A Level Requirements
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see all requirements
Full time 3 Year(s)
Exploring the themes, concepts and events that have shaped the contemporary political scene, you will begin your degree with our core course in Politics and Governance in the Contemporary World and will choose two further courses either from within the Department or from a wide range of courses offered by other Departments in the University.
As you continue with your studies, you’ll learn from academics committed to both teaching and research and will increasingly specialise through an extensive range of modules which focus on topical questions concerning government and politics in Britain, Europe and the world. Your second-year options include Politics of Development; Politics of the European Union, and Modern Political Thought.
In your second year you can spend your second year at one of our partner universities in the USA or Canada. The year provides an invaluable opportunity to experience a different society, culture and political system while furthering your studies.
In your final year, you have the opportunity to undertake a sustained investigation on a specific political subject of greatest interest to you and can choose from a wide range of modules, such as Africa and Global Politics; Islamic Politics, and Liberals and Communitarians.
A Level AAA-AAB
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 36-35 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Distinction
Access to HE Diploma 36 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 9 Level 3 credits at Merit to 30 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 Level 3 credits at Merit
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of Lancaster's degree programmes are flexible, offering students the opportunity to cover a wide selection of subject areas to complement their main specialism. You will be able to study a range of modules, some examples of which are listed below.
This module introduces students to some of the key areas of Politics and International Relations. It will provide a basic introduction and a foundation for future study, as well as expand and develop knowledge into new areas.
The module tells a story about the 20th century that enables students to make sense of the 21st century world. Beginning with the consequences of the First World War, the module introduces students to the events and ideas that have transformed societies in complex ways: the evolution of the welfare state; the problems of democracy; increasingly global formations of governance; the transformation from Cold War geopolitics to the 21st century’s War on Terror; and the emergence of new issues such as global warming, amongst a wide range of other issues.
Students are introduced to the research concerns of members of the department, as well as setting the scene for modules offered at advanced stages in the degree structure.
The aim of this module is to offer students from a wide range of backgrounds the opportunity to engage with the most important debates and issues in the study of the politics of the Middle East and Asia, and to locate and contextualise them within wider debates and scholarship of global politics. The module aims to develop enhance critical understanding of a series of key issues in the politics of the contemporary Middle East and Asia, as well as familiarising students with a wide range of case studies.
The module will typically include the following topics:
This module explores the analysis of contemporary economic problems and issues. It will help you develop a knowledge of the analysis deployed by policy makers and by media commentators when presenting potential solutions to a range of contemporary economic challenges. At the end of the module you should better understand the character of economic debates, be able to account for a range of (political) positions on the market economy and have some experience of the interaction between political and economic analyses both in academic analysis and in more general policy debates. More generally, this module is intended to demystify the debates about economics in the media, in political debates, in specialised policy prescriptions and help you develop a nuanced appreciation of your own analyses of contemporary market society.
This module aims to provide students with an understanding of some historical and contemporary approaches to the subject of ethics. It addresses central issues by engaging with classical texts in the history of the subject, such as Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, David Hume’s Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, Immanuel Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals and John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism.
The module will also explore selected topics in moral philosophy, such as the nature, strength and weakness of consequentialism, deontology, and virtue theory. In addition to this, students will study topics in meta-ethics, such as the ‘moral problem’, non-cognitivist realism, and quasi-realism.
Other topics covered include topics in applied and practical ethics, such as issues of life and death in biomedical practice, the ethics of war, and the ethics of personal life; as well as the nature of moral motivation and moral psychology.
This module aims to introduce and familiarise students to the interplay between politics, society and religion in the world's largest democracy, India. At a time when India is emerging as a global power and economic powerhouse despite persistent poverty and various socio-political fissures, a critical balance must be struck in the understanding between its potential and its problems. India offers powerful lessons on the challenges and achievements of democracy in a deeply pluralistic and unequal society.
An examination of these issues opens up conceptual preconceptions about democracy, religion, secularism, discrimination, globalisation and political mobilisation, which tend to be structured by knowledge of Western polities. The particular issues concerning large populations of many different religions and huge social differences offer pathways of understanding to many pressing global issues.
Some of the main themes covered include democracy, religion and social change, as well as an exploration of the religious minorities and caste politics and Dalits in India.
The principal objective of this module is to provide a relatively comprehensive and integrated foundation to the study of international relations by introducing students to its basic conceptual vocabulary and theoretical concerns and by applying this conceptual knowledge to an understanding of changes and developments in the international system.
The module covers the historical development of the discipline in the 20th century into the 21st century, moving from the orthodoxy that has come to dominate mainstream Anglo-American international relations (Realism and Liberalism) through to the various challenges that have emerged from critical schools of thought. The module examines how different theories of international relations illuminate and interrogate some of the central ethico-political problems of the 'international' in modern history.
