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BA (Hons) International Relations and Politics

BA (Hons) 3 or 4 Years School of Social and Political Sciences Lincoln Campus [L] Subject to Validation 300 points L245


Lincoln’s BA (Hons) International Relations degree encompasses politics, economics, history, sociology, international law, geography and cultural studies. It is a truly interdisciplinary subject that is both academically rigorous and socially relevant.

Through the study the national, comparative, international and global politics, students will acquire an appreciation of the key themes driving contemporary International Relations and Politics. They will develop understanding of the influence of different political cultures and traditions on outcomes.

On this course, you examine the complex political issues – such as global inequality, religion and sectarianism, conflict and democratisation – that affect the world today. You are taught by academics who are actively engage in research across a range of specialisms, including political economies and European Union law, ensuring that your learning is driven by the latest developments in the discipline.

By the time students reach the final year, students will be able to apply their knowledge and understanding of the theories of International Relations and Politics to key roles in the global system and to the study of contemporary conflicts.

How You Study

Studying Politics and International Relations at Lincoln combines directed and independent learning. Each module is delivered my means of a weekly lecture and an associated weekly seminar. The seminars provide an opportunity for students to discuss issues raised in the lecture and engage in critical reflection on set readings.

Students will also have the opportunity to meet with module leaders in tutorial sessions. As well as directed study, students will undertake independent learning utilising traditional library as well as a wide range of electronic resources.

In your first year of the degree, you are introduced to the institutions and structures of power in Britain and explore the relationships between nations and their historical contexts in international politics. You also study past and present global conflicts and their contexts, and the application of quantitative and qualitative research methods.

In years two and three, optional modules enable you to study subjects of special interest, such as intelligence and national security, contemporary Chinese politics, international relations in the Middle East, human rights, genocide, war crimes and multiculturalism.

How You Are Assessed

Assessment is by a combination of continuous assessment in the form of essays, reports, presentations and reviews, and examinations. Assessment varies from module to module depending on the subject of study.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a minimum of 300 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of two A Levels (or the equivalent). In addition to the minimum of two A Levels, other qualifications such as AS Levels, the Extended Project and the ASDAN CoPE for example, will be counted towards the 300 point requirement.

We also accept a wide range of other qualifications including the BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma, the European and International Baccalaureate Diplomas, and Advanced Diplomas. You can find tariff values on the UCAS website

Applicants will also be required to have at least three GCSEs at grade C or above (or the equivalent), including English Language.

Applications are welcomed from mature students who are studying towards an Access to Higher Education programme. A minimum of 45 level 3 credits at merit or above will be required. We will also consider applicants with extensive relevant work experience.

If you would like further information about entry requirements, or would like to discuss whether the qualifications you are currently studying are acceptable, please contact the Admissions team on 01522 886097, or email

Level 1

Applying Research (Social Sciences)

This module aims to enable students to both recognise and also understand the different methodologies employed in social research and to apply these to their own research project and critique of methods. After completing this module students should be able to:

  • Explain what research is and why we do it
  • Explain how research may be carried out: quantitatively
  • Explain how research may be carried out: qualitatively.

Overall, the aim of this module is to set out methodological skills, and involve students in their application, and to encourage critical reflection on a variety of levels.

Global Conflicts and Contexts

This module will introduce students to core issues of relevance to international relations study. The unit initially focuses on the development of mechanisms to control and avoid the emergence of international conflict in its various guises. It then moves on to examine a number of key contemporary issues such as global inequality, international political economy, globalization and emerging transnational civil societies. The module is intended to expose students to the breadth of issues and approaches relevant to the study of international relations and international politics more broadly.

Key Social Science Concepts

This module explicitly adopts an interdisciplinary approach to core questions of relevance to today’s society. It will provide a knowledge and understanding of key social science thinkers and concepts pertinent to all of the disciplines taught within the school. It will provide a wider understanding of theoretical approaches in Social Science, organised around a variety of significant thinkers (sample thinkers might include: Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill, Erving Goffman, Karl Marx, Howard Becker, Stan Cohen) and important concepts (for example, gender, race, sexuality and so on). In doing so, it will provide a broad theoretical grounding that will tie in with other modules at level one and feed into core modules at levels two and three. Students will apply these concepts and theories to contemporary social issues as well as drawing on knowledge from their own discipline(s). Throughout, students will be encouraged to think critically about the ideas presented and to examine social problems in the light of a range of academic perspectives.

Who Runs Britain? Power, Politics and Beyond

This module introduces students to the key components of the British political system, and the relationship between domestic and international politics through an examination of the distribution of power within the British political system. It will explain the various factors and actors, both domestic and foreign, which serve to shape and define the political process in Britain. In Semester A the module examines the distribution of power through an examination of the key institutions and actors in the British political process, such as the government, the Cabinet, Prime Minister, political parties, the Civil Service, and the judiciary.

