BA (Hons) PoliticsSouthwark Campus
A unique insight
Are you looking for a unique insight into the way the world works? This exciting, modern degree in politics can provide you with exactly that. Delivered by experienced, expert and enthusiastic academics, it combines political theory, political science, political economy, area studies and international relations to provide an in-depth study of contemporary politics.
Your learning experience needn’t stop at observing and studying, however. Our voluntary placement scheme offers opportunities that have seen former students working in Parliament and the MPs’ constituency offices – seeing politics from the inside, and providing a great basis for a potential future.
We offer the opportunity for all undergraduate Home/EU students to undertake a work placement, internship or work experience while studying a full-time course starting in September 2020.
Why Politics at LSBU?
- Specialist staff who work hard to develop networks with organisations that can offer placement opportunities.
- We’ve got great relationships with local parliamentary constituency offices, meaning placement opportunities, visits, lectures and more are possible.
- You’ll have access to great resources, including the Perry Library.
- Our voluntary work experience scheme means you have the chance to secure work experience in settings such as MP's constituency offices and the European Parliament.
- No. 1 in UK for teaching in Politics (National Student Survey 2018).
If it’s a key political issue that’s relevant to the world today, this course covers it. You’ll study areas such as genocide, human rights, religious activism, sustainability, war, terrorism and migration amongst others, building a detailed understanding of the myriad factors that make our world what it is today, and the complex interactions between them.
Methods of assessment for course overall: 71% coursework.
- Introduction to Political Theory
This module introduces students to key ideas and concepts in political theory. These include democracy, freedom, justice, rights, equality and power. These ideas and concepts are explored with reference to the social and historical contexts in which they developed. Students will also be encouraged to explore the way that these ideas and concepts have been transformed historically and the manner in which they are mobilised in contemporary political debates. Part of the module will be devoted to the exploration of the contribution that political theory can make to contemporary issues and controversies.
- Power and Inequality in Contemporary Society
In this module we will explore a series of problems related through the general ideas of power and inequality. We will explore how power and inequality are related through a series of case studies. We will examine both how these issues are contested and the implications of these problems for society and for politics. Seminars and workshops will be used to develop students understanding of these related problems in a way that will help develop both analytical and practical skills for learning.
- Revolutions, Wars and the Making of the Modern World
This module is an introduction to some of the major themes and events in modern world history. It begins with an examination of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. It moves on to look at the Industrial Revolution, national unification movements in Italy and Germany in the nineteenth century, Empire, the First World War and the ideologies of Fascism, Nazism and Soviet Communism. It looks at the impact of key historical figures such as Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini and Hitler and their impact on the shape of the modern world.
- Social justice in action
This module develops students’ understanding of the concept of social justice (as a goal and a process) and its wider implications. The module also encourages students to focus on their interests, motivations, skills and abilities in employability terms and make connections between their studies and their future careers. Central to the module is a career and networking event. This event will provide students with the opportunity to meet and speak with individuals working in organisations concerned with social justice, particularly individuals who have themselves overcome challenges relating to their gender, race, class, age, sexuality, religion etc. Front line staff such as police officers, probation officers, social workers; activists, campaign work, researchers to voluntary sector representatives will be involved. Alumni will also contribute to the event.
- Politics Decision Making and Democracy
This module engages with political institutions and processes. Focusing on the British experience to illustrate wider trends, it explores the framework and dynamics of political power and the British system of governance and encourages understanding of debates in contemporary politics. It investigates formal aspects of British politics including political parties and the role of ideology in shaping policies and programmes and civil society. Key institutions such as prime minister and cabinet, parliament and local government are analysed and evaluated. The module also explores democracy beyond the formal realm, including the role of media and pressure groups in the political process.
- War and Social Change in the Twentieth Century
This module is an introduction to some of the major themes and events in twentieth century world history from the Second World War onwards. It examines contemporary historical events that have impacted society, including the Cold War, decolonisation, Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist revolution, the effect of New Right ideologies in the 1980s, the fall of the Soviet Union and its consequences, globalisation, as well as moves towards European integration and the development of the European Union. The module analyses the impact of these key events on the shaping of the modern and contemporary world.
