The study of politics and international relations concentrates on the way in which individuals have organised, and continue to organise, their social and collective life. Political science is an academic discipline with a long history, going back to the ancient Greeks. It has two main aspects, both of which are taught at Queen Mary: the study of government and political institutions, and the study of political ideas and ideologies. You will be introduced to theories of politics and will analyse topical debates on, among others, the state, representative democracy, British politics, global governance, war and security, the politics of the developing world, US foreign policy, gender and politics, the politics of the Middle East, European integration, electoral behaviour, public policy and globalisation. At the end of your programme you will have acquired the skills needed to analyse and make sense of these real-life issues that have changed and continue to change our world.
The BA in Politics is designed to give you an excellent grounding in the discipline, covering political theory, ideas and ideologies, government and institutions, area studies and comparative politics. As with all the degree programmes in the School, the BA in Politics is taught within a modular framework. This means that you are able to select modules according to your areas of interest, alongside the core modules associated with your programme.
Why study Politics at Queen Mary?
In the most recent National Student Survey, 80 per cent of our students were satisfied overall with the quality of their experience and 90 per cent were employed or doing further study six months after graduation. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, the School of Politics and International Relations was rated very highly for the quality of our research. Our staff have diverse research interests, and this is reflected in the choice of modules available to students.
There are huge benefits to studying politics in London, with national political institutions, party headquarters, high-profile international organisations and think-tanks all based here. At Queen Mary, we exploit our location to the full, inviting a range of high-profile and inspiring speakers to the campus. David Willetts MP, Baroness Hayman, and Lords Healey, Mandelson and Hurd all spoke at the Mile End Institute, a forum for the exchange of ideas on government. There’s also a student-run politics society who organise debates and events of their own.
- Introduction to Politics
- Background to British Politics
- Political Analysis
- EITHER, Introduction to International Relations OR, one other module chosen from another School within the Faculty, for example, Modern Languages, History or Geography
- Modern Political Thought
- British Politics
- Theories of State: Economy and Society
- Representative Democracy in Practice
- Global Governance
- International Politics of the Developing World
- International Relations: Theories and Contemporary Issues
- War and Security in World Politics
- Plus options from another School within the Faculty
- The Research Project
- Case Studies in Ethnic Conflict: Ireland and Northern Ireland
- Electoral Behaviour
- Theories of the Self
- European Integration and the European Union as a Political System
- Analysing Public Policy
- European Politics: National Identity and Ethnicity
- The Politics of Post-Colonial Middle East
- Gender and Politics
- Globalisation: Issues and Debates
- Theories of Radical Democracy and Politics
- The Politics of the New Left: Ideas, Practice and Legacy
- US Foreign Policy
- Liberalism, Past and Present
- Tolerance: Theories and Cases
- Theories of Radical Democracy and Politics
- Marxism in World Politics
- Socialist Political Thought
- Latin American Politics
- Twentieth Century Political Thought
- Nationalism and Ethnicity in International Relations
Typical tariff or grades required: 320 from 3 A-levels, equivalent to ABB at A-level. In some circumstances we may ask for BBB from 3 A-Levels and grade A in the Extended Project Qualification.
Excluded subjects: General studies and critical thinking.
Subjects and grades: 34 points overall, with 5,5,5 in Higher Level subjects.
Vocational and other qualifications:
The College accepts a wide range of qualifications such as; Access and Foundation programmes, vocational awards, Irish Leaving Certificate, Scottish Highers and other Baccalaureates. Further information on our entry requirements.
Admission is based on academic merit and on the proven ability of the applicant to achieve success on their chosen programme of study. Every application to Queen Mary is considered on its individual merits with personal statement and reference taken into consideration.
Learning and teaching
As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. Teaching is by a mixture of formal lectures and small group seminars. The seminars are designed to generate informed discussion around set topics, and may involve student presentations, group exercise and role-play as well as open discussion. We take pride in the close and friendly working relationship we have with our students. You are assigned an Academic Adviser who will guide you in both academic and pastoral matters throughout your time at Queen Mary.