Level 2

Approaches to Qualitative Research (Option)

The module will build on the teaching of qualitative research in Applying Research in year 1. In particular, it will take students through all the stages of the research process as well as introduce a range of methodological approaches to qualitative research. The module will begin with an overview of the theoretical foundations of qualitative research before moving into the more applied issues of research design, ethics, questions, samples and fieldwork strategies. Thereafter, the course covers some of the main approaches. The penultimate section covers the analysis, including the use of specialist software, and writing up of qualitative research. Particular attention will be paid to the interpretation and presentation of findings. The final sessions explore the potential and problems of data storage and secondary analysis of qualitative research. Throughout the course assessing and achieving quality in qualitative research will be a key concern.

Approaches to Quantitative Data Analysis (Option)

The module will build on the teaching of quantitative research in Applying Research in year 1. It introduces students to a range of approaches to secondary data analysis, including multiple linear regression. The students will initially learn about different levels of measurement before covering descriptive data analysis in some detail. The second part of the course will cover issues of correlation and multiple regression. There will be strong emphasis on the presentation of findings with particular reference to graphical methods of different kinds (e.g. Rosling’s gapminder software). While the focus of this course is on secondary analysis, attention will be paid to different forms of data collection. Datasets such as Understanding Society (the new UK Household Longitudinal Survey replacing and subsuming BHPS), British Crime Survey and the British Social Attitude Survey are likely to feature prominently in the course. However, students will be encouraged to familiarise themselves with a range of data sources specific to their subject and interests. The main analysis software used for this course is likely to be SPSS.

Challenges of European Politics (Option)

The module introduces students to politics at the European level through an analysis of challenges in European politics and policy making. Beginning with the history of European integration and the first attempts to secure peace through economic interdependency, the module focuses on the development of the EU institutions and the ways in which policy-makers, bureaucrats, intellectuals and civil society actors have attempted to resolve problems of cooperation in an ever larger Union. In addition, the module will introduce students to the debates on the identity of Europe as a social, political and cultural space. We will examine the public policy toolkits and mechanisms of governance that have been brought to bear to resolve challenges and achieve cooperation in a context of conflicting interests and identities as well as contestation about how to conceive the European project. The causes and repercussions of the current crisis will be discussed in light of this historical knowledge, to consider the successes and failures of European crisis management. This module adopts a European approach, rather than a UK-centric approach, and equips students with the prerequisites to examine politics in an international environment that is marked by considerable uncertainty. This involves developing a critical awareness of the theoretical and methodological tools for analyzing challenges and comparing policies at the European level.

Comparative Politics and Policy (Option)

The use of comparative methodology in the social sciences is neither value-free nor uncontroversial. Nevertheless this module is based on the belief that comparative methodology can be a useful tool for social and political analysis. The module therefore begins with a consideration of the development of comparative approaches, the use of a range of comparative techniques and the validity of comparison. It proceeds to an examination of some basic concepts that can help provide an understanding of the bases upon which governments are built and operate, such as political culture, legitimacy and authority. The analytical and theoretical tools from the early parts of the module are then applied empirically to consider a variety of features of contemporary politics and policy, particularly in the context of democratic transition in different regions of the world, including (but not limited to) Asia, Africa, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe. Social policy issues such as health, education, immigration and poverty are examined in the context of a country or region’s political climate. The issues and countries studied may vary to take account of staff specialisms and political and social developments around the world.

Diversity, Difference and Exclusion (Option)

This module examines the impact of difference and diversity in social policy, with a particular concern around social exclusion. It begins with an introduction to the concepts of 'diversity', 'difference' and 'exclusion' and then moves on to consider the relationship between social policy and a variety of forms of diversity and difference, particularly in the context of new thinking around social exclusion that has emerged since the 1990s. The module explores the origins and meanings of key concepts such as 'diversity' and 'social exclusion', the relationship of these key concepts with others, such as poverty, social class and the 'underclass', and the impact and lack of impact of policies on social groups such as young people, families, women, black and ethnic minorities and disabled people.

Foreign Policy Analysis (Option)

This module introduces students to the area of foreign policy analysis. It explores competing explanations for state behaviour and the conduct of inter-state relations in the international domain. A key question is the extent to which a state’s foreign policy is shaped by the external environment or results from domestic influences, decision-making processes, and the actions of individual policy-makers. Attention will also be paid to the role of non-state actors and the changing nature of the international system in a globalizing world. The module encourages students to consider the contested role of human agency in global affairs in contrast to disciplinary international relations’ preoccupation with structural considerations. A range of historical and contemporary case studies are used to illuminate the issues under discussion

Governing America (Option)

The United States is one of the world’s largest democracies and the most significant in terms of economic and military reach. This module will examine the key components of the US political system, and the main challenges facing democratic politics in modern America. The module aims to provide a detailed historical and theoretical appreciation of the development of US democracy. It will examine the principal institutions and actors in the US political system including the President, Congress, the Supreme Court, political parties, interest groups and the media. It will also trace the impact of key ideas such as constitutionalism, federalism and exceptionalism. Finally the module will examine the impact of wider societal factors on US political life, such as shifting demographics and the role of religion. With this detailed contextual understanding students will be invited to consider the challenges facing US democracy and what impact these may have on US policymaking both at home and abroad.

