Politics BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)

Cambridge

September 2016

code: L200

Available in Clearing call now 01223 698444

Overview

Learn how politics changes your world. Develop your critical skills by analysing key political structures and institutions from history, then use them to gain an insight into future political landscapes. Taught by leading historians, sociologists, criminologists and political scientists, you’ll emerge with the knowledge to start changing the world yourself.

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Full description

Careers

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This degree will equip you for many careers, including work with local government, charities and NGOs, but also with European and international organisations and agencies. You might also explore career paths in the public services and criminal justice system, future energy policy and planning, security, negotiation and peacekeeping, or communication and media.

While on the course, you’ll have the option to take language modules, which will prepare you for work in international political contexts including UN conflict resolution and diplomacy.

Or you might decide to continue your studies and take a masters course, such as our MA International Relations, MA Sociology or MA Criminology. As a graduate from one of our BA courses, you’ll be eligible for a £1,000 reduction on the fee for your postgraduate course.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Introduction to Politics
    On this module you'll gain a broad overview of the academic analysis of politics and the core conceptual materials needed to understand politics at degree level. You'll experience three different strands: structures, ideas and research methods. The first will introduce you to the interlocking institutions that determine what politics is and what it could be. You’ll discuss the nature of power, governance, institutions (both national and transnational), and the wider groups that can influence the political process. The second will guide you through some of the ideological constructs that underpin political change. Here you'll explore representative democracy, identity politics, the relationship between politics and economics, as well as politics and conflict. Through the third, you'll gain an insight into how to research politics for yourself. You’ll learn how political scientists have approached some of the key questions facing them and you’ll be instructed in where to look for key and relevant material online.
  • Global Political Issues
    On this module, you'll be introduced to global political issues that are relevant to understanding international politics today. You'll gain insight into issues of contemporary international relations, look at key concepts and current affairs topics including globalization, terrorism and security, revolts and revolutions as well as challenges of global environmental governance. You'll be introduced to key perspectives on how national and international issues affect one another, beyond foreign policy, and examine a number of concrete problems, major international events and long-term global processes. You’ll be assessed through a case study (1,000 words) and essay (2,000 words).
  • Inequality and Class
    This module will introduce you to the sociology of economic life and the sociology of inequality. It'll give you an overview of the development and significance of capitalism. Through this, you'll be introduced to the concept of Neoliberalism as part of an account of the shifting relationships between state, economy, and society. Working with statistics, you'll focus on the changing patterns of inequality under contemporary capitalism and examine divisions of class, gender, ethnicity, and age. A recurring theme of the module will be the complex spatial dimensions of inequality and the ways in which capitalism's global processes generate distinct local experiences. You'll be assessed by completion of a stimulus response based around discussion and analysis of data on inequality as well as a summative essay addressing the key features of Neoliberalism.
  • Rights and Responsibilities
    People fight for their rights, resent other people's exercise of their rights, claim rights against the state or on behalf of animals. But what are 'rights'? Who is entitled to them? Why? These questions are central to contemporary moral and political philosophy and also to the way in which we think of issues such as medical care, crime and punishment, justice and happiness. Through a series of lectures and seminars, you'll develop an understanding of these questions and the ways in which philosophers through the centuries have attempted to answer them.
  • Political Ideologies and Social Controversies
    This module will give you a grounding in major political ideologies and key political concepts for your future study in practical and theoretical aspects of social science. By studying the core elements of ideologies, you'll have the opportunity to engage in basic comparative study and some degree of historical analysis. You'll then use this understanding of key political ideologies to explore different political environments. You'll reflect on forms of classical political thought and locate these in contemporary political settings. Your assessment will be in the form of a 1,000 word critical analysis and a 2000-word essay.

Year one, optional modules

  • The Sociology of Globalisation
    This module will introduce you to concepts of globalisation. You'll be asked to consider how your daily life is affected by processes of globalisation and think critically about theoretical approaches to these processes. You'll cover the various dimensions of globalisation on a lecture-by-lecture basis, also exploring connections between topics. These dimensions/topics will include hard vs. soft globalisation; the globalised economy; the impact of globalisation on the nation-state; migration and diaspora; popular culture and patterns of consumption; and globalisation and ecology. You'll be assessed through submission of a 3,000 word essay.

