £10m facility in the state-of-the-art Law Court Building.

  • Get the best possible start to your career - with 92.2% of Hertfordshire Law School graduates in employment or further study within six months of graduating*
  • Benefit from outstanding and innovative research-led teaching - 65.4% of our students earn 1st class or 2:1 honours degrees
  • Develop an understanding of politics from a variety of perspectives, areas of study and cultural viewpoints 
  • Pick from a range of modules that interest you most from across the School.

    * Data sourced from 2015/16 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey.

Why choose this course?

At Hertfordshire Law School, we recognise that while you are studying with us, you will want to develop professionally as well as academically. To achieve this we have developed a range of free accredited courses, such as; Debating, Model UN, our Student Leadership System, and War of Words (Wow). Our co-curricular courses are designed to improve the skills needed for a great career in Politics and International Relations. 

Entry requirements...

2017 entry 

UCAS are introducing a new tariff for 2017 entry so the points being asked for are substantially different to previous years

112 UCAS points 

IB - 112 points from a minimum of 2 HL subjects at H4 or above (with the remaining points to come from a combination of HL, SL and Core).

GCSE Maths and English Language at grade 4 or above (Grade C or above under the old grading structure).

All students from non-majority English speaking countries require proof of English language proficiency, equivalent to an overall IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band. 

If you do not have the required IELTS or equivalent for direct entry on to your degree programme, our Pre-sessional English and International Foundation courses can help you to achieve this level.

For country specific qualifications, please visit our Your Country page.

2018 entry

96 - 112 UCAS points 

GCSE Maths and English Language at grade 4 or above (Grade C in English Language and Grade D in Maths under the old grading structure)

IB - 112 points from a minimum of 2 HL subjects at H4 or above (with the remaining points to come from a combination of HL, SL and Core).

Careers

Hertfordshire Law School has an excellent employability rate, and our graduates will gain the transferable skills needed to go on and undertake careers in local government and civil service, national political parties, media, law firms, charities and non-governmental organisations.

Students also have access to the University's Careers, Employment and Enterprise Service who can help you with seeking work experience, applying for jobs or starting up your own business.

Teaching methods

The BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations has been designed to build your skills, knowledge and confidence through a balance of core modules, which cover key skills and concepts in the field, and a selection of optional modules, which allow you to specialise in your own areas of interest.

You will be taught using the innovative Hertfordshire Law School three-stage method:

  • Lectures on demand
    Our lectures can be downloaded to a laptop to watch at your leisure.
  • Develop your skills
    Our tutorials allow you to apply what you're taught in the based lectures and they are recorded and accessible on the University's intranet system.
  • Put what you've learnt into practice
    Our workshops provide small group sessions that reinforce learning and allow detailed exploration of the subject matter.
  • Weekly surgery sessions
    Students can also drop into whereby any remaining questions or queries can be answered.

Work Placement

The Politics and International Relations programme offers students the chance to undertake an Internship module in year 3. 

Students will also have the opportunity to study abroad. This is a great opportunity to live in another country and to make new contacts and friendships. It will also allow students to broaden their education and gain new perspectives.

Structure

Year 1

Core Modules

  • Constitutional Law and Politics

    This module examines the organs of government, from the monarch, to the Prime Minister, Judges, MPs and beyond, and we will examine the checks and balances put in place to ensure that those in political power do not abuse their position. A whistle-stop tour through over 1000 years of history will be taken to reach conclusions as to why the UK enjoys an 'unwritten' constitution, and will evaluate its effectiveness. The module will also explore some of the key international organisations of which the UK is a signatory to - including the EU and the ECHR - and discuss and debate the impact that membership has had on the lives of the people of the UK.

  • Political Systems within Contemporary British Politics

    This module provides an introduction to political systems using the lens of British politics. The main theme of the course will be the changes in how British politics and political authority has changed and developed over the last 30 years. This political change will encompass Thatcher to Blair to Cameron and examine the political strategies in taking power, and the importance of party politics and leadership. The module will also look at the wider political context of the media in politics, political participation, the role of the civil service and devolution, not only to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, but also the new regional devolution. The module will also further reflect on the current events of the day, using the dominate methods of inquiry including, public choice, social movements, democracy, and political behaviour. While the focus is domestic, many of the same challenges are also faced by political systems in other west European countries, to which the course will make reference.