This module provides amongst a range of other issues: a study of war, its causes and consequences; violence at personal and structural levels within society (especially racism); positive definitions of peace; and misperceptions and enemy images through the media.
The module investigates and examines theoretical and practical issues surrounding peace and violence within modern society. It also examines the conditions of peace and war, assessing the scope for conflict resolution, non-violence and reconciliation. The first term introduces the main approaches within Peace Studies, exploring the development of ideas in the field as they bear on the roots of violence and understandings of peace and peace-making. The second term applies this thinking to contemporary conflicts, focusing on policies of conflict prevention and conflict resolution.
The module is taught in a non-dogmatic and interdisciplinary manner, encouraging students to develop their own perspectives and conclusions following discussions and debates throughout the year.
The aim of this module is to provide a broad grounding in some important aspects of the discipline of politics that are conceived of as both an attempt to understand the nature of politics and to assess the worth of various political arrangements. It involves consideration of notions such as politics, citizenship, democracy, government, state, welfare, individualism, utilitarianism, conservatism, socialism and, social democracy, together with an examination of the various ways in which political studies have been understood as a disciplined investigation of things political. The module covers four broad topics: freedom, markets and the state; citizenship, nationalism and democracy; equality and welfare; and politics and political science.
The module is divided into two sections over two terms. In the first term students will read, examine and discuss thinkers who make a contribution to the understanding of the notions of liberty and the individual (Hobbes, Locke, J S Mill, and Hayek). In the second term students will explore the thought of thinkers who are associated with the ideas of equality and community (Rousseau, Marx, the Fabians, and Rawls).
This module introduces students to the main approaches to development. It provides students with an overview of the main theoretical approaches, especially modernisation theory, world systems analysis, feminist theories, and post-colonialism. It relates these theories to issues and case studies including the debt question, the impact of globalisation, global governance, corporate social responsibility, poverty and inequality, social movements and the activities of NGOs.
The module comprises two interrelated parts. The first term deals with the main theoretical approaches to development. Topics here include global integration, disengagement, democracy-autocracy, aid-trade, the case of drugs, Islam, southern organisations, and theories of modernisation and dependency.
The second term pursues links between the conceptual issues raised in term one and connects them to global- and national-focused perspectives on the politics of development. The instability of third world states will be examined in terms of competing legacies from the pre-colonial and colonial periods and high social expectations of development. Perspectives and examples will be drawn from Africa and Latin America.
This module examines the origins, workings and policies of the European Union. It begins by considering the treaties that led to the contemporary union and focuses on the key strains of thought that have given rise to contemporary debates about the form the European Union ought to take.
At a time of unprecedented financial crisis and the prospect of a British exit from the EU itself, the module offers a comprehensive focus on all key issues from European politics, government, and economics, to public policy. It includes an analysis of the process and dynamics of European integration, especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union; an account of the various European institutions which have developed (including the work of the Commission in Brussels), a discussion of key public policy areas (with an emphasis on the European Social Model) and finally a focus on European party politics, covering influential European ideologies such as Social Democracy, Christian Democracy and also Euro-scepticism.
This module aims to deepen students' understanding of the major ideas, arrangements, policies and controversies which have characterised post-war British politics.
The module examines the evolution of the politics of the United Kingdom from an era broadly characterised by consensus and stability (1945-70) to one which has proved much more turbulent in a variety of ways (1970 onwards). This examination is set within the context of rival political traditions and of competing theories of representative government. Topics covered in the first term include changes in electoral behaviour and developments in the political parties, as well as consideration of the problems of governing the component parts of the United Kingdom (Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland). In the second term the focus is on the key institutions of central government (parliament and the executive) and on the UK's changing relationship with Europe. The last part of the course examines the development of public policy in the areas of welfare and the economy.
African states are among the poorest, most artificial in the world. This means their relations with the global system have a critical impact on African politics from the global to the local level.
This module aims to:
This module provides a historical and thematic introduction to the issues facing Africa in the international system today. The module is divided into four sections. The first focuses on the impact of colonialism on shaping the economy, the state and perceptions of race. The second section examines the first four decades of independence. The third and fourth look at key contemporary issues such as HIV/AIDS and actors such as China and South Africa.
This module presents a detailed analysis of the major developments in British foreign policy since 1945. It explains these developments within a global context, offering rival interpretations of Britain's changing role and status. The major themes include: the consequences of Britain's participation in the Second World War; the retreat from Empire after 1945; the 'special relationship' with the United States; and the prolonged attempt to redefine Britain's global role in the context of perceived economic and geopolitical decline. Understand the major developments in Britain's role in the world since the Second World War.
