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BA (Hons) Politics

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Three years full-time.

Next intake September 2023

Course Options: 
Professional Placement
Study Abroad
Typical Offer: 

2023-24 entry; 112 UCAS tariff points (or above), BBC (A-Level), DMM (BTEC) 

Please see Entry Requirements below.


During a period of profound and unprecedented political upheaval, a degree in politics will equip you with the skills necessary to understand and succeed in the world around you.

As well as exploring British and international political structures, our course offers a distinct focus on ‘political action’ across party politics, campaigns and community politics. The backbone of this degree is your involvement in project work and applied research. You will be encouraged to think for yourselves and develop the skills to successfully engage in contemporary political debates.

Throughout the course, we maintain a critical focus on how political ideas and policies translate into ‘real, felt’ political action and outcomes ‘on the ground’. This includes relating established and emerging political thought to debates surrounding contemporary social justice and social policy.

Politics graduates have an important range of analytical and organisational skills. Jobs directly related to a politics degree include Government and Civil Service roles, covering public affairs, consultancy and research. Jobs in the field of marketing, media, public relations, and local government are also popular.

We offer our BA (Hons) Politics with three complementary majors in disciplines where we have significant academic expertise: Economics, History and Sociology. This is a great opportunity to combine your interests and broaden your potential career options.

The political landscape is changing. New dynamic relationships are being forged between the left and right, and between localism, nationalism and globalism. There has never been a more exciting time to study politics.

Course modules

Preparatory Reading List

Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.

Social Science Skills

This module introduces you to academic study at university level. Its purpose is to enable you to reflect on and develop your skills as you progress through your first year of study. This is achieved by introducing you to the key study and academic skills required to succeed at university level study and supporting you as you develop your competencies in these skills. You are also introduced to the principles and core concepts underpinning your field of study, and social science research more generally. A developmental approach is emphasised throughout the module, and, as part of the module’s approach to learning and teaching, you will regularly meet in small groups with dedicated tutors.

History of Political Thought

This module introduces you to major themes in the history of political thought. It studies important questions around the formulation of political and social order, as well as topics such as legitimacy, justice, power, authority, rights, liberty, sovereignty, democracy, the relationship between the citizen or the individual and the state, and others. In doing so, the module links to the works of key thinkers in the history of political thought. The module seeks to broaden and enhance your understanding of political theory by examining the origins of early modern political thought, as well as the development of political ideas from the Enlightenment until the early twentieth century. It also poses questions regarding the importance of these ideas in understanding and informing current political affairs and debates by reflecting to the intellectual ideas that constitute the basis of today’s politics.

Current Political Disputes

This module introduces major themes in the study of global politics and international relations, thereby exposing you to the international dimension of the study of politics. This is achieved through studying a range of contemporary international political disputes. This provides an opportunity to examine the context behind current political disputes, including trends in international history, and a range of factors at international, regional, national and local levels. Attempts to resolve political disputes and institutionalise cooperation at the international level are also examined. The module also explores various theoretical explanations and models which have been put forward in an attempt to explain how international politics works.

Grassroots Politics and Activism

This module starts with the everyday experience of local politics and allows students to build up a picture of how the everyday world around them is thoroughly political. You will be introduced to the structure of local government and local decision-making actors and processes. The module aims to provide practical local analysis and to link to the wider question of the nature of politics, understood as the working through of political predicaments to decide (or not) upon a ‘course of action’. The emphasis is upon how local politics operates and provides students with the opportunity to reflect on the role of activism and democratic processes. A range of practical skills related to organising, arguing, campaigning and communicating a case will be developed within the module.

Policy and Politics

In Policy and Politics we introduce British politics. This module will introduce you to political concepts, principles and theories that shape the operation of politics in the UK, and how this affects policy responses to various social issues and problems with a particular emphasis placed upon crime and deviance. As well as introducing you to the political institutions of the UK, the module examines the different ways that political choices are framed and made in the UK and the process of debate and dialogue is a key part of the content of the module.

Social Change

This module will introduce the major aspects of social change that have led to and developed within modern societies. There is a focus upon identifying and explaining some of the major social changes over the past 30-40 years using official statistics and social theory. The emphasis will be upon patterns of change alongside an exploration of the impact on personal biography, life-satisfaction and wellbeing. The module will initially focus upon Europe but also give room for you to explore social change in more rapidly changing parts of the world as well. The module allows you to engage with a range of data that describe social changes in key areas of social life from family to work to wellbeing to migration.

Contemporary Political Theory

This module explores contemporary political theory and enables you to engage with some of the key themes which define current political debates, including freedom, toleration, equality and social justice. The module explores a number of key political thinkers and political movements from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries which discuss these themes. In this way, this module builds on the first year module ‘History of Political Thought’, but examines more recent approaches to political theory. Throughout the module you will be encouraged to apply themes in contemporary political thought to the contemporary practice of politics.

