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We are big enough to make a difference, but small enough to know our students as individuals.  Our close-knit community is made up of staff and students from all over the world who all bring their own rich perspective to our Department. 

Life as an undergraduate

You will have lots of opportunities to explore politics and international relations in exciting ways and develop your ideas during your degree. Get to know your peers as you learn through debate and discussion.

You will balance your time in lectures and seminars with independent study. We encourage and help you to become an independent learner by giving you the knowledge to pursue your own background reading – not just what's on the reading list we give you.

You will also have the opportunity to join the active Politics and International Relations Society, which organises talks by notable guest speakers and fun social events.

Learn from academics who are engaged in current affairs

Our staff regularly share their expertise in the media. We have academics who have informed and influenced policymakers, advising NATO and the UK government. Their involvement in modern-day politics means our teaching and research is always up to date and relevant. You'll get to engage in discussion on today's big issues.

Dr Mark Shanahan

Dr Mark Shanahan is frequently interviewed about US politics. He has discussed various aspects and events of Donald Trump's presidency in a number of broadcasts, as well as the UK's passage towards Brexit. He has recently written about the legacy of Donald Trump's use of social media in US politics for The Conversation.

Read Mark's story

Dr Daphne Halikiopoulou

Dr Daphne Halikiopoulou has carried out over 50 interviews in the past two years, commenting on European elections and the rise of the far right. She spoke on a panel on the BBC Radio 4 show The Briefing Room: Europe's Illiberal Democracies, to discuss the rise of far right politics in Europe.

Read Daphne's story

Dr Jonathan Golub

Dr Jonathan Golub has given a number of interviews concerning Brexit. He was interviewed by Voice of Islam Radio to discuss the UK's withdrawal and the dynamics of British-EU negotiations. He was also interviewed by CTN News TV (Canada) to discuss Brexit and Theresa May's announcement about invoking Article 50.

Take part in exciting events

As a student in the Department of Politics and International Politics, you'll have chance to get involved in events that bring you in direct contact with the world of politics.

In 2019, we hosted an edition of BBC Radio 4's flagship politics discussion programme Any Questions?. Our Department arranged the broadcast, which saw a panel that included host Chris Mason, Green Party co-leader Sian Berry, the Daily Telegraph's Madeline Grant and Tottenham Labour MP David Lammy.

Our students helped run the event and got to ask the panelists questions after the programme.

"I attended and helped out at the largest BBC Radio 4 Any Questions? event in its history. I even got to meet David Lammy MP and the other panellists afterwards. It's amazing experiencing first-hand politics from within the core of our political system and getting to talk to those who really make a difference."

Cait Pilkington, BA History and Politics student

I firmly believe studying Politics and International Relations must be rigorous and engaging – but it also must be fun. What inspires me is when our graduates describe their time with us as stretching; built around serious study; but with the opportunity to work with passionate people who make the whole experience enjoyable.

Dr Mark Shanahan

Head of Department

How we support you

We do everything we can to support our students during their studies, so that they can achieve their full potential and go on to pursue rewarding careers.

You will have the opportunity to meet with your academic tutor regularly, to ensure you’re getting the best out of your time at Reading. 

The University also has a range of services available to you to support your personal and professional development during your studies.

Learn more about the University's support services

Learning environment

Thanks to our mostly small-group seminar teaching, we've created a friendly, inclusive learning environment where you can grow in confidence and build relevant transferable skills such as communication and analytical skills.

As well as learning in seminar rooms and lecture halls, you will have access to the University's recently refurbished Library, which is full of resources and study space that's ideal for independent study.


Athena Swan logo

Athena Swan Bronze Award

The School of Politics, Economics and International Relations is thrilled to announce that it has received an Athena SWAN Bronze Award! The award recognizes the School’s work to advance gender equality and commits us to continuing our efforts through a 5 year action plan. Look for updates and news as we continue to strive for equality, diversity, and inclusion in our academic community!
All the staff are experts in their field and are always enthusiastic about what they teach. They welcome questions and discussion. The students also love what they do, so the community feel of the Department is unique and friendly.

Izabel Coleman-Wood

BA Politics and International Relations

Student and staff stories

Find out more about our students' experiences of studying with us, and our academics' exciting research.

Life on campus

Our main campus is set on 130 hectares of beautiful parkland, so you'll find plenty of places to relax. Our campus is home to a thriving community and features the Students' Union, Library and places to eat.

Life in Reading

Reading's bustling town centre has strong transport links to London and the south east. London and Oxford are both just 25 minutes away by train, where you have access to great research resources and a wide variety of speaker meetings and other events.