Ideas and Issues in Political Economy (Option)

The module provides an introduction to the development of key ideas, principles and institutions in political economy. Taking a broadly historical approach, the module is structured around understanding the development of political economy both by examining the scientific contributions of and issues addressed by its key figures (e.g. Smith, Marx, Keynes, Hayek) while placing such contributions in historical context. Thus the ideas of the ‘great’ political economists will be applied to contemporary and current controversies, including policy debates.

Overall the module will provide students with a grounding in and understanding of the key principles, ideas and controversies in the history of political economy with a view to understanding their relevance to the current era. A particular focus will be the contested role of the market and the state in the social and historical construction of the political economy.

Ideology into Practice (Option)

This module examines the impact (and sometimes the lack of impact) of ideology on practice in social policy. Whilst the focus of the module is on the experience of the United Kingdom, comparison with other states will be made where appropriate.

The module begins with a brief introduction to ideology and the ways in which it can be seen as relating to social policies, their formulation and implementation. It moves on to consider perspectives on social ‘problems’ and the relationship with social policies and an exploration of the meaning and purpose of ‘social policy’ and how it might relate to other ideas and functions of the state, such as social control. Moving on to a combination of subject specific and more general topics, it considers the impact of ideology on social policy in the post-war period, including the relationship between pressure groups and policy, the impact of ‘crises’, and the growing extension of key social policy concepts to broader policy domains. It concludes with a discussion of possible futures.

Intelligence and Security Law (Option)

This module is designed to develop and expand on law and principles encountered in Constitutional and Adminstrative Law, and to apply them in the specific context of state security in the UK. It complements the study of Human Rights and Police Powers by examining a number of similar themes but from the less-explored point of view of the State and the exercise of its powers to protect itself. The module also considers the law relating to the intelligence services and surveillance, and introduces students to certain International Law principles and issues and their impact in the UK. The examination of topical case studies will enable students to analyse and apply relevant law and constitutional principles to contemporary issues of UK security, and to develop awareness of their practical and everyday function.

International Relations of the Middle East (Option)

This module will introduce the student to the central issues and actors in the modern Middle East. The module will explore interconnections between domestic political issues and processes, foreign policy, regional dynamics and the international system. The contemporary international relations of the region will be explored through an initial examination of the historical background of the region and the emergence of the modern state system post 1918. The module will then progress to explore key themes such as ideologies, identities and social/political organisation in the region, alongside themes of conflict, globalisation and development. These themes will also be examined in relation to the role of key actors, both internal and external to the region. Throughout, the module will explore how International Relations theories and analytical frameworks can help to understand and interpret the politics and international relations of the Middle East .

Model United Nations

This module is designed to provide an introduction to the activities of the United Nations, as well as providing an understanding of the practices of international diplomacy and governance. The module will use a discussion of contemporary international issues to explore some of the protocol and procedures of diplomacy. It will also provide students with an introduction to issues of international organization and international law and treaty-making. All of this will assist students in preparing for their role as a 'diplomat' at a Model United Nations conference.

Political Parties

This module will cover a variety of issues relating to political parties in the United Kingdom. The political science literature covers a wide variety of topics around parties. Amongst those which are examined in this module are the following; the historical development of parties; the role of parties in terms of mobilisation of support, electioneering and campaigning, recruitment of personnel; representation of the electorate and issue-based politics; and the partisan divide. These will be examined primarily within the context of a discussion of the three major parties within the British political system including their development, their ideological tenets and their contemporary positions. However, towards the end of the module these will be set against the position of other parties within the UK including the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and the Northern Irish parties, to which will be added a comparative perspective, drawing upon the roles and experiences of parties in Western Europe.

Politics and Society in Contemporary China (Option)

This module offers an up-to-date and in-depth understanding of the social, political and economic issues facing contemporary China. China has a huge population, the fastest growing economy, the most Internet users, new car sales and air pollution of any country in the world. It is producing treasury surpluses and much else at stunning speed; and the gap between rich and poor is growing every day. But other aspects have endured for centuries. Using a key text this module starts with a broad sweep of China’s modern history, from the imperial era to the present, to provide essential context for understanding the current political and social environment. China’s contemporary transitions have been in many ways unsettling, and each change has had its winners and losers. The module ends with an analysis of China’s future, challenges and prospects, in the decades to come.