Social Justice and Policy

This module examines the nature of social justice and the range of policies that have sought to make societies fairer. The module examines different conceptions of social justice, including the conceptions advanced Rawls and Sen. The module also explores the welfare state and some of the major policies used to try and increase social justice across a range of dimensions, including housing, education, health, income transfers, pensions and access to legal rights. The module also seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of social policies in a variety of countries increasing social justice using international data and evidence.

Political Argumentation and Persuasion

This module introduces you to politics as a process of discussion and compromise between various actors seeking influence. The module examines the political landscape, the actors operating in that landscape and critically examines the approaches used by those actors to persuade others and seek influence in the political process. The module pays particular attention to the key features of political argumentation and persuasion, and critically examines the role of rhetoric, communication and negotiation. Much of the module is practical in nature and seeks to develop your own skills in communication, argumentation, persuasion and negotiation.


Globalization is a much-used term and one that is seen by many commentators as the major force behind social, economic, political and cultural change over the past 30 years. It is also a much-misunderstood concept and provokes much heated debate between those who argue free markets are the motor of globalization to the constant benefit of humankind and anti-globalization critics who see many of the world’s ills stemming from the increase in globalization. The module aims to equip you to get behind the ‘woolliness’ of much popular discussion of globalization. This module intends to examine definitions of globalization, the dimensions of globalization and the evidence to evaluate the extent to which globalization is now a key element in important aspects of social life. Recent indications that there may be a reversal in globalization will be critically considered. You should be able to engage with these debates by evaluating a range of data and arguments about globalization.

Political Discourse

This module introduces you to the important role that language and signification play in the formation of political ideas and ideologies such as liberalism, socialism, conservatism, nationalism, fascism, feminism, and others. It explores the role played by both linguistic and non-linguistic systems of meaning in the constitution of political associations and identities. You will be introduced to critical approaches to the analysis of discourse such as political discourse theory (PDT) and critical discourse analysis (CDA), by means of which they will investigate the way in which political power and domination occur through discourse, and the way in which these forms of domination can be resisted and opposed. You will be able to examine the way in which the ‘people’ has been discursively constructed in recent populist movements and explore the rhetorical, emotional, and affective elements inherent to such processes. The theoretical and conceptual foundations of discourse analysis will be introduced by engaging with traditions of thought such as Marxism and post-Marxism, psychoanalysis, structuralism and poststructuralism, and through the works of thinkers such as Saussure, Gramsci, Lacan, Foucault, Derrida, Laclau, Mouffe, Fairclough, Zizek, and others. The module aims to enhance and enrich the your understanding of the role played by discursive processes in political affairs through the application of a theoretically informed analysis of historical and contemporary events.

The Global Cold War: From Berlin to Beijing

This module examines the origins, course, and consequences of the Cold War, from the end of the Second World War until 1991 (and beyond). It is designed to widen knowledge and apply conceptual understandings developed in earlier elements of the History programme. Through a focus on the ‘global Cold War’ concept, the course will provide you with the opportunity to move beyond the traditional emphasis on superpower relations. The ideological and political nature of the Cold War will be analysed alongside a consideration of the conflict’s social and cultural dimensions across the world. You will be given the opportunity to analyse a range of visual and textual primary sources, as well as secondary literature, as you debate and formulate your own analyses of the nature and significance of this conflict.

Understanding Research

This module grounds you in the principles of social science research and methods employed to develop our understanding of the social world. The module covers core aspects of the research process and offers you opportunities to focus on particular methods of interest and relevant to your field of study. The module aims to provide you with the knowledge and confidence to undertake independent, ethical and robust research in the social sciences. This module also acts as a precursor to the independent project module in the third year.

Independent Project

In this module you will produce a final year project that allows you to exercise your independent judgement and skills in the development and execution of a project or dissertation relevant to your field of study. Under the supervision of an assigned tutor, the module provides you with the opportunity to independently apply the core subject knowledge and skills developed over the course of your degree. Over the course of the year you will undertake independent analysis and research, and communicate and present it to high professional standards. This project can take the form of a traditional research dissertation, but you also have the flexibility to undertake an alternative, such as a reflective report based on an independent project pursued in a practice / work setting.

Political Engagement and Professional Development

This module aims to prepare you for life after graduation, with a particular focus on careers in or related to politics. It offers you the chance to undertake a work placement or work shadowing or other relevant activity that can meet the portfolio and learning outcomes. You will begin to explore the current skills and attributes, explore career options using your degree and write a CV. There will be important elements to develop the skills of reflection and in particular to reflect upon a leadership activity. The module aims to allow you to build your confidence and develop plans and skills to take control of your future.

