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Top reasons to study with us
7th for Politics
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide (2022)
Study abroad and placement opportunities
2nd in the UK for Research Power in the Research Excellence Framework (2021)
Lancaster’s Politics and Sociology degree is taught by academic staff from the departments of Politics, Philosophy and Religion and Sociology. You’ll be supported in developing a wide-ranging understanding of how political ideas and institutions shape the way societies are organised and have the opportunity to relate your interest in social and cultural themes to real world political events and current affairs.
In your first year, you’ll follow the core Politics in the Modern World and The Sociological Imagination modules. In the second and final year you will be able to choose from a broad range of options, such as Politics and History of the Middle East; International Relations, Security and Sustainability; Politics of Development and Global Changes; Understanding Key Economic Concepts; Issues in Contemporary Politics and Philosophy.
The study abroad option is an exciting and informative experience for anyone who is thinking of working abroad during their career or who simply wants the experience of living and studying overseas as part of their degree. You will study in your third year at one of our international partner universities. This will help you to develop your global outlook, expand your professional network, and gain cultural and personal skills. During your year abroad, you will choose specialist modules relating to your degree as well as other modules from across the host university.
Lancaster University will make reasonable endeavours to place students at an approved overseas partner university that offers appropriate modules. Occasionally places overseas may not be available for all students who want to study abroad or the place at the partner university may be withdrawn if core modules are unavailable. If you are not offered a place to study overseas, you will be able to transfer to the equivalent standard 3-year degree scheme and would complete your studies at Lancaster.
Lancaster University cannot accept responsibility for any financial aspects of the year abroad.
A Politics and Sociology degree at Lancaster will enable you to develop skills in research, analysis and communication, as well as a range of written, team working and time management skills that are likely sought after by graduate employers.
As a graduate of Politics and Sociology you may be interested in careers such as teaching, journalism, corporate planning, public affairs, social welfare organisations, civil service, international charities and international business. We will help you determine your direction and aim to support you in getting there. We do this by offering subject-specific support from academic tutors and careers advisers.
We are home to the Richardson Institute, which undertakes peace and conflict research. In recent years, the Institute has offered around 60 internships per year for students to undertake research projects for external organisations. You can also apply for internships as part of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Internship Scheme. Past employers have included Carnegie Publishing, The Dukes Theatre, and the Ethical Consumer Research Association, with roles ranging from marketing and PR to specific research projects with heritage or humanitarian organisations.
Lancaster University is dedicated to ensuring you not only gain a highly reputable degree, but that you also graduate with relevant life and work based skills. We are unique in that every student is eligible to participate in The Lancaster Award which offers you the opportunity to complete key activities such as work experience, employability/career development, campus community and social development. Visit our Employability section for full details.
A Level ABB
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 32 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects.
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, 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 email@example.com
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 to complement your main specialism. 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 please visit our Teaching and Learning section.
The following courses do not offer modules outside of the subject area due to the structured nature of the programmes: Architecture, Law, Physics, Engineering, Medicine, Sports and Exercise Science, Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedicine and Biomedical Science.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, and the University will make every reasonable effort to offer modules as advertised. In some cases changes may be necessary and may result in some combinations being unavailable, for example as a result of student feedback, timetabling, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes and new research.
Politics in the Modern World
You’ll be introduced to some of the key themes in the study of modern politics, and will have the chance to gain critical insight into the nature and use of political power in the contemporary world. You will learn about: the foundations of the modern nation-state, and the ways in which our institutions can reflect or fail to meet the ideals of liberal democracy; the behaviour of individuals and groups in political contexts; the workings of national constitutions and international organisations; the interaction of global events and domestic agendas.
Areas of study typically include:
+ Political Theory: the study of the scope, nature, and justification of state authority, and the history of political thought.
+ British Politics: the study of the theory, and political reality, of British governance in the twenty-first century.
+ Comparative Politics: the study of the various institutions of the nation-state, in a comparative context.
+ Ideologies: the study of political ideologies such as (neo-)liberalism, (neo-)conservatism, socialism, and fascism, their cohesiveness and social/political function.
+ Political Behaviour: the study of the ways in which agents and groups engage with politics in the age of mass and social-media.
+ Politics and Religion: the study of the relevance of religion to politics in contemporary society.
+ Politics in a Global World: the influence of global movements and events on domestic and international politics.
Because of the increasing interdependence of the national and global, domestic politics and international relations can no longer be properly understood in isolation from one another. To ensure the best possible foundation for a degree in Politics, in first year, we strongly recommend you also take International Relations: Theory and Practice.
Peace Studies in the Middle East
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.
