Our BA Politics & International Relations and Journalism degree gives you the opportunity to study current challenges in national and international politics while developing a range of journalistic skills that will help you understand how key events are communicated in our so-called ‘post-truth’ era of fake news and alternative facts.
This degree focuses particularly on the interactions between media distribution and political governance while also giving students the opportunity to study both subjects in their breadth and diversity. We will ensure that your studies enhance knowledge, understanding and academic confidence and deliver strong transferrable and professional skills for a career, not limited to, but particularly in media, publishing and public relations.
During your studies you will explore topical practical and theoretical questions. You might explore issues which arise as a result of increasing political focus on different dimensions of security and its governance, for example in the modules ‘Security & Governance’, ‘Terrorism and Security’ or ‘The State in the 21st Century’. Journalism modules complement this by giving you the opportunity to consider how changing political conditions impact in areas of media production from news to features and online journalism. A module entitled ‘Journalism, Law and Ethics’ explores why we need an understanding of the regulatory framework to work as a journalist.
You will be taught by experts who work at the cutting edge of their research disciplines. Our journalism team are highly experienced practitioners who will help you develop the skills to produce work in different styles and for diverse markets.
Your learning experience will include subject-specific methods such as producing news items and features for a target readership and a variety of transferrable skills built through both subject areas, such as, structured argumentation and strong oral and written
You will be able to undertake a placement or study abroad year to gain professional experience or increase global awareness to build skills relevant to your studies in Politics and International Relations or Journalism.
A flexible programme of study across two complementary disciplines that allows you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting
Exceptional teaching by academics conducting world-leading research
Innovative courses that enable you to understand the rewarding connection between these two disciplines
Transferable skills built through work placements, internships and extra-curricular activities
The chance to study for a year at one of our many partner institutions across the world
Our politics and journalism students benefit from being part of a diverse and active academic community. Our interactive seminars and workshops help you find your feet in the academic environment, and establish ways of working confidently, creatively and collaboratively. We see our students as fellow researchers, and we place a great deal of importance on sharing and developing skills.
You will have the opportunity to get involved in activities that will complement your studies. Not only do these enhance your experience, they also make for a more impressive CV. We offer extra-curricular modules in debating and model United Nations, while our journalism students gain practical skills through work placements and writing for the University’s newspaper, TV or digital channels. You’ll be able to network with invited speakers and take short industry summer courses.
Taking a year’s study abroad at one of our many partner universities is an excellent opportunity to broaden your understanding of the world. Living in another country opens up fresh perspectives and helps create global citizens, for example studying in America will give you first-hand experience of a Trump and Republican government. Wherever you choose to study, immersing yourself in a host country enhances your learning, giving you a greater appreciation of other cultures and societies, and a deeper understanding of their everyday lives.
Introduction to Media Communications - 15 Credits
The aim of this module is to provide an insight to the various fields of media practice and communication studies. It will also introduce students to some of the key theories used in understanding media cultures. Students will learn about different economic and political structures that underlay the UK media system and engage with some of the conceptual frameworks for understanding media communications.
The module is structured in three parts. In the first sessions, students are introduced to the basics of media communications. The sessions might cover topics such as the different types of media and models of communications. The second part – Audiences, Industry and Politics – takes a closer look at Media Effects and Audiences, News Values, media biases as well as industry structures. The final part will enable student to explore some of the key theorists that have written on media, for example Marshall McLuhan and Stuart Hall.
Introduction to Journalism - 15 Credits
Students will explore newsgathering, news writing, feature writing and interviewing.
The module will introduce students to a diverse range of publications including broadsheets, tabloids and magazines. Students will critically assess the material and identify the different styles and approaches taken to news articles and features.
The fundamentals of practical journalism will be explored, including using English effectively and developing editing and proofreading skills.
Skills taught will include: sourcing ideas; researching a story; how to employ a variety of methodologies; how to target different the audiences and readers; how to structure news and feature articles, with effective introductions and endings.
Journalism, Law and Ethics - 15 Credits
In this module, students will be introduced to key laws impacting on journalists, including defamation, copyright and Freedom of Information. They will also explore the Human Rights Act as it affects journalists and compare defamation law across different countries. Students will also investigate the ethical dilemmas that may impact on journalists in any Western liberal democracy and look at the codes of conduct that have been put in place to encourage ethical behaviour.
Global Media and Society - 15 Credits
This module considers the relationship between the media and their social context. Throughout the module students will discuss the ways in which the media reflect and shape social attitudes and challenge their own assumptions about society and the media. Through discussions of issues such as class, race and gender this module will consider how different groups are represented in mediated images. The module will also examine the public role of the media and students will be asked to think analytically and critically about concepts such as free press, media impartiality or bias, and the relationship of the media with commercial and political institutions. The module further analyses different Global media systems, organisations and institutions and allows students to make a series of comparisons between local and international media systems. It places an emphasis on the relationships between products and the socio-political construction of their different audiences.
Radio Journalism - 15 Credits
In this module, you will source original stories specifically suitable for radio and learn how to write, interview and structure reports for this media type. You will learn how to tell stories with the aid of audio techniques.
All teaching will take place in workshops and you will acquire knowledge and understanding of radio journalism and the technical skills needed to produce effective radio broadcasts.
Moreover, this module will introduce you to terminology used in broadcast environments; it will expand your critical understanding of news values and agendas; legal and ethical requirements specific to broadcast journalism (balanced and impartial reporting, compliance, etc.); and your awareness of the converging media landscape.
By the end of the module, you will be able to tell stories with the aid of audio techniques; have gained confidence in presentational skills; demonstrate knowledge of the technical skills required to edit audio files; and work effectively in a team to produce a radio programme.