For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete a further 2-3 hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.
The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.
Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.
Students are assessed by a combination of coursework and exams. A few modules are assessed by coursework only. If a module is assessed by means of coursework alone, this is usually in the form of a research project or dissertation, and the tutor project supervisor offers guidance and support in the researching and writing of this piece of assessment.
Fees and finance
Tuition fees for Home and EU students
Tuition fees for International students
You can either take out a Tuition Fee Loan (see Funding section below) to pay your fees or, if you are paying them yourself, you can pay in instalments.
Tuition fees for a year abroad or placement year on a full time undergraduate course will be a proportion of the full fee for the year in which you commence your time abroad or placement.
For information on field trip and other course related costs which are not included in your tuition fee, please contact the relevant Department/School.
See more general information about fees.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676
Queen Mary has a substantial package of scholarships and bursaries which will benefit around 50 per cent of our undergraduate student body.
Scholarships and Bursaries available at Queen Mary for Home/EU Students
There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students. Visit our Bursaries and Scholarships page for more information.
Visit our Advice and Counselling website for more information about financial support.
Scholarships available at Queen Mary for International Students
There are a number of Scholarships available each year for International Students including bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas.
Find out more about international scholarships.
Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction.
Loans and Grants available to help with tuition fees and living costs
Student Finance England administers all grant and loans for your studies if you normally live in England.
Through Student Finance England, you can apply for (figures relate to programmes starting from September 2016):
- A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,000 to pay all or part of your fees
- A Maintenance Loan of up to £10,702 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
- Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
- You might get a grant to cover some travel expenses if you normally live in England but study away from home. If you’re a medical or dental student you might also qualify for help with the costs of attending clinical placements in the UK.
Visit Student Finance Information to find out more about:
- How to apply for student finance
- What eligibility rules apply, including if you already have a degree or previous higher education study
- What the income thresholds are and how much you might personally get for each element of Student Finance
- What to do if you have problems getting your Student Finance
Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary
We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.
Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:
- Additional sources of funding
- Planning your budget and cutting costs
- Part-time and vacation work
- Money for lone parents
For more information visit the Advice and Counselling service website, or call +44 (0)20 7882 8717.
Graduates from Queen Mary’s School of Politics and International Relations go on to work in a wide variety of careers. Some apply their degree knowledge directly, entering sectors such as government, charities or public affairs, whilst others transfer skills gained during study into roles such as policy research, law, campaigning or a wide range of opportunities in the commercial arena.
The national 2012 destination survey confirmed that 89% of BA Politics graduates were in employment or study six months after graduation and 74% of these were already working or studying at graduate level. Queen Mary graduates have an average earning power of £23,000 six months after graduation.
The broad range of skills gained through this course, coupled with significant opportunities for extra-curricular activities and work experience, has enabled students to move into careers such as:
- Campaigns Coordinator - House of Commons MP
- Marketing Manager - Royal Bank of Canada
- Parliamentary Assistant - House of Commons MP
- Trainee Accountant - Scodie Deyong
- Campaigns Assistant - Labour Party
- Client Account Associate - PWC
Throughout the course, students have access to an annual QM Careers and Enterprise Centre programme, to prepare them for internships and graduate level work. This includes employer led workshops on job applications and interviews as well as over 70 employer events to facilitate networks and help students to explore their options.
Recent careers events in the School of Politics and International Relations include a ‘Politics in Practice’ event with speakers from Chatham House, UNHCR, UpRising and the World Development Movement’. Other sessions focused on Political Risk with speakers from a political risk consultancy and Insurance companies and workshops on career choice and applications.
Opportunities for work experience are substantial given Queen Mary’s location between Canary Wharf, the City and the Olympic Village. Students are encouraged to build their work experience throughout their period of study, through, for example, our QProjects work experience scheme, our QRecruit internships and temporary work hub, the part time work Experience Works event and QMSU Provide volunteering services. Over 1400 vacancies are available to browse on the QM JobOnline vacancy site.
