Politics BSc

Placement Offered This course has a Professional Development option.

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Special Features
  • Teaching & Assessment
  • Employability
  • Fees
  • Entry Criteria

About the Course

Politics is a broad-based degree which provides an excellent foundation in the various aspects of the study of politics. It offers a grounding in the different approaches and theories, as well as a range of options that focus on European, American and international politics, and political change.


Studying Politics enables students to address critical political questions, such as:

  • Who has political power?
  • Why do they have it?
  • To whom are they accountable?
  • In whose interest do they exercise it?
  • What is globalisation?
  • Is violent protest ever justified?


Admissions and Course Enquiries
Web: Admissions Enquiries Information
Tel (before application): +44 (0)1895 265599 (Course Enquiries)
Tel (after application): +44 (0)1895 265265 (Admissions Office)
Contact Admissions or Course Enquiries Online

Admissions Tutor: Dr Martin Hansen

Related Courses

Course Content

You take a number of prescribed ‘compulsory’ modules combined with a number of optional modules at Levels 2 and 3. At Level 3 you will also have the opportunity to pursue your particular interests in researching and writing your major project.

Typical Modules

Please note that module availability is subject to change.

Level 1 compulsory

  • Central Themes in Political Thought
  • Introduction to American Politics
  • Introduction to World Politics
  • Modern British Politics
  • Political Science Methods

Level 1 Options

  • Capital Labour and Power: Britain 1707-1939
  • History, Memory and Culture in Europe Since 1789

Level 2 compulsory

  • Comparative Politics
  • Democracy and Democratisation

Level 2 Options

  • Total War in the Modern Era
  • Asia-Pacific International Relations: Modern East-West Encounters
  • Issues in American Politics
  • International Relations
  • US Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography
  • The State and Revolution
  • Media and the Military
  • The Holocaust

3 compulsory
  • Dissertation
  • European Union Politics: Problems and Prospects

Level 3 Options

  • Psychogeography
  • Monstrosity in Political Thought and Literature
  • Empire, Imperialism and Hegemony
  • Fascism
  • Globalisation and Governance

Final year dissertation

Students will produce a 12,000 word dissertation on a subject of their choice. This major piece of work, undertaken with the support and supervision of a dissertation tutor, will give you a valuable opportunity to demonstrate research and writing skills. It is written on a subject relevant to your particular course of study and may relate to your future career plans.

Read more about the structure of undergraduate degrees at Brunel.

Special Features

  • You will have excellent access to some the best research facilities in the UK - Westminster and Whitehall are within easy reach.
  • You will have the opportunity to study abroad at one of several European universities and participate in an exchange programme in China.
  • We have good links with key political figures and institutions.
  • Our courses are designed and taught by experts in the fields of politics, international relations, social policy and contemporary history who have been nationally and internationally recognised for the excellence of their research. As well as 250 undergraduates, we have over 40 postgraduate and research students.
  • Student Satisfaction: 96% of students were satisfied with their course (National Student Survey 2013)

Teaching and Learning

The influence of scholarship and experience

Students will benefit directly from the expertise and experience of their teachers. All our courses incorporate the research of lecturers who write books, publish well-regarded scholarly articles, present papers at other universities and appear in the media, at home and abroad.

Research has led to major television and radio programmes and several staff members are, or have been, consultants to Government departments as well as to major national newspapers.

Student support

As well as offering students some of the best teaching in our subject areas, we are committed to helping you progress confidently through the levels of your degree programme. To achieve this, we devote as much care to your initiation into higher education, both by entry-level courses and study skills teaching, as to the completion of your learning at Level 3.

By your final year, therefore, you will benefit from the specialist research-led courses and will be prepared for the research and writing involved in your dissertation.

How will I be taught?

Modules are generally taught by a mixture of lectures and seminars. Depending on its credit-rating, you can expect to have one or two hours of lectures per week for each module and a one-hour seminar each week or fortnight.

Lectures – These provide a broad overview of key themes and ideas relating to your course and provide you with a framework from which to carry out more in-depth study.

Seminars – In these relatively small groups you will examine the lecture material in more detail, and theoretical concepts are analysed and applied in specific contexts. Seminars provide students with an opportunity for discussion, debate and the development of presentational skills.

One-to-one – You will get one-to-one supervision on your final year dissertation and at all levels you will have a personal tutor who is available to discuss personal and academic problems. If you go on placement, you will also be allocated a work placement tutor who will ensure your progress and provide further support if you need it.

Private study – The bulk of every student’s work will undoubtedly consist of private study. On average this should absorb approximately 25 to 30 hours of your life each week. During your initial months at Brunel, you are given help and advice designed to encourage you to become an ‘independent learner’, capable of managing your work effectively and organising your studies.

External visits – Wherever possible we aim to introduce students to the benefits of observing politics in action and from the personal experience of other political systems and ideas. You will visit important political sites in the UK (such as the Houses of Parliament) and depending on the options you select, may visit overseas.


Level 1 does not count towards your final degree mark. Level 2 is worth a third, and Level 3 is worth two-thirds. The final year dissertation is worth a third of Level 3 marks.

Exact assessment patterns vary, but most are based on a combination of coursework and formal written exams. Typically, coursework marks constitute 25-50% of overall module grades.

See Undergraduate Politics and History  Handbook for further information (student handbooks are not exhaustive and subject to change).


Studying politics will equip you with a range of transferable skills that will enable you to follow the career you want after graduation.


Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey

These statistics relate to graduates from a number of different pathways – Politics, International Politics, Politics and Economics, Politics and History and Politics and Sociology.

Graduates from these subjects enter a broad range of careers with some entering public sector/charity sectors and others using their degree as a route into a range of careers in commercial environments.

In 2013/14, six months after graduating:

Read more about graduate destinations for this subject area

Our students pursue a wide variety of jobs after graduating. Some Brunel graduates such as John McDonnell MP, or former Labour party general secretary Baroness McDonagh, opt for careers in politics. Others have joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office, GCHQ and military intelligence.

Many have gone on to work in public and private sector organisations, such as Chase Manhattan, Marks and Spencer, British Airways, Coca Cola Schweppes, HSBC, and the NHS Confederation. Significant numbers have taken further training to pursue careers in broadcasting, journalism, law, and teaching at every level.


You can take a one-year professional work placement as part of the four-year thick-sandwich course. Past students have worked for the Home Office, the Treasury, the Houses of Parliament and for organisations such as Epolitix.com and Politics International.

The positive impact of a sandwich placement on graduate employment outcomes across Brunel is considerable. Those who have done placements are also much more likely to be in employment for which their degree was a formal requirement or where they believe their degree gave them a competitive advantage in recruitment.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2015/6 entry

UK/EU students: £9,000 full-time; £1,000 placement year

International students: £13,500 full-time

See our fees and funding page for full details of scholarships available to Brunel applicants

Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.

Entry Requirements 2015/6

  • GCE A-level BBB (all subjects considered).
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma D*DD in a related subject.
  • BTEC Level 3 Diploma DD in a related subject with an A-level at grade A.
  • BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma D in a related subject with A-levels grade BB.
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma 30 points.
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma Complete and pass a related subject Access course with 45 credits at Level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher.

GCSE Mathematics grade C and GCSE English grade C are also required.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants within our grade range as well as our full GCSE requirements and accepted equivalencies in place of GCSEs.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

EU Entry Requirements

If your country is not listed here please contact Admissions

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 5.5 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 55% in all areas)

Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.

However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a number of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.

Page last updated: Monday 14 September 2015