Regions and Regionalisms

This module examines the role of regionalism in world affairs. It explores the ways in which regional blocs and regional intergovernmental organisations form, and the nature, politics and purposes of their operation. Students are introduced to theoretical explanations for regional integration and provided with insights by which they can identify similarities and differences between varying regionalist projects. Through in-depth case studies of particular regional bodies and projects, students develop skills in applying regionalist theory and in assessing the extent to which regionalist projects are reshaping world order and globalization. They are also provided with extensive background to regional politics in a range of locations around the globe. The module is designed such that the regionalist bodies to be examined as case studies can change according to topical relevance and staff expertise.

Researching Politics and International Relations

In its broadest sense, the process of doing research is concerned with obtaining knowledge or ‘finding out what you currently do not know’. As such, doing research is a common-day practice in everyday life and involves steps and skills which are familiar to most people. For example, students finding out information about their University faculty, department and degree (for example, who the members of staff are, what are their research interests, what modules are taught and when) involves various forms of fact-finding activity and as such represent important examples of the research process.

However, determining the relative value and merit of the information obtained is a far less straightforward task. Research requires, also, that we are able to make judgements about information (or ‘knowledge’): how do we decide that information is valid? Are certain forms of information more valid than others? Addressing these sorts of questions involves critical reflection on the information we have, what we think we know and how we might seek to validate what we think we know. Indeed the outcome of a piece of research may appear to be largely negative, simply forcing us to be less assertive about what we believe or believed to be true.

Researching Politics and International Relations typically involves both of these processes : gathering information in various ways (for example, through interviews, surveys, through reading and studying existing research, through sifting information from an existing source, such as an archive) for particular purposes and critically scrutinising the validity of that information.

Building on the level 1 module, ‘Applying Research’, this module focuses more deeply on the nature of research undertaken in the subject areas of Politics and International Relations. One of the main aims of the module is to enable you to understand, in concrete terms, what constitutes research in Politics and International Relations and how the research process leads to the production of specific research outputs including dissertations, theses, published academic articles and research monographs. In addition, the module aims to provide you with the knowledge base necessary for the production of your own substantial piece of independent research at level 3.

Social Engagement (Option)

This module encourages students to undertake one or more external activities relevant to their programme of study, and to engage in critical reflection of the nature of this activity as it relates to society as a whole and to their personal development as individuals.

Relevant activities will involve significant interaction with an organisation outside the University providing an appropriate experience additional to the student’s programme of studies, such as voluntary work or mentoring within a service-providing organisation.

Study Abroad (Option)

The School believes that an option to study overseas is a valuable educational opportunity for our students. The optional year is intended to:

  • enable students to benefit from studying within a cross cultural environment;
  • expose students to a wider academic and cultural experience;
  • enhance their future employment opportunities;
  • by increasing their cultural and professional mobility.

This module is optional for students within the School of Social and Political Sciences. Study Abroad is a year long module which enables students to spend a year studying abroad at one of the University’s approved partner institutions. Eligible students must have completed their second year of study to a satisfactory standard and successfully completed the application process for the year abroad. During the year spent abroad, students share classes with local students and study on a suite of locally-delivered taught modules which have been approved in advance by the University. Upon their return, as part of the assessment for this modules, students are required to critically reflect upon their experience of living and studying in a different cultural environment and the skills acquired.

The Vigilant State: intelligence and national security (Option)

While the creation of large intelligence communities and the use of intelligence in support of policy have become established features of the modern nation state, intelligence remains a largely 'missing dimension' in studies of government, politics and policymaking. This module aims to provide students with an introduction to the study of intelligence. It focuses on the basic concepts in intelligence by establishing first what is meant by intelligence, before examining the various elements of intelligence - collection, analysis, counterintelligence and associated activities such as covert political action. Drawing on examples from a diverse range of states, the module will also examine debates about the relationship between intelligence and policymaking, and the challenges of providing democratic accountability for intelligence agencies. Through an examination of intelligence documents the module will also provide students with an appreciation of the various means by which intelligence is fed into the policy process through, for example, the production of warning indicators and national intelligence estimates.

Thinking International Relations

This module places theory at the centre of the study of world politics. It provides a critical overview of the disciplinary literature of international relations from both mainstream and critical perspectives. The module aims to provide students with the ability to both understand and critically employ the concepts, approaches and methods of International Relations theory, and to develop an understanding of their contested nature and the problematic character of inquiry in the discipline. Case studies and contemporary materials will be used extensively throughout the module to illustrate the varying theoretical models and their applicability in the contemporary world.

