BSc single honours Politics with foundation year 2020/21

Year of entry

100% of our Politics students were satisfied with the quality of the course.

National Student Survey, 2019

Whether you are a school-leaver or someone considering returning to study but don’t have the entry requirements for your chosen subject, a foundation year course may be just what you’re looking for.

A foundation year is the first year of a four year course which:

  • provides an introduction not only to study at University but also to your chosen subject
  • offers you a highly supportive environment where you can develop the self-confidence, knowledge, skills and understanding for further study.

Following the Foundation Year you will go on to explore areas including:

  • political systems in the UK, Europe, and across the globe
  • contemporary political philosophy political leadership
  • contemporary social issues.

100% of our Politics students were satisfied with the teaching quality of their course.

National Student Survey, 2019

You may already have some firm views about politics or you might not have any party allegiance or ideological preference. Either way, you will fit into our Politics degree degree perfectly: as long as you are enthusiastic about exploring the ways the world works (or sometimes doesn’t!).

The Politics and International Relations team at Christ Church prides itself on the warm atmosphere and inclusive spirit of our courses and learning environment. Our teaching has been recognised for its innovative character, particularly the student centred nature of learning and assessment. Our priority is to provide high quality learning and teaching, and a transformative student experience.

At Christ Church I got to know my lecturers as individuals, and they me. They have assisted me in reaching my full potential and bringing out my abilities and capabilities, as well as offering me opportunities I would not have had elsewhere. I could not have asked for a better university experience, nor a better set of professional, personal and academic lecturers and staff to help me in my journey.

Ned Watkinson, graduated 2018

By choosing our Politics course, students develop an understanding of the local, national, international, and global dimensions of politics. Our courses look at a range of important areas. These include:

    • Political systems in the UK, Europe, and across the globe;
    • Contemporary political debates (encompassing questions such as ‘what is justice?’, ‘is capitalism the best form of economic system?’; ‘is there a convincing alternative to democracy?’);

98% of our Politics students were satisfied with their learning opportunities.

National Student Survey, 2019

As well as traditional teaching methods such as lectures and seminars, there are opportunities to go on field trips to Houses of Parliament or the European Union institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg. In addition, you might be eligible to study abroad during your second year.

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. Staff and students work together to organise these events, which give students another opportunity to enhance their networking and employability skills.

You can study French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish as part of, or alongside, your course.

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Guest lecturers are also invited to present specialised topics as part of certain modules. We invite practitioners to provide insights from their professional experience to add to the theoretical knowledge provided in academic books.

We encourage student work experience at all levels. Many of our students undertake  internships or work shadowing with MPs, MEPs, and UN agencies. We have worked closely with the Parliamentary Universities team and MPs at Westminster and several of our students have benefitted from placements, fully supported by our programme. We also offer short term employment opportunities to our students as researchers on our own academic projects.

I chose to study Politics at Christ Church for a number of reasons: its great location, lots of disability support and interesting modules. My course was amazing and I loved every minute. My degree prepared me for the political world by giving me the theoretical and practical expertise needed.  The lecturers introduced us to former students who were working in politics enabling us to ask questions to those with first-hand experience. In addition, skills such as time management, production of briefing documents, networking and research were enhanced with the support of staff. I honestly don’t think I would be doing the job I am today without the support of staff and the subject matter of the course itself. My lecturers showed me that I could follow the path I wanted and supported me in doing so.

Foundation Year

Core Modules

Contemporary Issues in Politics (20 credits)

This module explores key issues and questions in the study of politics, including how political systems function, how political change occurs, and who holds political power. The module aims to engage students in lively and topical debate on contemporary political issues.

Contemporary Issues in Sociology (20 credits)

This module gives students an entry level understanding of key critical issues in the study of sociology, including race, class and gender. The module uses the ‘sociological imagination’ to interrogate these issues in an engaging, innovative and informative fashion.

Contemporary Issues in Psychology (20 credits)

This module introduces students to some key areas and concepts in psychology, including their application to practical real-world problems and contemporary issues. The module also looks at how to approach psychological theory and application from a critical standpoint.

Contemporary Issues in Criminology (20 credits)

This module introduces students to key concepts in criminology through analysis of contemporary issues within the criminal justice system, and addresses key questions concerning crime in our society. The module also includes coverage of basic academic/study skills relevant to the disciplinary area.

Academic Skills 1 (20 credits)

This module provides and supports students with the necessary skills base for engaging with concurrent modules in Semester 1, and helps students to identify and develop a range of transferable skills in preparation for studying at degree level.