Power in British Politics: The Role of the Prime Minister
This module explores British politics by focusing on the role of its central figure – the Prime Minister. Judging by media coverage, it would seem that the Prime Minister dominates the decision-making process, dwarfing other institutions such as the Cabinet, Parliament and the judiciary. But does this impression reflect reality? Does Britain really have a system of ‘Prime Ministerial’ – or, as some commentators have claimed – even ‘Presidential’ government? The module attempts to answer these crucial questions through case-studies of recent Prime Ministers and an examination of the sources of Prime Ministerial power, such as the ability to appoint ministers, to influence public opinion and to shape Britain’s foreign policy.
The goal of this module is to introduce you to some of the key concepts of public policy both in theory and practice. The module is designed to give you a rich understanding of the actors, mechanisms and processes that underpin public policymaking, as well as a comprehensive overview of different public policies. The module aims to enable you to identify how and why public policy is made, the actors and factors that explain policy outputs and policy failures, and to be able to assess the explanatory power of different theories that seek to explain differences in policy outputs. In addition, you will also assess policy outcomes associated with different policies and policymaking regimes. In this module, you will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of a range of public policies as well a comprehensive understanding of a specific public policy arena, including the debates surrounding such policy, through their policy briefing assessment. In this module we will touch on a number of questions and themes related to public policy, including why does policy change? Who makes public policy? How can we explain differences in policy outputs? What explains the gap between policy outputs and outcomes (or policy failure)? How do ideas shape policy? Are differences in public policies a consequence of different cultures, economic conditions, political institutions or interest group pressures? How are policy problems defined?
The Government of the United States
The aim of this module is to familiarise you with some of the key institutions of American governance. The module begins with an analysis of the US Constitution and the developmental history of American state-building. We then examine some of the major institutions of the federal government: Congress, the presidency, the federal bureaucracy, and the federal courts. Subsequently, the module turns to organised actors who operate within these institutions: political parties and interest groups. It will be in these weeks that we will explore the increasingly important economic and other social factors shaping policy influence. Finally, the module moves out of Washington to consider how governance operates in the American states and localities.
Your Year Abroad
In your third year you will study at one of our international partner universities. This will help you to develop your global outlook, expand your professional network, and gain cultural and personal skills. You will choose specialist modules relating to your degree as well as other modules from across the host university.
Africa and Global Politics
This module provides a historical and thematic introduction to the issues facing Africa in the international system today. The module is divided into two sections. The first section explores the historical incorporation of the continent into the emerging international system centred on Europe from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. We focus on the impact of colonialism and independence in terms of the economy, the state and the politics of race and the implications these have for the region’s prospects for democracy and development today. The second section looks at key contemporary issues and agents shaping the continent. The latter includes ‘top-down’ actors such as the Chinese state, as well as grassroots actors such as unionised South African workers.
This module examines central themes in the liberal branch of contemporary Anglo-American analytic political philosophy. The liberal positions on justice, liberty, equality, the state, power, rights and utility are all explored. The approach is philosophical rather than applied; focusing on the ideas of liberal politics: how individual liberty can be maximised while not harming others; how an individual philosophical position can guide political determinants of a society and places the developments of liberal ideas in their appropriate historical contexts.
The module also examines the connection between the ideas of liberalism and the idea of democracy to explore the philosophical tensions between the two and how these might be resolved.
The module will include among other topics: questions about justice: analytic philosophy and liberalism; visions of the state: liberalism, republicanism, socialism; liberty and individuality; liberalism and democracy; negative and positive liberty; equality; utility and rights; and toleration and multiculturalism: responses to diversity.
Society & Politics in Latin America
This module is interdisciplinary in nature, in the sense that it includes several approaches to study the Society and Politics in Latin America. It is designed on thematic issues that bind all the 21 member nations of Latin America in one form or another.
The primary aim of this module is to introduce students to an understudied region in the world. This is done through introducing them to various themes in Latin American politics. This module is designed for students, who have already had some grounding in politics of development, conflict and peace, religion and culture and also aimed at those who wish to develop an area studies specialisation in their intellectual quest.
The Politics of Immigration
The module will explore the key debates in immigration politics, as well as key trends in immigration policies. The main themes explored by the module are (a) which actors drive the politics of immigration; (b) key theories and concepts in the study of immigration politics (c) key factors and determinants of immigration policies
Topics covered will typically include:
- Theorising migration: What is immigration? Why do people move? Who is an immigrant?
- History of immigration in Western Europe: How has immigration flows & policy developed since post war period? What do we mean by the politicisation of immigration? Why has immigration become politicised?
- Public opinion: Why do people oppose immigration? Is the rise in anti-migrant politics due to economic anxieties or identity and cultural concerns?
- Parties and political elites: What roles do parties play in the politics of immigration? Why do centrist parties struggle with the issue of immigration?
- Mass media: How and why does the mass media politicize migration? Does the mass media drive or reflect public concerns over immigration?