  • International Relations Theory in the Modern World

    This module provide students with an introduction and understanding of the basic concepts and approaches to the study of International Relations. The module aims to establish a firm basis to go on to study international relations in years 2 and 3. The course will introduce and examine a number of different theoretical perspectives and offer examples from both history and from current affairs to demonstrate the extent to which theories can be used to make sense of the issues. The course will cover many of the historical development of the international system including the UN, Cold War, and International Society. Further attention will be paid to key theories of international politics, such as Globalisation, Constructivism, Realism, Liberalism, Idealism, Nationalism, Green Politics, and apply these to contemporary international relations. This two fold approach will encourage students to identify important continuities and changes in international relations across the period starting in 1900 to present day.

  • Introduction to Politics

    This module provides an introduction to many political concepts that are central to thinking about political life. Through the study of these concepts and ideas, students will be introduced to the principal ideas in Western Politics, such as: Power, War, Sovereignty, Democracy, Ethics and Morality. In addition the lectures, tutorials, and workshops will familiarise students with a variety of different debates about how best to understand any given concept, as well as familiarising students with understanding the relationship between concepts.

Optional

Year 2

Core Modules

  • Comparative Political Systems

    This module introduces students to comparative politics, and refines research skills in the empirical study of the key concepts, processes and institutions of political systems. It will cover a range of topics, including: the different approaches in comparative politics and comparative research methods. The importance of Governments and bureaucracies will be examined, along with democracy and the Party systems in the UK and USA. This module will also consider actors and processes, policy making and finally global regional systems of governance, such as the EU, UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) and the AU (African Union).

  • Political Theory and Philosophy

    This module builds on the core modules in year 1 and takes a much more in depth and informative look at the political theory and philosophy. The focus within this module will be on big theoretical and philosophical questions such as “the state of nature”, “what is liberty”, “who should rule”, “equality and social justice” and “does democracy work”. This will involve examining the philosophies of scholars throughout history, and modern political theory to engage with and draw conclusions to these big political conceptions.

Optional

  • Strategic Studies

    This module will introduce students to the important international relations sub-discipline of strategic studies. The study of war, the use of force, and the pursuit of peace in world politics is explored in depth. The main themes of the module are understanding contemporary conflict, order and national security before going on to look at international security, finally considering conflict resolution and peace studies. The module will use knowledge and skills developed within years 1 and applying those theoretical narratives to new ideas and issues, while preparing students for more in-depth study of the use of force and war in year 3.

  • Policing and Society

    This module will identify key issues and major debates surrounding policing policy and practice, in England and Wales. Offering a general overview of the history and organisational structure of the police; policing theory and practice; realism; policing and the media; core issues in policing society; public order policing and equal opportunities and the future of policing. The course aims to enable students to grapple with various social, legal and criminological dimensions of policing work. Integrating a range of subject-specific and transferable skills, the course aims to provide students with a solid methodological and theoretical basis from which to pursue their own independent learning in the specific field of policing studies, as well as within the criminology and criminal justice field more broadly.

  • Imprisonment and Justice

    This module will cover: Punishment through imprisonment arguably serves as the lynchpin of contemporary criminal justice systems. The threat of imprisonment underpins logics of deterrence, incapacitation and ‘just desserts’, as well as rehabilitative aims. Yet the success of imprisonment—both as a crime control measure and as an institution of rehabilitation—remains limited. So while the prison is a core feature of western liberal democracies, it is also a source of much controversy and debate. Particularly as prison populations in England, Wales and elsewhere continue to grow at unprecedented levels, and as technologies of punishment extend well beyond the physical boundaries of the prison walls, the stakes of these debates are high. The expansion of imprisonment also raises broader questions about the relationship between imprisonment, law, democracy, and justice.

  • Ethnicity and Crime

    This module will present a critical assessment of official information on the criminality of ethnic minorities. Although much of the debates will centre on the UK, the module will explore situations in other countries and jurisdictions. What is it about 'race' that has made it a variable in academic and political discussions about crime? What is the nature of the political response to the 'race and crime' debate? The module will critically examine the evidence on the criminalisation and victimisation of minority ethnic people, and how recent international and nation events have acerbated this; for example, in relation to the 'war' on terror. How effective has been the political efforts to tackle racism in the criminal justice system and address the problem of disproportionality? The module will offer a critical analysis of racism and the criminal justice process from crime and victimisation to policing, punishment and probation.

