Study politics and graduate with a university degree

Our rich choice of courses will give you a rounded perspective on different political systems, ideologies and policies.

As you study, you develop the intellectual, communication and analytical skills employers value. Possible careers run from commerce and industry to the civil service, journalism, law and teaching – plus politics itself, in both research and representative capacities.

Teaching of Politics at Stirling has received the highest rating. We have a particularly strong profile in international politics and offer a range of modules in this area. You can choose the Politics (International Politics) degree, which differs from the Politics degree in focusing almost entirely on international relations and area studies in the last two years. Other opportunities at Stirling include spending a semester abroad, through our exchange programme with the University of Gothenburg.

Entrance requirements

Four-year Honours degree

SQA Higher:
BBBB - one sitting.
ABBB - two sittings.

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
32 points.

Three-year Honours degree

SQA Adv Higher:
ABB - one sitting.

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
35 points.

Essential subjects:
To include Politics / Government and Politics or Modern Studies.

Other qualifications

Year one entry
Scottish HNC/D - Bs in graded units
English, Welsh and NI HNC/D - Merits and Distinctions.
Advanced entry
Year 2 entry may be possible with an HND in Social Sciences with specific units. Please consult our Advanced Entry pages for more details.

Access courses:
Access courses and other UK/EU and international qualifications are also welcomed.

Additional information

If examinations are taken over two sittings, or there are repeats or upgrades, the entrance requirements may be higher.

INTO University of Stirling offers an International Foundation programme for those students who do not meet the required criteria. This course offers a route to study at University of Stirling through an excellent teaching and learning experience located in the high-quality study facilities on campus. Successful completion of the International Foundation in Media, Humanities and Social Sciences to the required standard provides guaranteed progression to this degree.

English language skills

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Modes of study

Full-time (three modules per semester).
Part-time (one or two modules per semester).
January entry also available - see semester dates

Course contact

Dr Tim Peace University of Stirling
+ 44 (0) 1786 467965 www.stir.ac.uk/arts-humanities

Find out more


Degree course

You will take Politics plus two other subjects in Year 1.

Semesters 1 - 3

In Semesters 1 - 3 you will take the following modules:

  • The Politics of the British Isles: This module explores major institutions and processes in British politics.
  • Political Concepts and Ideas: This module offers an introduction to political theory by exploring ideas and concepts central to the political debate.
  • Introduction to International Politics: This module covers mainstream theories of international relations, analyses key international organisations (e.g. the UN and NATO) and explores contemporary issues and debates in world politics after the Cold War and 9/11.

In Semester 4 you take the following modules:

  • Great Political Thinkers: this module explores some of the key issues in political theory by focusing on five influential writers: Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill and Marx.
  • Comparative Politics: Power and Representation in the West: this module is designed to encourage students to think more deeply about political structures and processes in the UK by comparing these with other countries in the European Union and the US.

Semesters 5 - 8

In Semesters 5 - 8 you will choose from a broad range of advanced (level 10) modules including:

  • Research Methods in Politics
  • British Territorial Politics
  • Scottish Politics and Government
  • Politics of British Social Democracy
  • Regionalism in Europe
  • Left and Right Communitarianism
  • Politics of Justice, Equality and Rights
  • Political Communications
  • US Foreign Policy 
  • Environmental Politics in an International Context
  • Issues in International Politics
  • Party Systems in Comparative Perspective
  • Green Politics: Theory and Analysis
  • Germany, Europe and the World
  • American Politics
  • Problems in International Politics
  • Social Movements in World Politics
  • History of Political Thought
  • Occupied Europe: Conquest, Resistance and Occupation
  • Freedom, Violence and Repression: the People and Revolution
  • Business in International Politics
  • European Union and the US
  • Political Thought of George Orwell
  • Politics and Policy-Making in Scotland
  • Scottish Politics and Government
  • The Politics of Eastern Europe
  • Understanding Public Policy
  • Politics and religion worldwide
  • International political economy
  • Global development


Teaching and assessment

  • Lectures and tutorials
  • Exams, essays and presentations

Combined degrees

Politics can be studied with:
CourseUCAS Code
Business Studies LN21
Criminology ML92
Economics LL12
English Studies QL32
Environmental Science FL92
Film and Media PL32
French LR21
History LV21
History/Professional Education LX21
Journalism Studies PL52
Law ML12
Philosophy LV25
Philosophy and Economics L0V0
Psychology LC28
Social Policy LL24
Sociology LL23

(For a Combined Honours degree the higher entrance requirements of the subjects usually apply.)