Thinking Politics

Thinking Politics examines the historical background to the various strands of political thought and ideas. In doing this, it builds upon some of the major ideas and concepts introduced at level one, by illustrating linkages between political theories and other aspects of politics. In particular, reference is made to key thinkers who have left their intellectual imprint on political ideas and beliefs. Specific reference is made to the work of Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Bentham, Mill, and Marx in order to assess the contribution that each has made to political theory and the extent to which they had a more or less lasting impact upon the practice and analysis of politics. This module provides the theoretical underpinnings needed to facilitate a thorough understanding of political ideas and belief. This module involves an examination of what constitutes ideology and a detailed investigation of the dominant ideologies from the French Revolution right up to and including the collapse of communism.

Understanding the European Union (Option)

This module will provide students with an understanding of the history, institutions, policies and general workings of the European Union. Beginning with an overview of the history of European integration, students will also learn in more depth about critical moments in EU history such as waves of enlargement, treaty negotiations (and failures), and other critical junctures. The historical section of the course is then linked with an examination of the major theories of European integration, themselves tied in with the history of the Union, including an overview of the state of the art in EU theorisation including the sociology of the EU. Moving on to the workings of the main institutions, students will come to understand how the EU adopts legislation and other decisions, and the evolution of decision-making procedures to the present day. Various policies of the EU will provide focal points for deepening this procedural knowledge and exploring the political issues surrounding EU decisions. How European Union decision-makers are influenced by external actors will form another focus for this course, with theories of interest representation and case studies on business and civil society influence presented.

Youth, Culture and Resistance (Option)

This module prompts a sociological enquiry into youth cultures, addressing issues of identity and meaning within the behaviour, consumption and lifestyles of young people. Reflecting upon contemporary narratives of youth as dangerous or out of control, the module aims to investigate the plurality of youth cultures and the diversity of young people’s cultural practices. Central to the module is the exploration of strategies of control, focusing on policy responses to 'deviant', 'vulnerable' or 'alienated' youth.

Level 3

Advanced Quantitative Analysis (Option)

The module will build on the teaching in Approaches to Quantitative Data Analysis in year 2 and on Applying Research in year 1. In particular it will enhance the understanding of a variety of different, more sophisticated statistical approaches. Initially the focus is on multiple regression modelling of ordinal and categorical variables. Thereafter, the course will cover different aspects of survey and questionnaire design before moving on to more advanced techniques such as cluster and factor analysis. The final part will engage with analysing change over time using longitudinal analysis methods. A number of surveys will be used as examples throughout the course such as Understanding Society and the European Social Survey. However, students will be encouraged to familiarse themselves with a range of data sources specific to their subject and interests. Students will learn to use the appropriate software to carry out the different analysis techniques. Like in the preceding module, there will be strong emphasis on the interpretation, communication and presentation of results.

Analysing the Policy Process (Option)

Building upon Understanding the Policy Process, this module requires students not only to continue to develop their knowledge of a range of perspectives on the policy process but, in addition, to use these to analyse a case study relevant to their degree programme. Where Understanding the Policy Process places its emphasis on important models and perspectives, this module explores a range of current ideas which have a significant impact upon the making and implementation of policy, such as the concept of partnership, notions of participation, and issues of accountability.

Body Politics (Option)

This module introduces the students to different paradigms of the 'body' and 'embodiment'. Recent research suggests that our understandings and our relationship with our own and other ‘bodies’ has been and is continuing to undergo radical changes. This module will explore these ongoing developments in Western and non-Western cultures and societies. Throughout we will be concerned to link theoretical accounts of the ‘body’ with developments in contemporary societies. The module will further demonstrate the relevance of conceptions of ‘body’ in different academic and professional arenas. The module will equip the students with the skills to identify and critically explore a diversity of current representations of 'body' in everyday life.

Children, Families and the State (Option)

This module examines the nature of family policy as it has developed for different family forms and for different purposes, and considers why an understanding of family policy is important in the twenty-first century. This is set in historical, ideological and comparative contexts.

The module begins with an introduction to the changes to family structures, family theories and ideologies and family composition. These three sessions provide the background for more the more in-depth examination of the relationship between the state, families and children that follows over the next three lectures focusing in turn on financial support, service provision and regulation. The changes, concepts and tensions identified in the initial sessions are then explored in more depth in the following four sessions by focusing on particular issues based on the research interest of staff. The topics reflect the research interests of members of staff at the time as well as current topics/ developments and are therefore likely to change over time. Students are expected to learn about the complexity of family policy and are asked to demonstrate their understanding in an essay and through making a policy proposal to improve a particular area of family policy as part of the assessment. The policy proposals will be presented and discussed in the final two sessions.