Academic Skills 2 (20 credits)

This module consolidates and extends skills learned in Academic Skills I, and provides and supports students with the necessary skills base for engaging with concurrent modules in Semester 2. As with Academic Skills I, an overarching aim is to help students identify and develop a range of transferable skills in preparation for studying at degree level, and to become self-reflective learners.

Year one

Central to your Politics degree is the opportunity to learn more about why different forms of political enquiry are necessarily contested. These critical thinking skills are at the core of all of our teaching and learning in the first year. Year 1 serves as the foundation of your studies, and introduces you to the core areas of the programme’s expertise, including modules in political theory, contemporary British and global politics, as well as gaining the research and academic skills you need to study politics. As you engage with your modules, you will learn how to gather and use information to support your arguments and to communicate these coherently in both speech and writing.

Core modules

Introduction to Politics and Governance (20 credits)

Core for Single Honours and Core for Combined Honours Students.

This module has two main aims: first, to develop the key skills students will need to progress through their university studies (e.g. library and online research skills, essay writing skills and presentation skills), and second, to provide students with an understanding of key issues and themes in the study of politics. 

British Politics in Context (20 credits)

Core for Single Honours and Core for Combined Honours Students.

British Politics is an ongoing attempt by more or less self-interested actors to cope with the issues, conflicts, opportunities and threats thrown up by time and chance, as well as by underlying economic and social developments. This module provides students with an improved understanding of why, politically, we are as we are today. Topics covered may include: the post-war consensus, the miners’ Strike, Thatcherism, New Labour, the fall and rise of the Liberals, Britain and Europe.

Contemporary Global Politics (20 credits)

Core for Single Honours; Optional for Combined Honours Students.

How has our world come to be shaped in the way that it is today? We will consider how the international political system of the past is being replaced by something markedly different – a global political world where state power is less significant. We will explore how the acquisition, possession and loss of state power became systematised over time and in different ways, and explain critically the responses which have been made to this loss of power, from protectionism to full scale war. 

Reimagining the EU in the World (20 credits)

Core for Single Honours; Optional for Combined Honours Students.

Why do nation states choose to join the EU? Why do others wish to leave? How much sovereignty do states sign over to the EU? Why are certain policies so controversial? What is the purpose of the European institutions? What role does the EU play on the global stage? To answer these important questions this module will examine European integration during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and analyse the main policies and institutions of the European Union.

Key Political Thinkers (20 credits)

Core for Single Honours; Optional for Combined Honours Students.

What is the purpose of government? Is it ever permissible for politicians to act immorally? Should national interest take primacy over individual rights? Is it ever ok to break the law? Would it be wrong to smash capitalism? This module explores key thinkers in the history of political thought, and their attempts to answer these and other challenging political and philosophical questions. It scrutinises a range of long-standing arguments and ideas in the history of political thought, and uses these to interrogate current dilemmas in domestic and international politics, and to establish connections between the political concerns of the past and present.

Likely optional modules

Power, Politics and the State (20 credits)

What is the nature of political power? How does it operate in practice? How do structures of race, gender and class affect access to power? What role does the state play in contemporary society? This module will cover a number of key issues central to understanding the relationship between the realm of the state, its modes of power and authority, its various ideologies, and its connection with modes of governance.

Year two

The second year is all about deepening your knowledge of the subject area and further developing the transferable skills which will assist you in your career, once you leave university. You will strengthen your ability to critique interactions between people, ideas, structures of power and institutions. During your second year it may be possible to spend time studying abroad at a partner institution. Language skills need not be a barrier as some of our partners teach in English. This is a competitive process as the opportunity to live and study in a foreign country is an incredible privilege. Previous students who have participated in these exchanges have benefitted academically and in their personal development.

Core modules

Contemporary Political Theory (20 credits)

Core for Single Honours; Core for Combined Honours Students.

The module will evaluate the key authors and ideas central to contemporary political theory.  Thinkers will include John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Charles Taylor, Richard Rorty, Michel Foucault, Hannah Arendt, Carol Pateman, Slavoj Zizek, and Chantal Mouffe. Some key issues to be explored include: What do we mean when we use the term individual rights? What are the limitations to democracy? How do we define liberty? Should freedom of speech be restricted? To what extent is liberal democratic society patriarchal in its structure?

Political Research (20 credits)

Core for Single Honours; Optional for Combined Honours Students.

Students will examine certain methods used in political research; for example, survey and interview design; primary and secondary data analysis; and the use of statistics. We will explore the ethical issues that can arise when undertaking political research. Emphasis will also be placed on the theoretical context of research – specifically the domain of social scientific epistemology.

