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Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations

  • Sinn Fein
  • European Parliament


Important notice – campus change This course will move to the Belfast campus in September 2019.  Students will change campus part way through this course. Find out more

A dynamic subject essential to understanding people, power and policies in a changing world.


Study Politics at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

Our curriculum is based upon the research and scholarship of the staff team. We aim to encourage students to become research literate and have a strong understanding and appreciation of the research carried out within their discipline. Students are introduced to the central questions and discover how academics, including their own lecturers and professors, are trying to address them. Our research is used in the classroom to help develop the overall research literacy of the students. We aim to give our students the opportunity to gain the skills and ability to carry out independent research, to assess the merits of competing theories and explanations, to work as part of a team, and to effectively engage in policy debate with sensitivity to the views of others – all skills that are highly attractive to employers. This Politics degree provides a detailed knowledge and understanding of contemporary political analysis, an excellent training in social research methods, the ability to apply theoretical perspectives and concepts to real-life problems, and an appreciation of the complexity and diversity of political problems in society. The degree equips graduates for employment in a range of careers in the statutory, voluntary and private sectors.

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About this course

In this section


Our Politics course covers all the core areas of the discipline and offers a range of options focusing on theories and ideologies and the study of the politics of individual nation states. It also includes the study of politics and political issues at the international level, as well as the study of themes such as the growing importance of 'identities' to political action. We have recently reviewed and revised the Course, introducing new modules including Politics of Popular Culture, Conflict Transformation and Politics of Northern Ireland, Ideas in Modern British Politics and Politics of Deeply Divided Societies. Students will have an opportunity to cover the key areas of the discipline, including: • the nature of power; • the meaning and relevance of political ideologies; • the interrelationships between domestic and international politics; • the challenges posed by new social movements and global developments; • the meaning and application of political theories. The Subject team were recently successful in a competition to deliver a new module – Parliamentary Studies – which is the only higher education module formally approved and co-taught by staff from the Houses of Parliament, and has the support of The Speaker and the Clerk of the House in the House of Commons, and the Lord Speaker and the Clerk of the Parliaments in the House of Lords. Only 13 UK Universities offer this module. The Parliamentary Studies module offers students the opportunity to engage with professional staff working in Parliament at Westminster, thus enhancing their understanding of the professional skills required to ensure the effective operation of parliaments and committees and indeed political parties. They will also learn about how effective lobbying is conducted, an important skill for many areas of voluntary, public and private sector employment.

The course has been commended in internal and external review for its well-structured and relevant curriculum, which is underpinned by the original research and scholarship undertaken by staff teaching on the course.

Our research has a well-established record of impressive achievements through:- first, the authorship of books and articles of acknowledged international excellence, second, demonstrable practical impacts on the policy-making process, and, third, winning against strong competition the support of prestigious sources of external funding including the Economic and Social Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy. Our research influences our teaching through the content of the curriculum, and through developing research awareness and literacy among our students.

This is crucial since it helps students understand that research and scholarship is the basis of their university experience – other people’s research and their own research collectively make up the scholarship which defines a university. Additionally, our students gain the skills and ability to carry out independent research, to assess the merits of competing theories and explanations, to work as part of a team, and to effectively engage in policy debate with sensitivity to the views of others – all skills that are highly attractive to employers.

Members of the team are actively engaged in research and scholarship, and in addition have collaborated with colleagues in the UK and Irish Political Studies Association to develop appropriate and innovative methodologies for developing students' independent learning capacities.


The course operates in 'slow-track' mode, with part-time students taking modules which are available to full-time students. Each module usually involves a two hour lecture plus a one hour seminar each week. In addition, students are required to undertake substantial directed independent learning.

Start dates

  • September 2016
How to apply

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

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A level

The Subject Committee will consider a range of qualifications, experience and other evidence of ability to complete the course satisfactorily when considering applications for part-time study.


