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.