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 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: 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 Peter Lynch

University of Stirling

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What makes us different?

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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.

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 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.

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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