- International Politics
- Political Studies
- International Politics & the Third World
- International Politics & International History
- International Politics & Military History
- International Politics & Intelligence Studies
- International Politics & Strategic Studies
- European Politics
- European Studies (with French, German, or Spanish)
- Combining Politics and International Politics with other subjects
The Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth was founded in 1919 as an antidote to war - as such it was the first of its kind and was both an academic and an idealistic enterprise. In its International Politics degrees, the Department continues this tradition and studies the central issues of world affairs: power, conflict and justice; humanity, security and morality; leadership, ideas and political participation. As academics and teachers, we deliberately look behind the news headlines of today to trace the historical events, political dynamics and concepts which shape our understanding of the world around us. As a student on an International Politics degree at Aberyswyth, you will join us as we seek to answer the 'why' questions which, in today's world of international uncertainty, terrorism and inequality, make the study of International Politics an important - if not the most important - academic subject for our times. Previous study of politics is not necessary to undertake a degree in International Politics. All that is required is a lively intellect and a passion for the subject.
We are one of the largest departments of politics and international relations in Europe with over 40 academic staff. All members of staff undertake research and publish internationally (in the latest Research Assessment Exercise, we were awarded one of the highest rankings in the UK) and are also fully involved in teaching (graded 'excellent') on our International Politics degrees. The research and teaching rankings make us one of the top five Internatiopnal Politics Departments in the United Kingdom.
Undergraduates on our International Politics degrees are encouraged to participate in the many academic events organised by the Department and its research centres, ranging from workshops and seminars to international crisis simulations. Students also have the opportunity to go on academic exchange to Europe, Australia or Canada, and to take part in our House of Commons and Welsh Assembly Placement Scheme. We also promote a lively community of student societies which are a major asset to the Department and the student body as a whole.
The Department is housed in its own purpose-built, state-of-the-art building. This was opened in summer 2006 and is the location for staff offices and administration, student amenity areas, function rooms and some teaching-related activities.
Founded in 1919, the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth is the world's first university department of International Politics offers:
- top-rated teaching, with an award of 'excellence' in Teaching Quality Assessment
- top-rated research in the study of international relations as indicated in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise
- twelve single-honours undergraduate International Politics degree schemes and a wide range of joint-honours and major/minor combinations
- House of Commons and Welsh Assembly placement schemes
- student exchanges with other European countries, Canada and Australia
- opportunities to participate in crisis simulation games
- a new, purpose-built, flagship building reflecting the Department's worldwide reputation and providing excellent facilities
- a vibrant and cosmopolitan student environment
- an active programme of visiting speakers and opportunities to participate in Departmental societies and work on the student-run Departmental journal
- the chance to develop transferable skills that will increase your career opportunities
Teaching and Assessment in your International Politics degree
Staff teach modules on areas of their research expertise and we firmly believe that the synergy between research and teaching makes for a thought-provoking education. The broad areas of specialism include: International Politics; International Relations; Political Philosophy; Strategic Studies; International History; Intelligence Studies; Critical Terrorism Studies; Political Leadership; European Politics; Welsh Politics; and Third World Studies. We adopt a flexible approach to the degree programmes and all students can take any of our specialist modules. This allows students to build a more specialised or a more broad-ranging portfolio of modules, depending on the focus of their interests.
Students on our International Politics degrees are usually taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. Lectures introduce a topic and raise key points, and seminars bring together around 12 students for the discussion and in-depth analysis of a topic. Seminars, therefore, are an invaluable means for students to test out their ideas or reflect on their own experiences, as well as sharing those of others. Most modules are assessed by a combination of examination and essay.
International Politics degrees through the medium of Welsh
Approximately 12% of the Department's Undergraduate students are Welsh speaking and the Department offers a good range of modules through the medium of Welsh.
There are two Welsh single Honours International Politics degree schemes which run parallel to those in English: Gwleidyddiaeth Ryngwladol L255 (International Politics) and Gwleidyddiaeth L201 (Politics). There are also two degree schemes which only run through the medium of Welsh: Gwleidyddiaeth a Gwleidyddiaeth Cymru L243 (Politics and Welsh Politics) and Gwleidyddiaeth Ryngwladol a Gwleidyddiaeth Cymru L245 (International Politics and Welsh Politics). These focus on the Welsh dimension to politics and international relations, respectively.
The Department normally offers a Welsh medium option for all first year modules and Honours level core modules. This consists of either Welsh medium seminars with English medium lectures or wholly Welsh medium teaching (lectures and seminars). The range of Welsh medium options offered each year depends on the availability of staff.
Students in the Department benefit from the substantial collection of books, periodicals and documents in the University's Hugh Owen Library. This collection, which has been built up since 1919 and is one of the largest such holdings in the UK, includes the European Documentation Centre. Students at Aberystwyth also benefit from access to the National Library of Wales, a copyright library and world class academic resource which is located adjacent to the Penglais Campus. As well as collecting all print resources published in the UK, it has extensive newspaper, photograph, film and media collections. The National Library of Wales is also a United Nations Documentation Centre and houses material from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The University offers excellent computer services to students, including free network connections in all study bedrooms in halls of residence and free computing workshops to develop and extend students' IT skills.
Career Opportunities related to your International Politics degree
In addition to giving our students an unsurpassed education in politics and international relations, we equip them with a range of specialist skills, including the ability to look beyond the superficial facts of a situation or process and identify the underlying structures, dynamics or ideas. These skills are essential to problem solving and are highly sought after by employers.