Social Media - 15 Credits
Social media has opened up new opportunities for journalism while also challenging the traditional understanding of public participation and potentially empowering audiences and civil society organisations by offering new platforms for free expression and social activism.
The media industry has also expanded and commercial organisations such as BP and Tesco are using social media as part of their communications strategy to connect with their customers. This module explores social media and its impact on new business models and critically evaluates the transformative claims for platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The lectures may include the following topics:
Social media and democracy, digital journalism, law and ethics for social media, economy of new media, citizen journalism, business models for social media.
Graduate Skills - 0 Credits
You will be offered a variety of employment enhancing workshops and online activities such as interview skills workshops, personality profiling and career planning in order to improve your employment prospects after graduation and make you aware of current areas of strength and weakness in relation to employability.
You will also have the opportunity to learn about self-employment options, graduate schemes and will attend speaker sessions with successful professionals in areas of employment appropriate for Humanities graduates so you can learn about the skills and attributes required for these areas and how to enhance your prospects of entering such areas.
You will be required to undertake a certain number of activities chosen by you from a career “menu” and to reflect on what they have learnt in order to complete the module successfully.
Journalism Skills: Features - 15 Credits
In this module students will be introduced to researching and reporting techniques for writing features and will be developing and extending the skills in writing acquired at Level 4.
Workshop sessions will enable students to gain hands-on practise of writing features in a simulated magazine or supplement environment.
Journalism Skills: News - 15 Credits
In this module students will develop their news research and writing techniques for news reports, developing and extending the skills in writing news acquired at level 4. Workshop sessions will enable students to gain hands-on practice in writing news reports in a simulated newsroom environment. There will be an emphasis on the use of ICT to research stories and students will be encouraged to use the Internet and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and other advanced sites, for research and seeking comment.
Students will write at least 3 articles, through which they will explore, in greater depth, the key elements of news journalism.
Comparative Political Systems - 30 Credits
This module introduces you to comparative politics, and refines research skills in the empirical study of the key concepts, processes and institutions of political. The comparative method, will allow systems to compared and contrasted, to test hypotheses regarding the factors producing similarities and differences across different political systems. The module identifies that most important comparative methods, and then moves into the ways and methods in which political systems can be organised and categorised. The module encourages you to focus on the skill of using both qualitative and quantitative data to support your arguments.
Modern Political Philosophy - 30 Credits
This module builds on the level 4 core module ‘Introduction to Politics’ which introduces students to important political concepts such as the state, freedom and justice. ‘Modern Political Philosophy’ will open up a more advanced, critical insight to how the ideas and arguments which lie at the heart of current political debates are developed in the works of central modern and contemporary political thinkers. When is state action legitimate? What is more important – the political protection of individual rights or the well-being of a society as a whole? And how does our knowledge of the world support structures of power, hierarchies and exclusions within and beyond political institutions? The module will explore how different schools of modern political thought, such as liberalism and republicanism, have developed in their historical context and invites you to critically analyse how they can be challenged through post-foundationalist approaches.
Security and Governance - 30 Credits
This module will provide you with an in-depth exploration of the causes and contributing factors of international and domestic conflict. The main themes will touch upon issues of national and international governance of dissent and disputes, before going on to look at conflict resolution at the local and international levels. The module will use knowledge and skills developed in year 1 and apply those theoretical narratives to new ideas and issues, at the micro, meso and meta levels of analysis. This module specifically prepares you for more in-depth study of peace-building and the governance of post-war societies in year 3 by focusing the discussion of conflict around issues of failures of governance.
We, the People: Democratic Theory and Practice - 15 Credits
The module is designed to equip students with solid and advanced understanding of key issues and challenges concerning the theory and practice of democratic politics. Democracy is the most spread type of political system and political organisation, but its forms, understanding and applications remain profoundly diverse and contested. Students will be invited to critically reflect on the changing nature and dynamics pertaining to democratic theory and practice; they will be exposed to a variety of concepts, approaches and methods shaping contemporary democratic theorising and will be encouraged to apply them to the analysis of current affairs and institutions in domestic and international contexts. Core questions around ideas of citizenship, inclusion, participation, contestation, equality, empowerment and action will be analysed with reference to theoretical debates and applied case-studies. The module will also interrogate claims around the status of crisis that democracy is witnessing worldwide and will examine initiatives and propositions around prospects for a democratic renewal.
The State in the 21st Century - 15 Credits
In 1996, Susan Strange published The Retreat of the State in which she argued that the central role of the state in both domestic and international politics was diminishing. However, in recent years political developments across the globe, including the policies of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, BREXIT, and the 2008 Financial Crisis, have shifted focus back onto the state as the primary arena for the conduct of politics. Through a combination of theoretical discussions and applied case studies, this module will explore how and why the state is returning as well as what its return means for the broader narrative of domestic and international politics.
Political History: Milestones, Change and Continuity - 15 Credits
How have historical events shaped contemporary global politics? This is the central question addressed by this module. Through a series of historical case studies (such as the Battle of Algiers, the Suez Crisis, and the Space Race) and the broader political concepts they represent (such as decolonisation, arms racing, changing power structures), this module will explore the extent to which the current international political system is rooted in the historical developments of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Additionally, you will identify, and reflect on, some of the key political milestones, continuities, and changes that occurred in global politics during this period.
*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.
IB – 72 points from a minimum of 2 HL subjects at H4 or above.
GCSE Maths grade 4 (D) and English Language grade 4 (C) or above.
The University of Hertfordshire is committed to welcoming students with a wide range of qualifications and levels of experience. The entry requirements listed on the course pages provide a guide to the minimum level of qualifications needed to study each course. However, we have a flexible approach to admissions and each application will be considered on an individual basis.
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.