Why Study Politics at Leicester?

The quality of teaching in the department is brilliant, and the International Relations aspect to the course makes it unique in comparison to other universities. The lectures are stimulating, and the tutorials alongside them create an important inter-personal link between students and tutors. The staff in the department are friendly and approachable, which I feel has made a huge difference to my achievements over the course of my degree.
Final Year Student

Why Study Politics and International Relations?

How do we reconcile the increase in applications for University degrees in Politics and International Relations with apparent popular dissatisfaction with the political process? One answer is that the study of Politics is about far more than the activities of politicians at Westminster. Students studying Politics and International Relations at Leicester will, of course, examine the workings and the health of the political system in Britain – and other states. They will also explore some of the most important and interesting issues in national and international politics: Who holds power and why? Is there a crisis of political participation? What are the appropriate limits to individual liberty? Is globalisation a positive or negative process? When is war just? How can conflicts be resolved in divided societies? Can established modes of politics tackle environmental challenges?

The popularity of both Politics and International Relations at degree level also reflects the value of the transferable skills students gain. The ability to analyse complex issues and reach reasoned conclusions, to present coherent arguments in written and oral form, to engage in independent research and work effectively as a member of a team are highly valued by employers.

Why Study at Leicester?

Teaching Excellence

At Leicester, we have a strong commitment to excellence in teaching. We are the only university to win seven consecutive Times Higher Awards. In 2008, when awarding it the title, University of the Year, the judges of the Times Higher Education magazine cited Leicester’s ability to “evidence commitment to high quality, a belief in the synergy of teaching and research and a conviction that higher education is a power for good”. Leicester was, said the judges, "elite without being elitist".

Establishing itself as one of the foremost universities in the UK, we have risen in every major league table and are consistently ranked in the top 20 out of over 120 universities.

The School of History, Politics, and International Relations consistently scores very highly in the National Student Survey and is ranked in the top 20 in national league tables.

External examiners have also praised the quality of our courses and of students’ work. The School is home to Politics Review, the leading magazine for students of Politics.

Choice and Diversity

Students can take courses in Politics and International Relations across a number of degree programmes. We offer two single honours degrees: BA Politics and BA International Relations.

Two degrees are taught jointly with History - the BA International Relations and History and BA History and Politics.

We also offer joint degrees with Economics (BA Politics and Economics) and Sociology (BA Politics and Sociology).

Three other degree programmes also include Politics and International Relations elements: BA American Studies, BA European Studies and BA Contemporary History.

In all these degree programmes, students have a choice of modules in their second year and are able to select from a full range of attractive courses in the final year. Single honours students write a dissertation on a topic of their choice in their final year; this is optional for students taking joint degrees and combined degrees.

Staff Research

The School is internationally recognised for the quality of its research in many areas of the discipline. In international relations, the School’s research strengths include the theory and practice of diplomacy, the role of the intelligence services, the politics of arms sales, ethics and war, and South Africa’s democratic transition. Research in government and comparative politics includes work on democratisation in eastern Europe, the enlargement of the European Union, the Conservative Party, the peace process in Northern Ireland, legislative politics and American social policy. In political theory, Leicester is renowned for cutting edge research on animal rights, sovereignty and the state, and property rights.

Stimulating teaching

In the School, you will experience a variety of learning and teaching methods. We use the latest teaching resources, such as the Blackboard virtual learning environment where students can access support materials for all our modules. As well as traditional lectures and seminars, you will work in small groups, take part in debates and simulation exercises, and undertake a research project of your choice in your final year. Most modules are assessed through a combination of written examination and assessed essay.

All members of the School are engaged in cutting-edge research. We believe that good teaching flourishes in an intellectual environment informed by original research. Final year modules reflect the research interests of academic staff, exposing students to the latest thinking.


The development of transferable skills is a key feature of teaching at Leicester. Our courses are designed to improve your skills in written communications (from short reports to a long dissertation), oral presentation (both formal and informal), working as part of a team, independent learning (e.g. information gathering and time management), problem solving and information technology.

The School participates actively in the University’s Personal Development Planning (PDP) scheme which encourages students to reflect on their skills and careers options. The University’s Leicester Award provides an opportunity to gain accreditation for leadership and management skills.

Supportive environment

We provide a friendly and supportive environment, with helpful and accessible staff, and excellent pastoral care. The School is proud of its reputation as one in which students who encounter academic or personal difficulties can be assured of a sympathetic and supportive response. Every student is allocated a personal tutor; the Senior Tutor and Departmental Administrator also have special responsibility for the welfare of undergraduates. The University also offers a range of specialist help through its Welfare and Counselling Services.

Students in the School run a thriving Politics Society. It organises a series of events, including visiting speakers, pub crawls and an annual Summer Ball attended by students and staff.

Study Abroad

You will have the opportunity to spend one semester of your second year studying Politics and International Relations at one of our partner universities in Europe and the US. If you wish to study abroad, you should decide during your first year. The School and University award travel bursaries to students wishing to study the politics of another country in the Easter or summer vacations.

Career opportunities

Graduates in Politics and International Relations go on to a wide range of careers. Many of our students have used their subject specific knowledge to work in the civil service, parliament, local government, pressure groups and international organisations (e.g. the European Parliament). Our degrees also provide students with the transferable skills that equip them for careers in the media, education, administration, and management in industry and commerce. As with most degrees, a further period of training is often necessary.

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Contact Details

School of Politics and International Relations

University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester, LE1 7RH
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2702
Email: HyPIR@le.ac.uk


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The University of Leicester is committed to equal access to our facilities. DisabledGo has a detailed accessibility guide for the Attenborough Tower.

College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Masters Excellence Scholarships

The Masters Excellence Studentships are available to new UK/EU applicants registering for a full- or part-time, campus-based Masters degree in our College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities starting in the 2017-18 academic year. Four nine-month Masters Excellence studentships are available, each providing a full fee waiver. The deadline for applications is 9 June 2017.

Follow this link for more information.

Undergraduate Contact Details

The Admissions Secretary
Department of Politics and International Relations
University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester LE1 7RH

Tel: 0116 252 2702
Email: poladmiss@le.ac.uk 


Dominic Politics

Teaching is of a really high standard at Leicester and it’s really refreshing to get a wide range of different lecturers.