Politics BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
Typical Access to Leeds offer
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Newspaper headlines

This exciting degree allows you to explore political ideas, structures and approaches that will help you to understand these complex circumstances.

As a Politics student you’ll gain expertise in data analysis, research, critical thinking and more as you develop an in-depth understanding of political theory, international relations, development studies and systems of government used around the world.

Core modules in this programme will enable you to gain a grounding in the discipline. You’ll also be able to pursue topics that suit your own interests and concerns by choosing from a wide range of optional modules exploring topics, from political psychology to security studies, supported by the unique breadth of research specialisms within the School of Politics and International Studies.

On this course you’ll have the opportunity to study abroad, allowing you to develop an international perspective on your subject or undertake a work placement which will give you an insight into working life in a particular organisation or sector linked to your studies.

Throughout the course, you’ll gain a diverse skillset that will be valuable to you as a citizen, as well as in your future career – whatever path you choose to take.

Specialist pathways – parliamentary studies and quantitative research

At the end of Year 1, you'll have the opportunity to apply for:

  • The Parliamentary Studies Pathway which includes a year spent on a related placement.
  • The Quantitative Research Methods pathway which will enhance your quantitative skills.

See the 'Course content' tab for more information.

Studying in the School of Politics and International Studies

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Course details

Year 1 provides the foundation of your studies with a set of compulsory modules. You’ll be introduced to all of the core areas of the School’s expertise, covering topics including political theory, comparative and British politics, international relations and development studies, as well as gaining the research and academic skills you need to study politics. You’ll also have the choice of an optional module, to help you start developing your own research interests.

You’ll then build on your knowledge in the following year, with compulsory modules that allow you to gain new skills in political research and explore different areas of political theory. Around this, you’ll choose from more advanced modules in topics such as UK politics, electioneering and the political systems of different countries and regions. In addition, you can select options from a range of modules on broader topics like approaches to development, security studies or international relations.

In your final year, you’ll pursue your own specialist study. You’ll produce an extended piece of individual research on a topic of your choosing when you complete your dissertation, and select from a wide range of specialised modules delivered by staff in areas of their own research expertise. Topics could include feminist political thought, human rights, political psychology, political extremism, the relationship between the EU and the wider international community, the politics of aid, terrorism or violence and reconciliation in African states.

Parliamentary Studies Pathway

At the end of Year 1, you’ll have the opportunity (exclusive to BA Politics students) to apply for one of a limited number of places on our four-year BA Politics and Parliamentary Studies pathway, transferring into Year 2 of that programme if you are successful. You’ll take some of the same modules as BA Politics students, but you’ll also have a closer focus on topics such as the UK Parliament, in preparation for your placement year. This will prepare you to spend Year 3 on a related placement before returning to Leeds for your final year of study. On your return you will have a wide range of module options to choose from, including options specific to British politics and parliament, whilst also developing your dissertation.

This exciting placement year could mean working with an MP at Westminster, at a party headquarters, in a constituency office or another political organisation. It’s an excellent opportunity to gain an insight into the workings of parliament and government, put your knowledge and skills into practice and gain valuable work experience to support your future career plans.

Quantitative Research Methods (QRM) Pathway

At the end of Year 1, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for a place on our BA Politics with Quantitative Research Methods pathway. This pathway will help you develop advanced analytical skills, which are in high demand across the public, private, and third sectors. You will learn statistical analysis techniques and their application to real data (e.g. survey data, countries’ statistical data) using statistical software. You will also write a dissertation in which you will analyse quantitative data to examine questions about politics, development or international relations.

You are not required to have done Mathematics at A level, this pathway is open to all students as long as you have attained an overall 2:1 in your first year and a 2:1 in the Comparative Politics module.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Politics BA in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
British Politics 20
Comparative Politics 20
Making of the Modern World 20
International Politics 20
Freedom, Power and Resistance: An Introduction to Political Ideas 20

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

You may choose up to 20 credits of optional modules.

Module Name Credits
Global Development Challenges 20
Contemporary Africas: Politics, Society and the Environment 20

Year 1 discovery modules

If you do not choose an optional module you will choose up to 20 credits of discovery modules.

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Approaches to Analysis 20

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

You will choose up to 100 credits from lists of optional modules covering different areas of politics in the school.

Module Name Credits
Revolution and Reaction: Political Problems in the 20th Century 20
Justice, Community and Conflict 20
State of Emergency: Social science and the COVID-19 pandemic 20
The Labour Party Since 1945 20
Spin Doctors and Electioneering 20
Politics and Policy in the EU 20
Politics of Contemporary China 20
State and Politics in Africa 20
United States Politics 20

Year 2 discovery modules

Depending on the number of optional modules selected, you may choose up to 40 credits of discovery modules.