Community and Conflict 1 (Option)

This module is all about communities – in particular, communities that are poor, disadvantaged, isolated or 'socially excluded'. In recent years, interest has been re-awakened in the whole idea of community and in what sorts of policies might be most effective in helping communities and solving their problems. This has happened for a number of reasons: New Labour policy, concerns about crime and disorder, increased emphasis on self-help, fears of racial segregation and ‘no go’ areas, rural decline, and the failure of government interventions over the years that have taken no account of the feelings of local people. The new focus on community is often associated with a number of beliefs: for example, that it is better in principle for local people to 'do it for themselves'; that the involvement of communities is essential if run-down areas are to be renewed or regenerated; and that neither market forces nor the state can on their own offer satisfactory long-term solutions to our social problems. This module will look critically at all these beliefs and come to conclusions about their validity. Community and Conflict II focuses on the application of theory, concepts and perspectives developed in Community and Conflict I to particular areas of public policy making including policy implementation.

Community and Conflict 2 (Option)

This module is all about communities – in particular, communities that are poor, disadvantaged, isolated or 'socially excluded'. In recent years, interest has been re-awakened in the whole idea of community and in what sorts of policies might be most effective in helping communities and solving their problems. This has happened for a number of reasons: New Labour policy, concerns about crime and disorder, increased emphasis on self-help, fears of racial segregation and ‘no go’ areas, rural decline, and the failure of government interventions over the years that have taken no account of the feelings of local people. The new focus on community is often associated with a number of beliefs: for example, that it is better in principle for local people to 'do it for themselves'; that the involvement of communities is essential if run-down areas are to be renewed or regenerated; and that neither market forces nor the state can on their own offer satisfactory long-term solutions to our social problems. This module will look critically at all these beliefs and come to conclusions about their validity. Community and Conflict II focuses on the application of theory, concepts and perspectives developed in Community and Conflict I to particular areas of public policy making including policy implementation.

Global Civil Society

Notions of national civil society have a long history in political writings. Since the 1980s and the ending of the Cold War, however, renewed academic interest in popular involvement in political life and the ideas and development of global civil society is evident. This module will address the historical origins of global civil society (e.g. the anti-slavery movement), together with diverse and competing contemporary meanings of global civil and ‘uncivil’ society. It will also investigate the impact of this discourse on notions of sovereignty, democracy, citizenship and power and the relationship of transnational social movements to global institutions, forces of globalization, states and individuals. The module will examine case studies of global civil society (e.g. the anti-globalization movement, the anti-trafficking movement), to determine their structure, tactics and effectiveness. Fundamental questions addressed will include the degree to which ‘global civil society’ should be considered a single entity and what impact it has (and could have) on global governance.

Harm, Agency and Regulation (Option)

This module investigates the variety of ways in which harmful activities are executed and regulated and evaluates the role of criminalisation within these forms of misconduct. The competing claims of ‘individual/organisational’ agency feature strongly in this module as do the variety of frameworks and the feasibility of imposing ‘realistic’ sanctions. The module makes substantial use of the literature on social harm theory; organisational and corporate crime; white-collar crime/professional wrongdoing; international/transnational crime; and harmful activities – or neglect - by the state. Identifying and then criminalising or regulating economically and intellectually powerful groups as both criminal and or professional is a complex task, and the module will draw upon a range of examples to reflect this.

Human Rights (Social Sciences) (Option)

This module addresses the general ideas of Human Rights and focuses in particular on the critical reading of Human Rights as one single universal paradigm. The practical critique of Human Rights proposed in this module is founded on the belief that Human Rights are important and worthy of protection. The three main propositions outlined in this module relate to the presentation of Human Rights as if they are universal; the notion that they pertain to a logic which focuses on the individual to the neglect of solidarity and other social values; and the argument that the concept of Human Rights derives from a reasoning which is far too abstract.

The academic interdisciplinary approach of this module should be emphasised, as the aid of several disciplines will be called upon, mainly but not exclusively, politics, legal philosophy, sociology, anthropology, international relation studies, post-colonial studies and criminology, in order to deconstruct the notion of the universality of Human Rights.

Independent Study (Politics and International Relations)

Students will be required to prepare and submit an Independent Study Proposal during semester B at Intermediate Level and appropriate supervisors will be allocated at this stage. The Independent Study preparation will be focussed through the Research in Social Policy and Research in Politics and IR modules which will familiarise students with real and active model of research in relevant areas. Therefore, the module will be guided by a clearly demarcated process of: research proposal; refinement; supervisor allocation; critical comment; initiation of lines of enquiry; implementation and monitoring of research over three Semesters. At stages agreed between the student and supervisor throughout level three, student progress will be reviewed in relation to research undertaken, clarity of objectives, report/dissertation plan and the submission of a dossier of work/chapters undertaken so far. The teaching support will be ongoing over the two semesters; but will be primarily geared to assisting the student on issues/problems such as research methods and ethical considerations, managing and presenting research materials and suitable theoretical approaches in their chosen research area.