- European Politics in Transition
The module explores political processes in Europe in a comparative perspective. It aims to examine the factors that explain the issue of political continuity and stability in Europe as well as the changes that have taken place over the last two decades. The module looks at ideology, power and decision making. There is a focus on political events and policy processes, looking at both individual nation states and the European Union. An organising theme of the module is the impact of the end of the cold war on the politics of Europe over recent decades.
- Exploring British Attitudes: Quantitative Methods in Social Research
In the first half of this module students are introduced to basic issues in research design and methodology. Topics covered include experimental design and random assignment, formulating research questions sampling and measurement. In the second half of the module they learn the basics of statistical analysis and how to use SPSS. Throughout the module students will be introduced to empirical examples from the British Social Attitudes survey and other nationally representative material.
One optional module:
- Gender, Sexualities and Society
This module focuses on sociological understandings of the related concepts, gender and sexuality. It offers comprehensive theoretical overviews of gender and sexuality. It challenges the binary distinction of gender construction by exploring alternatives such as transgender and gender fluidity. The module explores the intersections of gender and sexuality with race, ethnicity, social class and geographic location and how they can reproduce inequalities. An in-depth approach to the study of gender and sexuality is provided by covering the following areas: masculinities, femininities, bodies and sexualities: homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality and their historical, cultural, social and political dimensions.
- Global Governance, Regionalism and the Nation-State
This module explores the contemporary multi-layered international system. It focuses on the complex, dialectical (non-linear) economic, social and political relations between nation-states, regionalisation and globalisation. Regionalisation has emerged across the world, but is most developed in Europe, on which the module will place particular emphasis. The module will also explore the role of international organizations in the global system, with particular emphasis on the United Nations system, including International Financial Institutions. In problematising one-sided arguments about the decline of the state, the module encourages critical reflection on state power and global inter-dependence in the 21st Century.
- Foreign Policy Analysis
This module introduces students to the study of decision-making in international relations. It looks at how international, domestic and individual pressures shape the decisions leaders make and the actions states take. The first half of the module explores conceptual matters, gradually building a toolkit of approaches to help explain and understand the behaviour of states. In the second half we work through a series of detailed case studies, covering foreign policy decision-making and outcomes in a range of states and actors, including Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, South Africa, and China.
- Globalisation and Development
This module builds upon the evidential, conceptual and theoretical work undertaken in the level 4 module North and South: Issues in International Development. It focuses on the developing world and provides a comparative analysis of the different developmental experiences of the BRICS economies. The module locates the debates and issues that it explores within an historical and global context and encourages students to explore the inter-dependence of the developed and developing world. The form of assessment, group presentation and report, encourages students to work collaboratively and develops skills that are important for future employment.
- The Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change
This module addresses the social and political dimensions of ecology. It examines defining features of the concept of (environmental) sustainability, introducing various political perspectives. We will see how local and global environmental risks demand new forms of urban, national and international governmentality. The module will discuss how societies affect and are affected by changes in the natural environment. Finally, we will engage with how climate change impacts on our understanding of time, including how we imagine the end of the world. Throughout the module, we will research and look at the activities of organisations and movements involved in environmental sustainability.
One optional module:
- Making Identities: Citizenship, Race and Nation
This module aims to examine the processes that have shaped key facets of identity in contemporary societies: citizenship, race and nation. By examining their inter-relationship, key sociological debates will be used to understand social and political identities. The module explores important theoretical questions and analyses specific historical processes and contemporary situations. The module encourages students to think across the boundaries of race and nation, gender and sexuality, as well as locality or environment (including animal welfare) in order to understand the different interrelationships between these forms of identity formation and citizenship in the modern world.
- Twentieth Century British History
This module explores the history of Britain over the course of the twentieth century. Picking up on themes first introduced in the Level 4 module Industry, Empire and Society: Britain 1750-1900 this module will trace the social, economic, political and cultural changes and continuities within Britain during the years 1900-2000. Particular attention will be paid to the themes of class, gender, ethnicity, activism, democratic rights, social policy, sexuality, leisure and consumption. Key developments in the histories of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also be considered to ensure an inclusive understanding of life in Britain in the twentieth century.
