Politics (BSc Econ)

Politics is a fascinating subject that has a significant impact on our everyday lives.

The field of politics allows students to explore how parliaments and governments function and evaluate political ideas such as power, freedom, democracy, conflict, legitimacy or accountability.

Politics (BSc Econ) is our core degree and offers the maximum choice of politics modules. Modules are varied, allowing you to explore how politics works in Britain and further afield as well as investigate how public policy is made. Other strands of work discuss justice, democracy, human rights and international relations; providing you with a broad understanding of politics tailored to your own particular needs.

In your first year you will concentrate mainly on core modules, while in your second and third years you choose from a wide range of optional modules.

This degree aims to provide you with an excellent understanding of politics and government while also equipping you with associated intellectual and communications skills that will be of value whether you work in government or in the private or voluntary sectors. Politics graduates find careers in a wide range of fields. A further option is to go on to postgraduate study.

Key facts

UCAS CodeL200
Duration3 years
Typical places available
Typical applications received
Scholarships and bursaries
Typical A level offerAAB – BBB excluding General Studies
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWelsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma with a Grade A in the Core and grades AB at A-Level
Typical International Baccalaureate offerConsidered on individual merit
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Specific admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be found online.
Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here.
QAA subject benchmark

Politics and International Relations

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Mr Jonathan Kirkup , Course Administrator

    The Politics degree programme at Cardiff takes three years to complete.

    The first year is an introductory year. It is the results of the second and final years of study that determine your degree classification. The degree is made up of compulsory modules as well as optional modules, allowing you to tailor your degree to reflect your specific interests. A particular feature is the option of writing a dissertation in your final year. This is highly regarded by employers because it indicates that you can carry out original research.

    Year one

    We offer six politics modules in year one. Four of these are compulsory, two are optional.

    Year two

    You can take six Politics modules in your second year. Please note that the lists of modules below are indicative only and that modules may vary from year to year.

    Year three

    In your Final Year you will have the opportunity to choose six further modules, including the option of writing a dissertation.

    The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

    Lectures provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. These are outlined in course syllabi.

    Seminars provide an opportunity to ask questions and discuss key ideas in a small group environment. Their purpose is to assist you to integrate the information and ideas you receive from lectures and readings and to explore issues critically and in depth. Set questions and readings form the basis for discussion by directing your attention to relevant aspects of the subject matter and to various types of sources of information. Giving presentations develops your capacity to gather, organise and synthesise relevant information and ideas and to communicate these in a logical and concise manner. Tutor-led and student-led discussion hones logical skills and gives you practice in applying different concepts, theories and methods to the subject-matter at hand. It also exposes you to different interpretations of political ideas and events. Group problem-solving helps to develop collaborative skills.

    Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Prior advice and written feedback (for essays) are used to help you understand what is required.

    In 2013/14, 96% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

    Politics at Cardiff is a respected recruitment pool for a variety of employers within this sector with the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, the Department for Education, Oxford City Council, the UK Border Agency and a range of political parties all recruiting from the last graduating year.

    Outside of the political sector, the degree is of interest to employers in both the public and private sectors, with graduates taking up management training opportunities within EY, Enterprise Rent A Car, Zurich Insurance and King Worldwide.


    • Journalist
    • Government Officer
    • Manager
    • Publisher
    • Lawyer
    • Banker
    • Accountant
    • Policy researcher
    • Civil servant


    3 Year(s)

    Next intake

    September 2016

    Places available

    Typical places available

    The School admits 230 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes

    Applications received

    Typical applications received



    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark

    Politics and International Relations

    What are the aims of this Programme?

    Politics at Cardiff is an exciting, extensive and challenging academic programme which covers a broad range of areas in the study of Politics, including International Relations, Political theory, European Union, domestic political systems and public policy.

    Our students can study not just Single Honours Politics, but also International Relations & Politics and Joint Honours Politics with a wide range of other subjects, including Law, Economics, Sociology, History, Languages and other Arts subjects. Further our Cardiff-Bordeaux programme, which is an innovative four-year scheme, allows students to obtain both a Cardiff Politics Bachelor's degree and a Bordeaux Politics diplomafrom the prestigious Sciences Po in Bordeaux (one of nine Instituts d'Etudes Politiques in France).

    In the Politics programme we aim at

    ·         Providing a flexible structure that facilitates a broad and balanced education in the key areas of politics

    ·         Producing  graduates with the intellectual and employability skills appropriate both for further study and for a range of working environments

    ·         Providing opportunities for students to fulfil their academic potential, acquire research and transferable skills, maximise their career potential and achieve personal growth

    ·         Providing students with a sound basis of knowledge, understanding and skills in the main areas of politics.