The syllabus will include the following topics:
China's rise is commonly understood as a key factor that will shape future world order. In this seminar-based module students will become familiar with different approaches to understanding China's rise, and critically evaluate the opportunities and challenges this poses to both China and the surrounding world. In each seminar, students will consider a key issue in China's relation to the world from different perspectives.
Issues that will be explored include: the possibility of an alternative modernity; sources of party-state legitimacy; Chinese nationalism; the limits of Chinese identity; new tools of China's soft power; the Chinese school of International Relations theory; questions of territorial integrity; and Chinese ideas of world order and the China model. This module will thus offer students an opportunity to discuss familiar concepts like nationalism, democracy and modernity in the context of post-Mao era China. Students enhance their understanding of the complexity of issues in contemporary China, and critically examine conceptual tools of political analysis in the Chinese context.
This module introduces students to human rights as a political and legal concept. It provides a critical overview of contemporary debates in the field, without losing sight of key theoretical questions. What are human rights? What is their source? In what sense are they universal and inalienable? Following a discussion of philosophical and historical foundations the module will examine the post-World War II international legal regime for the protection of human rights. It will explore the political implications of enshrining human rights at the international level, and engage with questions of culture and diversity, development and globalization, poverty and health.
Students will have the opportunity to research and discuss such issues as gender-based violence, torture in the ‘war on terror’, treatment of refugees and asylum seekers and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. These empirical case studies of recent human rights struggles and controversies will shed light on the complexity of global human rights politics in the early 21st century.
This module introduces students to key issues in Middle East politics today. It explores the people, society and politics of the region and the role that religion, ethnicity, gender and class have played in shaping contemporary issues. It examines the major internal and external actors in the region; conflict and peace; the geo-strategic importance of the region; issues of political economy; political change and reform; the issue of identities in the Middle East and ideologies around this; the emergence of political Islam; rising anti-Americanism; 9/11 and the fall-out in the region from the 'war on terror', the 'Arab Spring' and the unfolding revolutions.
Through class discussions, completion of coursework and the exam, students should be able to understand the complexities of society in the Middle East, and show an in-depth understanding of key themes and issues in the contemporary Middle East.
This module focuses on the most fundamental component of democratic political systems – elections. In particular, it analyses key political behaviour issues related to models of voting, electoral system design, and party organisation. It adopts a broadly comparative approach, with an emphasis on advanced industrial democracies in the west – especially the UK, but also other parts of the EU and the US.
The module will examine the merits of different voting behaviour models; the politics of electoral system design and choice; the rise of anti-party / anti-politics sentiment; as well as the modern methods parties utilise as they attempt to market themselves to voters. There will also be classes on developments in party organisation; contemporary party ideologies; the nature of party system change and continuity; and finally the relevance of public opinion to modern government and public policy.
The module aims to help students to gain an in-depth understanding of the main historical events, processes and actors that have shaped and continue to shape political dynamics in the Persian Gulf.
Specific focus will be upon the key challenges to peace and security within the region, but the module will also cover a range of other topics including:
Students on this module will form an academically informed, independent and critical knowledge of the Persian Gulf and the relations that states within the region have with ‘the West’.
Information for this module is currently unavailable.
The aim of this module is to introduce students to the inner dynamics of political Islam and the attendant challenges that comes with it, particularly in contemporary international society.
The module will cover the working of Islam in the governing process; its position in contemporary international order; practical contemporary topics such as governance, violence, terrorism and such; and will deliver an understanding of key concepts and intellectual debates.
The module is designed as much for students with little or no background in Islamic Politics, as it is for students who already have some grounding. It is built around an examination of the principal debates, features, and manifestations of Islamic politics in the twentieth and twenty first centuries.
The module will examine the cultural and political relationships and intersections between media, religion and politics in national and global contexts. Both old and new media will be considered, and consideration will be given to the transformative potential of the latter for participation and activism in religion and politics. The research methods used for analysing media content and discourse will be introduced and applied.
Topics may include:
This module will introduce students to a series of understandings of culture. Culture is first outlined with regard to its shape, scope and purpose, before being examined in relation to debates regarding homogeneity, change and conflict. This problematizes popular understandings of culture as fixed and unchanging, enabling students to grapple with two contrasting accounts of the source of conflict: Samuel Huntington’s The Clash between Civilizations and Dieter Senghaas’ The Clash within Civilizations.
The module then examines normative approaches to culture, beginning with the debate between relativism and universalism, which leads into an approach – value pluralism – which appears, at first sight, to offer a middle ground between the positions. This involves introducing and examining the validity of a range of conceptions of wellbeing. The module then examines toleration and recognition as approaches to diversity, comparing and contrasting them and identifying internal contradictions through engagement with real world cases. The political implications of the module are then consolidated and drawn out in full.
