Politics (International Politics)

BA (Hons)



How do major international institutions, issues and ideas shape our societies? International Politics concerns issues of power, alliances, conflict and peace, trade, the role of NGOs and the notion of an international society.

Through your study, you’ll gain insight into international decision-making in the United Nations, the European Union, NATO and the World Trade Organisation and others.

More widely, we’ll equip you with the kinds of intellectual and analytical skills that are attractive to many employers. Politics graduates are to be found in commerce and industry, as well as the civil service, journalism, law and teaching.

The quality of teaching in Politics at Stirling has received the highest rating and we offer the chance of a semester at the University of Gothenburg.

Key information

EU Applicants
The Scottish Government has confirmed that EU students enrolling in the 2018 and 2019 academic year will be entitled to free tuition fees in Scotland. EU Students will retain that status for the duration of their four year degree.

  • UCAS: L240
  • Qualification: BA (Hons)
  • Study methods: Campus based, Full-time
  • Start date: September / January
  • Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
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Dr Peter Lynch


History and Politics
University of Stirling

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Four-year Honours degree

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

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
32 points.

BTEC (Level 3):

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 details.

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

Foundation Apprenticeships:

Considered to be equivalent to 1 Higher at Grade B

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 international students who do not meet the required academic and English-language 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 requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

More information on our English language requirements

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.

Fees and costs

Fees 2018/19

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 12,140.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £9250 – with a generous package of scholarship options

From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for overseas undergraduates will be held at the level upon entry.

If you plan to commence your studies at the University of Stirling in January 2018, please note you will be subject to our 2017/18 fees. Please contact us for more information.

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. 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.

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

Please note there is an additional charge should you choose to attend a graduation ceremony. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

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

Semesters 1 - 4

In Semesters 1 - 4 you will take core modules in:

  • 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 in liberal democracies.
  • 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

Of the 11 level 10 modules in Semesters 5 – 8 you will study at least five International Politics modules. In addition, you are expected to complete the Semester 6 module, Research Methods, and the final-year International Politics dissertation.

Semester 5 - 8 International Politics options include:

  • Issues in International Politics.
  • Environmental Politics in an International Context.
  • International political economy.
  • Global development.
  • Politics of the Middle East.
  • The United Nations in a Globalized World.
  • Human Rights and International Politics.
  • Political Economy and the Global Environment.
  • Problems in International Politics.

Delivery and assessment

Teaching in most Politics modules – at all levels – is by lecture and tutorial. In most modules, you will attend two lectures and one tutorial per week. Assessment is based on your performance in tutorials, on one or two essays and an examination at the end of semester.

For the Honours degree, the grades for all level 10 modules taken in Semesters 5 – 8 are combined to give your final degree classification.

Combined degrees

International Politics can be studied with:
CourseUCAS Code
Languages (French or Spanish) RL92

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

Learn more about studying these subjects

Related degrees

History; Modern Languages; Politics; Politics, Philosophy and Economics: PPE; Psychology.

Modes of study

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

Find out more


Why Stirling?

International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes applications from all countries.

Study abroad opportunities

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

Our students

"Politics and International Politics were broadly similar courses until the beginning of 3rd year -and I was in two minds as to which I’d like to actually graduate in. That was the beauty of Stirling’s flexible programmes. If through 2nd year I’d have discovered my passions lay more on the international plane, I’d already have completed the requisite modules to complete that transition. Likewise, by sticking with Politics more broadly, I was still able to satisfy my curiosity for more internationally orientated studies. I had the immense pleasure of working and learning alongside some true experts in their field; doctors, professors, world-leading researchers and experts who, by the strength of their dedication and character, were able to pass on some of their knowledge to their students."

Jamie Grant, BA (Hons) Politics, Graduated 2017

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

Studying politics develops specific subject knowledge of how different political systems work and how to interpret political issues and events.

Politics graduates develop a clear understanding of domestic and international politics, as well as how organisations such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU), operate. This provides you with a solid understanding of the issues involved in international relations and the significance of politics as a global activity.

A degree in politics also develops many useful transferable skills including:



Expand your horizons

As part of this degree you will:

  • Be able to choose a range of optional modules which offer activities and skills to help you get the most from your degree and your future career. These include*:
    • Undertaking a work placement to put your learning into context
    • A Career management skills module, preparing you to enter the job market
    • Business, accounting and management modules
    • Law modules
    • Business writing and digital literacy modules
    • French/Spanish language modules
  • Receive talks from visiting speakers from industry and alumni
  • Go on field trips
  • You will also be encouraged to take part in clubs and societies e.g. the politics society

*Modules are subject to availability

We’re here to help

We offer a comprehensive employability and skills programme to help you maximise your time at university and develop the graduate attributes required by employers. We have a dedicated Faculty Employability and Skills Officer and a Career and Employability Service who work in partnership with academic staff to ensure you get the best out of your University experience and are given the right opportunities to make you ready for the world of work.

Our Alumni

Our alumni go into a range of careers but some have lead and shaped the world of politics including:

  • Rt Hon Dr John Reid – Former Secretary of State for Defence
  • Steven Paterson MP – member of Parliament for Stirling

Career options

From social and political research to journalism, marketing and HR, a degree in politics and international relations opens up a broad range of career opportunities.


Jobs directly related to degree include:

Jobs where degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict research to the jobs listed here.

Typical employers

Politics and international relations graduates are typically employed by:

  • Accountancy and Banking Organisations;
  • Charities;
  • Councils;
  • Law Firms;
  • Local and National Government;
  • Retail and Media Companies.

They are also employed by a range of commercial businesses, particularly within marketing departments.

Other employers include the United Nations (UN), the European Commission, the Civil Service, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), lobbying, campaigning, and voluntary organisations and the public sector in general.

Work experience

Before and during your degree you are encouraged to consider volunteering for:

  • Political campaigns and political parties;
  • Human and civil rights organisations such as Amnesty International;
  • Local, national and international environmental and conservation organisations;
  • Charities;
  • Global development bodies such as WaterAid and Oxfam;
  • The Citizens Advice Bureau.

Campaigning organisations or pressure groups and UK-based charities with an international presence are particularly suitable for those wishing to pursue an international career. During your degree, internships are recommended to gain experience and network in your chosen area of work.


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