Queen Mary’s extensive campus also provides over 1200 on-campus job and volunteer opportunities ranging from E-learning Assistant to Gym Instructor and from Society President to Student Mentor.
Read more about our careers programmes and range of work experience opportunities on the QM Careers and Enterprise Centre pages.
Amrin Nahar, International Relations BA, 2016
“As an International Relations student, studying in London has given me the chance to be close to the centre of UK politics and take advantage of lots of different events. For example, I went to the Citizens UK London Mayoral Assembly and got to see candidates Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan debate live. The variety of faith organisations, schools and universities that came together to tackle important issues was definitely something you wouldn’t see in any other city on earth. I’ve also been active in the ‘Refugees Welcome in Tower Hamlets’ campaign with Citizens UK, which aims to resettle Syrian refugees in my local borough. Experiencing grassroots politics in action as a student has prepared me for a career in politics once I graduate.”
Amy Spencer, BA Politics 2016
“I was initially given a place to study Law with a year abroad at Surrey University in Guildford. I now study BA Politics at QMUL. I was very happy as I had achieved grades ABB and had been given my place at Surrey University but felt like it was not the place for me. I called QMUL Clearing hotline straight after I had opened my results, as I was already interested in changing courses, the person on the other end was very helpful and was able to give me a place very shortly after calling. Going to QMUL was the best choice of my life, as I have made great friends and have been able to balance my degree with a part time job. I would advise students to explore your options before you make any rational decisions. This is a big step so it doesn’t hurt to do your research before making up your mind, but I know that I made a brilliant decision.”
Kamrul Alom, BA Politics
"I initially applied for the Industrial Economics Course at Nottingham, and had City University’s Financial Economics course as a backup. I am currently studying Politics at QMUL. I had initially felt extremely sad and disappointed, however, looking back at my time as I feel like it allowed me to come to QMUL. Which is one of the best decisions and events that has occurred to me. I enjoy the variety of options I have, where I can take modules from Politics to Languages. The course is a mix of strong academic learning, i.e. text book based and historical events, current affairs to more modern forms of learning. Currently, I am involved with the Foodbank Society, where I helped with the Bow Foodbank group. I enjoyed my time so much, I decided to apply to be the treasurer for the following year. One other society I decided to get involved with, is the Labour Society. The society has a very friendly and welcoming feel and allowed me to get involved in Sadiq Khan’s campaign and a variety of events, which have definitely been an insightful and fun gig. The best thing about QMUL is that it is in close proximity to the City of London, large charities and Canary Wharf, which gives a chance to network and easily travel to firms for interviews and insight days. The other good thing is that there a lot of cheap places to eat around the area! The QMUL Clearing Hotline were extremely useful in recommending courses that were still open for you to join and aligning your interests or ideas. I would advise to students entering Clearing this year to keep calm, and keep calling – don’t be too down, there’ll be chances through Clearing."
Aaman BirkBA International Relations
Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary?
“I was immediately drawn to the fact that Queen Mary is campus-based and in the city. I’d also heard that it has a friendly atmosphere as well as a great position in the league tables.
How did you find your academic and social experience at QMUL?
“I really like the teaching methods at Queen Mary. Your personal tutor is always available to help, as are the seminar tutors who also have regular office hours. The online Blackboard system is very useful for getting important course notes and information while you are off campus.
“It may sound geeky but my favourite place on campus is the library – the facilities are so up to date and there are quiet areas for revision and more lively areas for group study. I love the fact that it is open 24-hours a day during the exam period.
“I’ve also joined the Qmotion gym. The equipment there is excellent, the changing rooms are clean and the staff are helpful. The price of membership is very reasonable, and it has great opening times too; you can use it before lectures early in the morning and after dinner or work in the evening.”