Politics BSc (Hons) – 2021 entry
Why choose this course
Politics is about people and power: who gets it, how they use it and what makes a society fair.
Our innovative BSc (Hons) Politics course explores the active role that citizens can play in shaping politics internationally, nationally and locally. It explores those who make the decisions and how those decisions impact on others. A distinctive feature of the course is its emphasis on institutional structures, government and civil society, focusing on the way they bring about political and social change, whether at a local, national or international level.
What you will study
On our BSc (Hons) Politics course, you’ll get a full grounding in the discipline as a whole, as well as a wide set of transferable skills. You’ll be introduced to a range of concepts, approaches and methods to study the public sphere and the political system.
You’ll be able to explore the meanings of vital and contentious political concepts, including ‘justice’, ‘equality’ and ‘liberty’.
You’ll also learn about the way power is exercised, diffused across different groups and how it provides organisational structures in government, as well as how decisions in politics are made.
Politics research seminars
The Department of Politics sponsors a regular seminar series during term-time and brings together academic staff and postgraduate and undergraduate students from the University.
These research seminars provide a forum for the presentation of cutting-edge research papers and increase awareness among our students about developments in diverse themes of research in the field today.
We regularly invite high-profile UK and international scholars to present their work, and we encourage discussions with the audience. The seminars may also include insights from practitioners; from overseas politicians to activists. All members of the University and wider public community are welcome to participate.
Careers and graduate prospects
We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.
Graduates over the last few years have secured roles such as:
- Events Coordinator, AQA Education
- Education Officer, Department for Education
- Researcher, Westminster Forum Projects
- Graduate Intern, Ipsos MORI
- Corporate Finance Advisor, Department for Transport
- Bid Analyst, Serco Ltd
- Researcher, Society Ltd.
In addition, many of our graduates have gone on to study for masters degrees in a range of programmes and countries. We are also proud of our record of alumni who have continued education up to doctoral level and become academic scholars in their own right.
Academic year structure
The academic year is divided into two semesters of 15 weeks each. Each semester consists of a period of teaching, revision/directed learning and assessment.
Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.
Important: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the 2020/21 academic year. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach. View detailed information on the changes.
The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60, 75 and 120 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.
Please note: If there is an optional Professional Training placement as part of your course you can view the full module listing for this on the relevant programme specification.
The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:
Course timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the course administrators. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
The Department of Politics' commitment to research-led teaching has encouraged our staff to innovate and become leaders in the development of new teaching methods. This approach has been recognised by a number of awards and fellowships.
We maintain an active involvement with social media as a tool for teaching and learning. We apply effective teaching methods through interactive learning, direct observation and simulation games. You will benefit from inclusion in and engagement with research projects that our academic staff are currently carrying out.
We assess modules individually and award credits for the successful completion of each one. Assessment takes place through a combination of examination and/or coursework, practical examinations and reports.
Check individual module information to see full details at a module level.
Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.
As a student at Surrey, you can also sign up to our free courses in the following areas:
Find out more
Living in student accommodation is a great way to meet new people and spark friendships.
Other international qualifications
If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in each other element.
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
We normally make offers in terms of grades.
If you are a suitable candidate you will be invited to an Applicant Day. During your visit to the University you can find out more about the course and meet staff and students.
A foundation year can develop your skills and make it easier to get started at university. It is an extra year of study at the start of your course that leads in to a full degree programme.
During a foundation year you’ll learn about your chosen subject, develop your study skills and get acquainted with university life. On successful completion of your foundation year, you’ll be ready to progress to the first year of your degree course.
The programme aims to provide you with knowledge of social science concepts, theories, ideas and tools. Furthermore, we want to help you develop your ability to apply this knowledge and the skills you have acquired, to the solution of theoretical and applied problems in the social sciences.
The foundation year will equip you with appropriate tools of analysis to tackle issues and problems associated with social science policy-making in a global context.
By the end of the programme you will be familiar with ethical frameworks and their repercussions for decision-making, as well as a range of generic skills that will be of value in your future career. These skills include:
- Team working
- Independent research skills
- Building an empathetic mindset, social awareness and capacity of intelligence-based decision making
Enhancing employability through a developing awareness of the workplace and associated skills.
Recognition of prior learning
The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.
Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.
UK and EU To be confirmed
Overseas To be confirmed
BSc (Hons) (with professional training year)
UK and EU To be confirmed
Overseas To be confirmed
Professional training £1,850
BSc (Hons) (with foundation year)
UK and EU To be confirmed
BSc (Hons) (with foundation and professional training year)
UK and EU To be confirmed
Professional training £1,850
- Fees for UK students: The University will apply annual regulated increases in the fee rates as set by Government each year, in order to maintain the same value in real terms.
- Fees for EU students: While the UK is part of the EU, the University will apply annual regulated increases in the fee rates as set by the Government each year, in order to maintain the same value in real terms. Once the UK has left the EU, the fees rules may change and the University is bound to comply with applicable legislation.
- Fees for international students: Annual fees will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements.