Year two, core modules

Year two, optional modules

  • Cultures of War
    The media is saturated with reports of war, ethnic and political conflict in various countries around the world. Whilst there are rules of engagement for war, crimes are nevertheless committed during conflicts. On this module, you'll consider and evaluate the concept of 'war', through the conduct of governments and international bodies as well as combatants and non-combatants. Through a 'Cultural Criminological' lens, you'll examine the causes of war and crimes committed in conflict-torn environments. Is war a natural consequence of human interaction? Is there a difference between a 'terrorist' and a 'freedom fighter'? Are there effective methods for resolving global conflicts? You'll explore some historical, political, legal and sociological explanations of combat, conflict and political unrest, agendas as well as the impact of patriotism, nationalism and fanaticism. You'll examine theories of war, rules of armed conflict and the roles of international courts and tribunals, and evaluate crimes and weapons of war, as well as representations of war in the media (including the 'war on drugs' and 'war on terror'), conflict prevention and effective peace processes. You'll be encouraged to draw upon contemporary materials, and to keep up with recent media coverage of events. Whilst lectures will be given, the module is run mainly as an interactive seminar/workshop, so you'll need to prepare and participate. You'll be assessed through essays, one of them will be time constrained.
  • The Growth of the USA
    This is a survey module on the development of the USA, 1776-1900. You'll study in outline the major events, concepts and issues that shaped American culture in this period, encountering great leaders such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and examining debates over the meaning of the Constitution, the creation of the American political system, the significance of the frontier and westward expansion in American history, the roots of feminism, and the role of race and ethnicity (particularly the issue of slavery). Much of your time will be spent on the causes and consequences of the American Civil War. You'll consider how the United States was on the verge of superpower status by 1900. You'll be assessed by one essay and an exam.
  • Britain in the 19th century
    This course will introduce you to the development of Victorian Britain. You'll examine changes in politics and social structure, focusing in particular on the development of the party political system as well as class, gender, sexuality and the economy. You'll also examine key political and social figures such as Robert Peel, Florence Nightingale, Queen Victoria and William Gladstone. You'll focus in particular on the emergence of liberalism and on Victorian Britain as a liberal society. You'll be assessed through an essay and an exam.
  • Theories of Deviance, Crime and Social Control
    On this module, you'll explore explanations of deviant behaviour throughout the 20th century and theories of crime that are of both historical interest and contemporary relevance, identifying and policing the parameters of 'normality' in late modern, Western society. You'll also look at specific questions relating to the transgression of social norms and whether it is the result of specific environments. You'll not only gain a historical understanding of social explanations, but also learn to demonstrate the relevance of these theories to contemporary understandings of deviance and social control. You'll also explore Labelling Theory and Radical or Marxist Criminological theories, as well as more practical or policy oriented views of both Right and Left Realism, before going on to look at two recent and very influential approaches to understanding crime. You’ll then focus on the role of "power" and social control, and the role of "culture" and the recent work of cultural criminologists. Your assessment will comprise of a test and an essay.
  • Body Politics: Health and Illness
    The vulnerabilities and strengths of, and 'differences' between, human bodies are not only experienced by all of us in our daily lives but are increasingly at the forefront of political and social media debates and controversies. Beginning with the body in history, you'll examine the ways in which biological and sociological understandings of the body underpin various religious, medical and political forms of knowledge and power. You will ask how ideas of the healthy body feed into ideas of agency and personal responsibility that often serve to legitimise forms of social stigma, marginalisation and health inequalities. You'll also examine the ways in which the body is the focus of new forms of technology and the ways in which this technologised body is dissected, bought and sold for medical, cosmetic and sexual purposes. You’ll look at how bodies are deployed as political weapons and expressions. You'll be assessed through a presentation as well as a 2,500-word essay.
  • Europe in the Age of the First World War
    On this module, you'll examine the 15-year period that began with war and ended with capitalism entering a new crisis when Wall Street crashed. You'll assess the causes and consequences of the First World War in Europe before turning to the main issues on the Western and Eastern Fronts, including the Battle of the Somme and the Russian revolutions, and the end of other European empires. You'll cover post-war diplomacy, assessing the treaties that shaped international relations after 1918, then examine the reconstruction of Europe after the war. Your studies will conclude with a discussion of the crisis in Europe after the Wall Street Crash and the onset of the Great Depression. You will be assessed through two essays: one on the causes and course of the war, and one on the consequences of the conflict.
  • Learning from Work Experience (incorporates work placements)
    This module will prepare you for the transition from education to work by helping you apply skills gained through your studies in a practical way, and by investigating possible careers for which your degree would be relevant. Through 70 hours of work experience, you'll explore how work and learning interact, increasing your employability by improving your sector knowledge, self-reliance and confidence. Appropriate work placements will give you the relevant experience in sectors and roles in which social science students are likely to find future employment, such as the Citizen's Advice Bureau. Your work placement will be accompanied by an agreement between you, your employer and the module leader. You'll then apply your sociological knowledge, skills and concepts to the analysis of your work experience. You'll also produce a reflective workplace diary, logging activity and supporting an analysis of the learning achieved in the report. You'll also attend a series of workshops to support your work, and receive supervision from the Module Leader or Tutor.
  • Britain in the 20th Century
    This course will introduce you to the development of Britain in the 20th century. You'll examine changes in politics and social structure, focusing in particular on the development of the party political system as well as class, gender, sexuality and the economy. You'll examine key political and social figures (such as David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, the Beatles and Margaret Thatcher), the impact of Total War on twentieth century society, as well as unemployment, consumerism and the changing roles of women. You'll also consider the way that the reform tradition came to embrace the welfare state. You'll find this module useful for understanding many current social and political controversies as it explores how today's Britain came into being. You'll be assessed through an essay and an exam.