  • Political History

    This module introduces students to some of the key historical events of modern history, and relates this debate to the discipline of British Politics and International Relations. The priority of the module is to ensure students can understand the key themes, ideas, issues and principles that recur throughout the last hundred years, which ensure that various theoretical approaches can be considered. The key ideas include war, peace, international reform, the international order, the balance of power, spheres of influence, terrorism, and imperialism. The course will reflect not only on British political history, but also the influence that world political history has had on politics within the UK. Students will be encouraged to identify significant continuities and changes in international politics across the period studied.

  • Internet Governance and Politics

    This module will cover: The module will enable students to understand the development of the Internet governance internationally as well as the Internet governance and politics landscape. It will explore different regulatory theories as applied to cyberspace and the conceptions of private regulation. Students will be able evaluate different actors involved in the regulation of the Internet globally and consider the notions of multi-stakeholderism (governance through a dialogue between different Internet stakeholders, i.e. governments, civil society, academia, private sector, users), E-democracy (Participation through Wikis, Online social networks, Blogs, Electronic voting, Reputation systems etc.), E-mobilisation (the Arab spring, hacktivism, slacktivism etc.) and E-government.

  • Local Government

    This module aims to consider and explore the increasing political move towards local government and devolved powers away from Westminster. It will consider the party politics of local government and ‘Grass Roots’ politics. The module will also explore different types of devolution, (such as the London Mayor and regional devolution). The module will spend some time examining local government as exercised through Local Councils, Local Elections and Parish Councils. The importance of austerity in Local Governments will be looked at before the module concludes by looking at the Police and crime commissioners.

  • Global Energy Politics and Governance

    This module introduces students to the main aspects of Global Energy Politics and Governance. It looks at the main issues and challenges in this field such as competition for energy resources, liberalization of energy markets and international cooperation. It also looks at the main actors involved in this field such as states, institutions and energy companies. During the module students will acquire the knowledge and skills to critically analyse and explain the main dynamics occurring in the global energy scenario. In addition to online lectures the module will be delivered through tutorials and workshops were students will have the opportunity to debate on the topics covered in the module.

Year 4

Core Modules

  • Dissertation

    The Dissertation module is an optional module of 30 Credit Points. It is a library based research of 10,000 words. This module provides you with the opportunity to choose a research topic that you are especially interested in and work on your own initiative. It allows you the freedom of independent study under the guidance of your supervisor, to undertake research on a specific legal topic, and to enhance your ability to master appropriate primary and secondary legal materials. This is your chance to develop a range of valuable skills different from those you have already gained from your undergraduate degree such as, researching, planning, writing well, thinking analytically, synthesizing complicated information, and organizing your time. It can also play an important role in showing a potential employer that you are able to work independently, plan a bigger project, collect information, and find the answer to any specific problem.

Optional

  • Internship

    The Internship requires students to undertake a period of work within a firm or organisation identified by the school and to reflect upon their experiences supported by appropriate research activities so as to underpin their professional development. Students are allocated a supervisor for their internship; these meetings will be documented by way of Diary sheets completed by both parties and will form the basis of the self-reflection journal which accounts for 70% of the overall mark. Student are required to give a presentation at the beginning of the module, which accounts for 30% of the overall mark.

  • Terrorism and Security

    Following the events of 11th September 2001, and 7th July 2005, public concerns surrounding terrorism, and its associated threats, have inevitably, perhaps irreversibly, deepened. Terrorism and security are, therefore, issues near at the top of the political agenda in countries from across the globe. This module will provide students with knowledge and understanding of the various approaches to studying terrorism and initiatives that are intended to counter it.

  • State Crime

    This module will cover: Long-standing debate within criminology about the scope and subject matter of state crime is reflected in the polarity of definitions of the concept, which locate breaches of the law by states at one end of the spectrum, and definitions based on non-statutory breaches of human rights at the other. How could the state be a criminal actor when legally it is the state itself that defines criminal behaviour by making and enforcing the law? Meaning, it could only be criminal on those rare occasions when it denounces itself for breaking its own laws. Yet, if criminology is to develop as a discipline that studies and analyses criminal, violent, abusive and deviant behaviours, then it is necessary to include state criminality in its field, on the grounds that the consequences of state crimes are more widespread and destructive than those of conventional crimes.

  • White Collar Crime and Corporate Crime

    This module will equip students with an appreciation of the political, social and financial costs of white-collar crime, as well as the particular challenges that exist in its effective detection, measurement and interdiction. It will enable students to recognise and engage with the political, social and economic considerations that shape policies towards white-collar and corporate crime. The module will be wide-ranging and research-led providing a rounded introduction to key literature and debates in the field from an international comparative perspective.