International Law (Option)

The aim of this module is to introduce students to a dynamic, constantly evolving area of international law. Students will study legal rules which operate in a much broader theatre than national law, and this will help them develop a greater understanding of a changing world order. The module will examine both theoretical and practical applications of International Law and will provide students with ample scope for research and independent study.

Multiculturalism and Britishness (Option)

The module explores political challenges and debates around the presence of culturally diverse populations in the United Kingdom and examines the role this presence plays in understandings of British and English identities. These identities have been re-worked and expanded, as well as asserted and defended, in light of rising levels and a changing composition of diversity in Britain. The political issues that emerge when identities are revised will be of interest and will be explored in the module from a variety of perspectives and by focusing on national as well as local contestations.

The module will begin by providing a comprehensive overview of identity politics at the national level, taking account of recent episodes of immigration and settlement, the debate over multiculturalism, political claims-making by majority and minority actors and changing majority identities, for example as a result of devolution. It will consider recent phenomena against the background of earlier political decisions and debates regarding post-war migration and post-immigration settlement. It will then use the case of Lincolnshire as an example for dynamics around minority and majority identities and challenge students to explore identity politics at the local level and hands-on. Moving thus to the microcosm of identity politics and aligning itself with the ‘student as producer’ framework, the module will familiarize students with the conceptual background and research-practical toolkit to study expressions of identity, reactions towards difference and the political dynamics that emerge when identities are asserted and contested in contemporary Britain.

New Social Movements

Social Movements have been key agents of social change in the world and in the development of democracy. This module seeks to understand the significance of these movements, examining political participation and protest outside of ‘mainstream’ traditional politics. Focusing on ‘New Social Movements,’ we will explore whether the concept is still relevant today, the politics of identity, how NSMs construct particular social identities (e.g. gender, age, race) and the different methods they use to engender social change. The module will outline the concept of a ‘new’ social movement, contrasts with ‘old’ social movements and the emergence of ‘new’ social movements in contemporary history. The module will look in depth at specific movements (sample movements might include: the Women’s Movement, the Youth Movement, the the Global Justice Movement, ‘Occupy’ and online activism) in order to facilitate an understanding of the internal complexity of such groups, particularly where groups become transnational. We will think about why people join social movements, how far social movements are ‘anti-political’ and the nature of political participation and representation. In order to enable us to explore these issues in a more sophisticated way, we will draw on diverse and competing academic theories of NSMs and apply these perspectives to the specific movements studied. A reflexive approach to the issues will be taken and students will be encouraged throughout to consider their own engagement in politics (or lack thereof) to shed light on the nature of NSMs.

Parliamentary Studies (Option)

Parliamentary studies aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of how the UK Parliament works, in theory and in practice. It will examine Parliament’s twin relationships with the Executive and with the citizen, and will situate these within broader theories and debates about democratic accountability and the nature of representation. The module will look in detail at particular aspects of Parliamentary activity, such as the legislative process, parliamentary questions and debates and the select committee system, and will examine ongoing debates around the operation of Parliament, including House of Lords reform. The module will also examine how Parliament interacts with other legislative bodies, most notably the devolved assemblies and the European Union.

The module also aims to bring students into closer contact with Parliament through handling Parliamentary materials and by facilitating contact with Parliamentarians through, for example an external speaker series, and when possible a visit to Parliament. The dynamic nature of Parliament will also be reflected in the module which will provide students with the opportunity to tracking legislative progress and select committee inquiries during the course of the module.

Penology and Penal Policy (Option)

This module aims to locate the theory, practice and history of punishment and penal policy in the context of social control in general. As well as addressing the philosophy of punishment, in terms of core concepts of justice, desert, deterrence, retribution, rehabilitation, reparation etc., it seeks to examine the way in which social control is a fundamental aspect of social relations. Thus it examines legal and non-legal forms of social control and examines the complex interrelationships between the two, together with the historical and practical dynamic of each. A major concern is the control of dangerousness, the self, and risk, through legal and extra-legal means, and the increasingly involved or mixed nature of social and legal sanctions. Current penal practice is subject to theoretical examination, especially in relation to punishment in the community, dangerousness, rehabilitation, monetary sanctions, re-integrative shaming, restorative justice and longer than normal sentencing. The place of the prison is addressed both as a historical feature and as an object of reform/abolition. In addition, the nature and future of imprisonment and alternatives to imprisonment are subject to critical attention. Human rights and the impact of victimology upon penology and penal practice are also a core concern. Finally, the issue of forms and practices of resistance to social control are addressed insofar as they illuminate the nature and meaning of social control within society.

Political Transformations of Russia and China (Option)

This module aims to sharpen analytical skills and broaden students’ knowledge by exposing them to the wide-ranging debates on the problems of transition from Communism. More generally, it aims to provide students with the intellectual equipment to interpret current and future developments in Russia and China. Given the continuing importance of these two states in international relations, this is likely to be of practical benefit to undergraduate students in careers other than academia – among them politics, the civil service, international banking, and journalism.