Year three, core modules

  • Major Project
    The individual Major Project will allow you to undertake a substantial piece of individual research, focused on a topic relevant to your specific course. Your topic will be assessed for suitability to ensure sufficient academic challenge and satisfactory supervision by an academic member of staff. The project will require you to identify/formulate problems and issues, conduct research, evaluate information, process data, and critically appraise and present your findings/creative work. You should arrange and attend regular meetings with your project supervisor, to ensure that your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.

Year three, optional modules

  • Feminist Theory and Practice
    This module will allow you to explore the development of feminist theory and practice from the early 20th century, with a particular focus on the period from the 1960s to the present. You'll predominantly cover British and North American feminism, but will also consider perspectives and activism from other global regions. You'll explore and locate different feminist perspectives including liberal, socialist, intersectional, post-structuralist and post-feminism, but with a particular focus on radical feminism. You'll explore these perspectives in relation to key topics that have been central to feminist struggles, such as the family; male violence against women; concepts of masculinity and femininity; sexuality and reproductive rights; media representation; employment and participation in public life. The key themes include: - Feminist strategies, activism and impact - Men's roles and relationship to feminism - Current issues and the future of feminism. You'll be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars, and will need to read in preparation for the seminars. Within seminar discussions, you'll assume collective responsibility for applying course material to a specific area of social life in order to elucidate the development of feminist theory and practice within it, and taking such collective responsibility will be an explicit theme of class discussion throughout the module. Your assessment for this module will take the form of a 500-word case study summary and an essay of a maximum 2,500 words.
  • Race, Racism and Cultural Identity
    On this module, you'll explore the sociology of 'race', racism and ethnic divisions. You'll consider three related themes: the social origins and significance of racial and ethnic divisions, the varied causes, contexts and consequences of racism and antiracism, and the cultural consequences of migration. Although your primary substantive focus will be on race relations in contemporary Britain, you will also draw insights from historical and international comparisons. You'll also attend a series of student-led workshops, in which you'll apply sociological knowledge and understanding to current questions of 'race' politics and policy. The topics of these workshop will relate to key module themes, such as: the collection and use of racialised data in the criminal justice system, debates about the usefulness of the concept of institutional racism, and globalised Islam.
  • Capitalism in Crisis: The Depression and War in Europe
    On this module, you'll examine the extraordinary 15-year period that began with the global financial crisis and the Great Depression and ended with the Second World War and a very different world. You'll explore the different types of political systems and ideologies that existed in 1930s Europe, assessing the crisis of liberal democracy and the prevalence of authoritarian forms of government, such as the Soviet Union, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. You'll also examine international relations in this decade, focusing on some of the key crises such as the Nazis' invasion of the Rhineland and the Spanish Civil War. You'll assess the build up to the outbreak of the war in 1939, and question whether war could have been avoided. You'll then look at the war itself, examining the spread of Nazism across Europe, the relations between Winston Churchill and other world leaders, and the Holocaust, before considering the end of the war in Europe and the Allies' victory, assessing whether the war led to Europe being eclipsed as two new superpowers emerged. You'll be assessed through a class presentation/report and an essay.
  • End of Empires
    On this module, you'll look at the process by which European empires declined and collapsed through the course of the 20th century. You'll examine the expansion in European empires that occurred at the end of the First World War, and the impact of the Depression and the Second World War. You'll consider the role of nationalist movements in putting pressure on the colonial powers before and during the war, and how these movements took advantage of the changed international situation after 1945. You'll also examine the interest of the superpowers in decolonisation during the development of the Cold War. You'll consider why the end of Belgian and Portuguese rule in Africa was attended by so much conflict and the problems posed by white rule in Rhodesia and South Africa, as well as the establishment of the Commonwealth and the post-war impact on British society of large-scale immigration, leading up to the Falklands War of 1982 and the handover of Hong Kong in 1997. You'll be assessed through a document commentary and an end-of-module seen examination.
  • Enlightenment and Modernity: The Philosophical Legacy
    On this module, you'll consider the key philosophical debates about the legacy of the Enlightenment in the context of modernity. You'll be introduced to key ideas from readings of primary texts that have contributed to debates about history, truth, morality and political power, the nature of interpretation and the role and status of reason and knowledge in the post-Enlightenment era. Your assessment is 1,000 word analysis of a specific topic or passage and a 2,000 word essay debating the wider issues discussed throughout the module.
  • Politics and Public Service
    On this module, you'll address the ideas that lie behind political approaches to public services and explore the relationship between these ideas and policy. You'll also examine the development of ideological approaches to public services, focusing on some broad approaches, namely, Welfarism, Neoliberalism and 'modernisation', each of which results in the eventual application of political ideology.
  • Thatcher and the New Right
    In this module you'll consider the origins, policies and long term effects of Margaret Thatcher and her break with the post-war consensus after she became Conservative leader in 1975. You'll study how Thatcher deviated away from One Nation Conservatism of the 1950s and 1960s, the diagnosis she made of how a society (and government) should function, and the reasons for her electoral triumph in 1979. You'll go on to consider her time in office and the effect of Thatcher's policies on class relations in the UK, the privatisation and reforms to the City of London, as well as Right to Buy, share ownership and moving the low paid out of paying income tax. You'll debate contemporary questions that take the story beyond Thatcher's Premiership itself, and you'll also discover the wider global story of the New Right through Ronald Reagan's Republicans in the US and the RPR under Jacques Chirac in France. A key focus of your discussions will be whether later politicians have challenged or accepted the parameters laid down between 1979 and 1990. You'll also have the opportunity to access the Margaret Thatcher Foundation online archive. You'll be assessed via an essay of 3,000 words.
  • Concepts of Good and Evil
    What role, if any, does the concept of evil play in our moral vocabulary? Is it a narrowly theological notion or does it usefully describe certain kinds of act and/or character? On this module, you'll examine contemporary accounts of evil, as well as looking at the concept of evil in the history of philosophy from Leibniz to the present. In addition to considering theoretical discussions of evil, you'll also consider phenomena such as war and terrorism and ask whether the concept of evil helps us to understand them.
  • Sport, Globalisation and International politics
    This module will develop your understanding of the relationship between sport, processes of globalisation, and the sphere of international politics. Broadly speaking, the key themes that you'll consider are ideology, power and control. More specifically, you'll be introduced to a set of key theoretical and conceptual insights relating to globalisation, nationalism and commercialisation early in the module. In later lectures and seminars, you'll apply these insights to particular instances from the sporting world. Specific topics you'll consider include 'race' and racism in sport; the Workers' Sport movement, the role of sport in the colonisation of Africa, the history and politics of FIFA, and a number of national case studies including Catalonia and South Africa. You'll be assessed through a 3,000 word essay.