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Dissertation 40

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

You will choose 40 to 80 credits from lists of optional modules in the school.

Module Name Credits
State of Emergency: Social science and the COVID-19 pandemic 20
British Foreign Policy 20
Prime Ministers and British Politics 20
The Politics of National Identity in the UK 20
The Labour Party Since 1945 20
Extreme Right Parties 20
Britain and the EU 20
Europe in the World 20
Nuclear Weapons and Global Politics 20
Philosophy of Human Rights 20
Radical Political Ideas 20
Reimagining Politics: Gender, Race, and Popular Culture 20
Video Games: Politics, Society and Culture 20
Gender, Technologies and the Body 20
Ethnicity and Popular Culture 20

Year 3 discovery modules

Depending on the number of optional modules selected, you may choose up to 20 credits of discovery modules.

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

We use a range of teaching and learning methods to help you gain diverse skills. These will include seminars and workshops where you can discuss in more depth the topics set out in traditional lectures. We emphasise the importance of participation, presentation skills and group work.

Independent study is also a vital element of the course, as it allows you to develop your research and critical skills while preparing for taught sessions.

You’ll also have a personal tutor – one of our academics – who will be on hand to offer you guidance and support on academic issues, such as module choices, as well as career and personal matters.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Modules will use a variety of assessment methods. As well as traditional exams, you could also be asked to complete essays, case study based projects, policy briefs, group presentations, work logs, research briefs, project proposals or development agency reviews. In your final year you’ll also submit a 10,000 word dissertation.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB

We do not require A-level Politics for courses in the School of Politics and International Studies. We welcome applications that include vocational A-level subjects such as AVCE (single or double awards). Any combination of these with A-levels is acceptable.

In general we expect applicants to have two ‘traditional’ academic subjects at A-level. See our accepted subjects document to see which subjects we accept.

When an applicant is taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) this can be considered alongside A-levels and may attact an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A-levels, this would be ABB at A-level including grade A in the EPQ.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Complete 60 credits with 45 credits Distinction grade at Level 3.



Cambridge Pre-U

D3, D3, M1.

International Baccalaureate

35 overall (6,5,5 higher)

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

(Leaving Certificate): AAAAAB

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AAAAB overall (AB at advanced level)


We will consider T levels in appropriate subjects as they become available. In all cases applicants should have GCSE English at 4 or above.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer:

If you do not have the formal qualifications for immediate entry to one of our degrees, we offer a foundation year for UK students who meet specific widening participation criteria. Learn more about the BA Social Science (foundation year).


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the School of Politics and International Studies Undergraduate Admissions Team.

International foundation year

If you have the ability to study for a degree but don’t have the qualifications to enter directly to level one, you might consider studying a foundation year. We have formal links with the following foundation year programmes:

- University of Leeds International Foundation Year (IFY)

- Northern Consortium of UK Universities (NCUK)

- Study Group Leeds International Study Centre (LISC)

If you are applying from an alternative foundation year provider, please contact our admissions team to find out if your qualification is suitable for entry to our courses.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £22,250 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

We typically receive a high number of applications for this course. To ensure we treat all applications fairly and equitably, we review applications after the UCAS deadline before making a final decision. All applications received before the UCAS deadline are guaranteed equal consideration. Please see our Admissions Guidance page for more details as well as advice on personal statements.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Politics and International Studies

Contact us

School of Politics and International Studies Admissions Team

Email: ugpolis@leeds.ac.uk

Career opportunities

This versatile degree will allow you to gain in-depth knowledge of an important area of public life, as well as key transferable skills in communication, research, analysis, critical thinking, presentations and group working. It’s a strong basis for a variety of careers in organisations as diverse as interest groups, research bodies, think tanks, the media, the Civil Service, local government and political consultancy as well as professions like law, finance and teaching.

Graduates from BA Politics and BA Politics and Parliamentary Studies have pursued a wide range of careers as parliamentary advisors or researchers, civil servants, diplomats, advocacy workers, parliamentary assistants, lobbyists, special advisors to senior ministers, political researchers and local government officers – and some have even gone into elected office as MPs.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

Parliamentary Studies Pathway - exclusive to BA Politics

If you apply for and achieve (at the end of Year 1) a place on the BA Politics and Parliamentary Studies programme you will spend a year on a related placement. See 'Course content' tab for more information.

Student profile: Annie-Rose Peterman

I've studied the politics of national identity, crisis diplomacy, British foreign policy and political philosophy. They’ve helped me to better understand today's big political issues.
Annie-Rose Peterman, Politics BA
Find out more about Annie-Rose Peterman's time at Leeds