- Work Placement
This module provides an opportunity for students to work in settings related to their studies and, more generally, gain meaningful workplace experience in which to apply their social scientific learning. It will also reinforce their studies through the application and integration of relevant workplace experience into the academic context. Voluntary and community sector organisations, charities and most political organisations are particularly suitable for work placements, although much can also be learned from placements in commercial settings. Students are required to consult with the module coordinator to identify an appropriate organisation in which to carry out their work placement.
- International Security
This module focuses on security studies. Security is central to government debates and pivotal to the priorities they establish. The module explores traditional threats since 1945, including inter-state armed conflict and nuclear weapons, and discusses more recent non-traditional threats, including pandemics (eg HIV/AIDS), environmental degradation, terrorism and gender violence. The module maps the discipline of security studies since 1945 and offers a historiography of the concepts of ‘security’ and threats, exploring both state-centric and human approaches, mainstream and critical approaches, to security. This innovative module explores international security by examining referent objects, human security, popular culture and the discursive construction of threats.
- Contemporary Dynamics of the World System
This module explores the structures, dynamics and transformations of world orders and provides students with an understanding of international relations since the demise of the nineteenth-century Pax Britannica. It explores successive world orders, analysing the period of rivalry between the major powers (1875-1945), and the era of Cold War bi-polarity and Pax Americana (1945-1990). A central focus of the module is on post-Cold War developments, including the rise of China, the debate on US empire and hegemony, and processes of globalization and transnationalisation. Contemporary patterns of international disorder, including the developing multi-polarity and the rise of transnational Islamic activism, are also explored.
One optional module:
- Black History
This module explores the concept of black history within American and British historiography questioning and challenging debates around the idea of ‘black history’. Students will consider these debates and learn about key moments in British black history over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Students will be required to critically examine concepts such as ‘diaspora’, ‘post- colonialism’ and ‘multiculturalism’. Films, documentaries, music and art will be included as sources for the module and visits will be made to libraries and archives including the London Metropolitan Archive and the Black Cultural Archive.
- Life and Times in Nazi Germany
This module analyses the rise of Hitler and the history of Nazism. It examines how Hitler consolidated his power and the relationship between the dictatorial regime and the German people. It deals with aspects of everyday life, such as coercion and consensus, propaganda and the use of terror, including the secret police and the concentration camp system. The module also analyses Nazi ideology, Nazi economic policy, foreign policy, resistance, education and youth groups. It examines cultural life, including cinema, theatre, art, architecture, literature, music, as well as the press and radio.
- Modern Ireland: From Independence to the Celtic Tiger
This module introduces students to the history of Ireland from the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922 to the end of the 1990s and the economic boom known as the ‘Celtic Tiger’. Key events in Irish history are explored including the Irish Civil War, War of Independence, the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement. The lived experience of citizens in the new Irish State will be examined with a particular focus on culture, identity, gender and religion. Ireland’s changing relationship with the UK is a key feature of the module.
- Race, Culture and Identity
This module addresses the centrality of race and ethnicity (including whiteness) to social relations. It provides an analysis of race and ethnicity within a changing scholarship and within their historical, cultural, political and theoretical contexts. Theoretical understandings of the intersectionality of race, gender and sexuality will also be explored, highlighting their impact on all aspects of people’s lives. The complexities of analysing race, gender and sexuality are applied to representations in cultural forms, such as media and film. The module also demonstrates how the concepts covered have been influential in shaping public policy.
- Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution
This module examines the historical, theoretical, normative and practical aspects of diplomacy and conflict resolution, having defined the key concepts, the module explores a range of approaches to the subject, including political and legal approaches. The primary focus of the module is on the role of states but consideration is also given to international institutions and non-state actors, such as NGOOs. Key topics covered include the nature and history and nature of diplomacy, the history of conflict resolution, the processes of conflict resolution including peace-keeping, humanitarian intervention, and responsibility to protect, including a critique of liberal interventionism.
