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.  Other career options include diplomacy/Foreign Service, international organisations such as the U.N. and the third sector.

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 universities in Australia, Canada Hong Kong, Japan, Poland, Sweden and the United States.

Key information

EU Applicants
The Scottish Government has confirmed that EU students enrolling in the 2017 and 2018 academic year will be entitled to free tuition fees in Scotland. EU Students will be admitted as Scottish/EU fee status students and will retain that status for the duration of their four year degree. EU students will also be eligible for tuition fee support from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

  • UCAS: L200
  • Qualification: BA (Hons)
  • Study methods: Full-time, Part-time, Campus based
  • Start date: September / January
  • Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities

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Dr Clemens Hoffman

University of Stirling

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What makes us different?

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

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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 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 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 2017/18

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 11,845.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years

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.

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 Years 1 and 2.  With the exception of semester 4, where you will take two politics modules with one other subject.   

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
  • Scottish Politics and Government
  • Left and Right Communitarianism
  • Politics of Justice, Equality and Rights
  • Political Communications
  • Environmental Politics in an International Context
  • Issues in International Politics
  • Green Politics: Theory and Analysis
  • Problems in International Politics
  • Social Movements and Contentious Politics
  • History of Political Thought
  • Politics of European integration
  • Politics and Policy-Making in Scotland
  • Understanding Public Policy
  • Religion and Politics worldwide
  • Global political economy
  • Politics of the Middle East
  • The United Nations in a Globalized World
  • Global Development
  • The Politics of European Integration
  • Direct Democracy and Referendums
  • Citizenship, Democracy and Representation
  • Human Rights and International Politics
  • Political Economy and the Global Environment


Delivery and assessment

  • Lectures and tutorials
  • Exams, essays and presentations
  • Class tests and take-home exams
  • Reflection Blog and policy papers
  • Research Data Exercises

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.)

Learn more about studying these subjects

Related degrees

History; Modern LanguagesPolitics (International 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

Students can take part in University-wide exchanges involving universities in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan and the USA. Politics has also developed an Erasmus exchange programme with the departments of Politics at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and Collegium Civitas in Poland. Students who have met the grade requirements and passed the interview could spend their sixth semester in abroad.

Careers and employability

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, digitising, 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 as: 

  • 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
  • A Member of Parliament for Stirling - Steven Paterson MP
  • Minister in the Scottish government
  • Town Clerk
  • Head of Search
  • PR & Communications Practitioner
  • Principal Consultant
  • Senior Customer Services Representative
  • Campaign Director 
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