Many students embark on careers in politics-related professions such as journalism and TV media, civil service, local and national government, political activism, and the armed forces. Some work in non-governmental organisations such as Amnesty International or international organisations such as the United Nations, while many go into the teaching profession. Others join management training programmes, the financial sector or service industries.
Many of our Undergraduates go on to take a Master's degree, of whom around half stay in Aberystwyth.
Extra Academic Activities
Students are encouraged to participate in activities which will enhance their academic understanding, as well as providing a great experience. The following range of opportunities is open to all Undergraduate students in the Department:
The Department has developed links with carefully selected academic departments based in universities in Europe, Australia, the USA and Canada. Exchanges take place during the second year of study. This is an ideal opportunity for those keen to expand their academic and social horizons, enjoy other cultures and maybe improve their language skills. Students take modules that are relevant to their degree scheme and marks achieved count towards the final degree classification.
Within Europe, we currently have links with Darmstadt University (Germany); University of the Basque Country (Bilbao, Spain); Université Robert Schuman (Strasbourg, France); University of Tampere (Finland); and University of Wroclaw (Poland). We also have exchange agreements with McGill University (Montreal, Canada); University of Victoria (Victoria, Canada); and Griffith University (Brisbane, Australia).
We maintain close contact with our students during their period abroad and our host universities have strong support networks. Under the ERASMUS scheme, students visiting other European universities receive financial support from the EU and have access to language courses in the host country.
House of Commons and Welsh Assembly Placement Scheme
This is an exceptional and prestigious extra-curricular opportunity which would stand out on any CV. Students are selected to work as assistants for an MP (House of Commons, Westminster) or AM (Welsh Assembly, Cardiff ) for a period of six weeks during the summer after their second year. Placements with all main political parties are available and efforts are made to match students with politicians who work in their area of interest. Students typically write reports and speeches, undertake research projects and get involved with constituency work. In the past they have been involved in elections and responses to major international crises. This is an excellent chance to see how politics really works, and it is open to all second year students in the Department to apply for.
International Crisis Simulations
Crisis simulation 'games' are held by the Department twice a year at Gregynog Hall, a large country mansion set in the rolling hills near Newtown, Powys. The scenario for a fictitious international crisis - though one founded in real political life - is prepared and participating students are given a role to play in this unfolding drama. They are put into teams which represent countries or international agencies such as the United Nations and then they begin to make their moves. The crisis unfolds over three days and is a real test of students' abilities to make quick decisions, to work in a team, to communicate in face-to-face meetings, to 'manipulate' the media, to solve problems and navigate their way through complex situations. It's exhilarating, exhausting and addictive!
Student-led InterPol Activities
There is a range of societies associated with the Department of International Politics. This is a list of our current groups:
Global Politics Society
This is a society, which although mainly for Undergraduates, is also open to Postgraduates from InterPol and the wider student community. The aim is to investigate selected topics in the field of international politics, international law and international economics and to promote debate between students. Its activities include debates on major world events as they unfold in the news, guest speakers and round-table discussions. They also include student presentations in less formal environments (in a cafe or pub!) and social events including a charity ball.
EuroSoc is characterised by the diversity of its membership, with students from all over Europe and beyond. Members get to know each other through cultural and social events - including a party with food from many countries and regions of Europe. They also hold academic debates and discussions on issues relating to Europe such as the expansion of membership, and its consequences, and European ideals.
This journal publishes articles on a wide range of topics and builds academic debate within the student community, engaging with the most pressing issues of our time. It features articles by students at all levels of study, members of staff, MPs and political activists. Interstate provides students with a unique opportunity to have work published and distributed to universities in the UK and even some overseas.
United Nations Association
UNA Aber seeks to create awareness of current UN issues and the workings of the UN institutions. It runs simulation events at which members, representing different countries, debate key contemporary issues according to the procedural rules of the real UN General Assembly. This is great fun and it gives a real insight into global politics. They also participate in the annual Model UN events in Oxford, Cambridge and London (international
event). Through UNA Aber, students can apply for various UNA study trips and exchanges or take a selection of UN peacekeeping courses.
Welsh Politics Society
The Welsh Politics Society debates issues of relevance to Wales and the world through the medium of Welsh, with simultaneous translation facilities for some of the meetings. The programme has included: a roundtable discussion on the tenth anniversary of the devolution referendum with the Rt Hon Dafydd Wigley, Lord Elystan Morgan and Glyn Davies; a political quiz; a presentation by Hywel Williams (of the Guardian) on the Legacy of Tony Blair; and an evening with Lord Elis-Thomas on his vision for the future of the National Assembly of Wales.
Content and Structure of International Politics degrees at Aberystwyth
The Department offers 6 modules for first year Undergraduates. Students are encouraged to take them all in order to gain a good grounding and broad understanding of the discipline, but you can take some modules in other departments if you prefer.
- Introduction to International Politics
- Introduction to the Third World in International Politics
- World Politics in the Age of the Two World Wars
- Revolution and Continuity in Political Philosophy
- Politics in Europe
- War, Strategy and Intelligence
Students are required to take a degree scheme core module and to complete a dissertation of 12,000 words in their final year. After that, students have a free choice of modules from the extensive range on offer at Honours level. Honours modules usually reflect the cutting edge research interests of staff members, and students benefit from enthused and engaged teaching by experts in the field who are actively thinking and writing about the subject that they teach.