    A degree in politics from Cardiff is highly respected by employers, both within the political environment and outside. Our graduates are able to demonstrate a wide portfolio of acquired skills, such as oral and written communication skills, research skills and analysis, teamwork, self-management and problem solving skills which are in demand across both public and private sectors.

    What is expected of me?

    ·         Attend all Lectures and seminars

    ·         Engage with all forms of in-course assessment to allow self-reflection on progress towards the learning outcomes

    ·         Engage in independent study in addition to taught study. Increasing independence of learning is expected as the programme progresses

    ·         To complete the required reading and self-directed study.

    ·         Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study.

    How is this Programme Structured?

    This is a three year, full time programme require, consisting of 120 credits a year.

    Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?

    Any equipment required will be supplied by the School.

    What skills will I practise and develop?

    This degree programme will allow you to develop a number of valuable skills. Students who are awarded a Single or Joint Honours Politics degree will be able to:

    ·           Gather, organize and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of sources;

    ·           Develop a reasoned argument, synthesize relevant information and exercise critical judgement;

    ·           Reflect on their own learning and make use of constructive feedback;

    ·           Manage their own learning self-critically.

    ·           Communicate ideas effectively and fluently, both orally and in writing;

    ·           Use communications and information technologies for the retrieval and presentation of information;

    ·           Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management;

    ·           Collaborate with others and contribute to the achievement of common goals. 

    How will I be taught?

     The Politics programme uses several different methods of teaching and learning. During your degree, you will attend lectures and participate in seminars. The lectures provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. These are outlined in course syllabi. The Seminars are kept small and usually average between 12-15 students. It provides an opportunity for students to ask questions and discuss key ideas in a small group environment. Their purpose is to assist students to integrate the information and ideas received from lectures and readings and to explore issues critically and in depth. The seminars are also designed to give students an ample opportunity to participate and to provide close contact between them and members of the academic staff.

    Furthermore, the programme is delivered through students’ independent reading, preparation of essays and presentations, as well as feedback on essays and presentations by academic staff.

    We also host guest lectures, as an extracurricular activity, which features visiting guest speakers, usually eminent practitioners and academics involved in various aspects of international relations and politics.

    How will I be assessed?


    These programmes are assessed mainly by essays and examinations. Other forms of assessment include seminar presentations, class tests, book and article reviews, and dissertation.


    Formative feedback is given in tutorials, discussion classes and problems classes as well as through individual written comments on coursework.

    How will I be supported?

    • Each module uses the Central Learning website, a Virtual Learning Environment at Cardiff University. Through the Central Learning site you will have access to relevant materials for the module, such as multimedia materials, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises, discussion groups, etc.
    • Academic Tutors have office hours for students to meet and discuss any learning queries as well as the opportunity in seminars.
    • The School has a wide programme of visiting speakers and guest lectures and students are encouraged to attend.
    • There will be an opportunity for you to reflect on your progress and on the skills that you will develop through a section on the Central Learning site called Planning Personal Development.
    • Furthermore, centrally the university has a range of services to support you, including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

    What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?

    Politics programmes aim  to develop in students a critical understanding of key aspects of modern politics, including International relations, domestic politics of key European states, European Union politics and political theory, along with a command of associated transferable skills.

    Students who are awarded a Single or Joint Honours Politics degree will be able to:

    ·           Identify and explain the central concepts of political science, and demonstrate familiarity with the vocabulary of political discourse;

    ·           Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of normative and empirical Political Theory;

    ·           Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of modern politics, including the structure and operation of selected European political systems at the national and European Union levels and international politics embracing global and regional studies;

    ·           Demonstrate particular expertise in Political Theory and/or European Politics and/or international relations in the case of Joint Honours students, and in the case of Single Honours students: for Political Theory this means a critical understanding of key ideas selected from the history of political thought and contemporary political theory; for European politics this means a critical understanding of the structure and operation of selected European political systems at the national, European and/or regional level, along with an awareness of the social, economic and cultural contexts of political behaviour and theoretically-informed views of the factors that account for political change; for international relations this means a critical understanding of the nature of the international system and of global power structures, with main foci in terms of agencies such as States, International Organisations and other Transnational actors, along with an awareness of international political theories;

    ·           Appreciate the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge;

    ·           Apply different concepts, theories and methods to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and behaviour;

    ·           Examine and evaluate different interpretations of political issues and events;

    ·           Make use of contemporary research, such as articles in refereed journals.

    Other information

    ·      the opportunity to pursue a degree programme which develops the skills that are relevant to the academic world and the world of work alike

    ·      the emphasis on practical research skills that will benefit you throughout your career

    ·      the emphasis placed on independent learning in a supportive environment

    ·      Further information on schemes, modules, teaching methods and assessment can be found on the Politics website.

    Admissions tutors

    Mr Jonathan Kirkup , Course Administrator

      Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.