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L202 Politics (Year Abroad) BA Undergraduate  2016


UCAS code L202
Degree BA
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 4 years
Location Durham City
Typical Offers A-Level
International Baccalaureate
Please also check Requirements and Admissions.
Alternative qualifications

Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 5689

Course Content


Teaching is at the centre of the activities of the School of Government & International Affairs where undergraduates enjoy a vibrant and challenging intellectual environment. The School places great importance on research-led teaching, which integrates new and cutting-edge research into the curriculum and introduces students to a variety of research-oriented skills and research-based projects.

Undergraduate teaching is structured around three main streams: Political Thought, Political Institutions, and International Relations. Students move from generalist courses in these areas in their early years to more specialised options in Honours Politics which explore the diverse and dynamic politics of the contemporary world. Modules in the second and third years reflect the research expertise of the School’s members of staff. Such areas include, but are not limited to: European Politics, the History of Political Thought, Middle East Politics, the Politics of East Asia and International Relations Theory.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Ideas and Ideologies
  • Democratic Political Systems.

Plus one of the following:

  • International Security, Interdependence and Organisation
  • Global Regions in International Relations
  • Theory and History in International Relations.

Optional modules vary but in the past have included:

  • Introduction to Islam and the Muslim World
  • Introduction to Middle East Politics
  • or modules offered by other departments.

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Research Project

plus either:

  • Foundations of Western Political Thought


  • Democracy and Democratic Theory

plus one of the following:

  • International Relations Theory
  • Politics of Pacific Asia
  • International Organisations
  • Global Political Economy
  • Middle East in the International System.

Optional modules vary but in the past have included:

  • The Israel-Palestine Question
  • German Politics and Society
  • or a module offered by another department.

Year 3

Single Honours Politics (Year Abroad) which is broadly similar to the Politics programme, but with an additional year abroad at a university in Italy, France, Spain, Holland, Poland, Germany or Sweden through the SOCRATES/ERASMUS programme. We also have overseas exchange programmes with universities in the USA, Canada, China and Singapore. Students apply for a one-year study placement in these institutions at the end of their first year.

Year 4

Compulsory module

  • Dissertation (Double).

Optional modules vary but in the past have included:

  • Culture and Conflict in American Politics
  • The Ethics of Violence in International Relations
  • Theories of Liberty
  • The Political Economy of the European Union
  • China in Global Political Economy
  • a module offered by another department.

Course Learning and Teaching

This programme generally follows the same learning approach as the BA Politics, except that the third year is spent in a partner institution before returning to Durham to complete the fourth and final year.

Students on this programme learn through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, research-based group simulations, informal but scheduled one-on-one support, and self-directed learning, such as research, reading, and writing.

All of these are supported by a state of the art virtual learning environment, Durham University Online (DUO). Seminars and tutorials are much smaller groups than lectures, small enough to allow one-on-one interaction with tutors. Simulation exercises afford research-led experience of how political science applies to the real world, as well as group-working and communication skills.

This emphasis on small-group and practical teaching reflects a conscious choice to enhance the quality of the learning experience rather than the quantity of formal sessions. In fact, the degree programme is designed to feature fewer formal sessions and more independent research as students move from their first to their final year.

Small-group teaching and one-on-one attention from the personal academic advisor (provided for all students when they enter the programme) are part of the learning experience throughout, but by the final year classroom time gives way, to some extent, to independent research, including a capstone dissertation—supported by one-on-one supervision—that makes up a third of final year credits. In this way the degree programme systematically transforms the student from a consumer of knowledge in the classroom to a generator of knowledge, ready for professional or postgraduate life. These formal teaching arrangements are supported by “drop-in” surgeries with teaching staff and induction sessions that begin in the week before the start of the programme and continue at key times throughout each year of the programme.

Students can also attend an extensive programme of research-focused seminars where staff and visiting scholars present their cutting edge research.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. 
  • Grade A in a Social Science or Humanities subject at A-level, or equivalent, is required
  • Grade A in a Social Science or Humanities Subject at GCSE, is preferred but not required
  • We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
  • If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Centre offers multidisciplinary degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses.
  • We will be reviewing our entry requirements for 2016 entry in the summer of 2015 and will publish finalised entry requirements for 2016 entry on the University’s website and at UCAS before 1 September 2015
  • Please consult the University website for required evidence of English language proficiency
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,000.00
Home Student £9,000.00
Island Student £9,000.00
International non-EU Student £16,500.00

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

Career Opportunities

School of Government and International Affairs

Of those students that left in 2014:

- 90% are in paid employment or study 6 months after graduation

Of those in employment:

- 89% are in graduate level employment
- Median salary £24,800

(These statistics are based on the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2013/14 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found here:

A significant number of students progress onto higher level study following their degree. Some remain within their academic field of interest and pursue a taught or research Masters at Durham, London School of Economics, University College London, York, Sheffield and Oxford.  Some progress on to PhD study with recent successes at Durham and Cambridge. Others take a different route and pursue professional postgraduate programmes in law, IT, advertising and marketing, finance and teaching.

Employment and developement opportunities

The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre works closely with the School of Government and International Affairs. The link Careers Adviser delivers presentations to each year group on topics relevant to that stage of their academic career. These cover career decision making, successful applications and interviews, and advice for those considering further study. The department also hosts a range of guest speakers from external organisations to expand our students' knowledge of their different career options.

Durham University School of Government and International Affairs graduates have an enviable record of employment and enter a wide range of career areas including business and finance, local and national government, armed forces, marketing and PR, media - newspaper and TV journalism, publishing, law, manufacturing industry, recruitment and teaching.

Our graduates are recruited by leading employers such as the House of Commons, Accenture, British Airways, Ernst and Young, British Telecom, Goldman Sachs, PwC, Royal Navy, House of Fraser, Aldi, Channel 4, HSBC, Teach First, Durham University, Black Rock and the Audit Commission. Specific roles our graduates have progressed into include business manager, press and publicity assistant, accountant, political assistant, retail manager, international financial analyst, Naval Officer, marketing executive, stockbroker, tax adviser and political researcher. So far as we know, only one Politics graduate from Durham has entered Parliament.

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.

Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place:

Campus Tours

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information

School of Government and International Affairs


From soapboxes to statecraft, you will learn how and why nations are run the way they are.

Our expert staff will help you to develop a thorough knowledge of the structure and functions of the modern state, the history of ideas about the nature and purpose of politics and the development of particular regions and their political systems.

You will study political thought, government, international relations and another subject such as geography, economics, history, psychology, sociology, philosophy, or law.

  • Ranked joint 1st in the UK for Internationally Excellent and World-leading research impact (REF 2014).
  • 6th in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2015.
  • 6th in The Complete University Guide 2015.

The School of Government and International Affairs is a concentration of research expertise in political processes and institutions, political thought, and international and area studies. Teaching takes place both in the Department’s own rooms and in conveniently located lecture rooms.

The University Library has an excellent collection in politics as well as specialised research collections such as the European Documentation Centre. Colleges provide additional library resources as well as computing facilities.


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