Optional modules available in years two and three

  • Anglia Language Programme
    The Anglia Language Programme allows you to study a foreign language as part of your course. You'll take one language module in the second semester of your first year in order to experience the learning of a new language. You must select a language you've never learnt before from the following: Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.

Assessment

You’ll demonstrate your learning through a combination of essays, exams, case studies, optional work experience, and presentations. Your studies will culminate in a final year dissertation on a topic of your choice, and supervised one-on-one by an expert in that area.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

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Whether you aim to work in the creative industries or the social sciences, the legal profession or public service, the Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need for professional life.

Our lively, diverse community and ambitious academic environment will broaden your horizons and help you develop your full potential - many of our courses give you the chance to learn another language, study abroad or undertake work placements as you study.

If you’re interested in art, music, drama or film, check out our packed programme of events. Together with our partners in the creative and cultural industries, we’re always working to enrich the cultural life of the university and the wider community.

Our research is groundbreaking and internationally recognised, with real social impact. We support the Cultures of the Digital Economy Research Institute (CoDE), whose projects include interactive music apps and documenting lifesaving childbirth procedures, as well as nine international research clusters, such as the Centre for Children's Book Studies and the Labour History Research Unit.

In the Research Excellence Framework 2014, six of our subject areas were awarded world-leading status: Law; Art and Design; English Language and Literature, Communication, Cultural and Media Studies; History; Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts.

Where can I study?

Cambridge
Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Placements

In the second year you’ll have a chance to take part in an optional work placement scheme, which will give you tangible skills and experiences to add to your CV.

Events and links

You’ll have many opportunities to engage with specialists, practitioners, agencies and institutions through our guest speakers, workshop events, visits, research projects, and links with local bodies, charities and organisations.

Study abroad

You’ll also have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester at one of our European university partners, such as Dusseldorf University, whose excellent Social Science programme will open up questions of European identity, European politics and global and environmental issues to complement your study on this degree course.

Location

Cambridge is only one hour away from Westminster and three from Brussels, with a busy political scene including Labour and Liberal Democrat clubs that we share with the University of Cambridge. As one of our students you’ll be eligible for membership of the Cambridge Union, where you can hear talks by politicians and get your foot in the door of the world of politics.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year)

£9,000

International students, 2016/17 (per year)

£11,000

UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)

£9,250

International students, 2017/18 (per year)

£11,700

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For more information about tuition fees, please see our UK/EU funding pages

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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