Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

BA Politics

It’s official! We’re University of the year

We live in a time of great social upheaval and dramatic political change. This course will allow you to explore political ideas, structures and approaches that will help you to understand these complex circumstances.

Core modules will give you a grounding in political theory, international relations, development studies and systems of government used around the world. You’ll also pursue topics that suit your own interests and concerns: we offer a wide range of optional modules, from political psychology to security studies, supported by the unique breadth of research specialisms within the School of Politics and International Studies.

You’ll learn more about the mechanisms of power and influence in public life, exploring the real politics behind the headlines and constructing practical solutions to real political challenges. You could even spend a year on a placement in a parliamentary organisation by applying to transfer to our BA Politics and Parliamentary Studies option at the end of your first year (please note there is no direct entry to BA Politics and Parliamentary Studies; this programme starts from Year 2 as an exclusive option for BA Politics students and is subject to a successful application).

Parliamentary Studies Pathway

At the end of Year 1, you'll have the opportunity to apply for one of a limited number of places on the Parliamentary Studies Pathway. If successful, you would then transfer onto the four-year BA Politics and Parliamentary Studies degree programme. This exciting option includes ayear spent on a related placement. See the 'Course content' tab for moreinformation.

Year 1 provides the foundation of your studies with a set of compulsory modules. You’ll be introduced to all of the core areas of the School’s expertise, including modules in political theory, comparative and British politics, international relations and development studies, as well as gaining the research and academic skills you need to study politics. You’ll also have the choice of an optional module, to help you start developing your own research interests.

You’ll then build on your knowledge in the following year, with compulsory modules that allow you to gain new skills in political research and explore different areas of political theory. Around this, you’ll choose from more advanced modules in topics such as UK politics, electioneering and the political systems of different countries and regions. In addition, you can select options from a range of modules on broader topics like approaches to development, security studies or international relations.

In your final year, you’ll pursue your own specialist study. You’ll produce an extended piece of individual research on a topic of your choosing when you complete your dissertation, and select from a wide range of specialised modules delivered by staff in areas of their own research expertise. Topics could include feminist political thought, human rights, political psychology, political extremism, the relationship between the EU and the wider international community, the politics of aid, terrorism or violence and reconciliation in African states.

Parliamentary Studies Pathway

At the end of Year 1, you’ll have the opportunity (exclusive to BA Politics students) to apply for one of a limited number of places on our four-year BA Politics and Parliamentary Studies pathway, transferring into Year 2 of that programme if you are successful. You’ll take some of the same modules as BA Politics students, but you’ll also have a closer focus on topics such as the UK Parliament, in preparation for your placement year. This will prepare you to spend Year 3 on a related placement before returning to Leeds for your final year of study. On your return you will have a wide range of module options to choose from, including options specific to British politics and parliament, whilst also developing your dissertation.

This exciting placement year could mean working with an MP at Westminster, at a party headquarters, in a constituency office or another political organisation. It’s an excellent opportunity to gain an insight into the workings of parliament and government, put your knowledge and skills into practice and gain valuable work experience to support your future career plans.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Studying and Researching in POLIS 5 credits
  • British Politics 20 credits
  • Comparative Politics 20 credits
  • Making of the Modern World 20 credits
  • International Politics 20 credits
  • Freedom, Power and Resistance: An Introduction to Political Ideas 20 credits

Optional modules

  • Global Development Challenges 20 credits
  • Contemporary Africas: Politics, Society and the Environment 20 credits

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Approaches to Analysis 20 credits
  • Revolution and Reaction: Political Problems in the 20th Century OR Justice, Community and Conflict 20 credits

Optional modules

  • British Central Government 20 credits
  • Spin Doctors and Electioneering 20 credits
  • Comparative Politics of Pacific Asia 20 credits
  • State and Politics in Africa 20 credits
  • United States Politics 20 credits

Year 3

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation 40 credits
  • Parliament and the Public (Parliamentary Studies Pathway only) 20 credits

Optional modules

  • The End of British Politics? 20 credits
  • Politics of Islamism 20 credits
  • Israel: Politics and Society 20 credits
  • Radical Political Ideas: Marx, Nietzsche, Schmitt, Foucault, Kristeva 20 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Politics BA in programme catalogue

Broadening your academic horizons

At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. This course gives you the opportunity to broaden your learning by studying discovery modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

We use a range of teaching and learning methods to help you gain diverse skills. These will include seminars and workshops where you can discuss in more depth the topics set out in traditional lectures. We emphasise the importance of participation, presentation skills and group work.

