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Politics

BA (Hons)

Key Information

Course Overview

The BA Politics will help you to understand and analyse major political issues that affect the lives of millions in the UK and beyond, such as populism, terrorism, austerity and war. 

Politics can be understood as decisions about who gets what, when and how, but complex issues are rarely the result of a single factor or process. This means you need access to the broad range of expertise which our Department of Politics offers.

Our academics are specialists in a variety of geographical areas, including Britain, America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. On this politics degree, you will be taught by experts in the full range of sub-fields in political studies, including:

  • public policy
  • international political economy
  • peace and conflict
  • voting behaviour
  • political theory. 

Our Department of Politics engages with politicians and policy makers who make crucial political decisions. You will have access to the Birkbeck Centre for British Political Life which brings together political practitioners, activists and elected politicians to debate the big democratic questions about contemporary British politics. You can also choose to take a unique option module on Parliamentary Studies which is taught in conjunction with the House of Commons outreach service.

If you opt for the Foundation Year route, this will fully prepare you for undergraduate study. It is ideal if you are returning to study after a gap, or if you have not previously studied the relevant subjects, or if you didn't achieve the grades you need for a place on your chosen undergraduate degree. 

Discover the career opportunities available by taking Politics (BA (Hons)).

Pathways for Politics BA (Hons)

From 2023-24, we are changing the way we offer our programmes. You can now select the course route that is most suited to your skill set and interests. Apply for this course or select one of our pathways below.

Find another course:

Highlights

  • Birkbeck is a distinguished centre of research and teaching excellence in politics. Our central London location puts us at the heart of the UK's political life and at the centre of academic London. Our courses are designed to encourage independent thinking and hone your argumentative, analytical and critical skills, while our teaching uniquely moves across the boundaries between subjects, encompassing, among others, economics, history and sociology.
  • Our Department of Politics is over 40 years old and has a reputation for the excellence of its teaching and its internationally significant research.
  • Our departmental building was once a key location for members of the Bloomsbury Group, so you could be studying in rooms that have hosted distinguished visitors, including T. S. Eliot, George Bernard Shaw and Maynard Keynes.

Course Structure

Birkbeck makes all reasonable efforts to deliver educational services, modules and programmes of study as described on our website. In the event that there are material changes to our offering (for example, due to matters beyond our control), we will update applicant and student facing information as quickly as possible and offer alternatives to applicants, offer-holders and current students.

  • Entry Requirements Entry Requirements

    Entry Requirements

    We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential.

    UCAS tariff points

    3 years, full-time: 96-128 points, A-levels: CCC-ABB

    The UCAS tariff score is applicable to you if you have recently studied a qualification that has a UCAS tariff equivalence. UCAS provides a tariff calculator for you to work out what your qualification is worth within the UCAS tariff.

    Foundation year degrees

    Our 'with Foundation Year' route is designed to give you extra support as it provides you with an additional year (full-time) or two years (part-time) of supported study. This is an ideal route if you are returning to study after a gap, or if you have not previously studied this subject, or if you did not achieve the grades you need for a place on this degree. 

    Once you successfully complete your Foundation Year studies, you will automatically advance onto the main degree. 

    Alternative entry routes

    We accept an Access to Higher Education Diploma with a minimum of 15 credits achieved at Merit or Distinction in humanities or social science units.

    Students who have completed Birkbeck's Certificate of Higher Education in Politics and International Studies may be given entry to the second year of the degree.

    English Language Requirements

    We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential.

    For part-time courses, standard requirements are a minimum of two A-Levels or equivalent.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the UK and you do not already have residency here, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months' duration: Student visa
    • Courses of less than six months' duration: Standard Visitor visa

    International students who require a Student visa should apply for our full-time courses as these qualify for Student visa sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Student visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Please also visit the international section of our website to find out more about relevant requirements by country.

    Credits and accredited prior learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university (or have an HND or Foundation Degree), you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution.