Related degrees

Study abroad

Besides participating in University-wide exchanges, History and Politics has developed an exchange programme with the department of Politics at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Students who have met the grade requirements and passed the interview could spend their sixth semester in Gothenburg.


Teaching provision in Politics has been assessed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education and achieved the highest possible rating of ‘commendable’ in all aspects. Politics at Stirling was also ranked 5th in Scotland by The Guardian University Guide, 2011.

94% of our students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education, 2012/13).

Career opportunities

Degree courses in Politics encourage you to develop intellectual, communication and analytical skills which are attractive to many employers.These include the ability to critically evaluate data and information, a capacity to work independently, effective time management, an ability to organize and solve problems, and a capacity to communicate clearly, both in writing and speech. As a result of these transferable skills, Politics graduates are to be found in commerce and industry, as well as the civil service, journalism, law and teaching – and in politics of course, in both research and representative capacities.

Skills you can develop through this course

  • understand the nature and significance of politics as a human activity
  • understand and deploy complex sets of data, information and concepts.
  • make formal presentations on specific topics to an informed audience.
  • work effectively (under guidance) in a peer relationship, exercising autonomy and initiative
  • deploy critical awareness and creative  thinking
  • make informed judgements on the basis of relevant information.
  • indicate an understanding of the relevant theoretical debates in the subject area.
  • understand and employ the relevant range research methodologies.
  • manage their own learning self-critically
  • communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing
  • use communication and information technology to retrieve and present information,
  • work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organization and time-management
  • collaborate with others to achieve common goals.

Chances to expand your horizons

On this programme there are opportunities to hear guest speakers.

Students are also offered the opportunity to undertake placements within the Scottish Political Archive (SPA).  The SPA collects and makes accessible archival material from Scottish politicians and political organisations. Placements would suit anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in librarianship, archives, museums or education.  Current projects include cataloguing, digitisating, preparing educational resource packs, event planning, exhibition design and installation.  

Where are our graduates now?

Our graduates are spread throughout the world. At present we are in contact with graduates in over 10 countries around the world. In the UK our graduates are active at local and national levels of politics. They are currently contributing to organisations such as:

  • The Scottish Parliament
  • University of York GSA
  • HSBC Securities Services
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Hanover Communications
  • Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
  • Badenoch & Clark

To provide you with an indication as to what you can do with your Politics degree, graduates entering into employment in the past two years are currently working with: 

  • Union Manager
  • PhD Student
  • Editor
  • Publishing Assistant

Building on that foundation, alumni of Stirling’s Politics degree who graduated between five and ten years ago have since advanced into some of the following positions:

  • Trustee & Depositary services manager
  • Management trainee
  • Teaching Fellow and Phd student
  • Researcher
  • Administrative researcher to MSP
  • Non-executive Director
  • Cost Schedule Analyst

Some of our more established alumni are currently leading and shaping strategy across many different sectors – here is an example of how a few former Stirling Politics students have advanced in their careers:

  • A  former Secretary of State for Defence - Rt Hon Dr John Reid MP 
  • A former First Minister of Scotland - Jack McConnell MSP
  • Minister in the Scottish government
  • Town Clerk
  • Head of Search
  • PR & Communications Practitioner
  • Principal Consultant
  • Senior Customer Services Representatitve
  • Campaign Director 

Fees 2016/7

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 11,555.00
Scottish and EU students TBC
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years


Fees 2015/6

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 11,275.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years


Please note: Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.

Please note: Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

  • Degree award BA (Hons)
  • UCAS Code L200
  • Type Full-time, Part-time
  • Start date September / January
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