The teaching structure varies depending on your level of study – for example, in Year 1 you might expect to have six or seven lectures and three or four seminars per week. However, independent study is also a vital element of the course, as it allows you to develop your research and critical skills while preparing for taught sessions.

You’ll also have a personal tutor – one of our academics – who will be on hand to offer you guidance and support on academic issues, such as module choices, as well as career and personal matters.


Modules will use a variety of assessment methods. As well as traditional exams, you could also be asked to complete projects based on essays and case studies, policy briefs, group presentations, work logs, research briefs, project proposals or development agency reviews. In your final year you’ll also submit a 10,000 word dissertation.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB

Alternate Qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Complete 60 credits with 45 credits Distinction grade at Level 3.



Cambridge Pre-U

D3, D3, M1.

International Baccalaureate

35 overall (6,5,5 higher)

Irish Highers (Leaving Certificate)

(Leaving Certificate): AAAAAB

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AAAAB overall (AB at advanced level)

Other Qualifications

We don’t require A level Politics for any of our degrees and we welcome applications that include vocational A level subjects such as AVCE (single or double awards). Any combination of these with A levels is acceptable.

In general we expect applicants to have two ‘traditional’ academic subjects at A-level. See our Accepted A-level subjects document to see which subjects we accept.

It is also possible to study this programme part time. The programme content is the same but you will study at a lesser intensity. Find out more about how to apply, support available and the part-time student experience at the Lifelong Learning Centre.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the Schools Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

Were committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the School of Politics and International Studies Undergraduate Admissions Team.

International foundation year

If you have the ability to study for a degree but don’t have the qualifications to enter directly to level one, you might consider studying a foundation year. We have formal links with the following foundation year programmes:

- University of Leeds International Foundation Year (IFY)

- Northern Consortium of UK Universities (NCUK)

- Study Group Leeds International Study Centre (LISC)

If you are applying from an alternative foundation year provider, please contact our admissions team to find out if your qualification is suitable for entry to our courses.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.

How to apply

Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

It is also possible to study this programme part time. The programme content is the same but you will study at a lesser intensity. Find out more about how to apply, support available and the part-time student experience at the Lifelong Learning Centre.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK/EU students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If youre unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

School of Politics and International Studies Undergraduate Admissions Policy


UK/EU: See fees section below

International: £16,000 (per year)

For UK and non-UK EU students starting in 2017, the fee for 2017/18 will be £9,250, subject to parliamentary approval of changes to higher education funding. We anticipate that we will be able to confirm the 2017 fee in late 2016. 

The fee may increase in future years of your course, as permitted by law. Although the basis of future fee increases is not guaranteed, we expect the government to allow fees to increase in line with inflation. For example, the increase of 2.8% for 2017/18 was based on the governments forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students starting in 2017 will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans for the duration of their course. Read the full government statement

If you take a study abroad or work placement year, youll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

Career opportunities

This degree will allow you to gain in-depth knowledge of an important area of public life, as well as key transferable skills in communication, research, analysis, critical thinking, presentations and group working. It’s a strong basis for a variety of careers in organisations as diverse as interest groups, research bodies, think tanks, the media, the civil service, local government and political consultancy as well as professions like law, finance and teaching.

Graduates from BA Politics and BA Politics and Parliamentary Studies have pursued a wide range of careers as parliamentary advisors or researchers, civil servants, diplomats, advocacy workers, parliamentary assistants, lobbyists, special advisors to senior ministers, political researchers and local government officers – and some have even gone into elected office as MPs.

Others work as civil servants, communications and marketing officers, PR consultants, journalists, intelligence analysts, youth workers or accountants and even joined the armed forces. Many have also pursued further study at Masters or PhD level.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Placement opportunities

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

Parliamentary Studies Pathway - exclusive to BA Politics

If you apply for and achieve (at the end of Year 1) a place on the BA Politics and Parliamentary Studies programme you will spend a year on a related placement. See 'Course content' tab for more information.

© Copyright Leeds 2016