- Fees for international students with an integrated foundation year: The programme fee for Year 0 will match the lowest Year 1 overseas fee rate from across the substantive programmes for that year of entry. Students subsequently progressing into Year 1 will be liable for the same fee as overseas students joining at Year 1 for the same programme in that year. Annual fees after Year 1 will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements.
The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.
- Students in receipt of a Tuition Fee Loan: will have their fees paid by the Student Loans Company in line with their schedule.
- International students, or UK/EU students who have not taken out a Tuition Fee Loan: are required to pay their fees either in full at the beginning of the programme or in two instalments as follows:
- 50% payable 10 days after the invoice date (expected to be early October of each academic year)
- 50% in January of the same academic year.
The exact date(s) will be detailed on invoices. Students on certain part-time programmes, where fees are paid on a modular or stage basis, are not eligible to pay their fees by instalment.
If you are sponsored: you will provide us with valid sponsorship information that covers the period of your study.
Professional Training placement fees
If you are studying on a programme which contains a Professional Training placement year there will be a reduced fee for the academic year in which you undertake your placement. This is normally confirmed 12 to 18 months in advance, or once Government policy is determined.
See the information about 2019/20 academic year Professional Training placement fee.
There are no associated costs with this course.
Final-year students may wish to participate in an optional trip to the Houses of Parliament or simulation exercises as part of certain modules – £30 approximately.
Scholarships and bursaries
We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.
You have the option to complete a Professional Training placement as part of this course. This will give you the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential, helping to prepare you for your future career.
A significant proportion of placement students at Surrey are offered graduate-level jobs or go onto postgraduate study.
Find out more about Professional Training placements and discover how these have transformed our students’ lives and career choices.
You can take a placement directly related to politics, explore the skills you have acquired from your studies in other fields, study politics from a different perspective overseas, or a combination of working and studying abroad.
In all, the placement allows you to apply and develop your understanding, as well as discover new approaches to the subject.
The distinguishing feature of our degree course is its focus on application. You’ll be taught how to apply theoretical understandings of politics and international relations to world events and issues.
Additionally, we’ll equip you with the skills necessary to find a placement. The aim of our Professional Training placement is to provide you with first-hand experience of how politics operates in practice. Our students have completed placements in the voluntary sector, government departments, MPs’ offices, international organisations and the private sector.
Current placement providers for the Department of Politics include:
- Asset Management One
- Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
- House of Commons
- European Chamber of Commerce
- British Embassy
- Metropolitan Police
- British Airways
- The Walt Disney Company
- BMW Group
- Virgin Media
- Eli Lilly UK.
Applying for placements
You can apply for numerous opportunities via an open and free-to-all process. Placement providers use their own recruitment and selection procedures and the majority of students will secure their placement in this way.
Students are generally not placed by the University, however we offer support and guidance throughout the process alongside access to a vacancy portal representing thousands of placement opportunities each year. We also provide support if you wish to source your own placement.
Find out about more about the application process.
Please be aware there may be travel costs incurred when attending interviews and assessment centres at the placement provider’s premises.
Study and work abroad
We give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their studies by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities or by completing a Professional Training placement abroad.
Want to study at an overseas institution as part of your degree or work abroad during your Professional Training year? Perhaps you would like to volunteer in India or learn about Brazilian business and culture in São Paulo during your summer holidays? With more than 200 partnerships, from 50 different countries worldwide, there is something for everyone.
Not only is the opportunity to go abroad a hugely enjoyable experience, you will develop key skills and knowledge that will strengthen your CV and increase your employability.
View our study and work abroad exchange information to find out more and see where you can go.
Please note: the status of the Erasmus+ scheme is dependent on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
You have the option to spend half or all of your third year on study exchange with one of our partner universities. These include:
- La Trobe University, Australia
- Monash University, Australia
- University of Queensland, Australia
- University of Wollongong, Australia
- Brock University, Canada
- The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
- Aarhus Universitet, Denmark
- Kobenhavns Universitet, Denmark
- Institut d'Etudes Poliques d'Aix-En-Provence, France
- Otto-Friedrich-Universitat Bamberg, Germany
- Universitat Mannheim, Germany
- Universita degli Studi di Bologna 'Alma Mater Studiorum', Italy
- Universiti Malaya, Malaysia
- Maastricht University, Netherlands
- Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
- Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
- Singapore Management University
- Universidad Pontificia Commillas, Madrid, Spain
- California State University, US
- George Mason University, US
- North Carolina State University, US
- Texas Tech University, US
- University of Central Florida, US
- University of Cincinnati, US
- University of Maryland, US
- University of North Carolina, US
- University of North Texas, US
- University of Virginia, US
- Virginia Commonwealth University, US.
The advantages of participation in the exchange scheme are numerous. They include exposure to a different culture and the challenges of living in a new country, and the opportunity to learn a new language and experience new teaching practices and approaches to politics and international relations.
You’ll also gain a fresh perspective on your subject matter that can significantly improve your performance in your final year.
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.
This online guide has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.
Campus locationStag Hill
Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught.
As part of this course you have the option to complete a Professional Training placement which would require attendance off campus, depending on where you secure your placement.