- American Politics: Ideology and Power
This module examines the government and politics of the USA, underpinned by analysis of political economy and social change. Attention will be given to historical developments by examining aspects of political culture and values, the idea of American exceptionalism, and wider ideological questions, including analysis of emergent phenomena such as populism, Black Lives Matter, the Alt-Right movement and #MeToo. Key institutions and political processes analysed include the presidency, legislature and Supreme Court, the federal system, the media, the military, law enforcement, elections and electoral demography and changes to the dominant political parties.
One optional module:
- Crimes of the Powerful: States, Corporations and Human Rights
This module explores the phenomena of state crime, corporate crime and the involvement of powerful social forces in human rights abuses. It examines the problems involved in conceptualising state crimes and human rights and looks at contemporary crimes against humanity, including in the area of environmental rights. The module also explores the problems involved in regulating and controlling state crime and human rights atrocities in which states and state officials play a key role. The critical engagement with globalization provides a framework within which students explore significant contemporary debates and developments.
- Genocide and Crimes against Humanity
This module explores the history of genocide and crimes against humanity in the twentieth century and beyond. It begins with an introduction to the related concepts of genocide and crimes against humanity before considering a range of events including colonial genocides, the Armenian Genocide, the Nazi ‘Final Solution’, alleged genocides in Cambodia, Yugoslavia and Rwanda, as well as cases of genocide in the twenty-first century in Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It analyses the dynamics of genocide and crimes against humanity in order to shed light upon their origins, characteristics and consequences.
- Suffrage to Citizenship: Female Activism in Twentieth Century Britain
This module will explore in detail the agency and activism of women in Britain throughout the course of the twentieth century. The engagement of women in a number of campaigns will be assessed including the suffrage movement, the peace movement, social welfare reform, gender equality, the labour movement, the Women’s Liberation Movement and ‘third wave’ feminism. A broad definition of activism is applied and the campaigning activities of women from diverse backgrounds and a wide range of organisations will be included. The module will evaluate and highlight the contribution made by women to civil society in twentieth century Britain.
- Politics and Protest
This module will examine forms of social and political conflict characteristic of contemporary western societies. The main focus will be on understanding social movements and forms of political contention in the changing social structure of these societies. Although it has a contemporary western focus the course will situate discussion also in the context of historical and comparative material on social movements. The emphasis throughout however will be on examining the ability of social and political theory to understand the nature of political identity and its expression in social movements.
- Politics Research Project (both semesters)
This level six double module covers two semesters and consists of the study and research for and completion of a politics research project with a 9,000 word limit. Each student chooses a subject relevant to the study of politics in which they wish to specialise, and then uses the skills and knowledge that they have accumulated and developed through modules studied at previous levels to undertake and complete the research project. During the whole process, from choice of subject to final submission, each student will have the support and guidance of a supervisor allocated for this purpose.
You’ll be studying in the heart of London, surrounded by the politicians, policy-makers and legislative bodies that define British politics. The work placements available can help you to build your own network of contacts if you’re looking to work at various levels of government, including opportunities within foreign ministries and national UN delegations.
The skills and knowledge you’ll gain on the degree are also highly transferrable and can help you move into such as teaching, the media, social work, administration, youth and community work, business, education, and psychology.
We are University of the Year for Graduate Employment for the second year in a row - The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018, 2019.
At LSBU, we want to set you up for a successful career. During your studies – and for two years after you graduate – you’ll have access to our Employability Service, which includes:
- An online board where you can see a wide range of placements: part-time, full-time or voluntary. You can also drop in to see our Job Shop advisers, who are always available to help you take the next step in your search.
- Our Careers Gym offering group workshops on CVs, interview techniques and finding work experience, as well as regular presentations from employers across a range of sectors.
Our Student Enterprise team can also help you start your own business and develop valuable entrepreneurial skills.
Our academics build and maintain great relationships with organisations that can offer placement opportunities and bring colour and experience to your learning. These include Lambeth Council, Race on the Agenda (ROTA), local parliamentary offices and Homestart Lambeth (a voluntary family support service).