You must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold a GCSE pass in English Language at grade C or above (or equivalent). The Faculty of Social Sciences will accept Essential Skills Level 2 Communication as equivalent to GCSE English Language.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Teaching and learning assessment

Instruction will take place in the form of 2 hour lectures and 1 hour seminars, or a combined 3 hour lecture/seminar, given on a weekly basis. Full attendance is essential. A module outline is provided at the start of the semester indicating the topics and readings for each session. More detailed lesson plans are made available via Blackboard well in advance of each teaching day. Students must consult Blackboard on a regular basis to ensure that they have the most recent information on readings and tasks that they need to complete before the upcoming session. All Politics modules require a significant commitment from students who are expected to be familiar with required readings when coming to class. Lectures will address complex substantive, conceptual and technical details required to fulfil the module aims. Students are expected to actively engage in dialogue with lecturers about the issues under discussion by asking and answering questions throughout lecture presentations. Seminars will build on instruction and facilitate dialogue and critical examination. Student group work in seminars and participation in debates and role playing /practical exercises will be features of seminars. Students will be directed to read steadily and extensively throughout the period between teaching sessions in order to keep up with the course requirements and fully benefit from participation in the teaching sessions. Students will be expected to participate in, and contribute effectively to, group tasks during the semester. Independent learning forms a core feature of the Politics programme. It is reflected in the requirement that students undertake a significant amount of external research to fulfil their assignments. Academic staff will be available to support and encourage that endeavour throughout. The structure assumes that academic staff will encourage students in ascertaining students' preferred area of research; give general and specific guidance in the location of relevant research materials; support the development of ideas and research plans; and guide students to governmental and non-governmental sources of materials and information that are relevant to their assignment. Students will be encouraged to develop retrieval skills in relation to academic and governmental sources. All Politics modules are offered by blended learning. The aim of all assessments is to give students the opportunity to review, consolidate and reflect on their learning and to demonstrate the extent to which they have acquired knowledge, understanding and skills. Hence, several modes of assessment are employed in Politics modules. Formative assessment involves course-based assessment work and ordinarily, though not always, accounts for 50% of the total marks available. It will give staff and students an early indication of their performance while providing a foundation for the summative assessment in a sessional examination that accounts for the remaining 50%.

Exemptions and transferability

We offer applicants who have achieved credits on courses with a Politics or International Relations content at Higher Education institutions the opportunity to apply for entry and to be exempted for modules already completed successfully.

Students may enter the course with advanced standing at level 5 and level 6; however, we may require students to complete core modules before entry.

Students may also apply for transfer to other courses within the Faculty of Social Sciences; this may require them to undertake additional study.

Careers & opportunities

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Graduate employers

Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations. Here are some examples:

  • Sinn Fein
  • European Parliament

Career options

A background in the academic study of politics is invaluable for those who aim to pursue a career in local or national government. There is a growing demand for staff in leadership positions in the voluntary or non-governmental sector, and in political lobbying firms and think-tanks. As the study of politics allows students to develop an understanding of organisations and decision making, they will have the skills and expertise which are sought after in many managerial and administrative positions. Students who have completed our course will have acquired the skills of respectful listening to those with diverse opinions, and of expressing opinions in a clear and respectful fashion. These skills are an excellent preparation for teamwork in a broad range of work contexts.

Recent graduates have taken up careers in journalism, community development, research, teaching, the civil service and in a number of private sector companies. Others have taken the opportunity to study at postgraduate level.

Ulster University has an excellent Careers Department: seminars and workshops focused on careers are timetabled within the course at all three levels.

Work placement / study abroad

The module POL328, Work Based Learning and Politics, is designed to provide a placement opportunity for students and gives students the opportunity to apply political scholarship to practical situations and link academic studies to the world outside the university. Students will be enabled to apply political science theories and concepts to their practical work and volunteering experience. The placement not only encourages students to reflect on the applicability of their scholarship but also allows them the opportunity to draw on and enhance research skills. By practicing specific skills for employment – including the writing of CVs, giving presentations and critically reflecting on experience, the module also aims to prepare students for the world of work beyond university.


Please apply at

How to apply

Start dates

  • September 2016

Fees and funding

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Scholarships, awards and prizes

Politics students can be considered for the School of Criminology, Politics & Social Policy's Global Studies Award for the best dissertation with an international focus. Additionally, Politics students are encouraged to submit their final year work to The Undergraduate Awards, an international awards programme which recognises creativity, excellence and innovative thinking within student coursework. We have had a number of entries which have been highly commended.


Course Director: Dr Kris Brown

T: +44 (0) 28 9036 6184
F: +44 (0) 28 9036 6806