  • Human Rights

    This module will cover: The module examines the basis for the Human Rights discourse moving from the particular UK legal situation to the wider aspects of the European Convention, focusing on and establishing threads of similarities in order to establish a cohesive picture of Human Rights. The module focuses initially on the Human Rights Act 1998 and the effects on human rights in the UK since the Act came into force in 2000. This is followed by consideration of the European Convention on Human Rights machinery and its relationship with the UK’s domestic legal order. The module explores the extent to which key European human rights concepts and principles are apt in maintaining a healthy relationship between the UK and the ECHR institutions. It pays particular attention to a number of fundamental rights and their interplay including the prohibition of torture, the right to life, aspects of fair trial, the right to private life, religious freedom, and freedom of expression.

  • Jurisprudence

    The module will consider the relationship between law, morality and political theory along with the nature of moral arguments and cultural influences on law and the influence of political arguments in judicial interpretation and its impact on legal theory.

  • Jurisprudence

    The module will consider the relationship between law, morality and political theory along with the nature of moral arguments and cultural influences on law and the influence of political arguments in judicial interpretation and its impact on legal theory. The historical development of natural law and its continued legal relevance and contemporary theories of legal positivism, along with American Legal Realism and its contribution to theories of adjudication and Dworkin and his contribution to a theory of rights and political liberalism will also be explored. The module will also examine Legal and political obligation, the nature of justice: Aristotle, John Rawls and Robert Nozick, Law and Morality: medical law issues as examples and punishment and its justifications.

  • Transnational and Organised Crime

  • Surveillance State

    It is easy to be cynical about governmental surveillance. In recent years, a parade of disclosures relating to state-endorsed population monitoring initiatives have generated claims that we are entering an era of pervasive government surveillance akin to that envisaged by George Orwell in his famous work 1984. The extent to which such assertions are accurate, however, is a matter of contention. This module explores how governments not only facilitate surveillance, but also act to constrain it. It will include a heavy focus on the growth of the nation state, early forms of surveillance, and how these have been challenged, refined, and adapted over time, before then examining the key political, social and cultural consequences that stem from their use. The aim of the module will be to encourage students to consider the ethics and politics of openness, secrecy, and deception in the field of government surveillance, with the ultimate objective of developing a rigorous critical perspective of the area. Particular subjects to be considered include: data retention, the monitoring of electronic communications networks, the interception of communications, biometrics and CCTV, data mining and profiling, aerial surveillance, and the use of RFID and other geo-location services.

  • Regulation, Governance and Policy

    Regulation has become a permanent fixture in the governance of contemporary democratic societies. In the present day there are, for instance, very few spheres of activity, of either economic or social character, that are not subject to regulatory control or oversight in some form. This module is intended to introduce students to the concept of regulation, the forms it can take, its underlying theories and rationale, and a range of policy areas where questions pertaining to regulation are particularly salient (such as technology, banking, energy, healthcare, the media and crime) with a view to examining when, if ever, it is desirable for the state to prohibit, restrict, or otherwise exert influence over certain activities or behaviours. The module will be particularly useful to those interested in the formation of public policy and regulation generally, but also to those who take an interest in the regulation of particular sectors. It will encourage students to draw upon insights from various social scientific perspectives (including politics, law, economics and criminology) in order to understand how regulation can be leveraged to help to shape public policy outcomes and social behaviour.

  • International Organisations

    This module intends to explore the increasingly common feature of global politics and international organisations. Using a wide range of international organisations as our starting point, including the UN, WTO, WHO, and IAEA, students will be introduced to the various roles institutions play in contemporary politics. Students will consider three main themes over the course, why states join international organisations, what commitments states make to these groups, and whether they fulfil their mandates within international society. In addressing these concerns students will explore the political differences and questions that arise in international responses to issues. Topic areas include: the UN, WTO, WHO, and IAEA, International organisations as law makers, neoliberal institutionalism, realism, constructivism, issues of enforcement and compliance and analysis of major issues, such as environment, human rights, economic markets

  • Modern Russian Politics

    This module focuses on contemporary Russian politics and will give an overview as to the Historical and cultural aspects which have shaped the landscape of Russian politics. An understanding of the development of Russia’s political system which will include a depth of understanding of the Russian constitution, the executive and legislative branch, the power play between the president and prime minister and Electoral politics. Economic factors will be considered and an understanding of the crash of 1998 and subsequent economic progress and reform. Students will also consider the Soviet legacy as well as human rights and civil society within Russia. Russian foreign policy both historical and current will be assessed.

