Politics MA(SocSci)/LLB/MA

Politics students

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 a wide variety of topics within the discipline of politics including courses in international relations, political theory and British politics. You will have the opportunity to take part in our growing study abroad programme. 

  • September start
  • Session dates
  • Politics MA(SocSci) (Hons): L202 4 year degree
  • Politics with Quantitative Methods MA(SocSci) (Hons): LG23 4 year degree

Programme structure

Like all disciplines in the social sciences, international relations is a subject that is open to interpretation and debate. Our methods of teaching are based largely on classroom discussion. You will attend lectures that identify important themes in international relations 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 “just war”, conflict and political violence, and the obligations that one state has to another. You will also consider empirical questions such as what are the causes of war, under what conditions do states cooperate to address common problems such as global warming, human rights violations and development, and how influential are non-state actors.

Year 1

  • Introduction to politics examines the main concepts, theories, and approaches to the study of political institutions, political actors, and citizens.
  • Introduction to international relations uses the ideas of important writers to explain key aspects of the international order.

Year 2

  • History of political thought examines political thought from the ancients, primarily Aristotle, through Machiavelli, Hobbes and Locke to Rousseau and Karl Marx.
  • Comparative politics in a globalising world explores and compares different countries to introduce students to the variety of political regimes that exist in the contemporary international system.

You will also study other subjects in years 1 and 2: see Flexible degrees.

Years 3 and 4

At Honours level (years 3 and 4) you can select from over 30 courses in Politics and International Relations, including Citizenship & democracy, International political communication, Protest politics in a post-political age and Narratives of conflict.

Course details

Years 1 & 2

Years 3 & 4

The honours programme covers the third and fourth year of study and can be taken as single honours (specialising in politics) or joint honours (politics plus another subject). In both cases the programme adds to 240 credits. However, the type and number of optional courses students must take depend on their choice of programme. Note that entry into Honours is automatic but only if you obtain the required number of credits and grades in Years 1 & 2.


The Honours programme aims to provide a rigorous and wide-ranging education in the study of politics and international relations in both its empirical (scientific) and normative (philosophical) aspects. Students can choose from a wide range of options based on different approaches to their subject area and a variety of teaching methods. The diversity of available options (there are usually about 30 different courses available per year) allows students to tailor their curricula to match their personal and academic interests. Moreover, it means that they benefit both from the specialised knowledge of staff in areas where they have made a particular research contribution, and from teaching methods which are tailored to the particular aims and intended learning outcomes of the options studied.

Intended learning outcomes

Students who graduate with a degree in Politics will have:

  • A general knowledge of comparative political analysis and acquaintance with the range of methods in the study of politics;
  • A detailed knowledge of the political institutions and political behaviour within a variety of political systems;
  • An ability to evaluate political systems and theories, and analyse critically the arguments of scholarly authorities;
  • Acquired the disposition to approach any subject of enquiry in an open-minded, rigorous and undogmatic manner and the skill to construct arguments and express their own views in a logical and lucid fashion.

Methods of teaching and assessment

There are a variety of teaching methods employed in the subject of Politics. Some options are taught by lectures and tutorials, others mainly in seminars. The method used is that thought most appropriate by the lecturers concerned and depends to some extent on class size.

There are also a variety of assessment methods used. Many courses use a combination of unseen written examination at the end of each year with a continuous assessment element, usually based on essays. Other courses only use continuous assessment, combining essays with other types of written assignments such as critical reviews or reflective journals. 

If you have any questions about the Politics and its courses, contact Dr Ty Solomon.

Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Special Glasgow feature

Glasgow Q-Step Degrees

The University of Glasgow's Q-Step Centre offers programmes which develop your quantitative skills, or in other words, your ability to handle data and use numerical evidence.

Developing quantitative skills and your confidence in using them, will really enhance your insight and understanding of the key issues you encounter in your chosen field of study.

The University of Glasgow Q-Step Centre offers five degree programmes that integrate quantitative skills training within the School of Social and Political Sciences. All of these programmes aim to engage you with meaningful ways of understanding the social world.