This module is designed to allow students to gain experience of educational environments, to develop transferable skills, and to reflect on the role and communication of their own discipline. The module is organised and delivered collaboratively between Lancaster University Students’ Union LUSU Involve, the school/college where the placement is based, and the department.
The module will give students experience of classroom observation and experience, teacher assistance, as well as teaching small groups (under supervision). In particular, the module will not only give students the opportunity to observe and experience teaching and learners for themselves, it will also require them to reflect on how their own subject area (Religion, Politics and International Relations, or Philosophy) is experienced by learners, delivered in other parts of the educational sector, and applied in a classroom setting. Students will also be asked to reflect on how teaching and learning at this earlier level combines with what is taught and promoted at the level of Higher education (as experienced in the University).
This module is taught intensively at our partner institution in Bangalore, India for four weeks during August. The programme includes daily lectures, seminars, excursions, and cultural activities.
On their return to Lancaster, students will write a supervised dissertation on an aspect of contemporary Indian life. Topics covered could include Bhakti traditions in India, the philosophy and spirituality of Yoga, Vedanta today, Islam in India, the Sikh way of life, Buddhism in India, the inculturation process in Christianity, inter-religious dialogue and pluralism in India today, the role of women in Indian religious traditions and religious festivals in India, debates about secularism and religion in the political sphere.
The module is also open to Politics and Philosophy students, who can write about political or philosophical issues in contemporary India.
Students will study the thought of two seminal thinkers in political theory. This module provides an opportunity to explore texts slowly, methodically and in depth, allowing students to link that thought to wider literature that has developed as a response to the thinkers' ideas, and see how those ideas link-up into a wider systematic and philosophic whole.
Topics include among many others:
This module focuses on key contexts and developments in the inter-relationship between religion and politics across the world.
The major themes will be:
There are claims that religion is little more than a perverse and irrational scar on the modern world, one that invariably causes violence, while others claim that religion is good and that violence only occurs when religion has been hijacked by other forces. Others still claim that religious violence is a myth constructed for political purposes, and that one should not therefore speak of religion in such terms.
In disentangling such claims, the relationship between religion and violence is examined, asking whether one can draw such associations between the two and whether one can develop broader theoretical understandings about their relationship that enhances our understanding of religion in the modern world. The module continually refers to empirical data and case studies in which religious movements and individuals have been involved in violent activities, as well as examining cases where acts of immense violence have occurred in what appear to be political contexts, but where religious rhetoric may have been used by the perpetrators of violence.
This module will examine the politics of external intervention in violent political conflicts and the attempts made to manage, prevent and transform these wars into more peaceful situations.
The module aims to develop student understanding of how international organisations have attempted to intervene within conflict zones to prevent an escalation in conflict, to enforce UN resolutions or to assist externally mediated peace 'settlements'.
The module also aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of how violent conflict has changed since the end of the Cold War and how transnational organisations such as the EU, UN and NATO have attempted to deal with the new challenges and opportunities presented since the beginning of the 1990s until the present day.
Conceptually, the course will examine the principles of the liberal peace; state failure; international conflict prevention; peace keeping; and global governance. Empirically, the course will focus on post-Cold War conflicts such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China.
This module examines theories of US foreign policy, the structure of the policy making process in the US, and the major themes in the development of American foreign policy since 1945.
The module starts with an overview of the main competing theoretical conceptions of US foreign policy, and an exploration of the foreign policy making process, looking in particular at the Presidency and Congress, and the way in which relationships between these two bodies have developed over the past fifty years. It then goes on to look at the conduct of foreign policy since 1945, focusing on: the origins and early development of the Cold War; US engagement in the Vietnam war; détente and the eventual ending of the Cold War; the first Gulf war and 'the new world order'; 9/11 and the war on terror; and, finally, new directions in US foreign policy being pursued by the current administration.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster visit our Teaching and Learning section.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Many of our graduates use their skills in research, analysis and communication to follow careers directly related to Politics and International Relations, such as the Civil Service, government or public affairs. Graduates of Peace Studies and International Relations have also found their degree valuable for careers with international charities and other NGOs.
Lancaster graduates in this subject show their employers impartial judgement, flexibility and a detailed knowledge of international developments. Many have used their degree as a foundation for careers in commerce, industry, accountancy, law, teaching, academic work, journalism or the armed forces. The intellectual and practical skills of peace-making give our graduates a good foundation for careers in mediation, social work, conflict resolution and human rights campaigning.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2018/19 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2017 were:
Some science and medicine courses have higher fees for students from
the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. You can find more details here:
For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page
Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews.
Average time in lectures, seminars and similar
Average assessment by coursework