Comparative Politics

This module explores how the comparative methods is used to compare political systems, with a particular focus on democratic political systems. The module critically examines the role of the comparative method in the study of politics and fostering our understanding of how political processes work. The module examines core institutions (for example executives, legislatures, electoral systems) and non-institutionalised features (for example political culture) of political systems, how these institutions and features relate to each other in different contexts, and how the design of these institutions and features affects the quality of politics in different states. In studying this module, you will develop a broader global outlook on politics.

Gender and Sexuality

Gender and sexuality are central areas of interest in the social sciences. Gender and sexuality are also an everyday experience for most people and substantially impact on their daily lives. Moreover, great complexity surrounds gender and sexuality in a contemporary society and culture. The module will consider theoretical debates concerning gender and sexuality, as well as, it will deploy the most recent sociological research related to gender and sexuality. It will consider political dimension of gender and sexuality, as well as key gender and sexuality-related policies and laws. Public organizations and institutions related to the area of gender and sexuality as well as media discourse associated with these will also be paid attention to.

Genocide in History and Memory

This course is designed to teach you both the importance and limitations of history as an academic discipline, and the dangers of history when misused in the construction of national and other group identities. In studying genocide, the attempt to annihilate people because of their membership of a real or perceived group, you are forced to confront core disciplinary issues. Are the historian’s tools adequate to explain this phenomenon? Is it possible to compare episodes of genocide? Why have lawyers and scholars disagreed over the fundamental definition of ‘genocide’?  How are ‘modernity’ and ‘progress’ related to the perpetration of mass atrocities? How have societies constructed ‘us and them’ dichotomies of difference and how have these been mobilized in genocidal projects? Can our historical understanding of genocide be enhanced through engagement with other disciplines such as anthropology and psychology? How do supposedly ‘ordinary’ people become genocidal killers? Why has the international community failed to prevent genocides? The module also tackles crucial questions connected to memory and memorialization of genocides, and the politicization of these issues.

Britain at War in the Twentieth Century

The military histories of the major global conflicts of the ‘short twentieth century’ are well documented at international level. But the military contribution to the First World War, Second World War and the Cold War also had significant social, cultural, and domestic political effect across the United Kingdom. This module explores the domestic national experience of warfare by examining the evolving relationship between the military, state, and society during periods of conflict during the twentieth century. By thematically examining aspects of the First World War, Second World War and Cold War you will be encouraged to draw comparisons and parallels across the period and consider the aspects that endured and those that changed. How did conflict induce industrial, cultural, and socio-economic changes that took place in the United Kingdom during the period? How did the experiences of British soldiers change throughout the period and which aspects endured? What influenced the evolving posture of air and maritime forces based in the country? How did the reaction to the threat of attack or invasion evolve over the period? Across the themes examined, you will be encouraged to consider the nature and character of conflict and the interactions between state, society, and the military. You will also be encouraged to analyse the experience of conflict from the point of view of individuals within the military and across broader society and consider how their testimony is valuable in understanding the wider national story. This part of the course will use your pre-existing knowledge of twentieth-century events and consider their effect at the national Level. The historiography of twentieth-century warfare will also be examined in order to challenge you to consider the value and limitations of the historical approaches that have been applied to the subject in the past.

Data Analysis and Visualisation for Social Scientists

This module seeks to develop your skills in processing large and complex datasets in the social sciences and visualise analysis to distil and convey findings to wide audiences. The module explores the key principles which make for effective data visualisation and communication, and the core workflows involved in processing, analysing and visualising data using appropriate software tools. In addition to developing your skills and competencies in analysing and presenting quantitative data, the module critically examines how quantitative data is used in the social sciences and how its use and presentation affects the development and evaluation of public policy.

Career opportunities

Politics graduates are highly employable due to having a variety of analytical and organisational skills.

Careers that graduates may progress in to include civil service fast streamer, government social research officer, politician's assistant, public affairs consultant, public relations account executive or social researcher.

Politics graduates have a range of transferable skills and may choose to pursue a career as a human resources officer, local government officer, market researcher, marketing executive, newspaper journalist or public relations officer.

Employability is taken very seriously at the University of Suffolk and innovations such as our work-placement module in the final year will help to equip you with the knowledge, skills and confidence to prosper in the jobs marketplace.

Fees and finance


  • UK full-time tuition fee: £9,250 p.a
  • UK part-time tuition fee: £1,454 per 20 credits (please contact the Student Centre for further information)
  • Full-time International tuition fee:  £12,996 p.a

Further Information

At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with you course that you will need to budget for. 

* 2022-23 tuition fees are subject to change in line with inflation, or a government change in the fee cap.

Entry requirements

Course options

This course offers a professional placement and study abroad option. 


Course Leader and Associate Professor in Politics and Associate Dean for Learning, Teaching and Student Experience

Lecturer in Politics

Associate Professor in Sociology

Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Youth Studies

Visiting Senior Fellow in Childhood Studies