We will teach you how to understand and analyse quantitative results, as well as how to present your own, and how to discuss their substantive implications. These are essential skills for understanding quantitative evidence presented in academic literature, but also for interrogating data in public media and government reports.

Around one quarter of your study time will be devoted to quantitative methods. And our degrees also offer you the possibility to gain valuable experience by participating in internships with selected high-profile employers.

MA (SocSci) Politics with Quantitative Methods

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.

Our international links

You will have the opportunity to study abroad at one of our partner universities as part of your degree. This won’t add any extra time to your studies. See Study abroad.

Entry requirements

for entry in 2022

Applicants to subject-combinations with Psychology must meet the Psychology degree programme entry requirements.

Summary of entry requirements for Politics

SQA Higher Entry Requirements (by end of S6 - no entry from S5)

  • AAAAAA Higher or AAAA + BB Advanced Higher (AAABB S5 minimum for consideration)
  • Additional requirements: Higher English and a Higher Humanities subject or Mathematics.

SQA Higher Adjusted Entry Requirements* (by end of S5 or S6)

  • MD20 – BBBBB (also other target groups*)
  • MD40 – AABBB*
  • Additional requirements: Higher English and a Higher Humanities subject or Mathematics. Successful completion of Top-Up or one of our Summer Schools.

* See Access Glasgow for eligibility.

Widening Participation Articulation Programmes

The University has bespoke HNC Articulation Programmes running at various colleges, offering direct entry to Year 2 of this degree.

A-level Standard Entry Requirements

  • AAB – BBB
  • Additional requirements: A-level English or Humanities subject.

IB Standard Entry Requirements

  • 38 (6,6,6 HL) – 32 (6,5,5 HL)
  • Additional requirements: HL English or Humanities subject.

Glasgow International College

International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of foundation certificates.

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

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)

  • 6.5 with no sub-test under 6.0.
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission to this programme:

TOEFL (ib, my best or athome)

  • 90 with minimum R 20, L 19, S 19, W 23.
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

PTE (Academic)

  • 60 with minimum 59 in all sub-tests.
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

Glasgow International College English Language (and other foundation providers)

  • 65%.
  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.

University of Glasgow Pre-sessional courses

  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.

Cambridge English Qualifications

  • Cambridge Advanced English (CAE): 176 overall, no subtest less than 169
  • Cambridge Proficiency in English (CPE): 176 overall, no subtest less than 169

School Qualifications

  • iGCSE English or ESOL 0522/0500, grade C
  • International Baccalaureate English A SL5 or HL5
  • International Baccalaureate English B SL6 or HL5
  • SQA National 5 English or ESOL, grade B
  • SQA Higher English or ESOL, grade C
  • Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education, English Language grade 4
  • West African Examination Council, Senior Secondary School Certificate, English grade C6

Alternatives to English Language qualification

  • Undergraduate degree from English speaking country (including Canada if taught in English)
  • Undergraduate 2+2 degree from English speaking country
  • Undergraduate 2+2 TNE degree taught in English in non-English speaking country
  • Masters degree from English speaking country
  • Masters degree (equivalent on NARIC to UK masters degree) taught in English in non-English speaking country.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit 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 School of Modern Languages and Cultures 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 External Relations

If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:

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 see School of Modern Languages and Cultures: English for Academic Study.

Career prospects

This exciting programme will prepare you for a wide variety of careers. You will develop your research and analytical skills, writing abilities, and capacity to communicate effectively. Popular career destinations for our graduates include:

  • the civil and foreign service
  • local government
  • the charity sector
  • international organisations
  • teaching
  • business
  • the armed forces.