  • Fees Fees

    Fees

    Politics BA (Hons): 3 years full-time, on campus, starting October 2023

    Starting October 2023

    Full-time home students: £ 9250 per year
    Full-time international students: £ 16020 per year

    Politics BA (Hons): 4 years part-time, on campus, starting October 2023

    Starting October 2023

    Part-time home students: £ 6935 per year
    Part-time international students: £12015 per year

    Politics with Foundation Year BA (Hons): 4 years full-time, on campus, starting October 2023

    Starting October 2023

    Full-time home students: £ 9250 per year
    Full-time international students: £ 16020 per year

    Politics with Foundation Year BA (Hons): 6 years part-time, on campus, starting October 2023

    Starting October 2023

    Part-time home students, Year 1&2: £4625 per year
    Part-time international students, Year 1&2: £8010 per year
    Part-time home students, Year 3+: £6935 per year
    Part-time international students, Year 3+: £12015 per year

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    Tuition fee and maintenance loans

    Eligible full-time and part-time students from the UK don’t have to pay any tuition fees upfront, as government loans are available to cover them.

    Maintenance loans are also available for eligible full-time and part-time UK students, to assist with covering living costs, such as accommodation, food, travel, books and study materials. The amount you receive is means-tested and depends on where you live and study and your household income.

    Funding for EU students is changing from August 2021: find out about details of these changes.

    Find out more about tuition fee and maintenance loans for full-time and part-time students at Birkbeck.

    Discover the financial support available to you to help with your studies at Birkbeck.

    International Scholarships

    We provide a range of scholarships for eligible international students, including our Global Future Scholarship. Discover if you are eligible for a scholarship.

  • Teaching and Assessment Teaching and Assessment

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government's system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Lectures and seminars, with some workshops and tutorials.

    Teaching hours

    Our evening hours are normally between 6pm and 9pm (6-7.30pm and 7.30-9pm). Some programmes also offer teaching during the day and this will be clearly signposted to you where it is available.

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Scheduled teaching sessions may include lectures, seminars, workshops or laboratory work. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and field trips. On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project (if applicable).

    Alongside your contact hours, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. The amount of time you need to allocate to study both for taught sessions (this might include online sessions and/or in-person sessions) and personal study will depend on how much you are studying during the year and whether you are studying full time or part time.

    Birkbeck’s courses are made up of modules and allocated ‘credit’. One credit is equivalent to ten hours of learning time. Modules are usually in 15, 30 or 60 credit units. A 15-credit module will mean around 150 hours of learning, including taught sessions and independent study or group work. This is spread out over the whole period of that module and includes the time you spend on any assessments, including in examinations, preparing and writing assessments or engaged in practical work as well as any study support sessions to help you in your learning.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students is encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies.

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

    Independent learning

    On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

    Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

    Study skills and additional support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    Coursework and examinations.

  • Careers and employability Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue career paths in:

    • local and national government
    • the diplomatic service
    • the voluntary sector
    • policy work
    • research
    • journalism.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers Service - Birkbeck Futures - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.

  • How to apply How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply via UCAS for our full-time undergraduate courses or directly to Birkbeck for our part-time undergraduate courses.

    Full-time (UCAS entry)

    If you are applying for a full-time undergraduate course at Birkbeck, you have to apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). To apply, go to the UCAS website and click on ‘Sign in’. You will have to register, giving UCAS a few personal details, including your name, address and date of birth, and then you can start working on your application.

    15 January is the first UCAS deadline and the majority of university applications through UCAS are made by then. We welcome applications outside of the UCAS deadlines, so you can still apply through UCAS after 15 January, depending on the availability of places. We also take late applications via the UCAS Clearing system in August.

    Read more about key dates for UCAS applicants.

    Part-time

    If you are applying for a part-time undergraduate course (4 or 6 year), you apply directly to Birkbeck by using the Apply now button. You will need to prove your identity when you apply - read more about suitable forms of identification.

    You are strongly advised to apply now, to ensure that there are still places on your chosen course and to give you enough time to complete the admissions process, to arrange funding and to enrol. You don't need to complete your current programme of study before you apply.

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link. Please note that online application will open in September.

    When to apply

    You are strongly advised to apply now, to ensure there are still places on your chosen course and to give you enough time to complete the admissions process, to arrange funding and to enrol.

    You don't need to complete your current programme of study before you apply - Birkbeck can offer you a place that is conditional on your results.

    You will also receive information about subject-specific induction sessions over the summer.

    Help and advice with your application

    Get all the information you need about the application, admission and enrolment process at Birkbeck.

    Our online personal statement tool will guide you through every step of writing the personal statement part of your application.

    Apply for your course

    Apply for your course using the apply now button in the key information section at the top of this page.