- Political economy: varieties of capitalism, client politics and the liberal paradox: Why do expansive immigration policies persist despite public concerns? Is the need for migrant labour unavoidable?
- Losing control? Globalisation, post-national rights and Europeanization of immigration policy
- Have states lost control of immigration? Has migration policy become Europeanised? Why is it so hard to develop a common EU policy on migration and asylum?
- Bringing the state back in: governance and colonial legacies: Who makes policy and how do states regulate immigration? How do colonial legacies shape immigration politics and policy?
- Gap hypothesis: street level bureaucrats, shifting up and out and everyday bordering: Why do gaps between policy outputs and outcomes persist? What is everyday bordering and what are the implications?
- Politics of belonging: Has multiculturalism failed? Is integration a toxic term? What is citizenship? What does it mean to belong?
Understanding External Intervention in Violent Conflicts
The module aims to provide you with an in-depth knowledge of the different facets of contemporary Asian conflicts and how international organisations such as the UN, and how Western and Asian governments have attempted to deal with these challenges in recent times. Conceptually, the module will examine the principles of state failure; terrorism, ‘New Wars’, the New Security Agenda, Islamism, nationalism and sub nationalism, international conflict prevention; peace keeping and global governance. Empirically, the module will focus on conflict zones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indian Kashmir, the Indian northeast, Chinese Xinjiang and Tibet. Thus, the aim of this module is to provide you with an overview of the security of a region which is now of tremendous global importance.
Fees and Funding
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2023/24 entry fees have not yet been set.
Scholarships and bursaries
At Lancaster, we believe that funding concerns should not stop any student with the talent to thrive.
We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover the cost of tuition fees and/or living expenses.
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small college membership fee which supports the running of college events and activities.
For students starting in 2022, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2023 have not yet been set.
Computer equipment and internet access
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
Study abroad courses
In addition to travel and accommodation costs, while you are studying abroad, you will need to have a passport and, depending on the country, there may be other costs such as travel documents (e.g. VISA or work permit) and any tests and vaccines that are required at the time of travel. Some countries may require proof of funds.
Placement and industry year courses
In addition to possible commuting costs during your placement, you may need to buy clothing that is suitable for your workplace and you may have accommodation costs. Depending on the employer and your job, you may have other costs such as copies of personal documents required by your employer for example.
Fees in subsequent years
Fees are set by the UK Government annually, and subsequent years' fees may be subject to increases. For international applicants starting in 2022, any annual increase will be capped at 4% of the previous year's fee.
Politics and International Relations
- Chinese Studies and Politics BA Hons : T1L2
- Economics, Politics and International Relations BA Hons : LL22
- French Studies and Politics BA Hons : RL12
- German Studies and Politics BA Hons : RL22
- History and International Relations BA Hons : VL12
- History and International Relations (Placement Year) BA Hons : VL13
- History and International Relations (Study Abroad) BA Hons : VL14
- History and Politics BA Hons : LV21
- History and Politics (Placement Year) BA Hons : LV22
- History and Politics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : LV23
- History, Philosophy and Politics BA Hons : V0L0
- History, Philosophy and Politics (Placement Year) BA Hons : V0L1
- History, Philosophy and Politics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : V0L2
- International Relations BA Hons : 6T99
- International Relations (Placement Year) BA Hons : 6T91
- International Relations (Study Abroad) BA Hons : 6T92
- Law with Politics LLB Hons : M1L2
- Management, Politics and International Relations (Industry) BSc Hons : N230
- Peace Studies and International Relations BA Hons : LL92
- Peace Studies and International Relations (Placement Year) BA Hons : LL93
- Peace Studies and International Relations (Study Abroad) BA Hons : LL94
- Philosophy and Politics BA Hons : VL52
- Philosophy and Politics (Placement Year) BA Hons : VL53
- Philosophy and Politics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : VL54
- Philosophy, Politics and Economics BA Hons : L0V0
- Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Placement Year) BA Hons : L0V1
- Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : L0V2
- Politics BA Hons : L200
- Politics (Placement Year) BA Hons : L202
- Politics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : L203
- Politics and International Relations BA Hons : L250
- Politics and International Relations (Placement Year) BA Hons : L251
- Politics and International Relations (Study Abroad) BA Hons : L252
- Politics and Sociology BA Hons : LL23
- Politics and Sociology (Placement Year) BA Hons : LL24
- Politics, International Relations and Management BSc Hons : LN30
- Politics, Religion and Values BA Hons : LV28
- Politics, Religion and Values (Placement Year) BA Hons : LV29
- Politics, Religion and Values (Study Abroad) BA Hons : LV30
- Spanish Studies and Politics BA Hons : RL42
The information on this site relates primarily to 2023/2024 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.
Our Students’ Charter
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.