Degrees and UCAS codes

When applying you will need to know the UCAS code for the subject or subject-combination that you wish to apply to:

MA(SocSci) (Hons)

Politics: L202 (4 years)
Politics with Quantitative Methods: LG23 (4 years)
Politics/Archaeology: VL42 (4 years)
Politics/Business & Management: LN22 (4 years)
Politics/Business Economics: LLC2 (4 years)
Politics/Central & East European Studies: RL82 (4 years)
Politics/Classics: LQF8 (4 years)
Politics/Computing Science: LG24 (4 years)
Politics/Economic & Social History: LV23 (4 years)
Politics/Economics: LL12 (4 years)
Politics/Geography: LL72 (4 years)
Politics/History: LV21 (4 years)
Politics/Mathematics: LG21 (4 years)
Politics/Philosophy: LV25 (4 years)
Politics/Psychology: CL82 (4 years)
Apply via UCAS
Applicants must meet the Psychology requirements
Politics/Scottish History: LVF2 (4 years)
Politics/Social & Public Policy: LL42 (4 years)
Politics/Sociology: LL62 (4 years)

LLB (Hons)

Politics/Common Law: ML92 (4 years)
Politics/Scots Law: ML12 (4 years)

MA (Hons)

Politics/Ancient History: VL12 (4 years)
Politics/Archaeology: LV24 (4 years)
Politics/Classics: LQ28 (4 years)
Politics/Digital Media & Information Studies: GL52 (4 years)
Politics/English Language & Linguistics: LQ2J (4 years)
Politics/English Literature: LQ2H (4 years)
Politics/Film & Television Studies: LW26 (4 years)
Politics/French: LR21 (5 years)
Politics/German: LR22 (5 years)
Politics/Greek: LQ27 (4 years)
Politics/History: LVF1 (4 years)
Politics/History of Art: LVF3 (4 years)
Politics/Music: LW23 (4 years)
Politics/Philosophy: LVF5 (4 years)
Politics/Portuguese: 5Y4F (5 years)
Politics/Scottish History: LV22 (4 years)
Politics/Scottish Literature: LQ22 (4 years)
Politics/Spanish: L2R4 (5 years)
Politics/Theatre Studies: LW24 (4 years)
Politics/Theology & Religious Studies: VL62 (4 years)

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

How and when you pay tuition fees depends on where you’re from: see Tuition fees for details.


The University is committed to supporting students and rewarding academic excellence. That's why we've invested more than £1m in additional scholarship funding in recent years.

Undergraduate Excellence Scholarship

The University of Glasgow has a number of Undergraduate Excellence Scholarships available to new International and EU students for 2022 entry. The scholarship is awarded as a tuition fee discount of £7,000 per year of study and is subject to satisfactory progress for consecutive years of study.  

RUK Excellence Scholarship

The RUK Excellence Scholarship of £1,000 for each year of study will be awarded to first degree entrants who have attained AAA or better in one sitting at A Level (or equivalent). 

RUK Access Bursary

The bursary supports talented students who might not be able to take a place at University for reasons of financial hardship. It is available to new entrant full-time, undergraduate students of the University of Glasgow who are fully registered for Session 2021/22, as being domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and paying annual tuition fees of £9,250 per annum.

James McCune Smith Scholarship

The University of Glasgow has 30 undergraduate scholarships available for students of African/African-Caribbean backgrounds. The scholarship supports students who could face financial difficulties taking up their place to study at the University. The value of the scholarship is £2,000, paid in instalments for one year of undergraduate study. The scholarship is open to new applicants to the University. Current students who have previously been in receipt of the award may reapply, however, preference will be given to applicants entering their first year of study.

Republic of Ireland (RoI) Access Bursary

Glasgow has a long and proud tradition of providing financial support to talented students who, for reasons of financial hardship, might not be able to take a place at university. Our RoI Access Bursary is part of our commitment to continue to attract and support students from a diverse range of backgrounds. The RoI bursary will be up to £2,000 for your first year of study and £1,000 for continuing years.

Payments of the RoI Access Bursary will be detailed in your Award Letter.

  • The RoI Access Bursary will be awarded as a cash payment.
  • The RoI Access Bursary will be paid in 10 instalments from October until July; this award is based on household income
  • The RoI Access Bursary will only be awarded in years where tuition fees of £9,250 apply (i.e. Normally Years 1,2 and 3. Bursary is not paid in Year 4 where no tuition fees are due).