  • Public International Law

    The module introduces students to the role of international law in the conduct of international relations. It considers the peculiar nature of the international legal order through an analysis of its key principles, structures and institutions including the role of the State as a central actor of international relations as well as that of international organisations such as the United Nations and the growing role of individuals and non state actors. It also investigates the specificities of dispute resolution including the pervasive role of private justice and the limitations of existing judicial dispute settlement mechanisms like the International Court of Justice. The module explores the impact of international law in the management of contemporary international issues such as the use of force, the conduct of war, international crimes, human rights, the protection of the global environment and the conduct of economic relations.

  • Politics of the EU

    The EU has gone through troubled times from its beginning in the 1950s, and this was even more pronounced when it became a political entity in 1993. A topical debate in today’s society particularly in the UK, this module will look at these issues in depth in an attempt to address some of the broader questions surrounding the EU in policy areas particularly. You will learn whether there is indeed an informed answer to whether European political project was successful, and indeed, whether it will ever become successful. This will be done by looking especially at its political and legal systems, the laws and policies, and how these frameworks have affected its relationship with its own 28 Member States as well as those outside its borders.

  • Public International Law

    The module introduces students to the role of international law in the conduct of international relations. It considers the peculiar nature of the international legal order through an analysis of its key principles, structures and institutions including the role of the State as a central actor of international relations as well as that of international organisations such as the United Nations and the growing role of individuals and non state actors. It also investigates the specificities of dispute resolution including the pervasive role of private justice and the limitations of existing judicial dispute settlement mechanisms like the International Court of Justice. The module explores the impact of international law in the management of contemporary international issues such as the use of force, the conduct of war, international crimes, human rights, the protection of the global environment and the conduct of economic relations.

  • Political Problem Solving in Culturally Divided Societies

    This module will introduce students to the different types of cultural divisions which arise within societies and the political ramifications of these divides. It will examine the different theoretical/practical models which have been devised to try to resolve these conflicts and consider how successful these have been at resolving both the cultural and political divisions within society.

  • Drugs, Crime and Criminal Justice

  • Human Rights

    The module examines the basis for the Human Rights discourse moving from the particular UK legal situation to the wider aspects of the European Convention, focusing on and establishing threads of similarities in order to establish a cohesive picture of Human Rights. The module focuses initially on the Human Rights Act 1998 and the effects on human rights in the UK since the Act came into force in 2000. This is followed by consideration of the European Convention on Human Rights machinery and its relationship with the UK’s domestic legal order. The module explores the extent to which key European human rights concepts and principles are apt in maintaining a healthy relationship between the UK and the ECHR institutions. It pays particular attention to a number of fundamental rights and their interplay including the prohibition of torture, the right to life, aspects of fair trial, the right to private life, religious freedom, and freedom of expression.

Fees & funding

The government has yet to announce the upper limit of Tuition Fees for applicants wishing to study an undergraduate course in 2018/19. As soon as this information becomes available, our website will be updated and we will contact everyone who has applied to the University to advise them of their Tuition Fee.

Fees 2017

UK/EU Students

Full time: £9,250 for the 2017 academic year

Part time: If you decide to study this course on a part time basis you will be charged £1155 per 15 credits for the 2017 academic year

International Students

Full time: £11,350 for the 2017 academic year

Part time: If you decide to study this course on a part time basis you will be charged £1420 per 15 credits for the 2017 academic year

*Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.

View detailed information about tuition fees

Other financial support

Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

Living costs / accommodation

The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

View detailed information about our accommodation

How to apply

2017

Start DateEnd DateLink
26/09/201731/05/2018Apply online (Part Time)
22/01/201831/07/2018Apply online (Part Time)
26/09/201731/05/2018Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
22/01/201831/07/2018Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
25/09/201731/05/2018Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)

2018

Start DateEnd DateLink
24/09/201831/05/2019Apply online (Full Time)
26/09/201831/05/2019Apply online (Part Time)
22/01/201931/07/2019Apply online (Part Time)
26/09/201831/05/2019Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
22/01/201931/07/2019Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
25/09/201831/05/2019Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)

2019

Start DateEnd DateLink
24/09/201931/05/2020Apply online (Full Time)
26/09/201931/05/2020Apply online (Part Time)
22/01/202031/07/2020Apply online (Part Time)
26/09/201931/05/2020Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
22/01/202031/07/2020Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
25/09/201931/05/2020Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)