Politics is the study of the way power and influence are distributed within society and how this affects decision making within and among countries and states. You will study the ideas which inform and explain political activity alongside political institutions and behaviour.
At all levels of study, politics is a subject that is open to interpretation and debate. Our methods of teaching, therefore, are based largely on classroom discussion. You will attend lectures that identify themes and then explore these themes in depth during seminars.
You will think about ethical questions such as the role and limits of state power, the nature of a ‘good society’, and the obligations that one nation has to another. You will also consider empirical questions such as how we explain differences in political institutions and culture, and the nature of the international system as a whole.
Initially you will study two courses:
- Introduction to liberal democracy – deals primarily with the British, Scottish and European political systems.
- Comparative politics – deals with a number of different countries using a comparative analytical framework.
You will also study two other subjects of your choice in year 1: see Degrees in Arts, Science and Social Sciences.
Your second year will also comprise two courses:
- History of political thought – examines political thought from the ancients, primarily Aristotle, through Machiavelli, Hobbes and Locke to Rousseau and Karl Marx.
- International relations – uses some of the ideas of important writers to explain aspects of the international order.
You will also study two other subjects in year 2: see Degrees in Arts, Science and Social Sciences.
Years 3 and 4
If you successfully complete the courses in years 1 and 2 you may progress to two further years of study for an Honours degree. There are about 30 courses you can choose from during Honours, taught by academic staff who specialise in the themes and topics covered.
We have a long-standing and active programme of International Exchange. Each year, we welcome dozens of students from countries around the world who come to take courses at Glasgow. At the same time, our Politics students have the opportunity to spend their third year studying at universities around the world, including the United States, Australia and Canada.
At Honours, it is possible to do this degree together with a language. It usually involves spending a year abroad between years 2 and 3. This type of degree is particularly useful if you hope to develop a career overseas.
Through debate, written essays and projects, the study of politics will develop your analytical skills and writing abilities, equipping you for a wide variety of careers. Popular career destinations for our graduates include the media, teaching, the civil service, the charity sector and the armed forces.
For international students entry to this programme is supported by courses from GIC.
Academic entry requirements
for entry in 2014
Highers: AAAAB (including English or a humanities subject) in first sitting = unconditional offer.
Applicants who achieved AAAA or AAABB (including English or a humanities subject) at their first sitting WILL receive an offer from the University. This offer may be conditional (on second sitting results) or unconditional, depending on how many applications are received from students who have attained these grades.
Additional offers, either conditional or unconditional, MAY be made to applicants who achieved AAAB, AABBB or AABB at their first sitting. A decision re these applications will be made in March 2014 once all applications have been reviewed.
Applicants who receive an offer conditional on second sitting results will be required to study Advanced Highers in relevant subjects as an integral part of their conditional offer.
IB: A minimum of 34 points is required to be considered for an offer. Actual offers will specify subjects and grades to be attained at Higher Level.
If you have exceptional A-level or Advanced Higher grades it's possible to gain exemption from Year 1 study and enter directly into Year 2 or follow a faster route advanced entry programme, both of which allow you to complete your degree in one year less than usual. See: Advanced entry
English language requirements
For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):
- overall score 6.5
- no sub-test less than 6.0
- or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)
Common equivalent English language qualifications:
- ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 20
- CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): B minimum
- CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): C minimum
- PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the Language Centre Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:
What do I do if...
my language qualifications are below the requirements?
The University's Language Centre offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.
my language qualifications are not listed here?
Please contact the Recruitment and International Office: Elaine.Shortt@glasgow.ac.uk
If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:
my academic qualifications are below the requirements?
Glasgow International College offers Foundation courses to upgrade your academic qualifications.
Visa requirements and proof of English language level
It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.
For further information about English language, please contact the Language Centre.