Likely optional modules

British Politics: Continuity and Change (20 credits)

This module introduces students to the structure of British politics and the practical functioning of British government. Providing a contemporary focus, the main political and administrative institutions in the British system will be examined and set within a comparative context. Specifically, this module will explore alternative political processes as well as the formal institutions of state; therefore, powerful forces such as political parties, non-governmental organisations and the British media will be examined alongside institutions such as Parliament, the Prime Minister, the civil service and the constitutional monarchy.

European Union: Power, Policy and Integration (20 credits)

Students will examine the scope of community power, the supremacy of EU law and the complexity of EU decision making. Furthermore, students will explore some of the major policy areas covered by the EU - for example, the continuing debate over the role of the EU in a common defence strategy, and some of its major legal doctrines.

Comparative Politics: States and Societies (20 credits)

This module is based on the long tradition of comparative political science and seeks to give students the critical knowledge and understanding required to appreciate the importance of global events and to analyse contemporary political institutions. Building on the knowledge and understanding developed in the earlier module Introduction to Politics and Governance, students will examine the methodological underpinnings of comparative politics, and apply this knowledge to a practical analysis of political systems around the world.

Transport: Politics and Society 20 credits

This module aims to introduce students to the complexity of politics in the real world, through the lens of transport policy.  Students will begin to explore the problem of too little mobility, due to lack of access to transport, for specific groups in UK society, before examining the negative consequences of increasing mobility, for these groups, the environment and wider society.  The module aims to increase knowledge of the ways in which transport influences society and to increase understanding of the complexity of political decision-making, the contradictions inherent in policy making and the compromises that are necessary when we seek to influence.

Year three

The final year of your degree is when all the ground work laid in the first two years comes together. You will have amassed a great deal of knowledge and you will have more confidence in critically assessing the information you find and reaching your own reasoned conclusions. In your final year, you’ll pursue your own specialist study; you are given the opportunity to produce an extended piece of individual research on a topic of your choosing when you complete your dissertation, and to select from a range of specialised modules delivered by staff in areas of their own expertise.

Core modules

Political Ideologies in Action (20 credits)

Core for Single Honours and Core for Combined Honours Students.

This module aims to provide students with a critical understanding of the way in which different ideologies shape contemporary, national and international, political problems and projects. In that regard, this module has two main aims: first, to offer adequate theoretical and conceptual tools in order to understand political phenomena through ideological lenses; second, to familiarise students with the ideological underpinnings of the major issues in politics.

Individual Study (40 credits)

Core for Single Honours and Optional for Combined Honours Students.

For most students the main focus in your final year is the Individual Study. This is a significant piece of independent research, where you may select a topic of special interest within your discipline area. You will be guided by a lecturer, 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 entirely their own. Your individual study also acts as a step on the path to your career as it allows students to demonstrate effective time and workload management in the production of an extended piece of work. 

Likely optional modules

Module options change annually and therefore it is not possible to offer further details here at present.

Contemporary Security (20 credits)

Students taking this module will learn about the most influential theoretical approaches in Security Studies, as well as to some of the major issues in contemporary international security. Students will first look at the conceptual and theoretical history of Security Studies.  Themes to be examined will include: NATO after the end of the Cold war and the security priorities for the United Kingdom. This will be followed by an in-depth study of what is known in the literature as ‘Critical Security Studies’. Here, the main theoretical schools – from the Copenhagen School to Post-Colonialism – will be discussed at length, supported by the analysis of specific case studies as diverse as the Arab Spring or global warming as a security issue. The third and last part of the module deals with the interaction between theory and technological development, focusing on post-modernity and risk as conceptual tools for the understanding of issues such as cybersecurity or the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), the so-called drones.

Radical Political Thought (20 credits)

This module will begin by outlining key thematic tensions and theoretical difficulties in the classical Marxist tradition. The module will draw on the theoretical resources of political philosophy and positive political theory. Here attention will be given to the issues of ideology, revolutionary morality, strategy, democracy and ‘emancipatory knowledge’. Key thinkers to be explored include Althusser, Laclau and Mouffe, Geras, Badiou, and Žižek. Key questions will include: To what extent are the ‘problems of Marxism’ insurmountable for its reform? Is ideology a permanent aspect of human existence? Can a revolutionary ethics address the issue of ‘dirty hands’? How does desire motivate politics? Can we imagine a world free of ‘the state’? Is social clear still relevant for emancipatory politics? How important is the ecological ‘crisis’ for our understanding of radical politics? Can we imagine a world ‘beyond capitalism’? Is the ‘idea of communism’ dead?