A Politics placement can not only help you place your studies into a context and apply your learning to practice, it's also a great opportunity to contribute to real world situations. Many former students have maintained a relationship with their placement organisation, and some have used it as the basis for their dissertation.
Recent successful placements have included working in MPs’ constituency offices and the European Parliament in Brussels.
Teaching and learning
You’ll be assessed through essays, individual and group presentations, book reviews, examinations, reports, portfolios of work, document analysis and a final year dissertation.
In your first year, you’ll typically have around nine hours a week contact time, and are expected to devote time to independent study and attending personal tutorials.
|Lectures and seminars||Self-directed study|
Personal Academic Tutoring
As an undergraduate Law and Social Science student, you will be allocated a named tutor during your first semester at LSBU. The role of your tutor is to be your primary contact for academic and professional development support.
Your tutor will support you to get the most of your time at LSBU, providing advice and signposting to other sources of support in the University. They should be the first person at the university that you speak to if you are having any difficulties that are affecting your work. These could be academic, financial, health-related or another type of problem.
Dr Caitriona Beaumont
Associate Professor in Social History; Director of Research, School of Law and Social Sciences
- A Level BCC or:
- BTEC National Diploma MMM or:
- Access to HE qualifications with 9 Distinctions and 36 Merits or:
- Equivalent Level 3 qualifications worth 106 UCAS points
- Applicants must hold 5 GCSEs A-C including Maths and English, or equivalent (reformed GCSEs grade 4 or above).
We welcome qualifications from around the world. English language qualifications for international students: IELTS score of 6.0 or Cambridge Proficiency or Advanced Grade C.
How to apply
International (non Home/EU) applicants should follow our international how to apply guide.
|Mode||Duration||Start date||Application code||Application method|
Once we have made you an offer, you can apply for accommodation. You can rent from LSBU and you’ll deal directly with the university, not third party providers. That means we can guarantee you options to suit all budgets, with clear tenancy agreements and all-inclusive rents that include insurance for your personal belongings, internet access in each bedroom and on-site laundry facilities.
Or, if you’d rather rent privately, we can give you a list of landlords – just ask our Accommodation Service.
Read more about applying for accommodation at LSBU.
You don't need to wait for a confirmed place on a course to start applying for student finance. Read how to pay your fees as an undergraduate student.
Prepare to start
After you’ve received your offer we’ll send you emails about events we run to help you prepare for your course.
Before you start your course we’ll send you information on what you’ll need to do before you arrive and during your first few days on campus. You can read about the process on our Enrolment pages.
Suggested reading list
- B. Axford et al, Politics: An Introduction (Routledge, 2002)
- B. Coxall, L. Robins and R. Leach, Contemporary British Politics (Palgrave, 2003)
- J. Fisher, D. Denver and J. Benyon, Central Debates in British Politics (Longman, 2003)
- B. Jones et al, Politics UK (Longman, 2001) R. Leach et al, British Politics (Palgrave, 2011)
Fees and funding
Fees are shown for new entrants to courses, for each individual year of a course, together with the total fee for all the years of a course. Continuing LSBU students should refer to the Finance section of our student portal, MyLSBU. Queries regarding fees should be directed to the Fees and Bursaries Team on: +44 (0)20 7815 6181.
Year 1 FT Southwark SEPT
|UK/EU fee: £9250||International fee: £13780|
|AOS/LSBU code: 4094||Session code: 1FS00|
|Total course fee:|
For more information, including how and when to pay, see our fees and funding section for undergraduate students.
Please check your fee status and whether you are considered a Home, EU or International student for fee-paying purposes and for our regulatory returns, by reading the UKCISA regulations.
Possible fee changes
The University reserves the right to increase its fees in line with changes to legislation, regulation and any government guidance or decisions.
The fees for international students are reviewed annually and the University reserves the right to increase the tuition fees in line with the RPIX measure of inflation up to 4 per cent.
We offer several types of fee reduction through our scholarships and bursaries. Find the full list and other useful information on our scholarships page.