Republic of Ireland (RoI) Excellence Scholarship

The RoI Excellence Scholarship of £1,000 for each year of study will be awarded to first degree entrants who have attained at Irish Higher grades A1, A1, A1, A1 from the Irish Leaving Certificate.  Dentistry, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine applicants are not eligible for this award.


  • The RoI Excellence Scholarship will be processed as a cash payment.
  • The RoI Excellence Scholarship will be paid in 2 instalments.
  • The first payment will be in October and the second payment will be in February.

These payments will be credited to the UK bank account held on your MyCampus profile; therefore, it is vital that this is up to date at the start of the session. By submitting your bank details on the MyCampus system, you are confirming that you agree with the terms and conditions of the award.

Undergraduate Talent Scholarships

The University of Glasgow awards c.50 undergraduate Talent Scholarships each academic year to support students who could face financial difficulties in taking up their place to study at the University. The value of each scholarship is typically £1,500 p.a. for each year of the degree programme, subject to satisfactory progress. Talent Scholarships are available to students entering any of the University's Colleges.

Dental School students are eligible for a Talent Scholarship in their first year of study only. They are eligible for the NHS Dental Student Support Grant in the following years.


Beaconhouse Schools

The University of Glasgow offer a 15% discount on the first year of tuition fee to students from Beaconhouse Schools and who enrol on an undergraduate programme at the University of Glasgow. The discount does not apply to Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Dentistry programmes.

Cowrie Foundation Scholarship

The University of Glasgow and The Cowrie Scholarship Foundation (CSF) will offer a scholarship to support Black African and Caribbean heritage applicants from socio-economically challenged backgrounds.  Applicants must be ordinarily resident in the UK and commencing an undergraduate study in the academic year 2021-2022.

The Cowrie Scholarship Foundation wants to fund 100 Black British students through UK universities in the next decade. More information on the Foundation can be found here.

Humanitarian Scholarships

The University of Glasgow is offering four scholarships (one per college) for applicants to the University who are staying in the UK on humanitarian grounds and are facing challenges in progressing onto Higher Education. The scholarship is open to prospective undergraduate and postgraduate taught students of the University of Glasgow applying for entry in 2021/22. The scholarship meets the full cost of tuition fees for the duration of your programme as well providing an additional £5,000 per year stipend, if the eligibility criteria for university accommodation is met this will also be provided for the duration of your degree. For more information on the accommodation criteria, please see the Accommodation Services section on the website.

We are also offering eight scholarships to students who hold refugee status. This scholarship is awarded as a £2,500 stipend towards study costs, per year of study.

The Clan Gregor Society Prize

The Clan Gregor Society are offering an award to new entrants to the University of Glasgow who descend from Clan Gregor. Prospective students will be asked to submit an application highlighting areas of consideration such as academic excellence and financial need. The award is open to both Undergraduate and postgraduate applicants.

The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database

How to apply

Full-time students must apply through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). 

SQA applicants who are eligible for our Widening Participation programmes are encouraged to participate in one or more of these programmes, including Summer School, to support your application and the transition to higher education.

International students to Arts, Engineering, Law, Nursing, Science, and Social Sciences can also apply using The Common Application: however, if applying to more than one UK university, we recommend using UCAS. Applications to Dentistry, Education, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine must be made through UCAS.

Application deadlines

  • 15 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or also applying to Oxford or Cambridge
  • 26 January: all other UK/EU applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website).
  • 30 June: international (non-EU) students

We do not usually accept any applications after these deadlines.

It's your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of your application before submission. Requests to correct application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be accepted after these deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.

Due to high demand, if you wish to be considered for Politics you must apply and be admitted using a UCAS code for Politics. It will not be possible to transfer to Politics, or progress to Years 3 or 4 of a Politics degree, unless you apply using a Politics specific UCAS code.

Apply via UCAS

More information about this programme

Times Good university guide

UK top 15

Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide [Politics]

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