BA Politics and International Relations with a Placement Year
Address some of the contemporary world’s most pressing problems, and explore ethical and moral issues that arise when political authority is exercised, with our BA Politics and International Relations degree.
Why is the world not solving the climate emergency? Why do politicians seem to be so bad at their jobs? Are our societies descending into authoritarianism? Are we responsible for the safety and welfare of civilians in Afghanistan?
If you care about questions like these – and want to learn about the fundamental elements of politics and international relations – then our four-year degree can get you started.
As a student in the Department of Politics and International Relations, you will benefit from a learning environment driven by high-quality research. 97% of our research outputs are rated ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, meaning that the University of Reading is 6th highest in the UK for research outputs (Times Higher Education analysis of the latest REF 2021 – Politics and International Studies, when scoring by GPA Output). Our areas of strength include:
- applied political theory
- comparative politics
- public policy analysis
- international relations.
Our academics regularly feature in academic literature and the media, offering their expertise on current issues and engaging in real-world politics. As such, our teaching is research-led and relevant. We also offer an exciting range of optional modules across all of our degrees, giving you the flexibility to choose to study the subjects you're most passionate about.
Most of your teaching time will be spent in small group seminars. This allows you to interact directly with both our experts and other students, and add your own voice to discussions. In the National Student Survey 2023, 94% of our students said that teaching staff were good or very good at explaining things (93.75% of respondents studying in the Department of Politics and International Relations).
You will bring your studies to life and relate to what is happening outside the classroom, with optional modules such as:
- International Terrorism – Examine what terrorism is and what distinguishes it from other forms of conflict and warfare in the international system.
- Feminism – Explore theoretical controversies surrounding the definition, subject matter, and aims of feminism.
- Model United Nations – Visit an overseas conference and take part in a simulation of the United Nations in action, engaging with students and academics from other universities across Europe and the UK.
- Media and Politics – Introduce yourself to key topics in the study of the media and media power, encompassing both theory and reality in a range of countries around the world.
- US Foreign Policy – Explore historical and contemporary cases and analyse how foreign policy decisions are made, who influences them, and how this has evolved overtime.
Please note, our modules vary by year and may be subject to change and availability.
Integrated Placement Year
Enhance your employability and build your network with an integrated year-long placement in industry, taken between your second and final year of study.
You will have plenty of opportunity to develop excellent professional contacts that will stand you in good stead for the future. A successful industry placement may also lead to a job offer with your placement company upon graduation.
We have a dedicated placement coordinator who can provide advice and support in your search for a placement.
Past placement destinations have included the Cabinet Office, Department of Health and Social Care, Office for National Statistics, Disney and Microsoft.
- Read about Peter Stockdale’s placement experience as a Student Economist at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
Learn from experts
At Reading, you will learn from researchers with deep expertise in their individual subjects. We have an exceptional faculty who conduct world-leading research across the field of politics and international relations. For example:
- Professor Daphne Halikiopoulou, who is fascinated by why ordinary people engage in extreme acts. This sparked her research into the rise of populism and the far‑right across Europe. She teaches a class on The Far Right.
- Dr Alice Baderin, who is facing up to the fact that we live in an uncertain world, a world full of risk – from economic insecurity to threats associated with climate change and the development of new technologies. She teaches a class on Risk.
- Dr Joseph O’Mahoney, who wants to know why our ideas about nuclear weapons have changed so drastically over time. For example, information about nuclear explosives, once handed out for free, is now regarded a closely guarded secret. He teaches a class on Politics of Nuclear Weapons.