At the core of our programme is the belief that reading books and writing essays is only part of the learning process. We want our students to engage in politics and apply their knowledge to real world cases. Using innovative teaching methods, we bring the outside world into our programmes, with role-plays and interactive learning via webinars and other digital platforms. We also take our students out into the wider world on study trips when possible. Our Making Politics Matter series regularly invites high-profile guest speakers, including politicians, to debate the issues of the day with our students and the general public.
Teaching is structured to allow for flexibility. Your actual contact hours will depend on the optional modules you select.However, typically you will have 9-12 hours of structured contact time per week. This may be in lectures, where the module leader delivers key material to a large group, or seminars, where smaller groups discuss and debate the material being studied. Workshops blend the delivery of lectures and seminars when the class size is smaller. Delivery may vary week to week as the module leader designs activities which are pedagogically most appropriate for the theme. All of our programmes are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2020.
Our degrees have a strong focus on work related learning. Students can build up experience with us by developing relevant skills together with our partnership practitioners from the political arena (journalists, diplomats, parliamentarians, civil servants, NGOs), who are actively involved with our curriculum. We provide opportunities for students to develop and enhance analytical and communication skills. We prioritise activities such as political role plays, policy brief writing and blogging. Such diverse activities bring politics to life and help you to develop specific work related skills.
When not attending timetabled sessions we expect you to continue learning through self-directed study. Typically, this involves undertaking research in the library, working on projects, and preparing for coursework assignments/examinations, workshops and seminars.
Your module tutor will indicate specific readings and/or activities to complete before class. We will also provide reading lists for further study. Seminars are enriched when students have completed their independent reading, allowing staff and other students to interact with this learning and benefitting the whole group.
Your Individual Study in your final year is a significant piece of independent research, where you may select a topic of special interest. You will be guided by a supervisor but the main direction of the work will be decided by you. Students who invest time in their work are rewarded by a huge sense of personal satisfaction as they produce academic research which is their own.
For every hour of contact we ask students to complete three hours of private study. Much like a full time job, we anticipate that as a full time student you will devote about 35-40 hours a week to learning for your degree.
You will be taught by academics at all stages of their careers – from postdoctoral researchers to professors. Every member of our teaching team is committed to innovative and engaging approaches to teaching. We have excellent teaching (Higher Education Academy accredited) and academic (PhDs in Politics or International Relations) qualifications. We are also research active, publishing our research in academic journals, engaging in work with academic and professional bodies, and featuring in the media when our expertise is required.
Our students tell us that they value the opportunities they have to be taught by experts in particular areas. However, of equal importance to us is the positive feedback we receive through evaluations and teaching awards, where students confirm that we are always very approachable, supportive and encouraging.