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Global Political Economy (BA): 4-year, part-time

Why do some people have more wealth and income than others? What is the relationship between climate change and the global economy? Why do gender pay gaps still exist? What is the role of colonial history in the formation of the global economy?

Our exciting new BA Global Political Economy will allow you to explore all of these questions and more. You will learn about how power and wealth are distributed across the global economy. You will find out about how institutions of global governance work and you will investigate the links between environmental harm and global capitalism.

Taught by a range of leading experts with knowledge of different political scales and geographical areas - from the International Monetary Fund to indigenous resistance movements, and from Europe to Southeast Asia - this programme will guide you through contemporary themes such as global finance, feminist political economy, racial capitalism, development and justice, global governance and trade.

The BA Global Political Economy will equip you with a comprehensive knowledge of how power works in the global economy and prepare you for careers in a range of policy and non-governmental roles.

This programme is also available for full-time evening study over three years.

Highlights

  • Our Department of Politics is a world-renowned centre of original research. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), Politics at Birkbeck was ranked 17th in the UK.
  • The Department organises a lively programme of seminars and conferences and is home to affiliated research centres, such as the Birkbeck Centre for British Political Life, which run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research.
  • Our academic staff are international authorities in their respective fields, publishing and delivering stimulating teaching in a wide range of political topics including civil society and the state, public policy, development, gender, international security and terrorism, and social and political theory, among others.
  • Our location in central London puts us at the heart of the UK’s political life and at the centre of academic London. You can walk down to Parliament and Whitehall, while Bloomsbury contains some of the world’s most famous libraries and centres of 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.
  • You can take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including Senate House Library, which is right next door to Birkbeck, the British Library, which is five minutes’ walk away, and the British Library of Political and Economic Science at the London School of Economics, which is walkable from Birkbeck. Birkbeck Library has a large politics collection, including the major specialist journals, and provides you with access to an extensive range of online materials.

Course structure

The programme consists of three 'skills' modules worth 30 credits each, and compulsory and option modules worth 15 credits each; the dissertation option is worth 30 credits.

In Year 1, you take one skills module and four compulsory modules.

In Year 2, you take one skills module and four compulsory modules.

In Year 3, you take one skills module, two compulsory modules and two option modules.

In Year 4, you take two compulsory modules and either six option modules or five option modules including a dissertation.

Module groups

Year 1 skills module

Year 1 compulsory modules

Year 2 skills module

Year 2 compulsory modules

Year 3 skills module

Year 3 compulsory modules

Year 4 compulsory modules

Indicative option modules

Please note that not all option modules are available every year and option modules are subject to change. Please check with the Department which option modules will be available for your year of study.

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

    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.

    Foundation Year Degrees

    If you need extra support before starting an undergraduate degree, we offer a BA Global Political Economy with Foundation Year degree, which provides two extra years 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 the Foundation Year, you will automatically advance onto the main degree.

    Alternative entry routes

    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

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests. We also accept other English language tests.

    If you don’t meet the minimum English language requirements, or see our international study skills page for more details of how we can help.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    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 previously, 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. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees

    Fees

    Part-time home students: £ 6935 pa
    Part-time international students: £10710 pa

    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.

  • 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.

    Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

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

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Lectures and seminars, employing a variety of methods such as small group work, student presentations, debates and guest speakers. Field trips when appropriate. Extensive use is made of audio-visual facilities and web-based learning tools such as Moodle.

    Contact hours

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

    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.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

    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.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

    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

    A combination of in-class tests, coursework essays and examinations.

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates go on to careers in international organisations, policy research, journalism, the diplomatic service, the voluntary sector, and economic or political forecasting. Possible professions include Civil Service fast streamer, government social research officer, or Diplomatic Services operational officer. This degree may also be useful in becoming a researcher, newspaper journalist, or politician’s assistant.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

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

    You will need to prove your identity when you apply - read more about suitable forms of identification.

    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.