In a competitive job market, it is crucial that as a graduate you possess all the right skills that employers are looking for. Our Politics degree emphasises transferable skills at each level of study, with a strong focus on career development. You can expect to gain skills in critical thought and analysis, working autonomously and as part of a team, networking, and the ability to communicate complex ideas in a clear and concise fashion.

Politics graduates have gone on to enter a variety of roles in sectors such as national or international government, leading non-governmental organisations in London, Brussels and other European capital states, journalism, law, teaching, and graduate training schemes in the public and private sectors. Five of our graduates have worked as assistants to MPs in Westminster. A high proportion of our students also go on to study at postgraduate level, some are currently completing funded PhD research.

My three years studying Politics and International Relations at CCCU provided me with the political understanding, development in my life-skills and a growth in my confidence that has enabled me to navigate the choppy world of politics.


Tuition Fees for 2020/21 have not yet been finalised. Course webpages will be updated with Tuition Fee information once these have been agreed.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

Course specific costs

Field Trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc)

Compulsory field trips are all covered by tuition fees or by external funding. On these trips students would be expected to pay only for food and drink.

Occasional non-compulsory interest based trips may also be organised during the course of the degree programme. These trips are funded for those students in receipt of a student hardship fund, but all other students would be expected to pay train fares and subsistence. Most of these outings take place in London and would last no longer than one day, thus costing the student no more than £40.

Text books

Text books for each module are advised for purchase. Normally we advise one core reading text per module. We have 6 modules per year for single honours students and text books cost around £30 each. This would come to £180 if all books were purchased.

These books are however also available in the library and are therefore not compulsory purchases.

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

100% of our Politics students were satisfied with the academic support they received.

National Student Survey, 2019


Central to 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. 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 most appropriate for the theme. All programmes are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2020.

Our degrees have a strong focus on career development. Students can build up experience with us by developing relevant skills together with our partners 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.

Independent learning

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 lecturers 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 everyone to interact with this learning and benefitting the whole group.

The 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.

Overall workload

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.

Academic input

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 qualifications (Higher Education Academy accredited) and academic qualifications (PhDs in Politics or International Relations). We are also research active, publishing our research in academic journals and books, 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. 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.

“The course itself was very interesting but for me, the most important part of my success was the support from the lecturers. They seemed to genuinely care about the students. There was a concerted effort to engage with each and every student and not just the more vocal students. Every lecturer would encourage the students to catch up with them for a coffee outside of lectures for advice or guidance on the class which was a great help.”

Sam Collard, Politics Alumnus


Politics was ranked joint 4th in the UK for Feedback.

The Guardian University League Tables 2018

We recognise that people learn differently and our assessments are designed to be as varied as possible to maximise the opportunities for students to demonstrate the knowledge they have acquired. You will be assessed through a range of methods, including essays, examinations, individual and group oral presentations, practical assignments and reports, active simulations which recreate political scenarios, social media blogs and research projects. These will evaluate your acquisition of relevant knowledge and understanding and the development of academic style and practical skills. The balance of assessment depends on how you select your options.

Single Honours students are required to undertake a 40 credit Individual Study which explores a theme related to Politics of your own choosing. This is also an option for Combined Honours students who wish to major with our programme. 

To progress from one level of study to the next you must pass 120 credits (typically six 20 credit modules). The standard pass mark for a module is 40%.

Our aim is to ensure that assessment caters for a range of students’ requirements. Throughout the programme, a strong emphasis is placed on regular feedback in order to provide you with the opportunity to enhance your performance.

“I really appreciated the support the lecturers were able to provide and how debate was encouraged. It not only made me more confident about defending my own views and considering others from a political perspective, but it enabled me to extend that in my everyday life which I believe has made me a more rounded individual.”

Our Politics degree is enhanced by our links with local, national and international politicians and policy makers. External funding from the European Commission’s Jean Monnet programme for European political study supports our Centre for European Studies. This allows us to take students on fully paid visits to sites of European interest and has previously included trips to Brussels and the war graves of Northern France.

Where appropriate, we invite practitioners to speak to students about their experiences working on policy issues which relate to the academic material under investigation. For example, the Foreign Policy Analysis module has been addressed by former ambassadors and foreign affairs correspondents. Parliamentary clerks have visited British Politics modules and representatives of NGOs supporting refugees have participated in sessions of the Politics of Migration module. Our own graduates regularly return and get involved in different modules to build a sense of community among current students and alumni. 


Full-time study

Apply via UCAS

Need some help?

For advice on completing your application please contact the Course Enquiry Team:

Email: courses@canterbury.ac.uk
Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • L202 Politics with Foundation Year

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 4 years full-time


  • September 2020

Entry requirements




Last edited 28/08/2019 11:55:00

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Last edited: 28/08/2019 11:55:00