Psychology, Crime and Criminology (Option)

This module focuses upon the relationship between Criminology and Psychology, how each approaches the problems of criminal or deviant conduct, and their distinctive contributions to criminal justice. A key aim is to analyse the extent to which psychology contributes/detracts from criminological projects. The module considers a range of psychological, psycho-social and psychoanalytic approaches to the study of ‘crime’ and ‘deviant’ behaviour and contrasts these with the predominantly sociological paradigm of criminology. The focus given to critical psychology aims to expose the political nature of different forms of explanation by revealing their ideological basis and biases. The module examines the tension between the instrumental values of control and domination and the possibility of more emancipatory values such as justice, mutuality, and autonomy.

The Colonial Present

This international relations module explores the ways in which the contemporary international order can be explained as deriving from the global experience of European colonialism and imperialism. It provides students with an account of the nature, politics and consequences of the Western imperial penetration (broadly, from the 15th century onward). The module identifies how the expansion of Europe acted to globalise and entrench certain categories of Western modernity – state, nation, development, political economy – that continue to shape and define contemporary global politics as well as the relationship between the global North and the global South. The module uses these insights to scaffold students’ understandings of ongoing theoretical debates that criticise international relations, development studies and globalization theory as Eurocentric and incomplete. Attention will be paid to the postcolonial critique of disciplinary international relations and to the importance of seeking alternative sources of knowledge about international processes. Throughout, students will be encouraged to identify and reflect upon their own position within these on-going theoretical and disciplinary debates.

The Developing World (Option)

This module takes the politics, economics and societies of the developing world as its subject matter. Necessarily, this involves an engagement with imperial and neoimperial global politics, with the divisions between North and South and the contemporary patterns of global political economy and critiques of the development process. With this by way of context, the module explores a range of contemporary issues confronting the developing world. Case studies are used extensively throughout in order to illuminate theory and to demonstrate the broader relevance of the issues under discussion to the study of international relations. As well as introducing students to a range of non-Western materials and cases drawn from the developing world, the module encourages students to reflect on their own positions as scholars and to explore the politics, pitfalls and potentials of intervention within other societies.

The Politics of Energy (Option)

This module covers a variety of issues relating to the politics of energy and climate change and is divided into three main sections.The first of these provides a history of energy and climate change policy in the UK, a study of existing UK energy and climate change policyunder coalition government and the drivers of this including the requirements for energy security. It will also seek to examine the differing theoretical approaches from the sceptical to the radical. The second section subsequently seeks to explore in greater detail the political implications of current policy by examining both conventional and alternative energy sources including oil, fracking, bio-energy and wind energy incorporating an analysis of the role of pressure groups, such as Fracked Off, and direct action. It also incorporates a critical analysis of carbon off-setting policy within the UK and the EU. The third section seeks finally to provide a comparative perspective and considers examples of EU and global energy and climate change policy and the way in which this is now intrinsically global.

The Politics of Global Health (Option)

Global health policy is an area of growing concern in both theory and practice. Increasingly, health and healthcare issues cross national borders. Political, economic, social, cultural and environmental factors at all levels, from local to global, influence the health statuses of individuals and populations. International institutions (e.g. the World Health Organization), philanthropic organisations (e.g. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and multinational corporations (‘big pharma’) play key roles in the politics of health, as well as national governments and health systems. This module examines the concepts that shape debates in (and are shaped by) global health, including global health governance and global health diplomacy. It then critically assesses programmes and strategies designed to address global health challenges such as pandemics, infectious and non-communicable diseases, reproductive health, biosecurity and inequalities of health.

The Politics of Masculinity (Option)

This module explores the politics of masculinity in contemporary society. It starts by addressing key theoretical perspectives on gender and masculinity, taking an in-depth look at these concepts, along with related ideas such as ‘hegemonic masculinity,’ ‘heteronormativity’ and ‘intersectionality.’ We will examine important theoretical debates in masculinities scholarship, such as around hegemonic masculinity, whether this is a useful concept and how far it can explain (global) gendered power relations. Students will be encouraged to develop their own critical and informed answers to key questions such as how far gender is a performance (as opposed to biologically determined), how masculinity relates to men (and women), how we ‘know’ masculinity when we see it and how we understand the relationship between gender and other social and political identities (race, class, sexuality and so on). In order to extend and illustrate these abstract questions, we will explore different masculinities and masculinity in different settings. Sample topics covered might include men’s movements, militarised masculinities, masculinity and fatherhood and representations of masculinity in popular culture. As gender is relational, these masculinities will be considered in the light of corresponding constructions of femininity. Overall, the module will aim to ‘make the familiar strange’ and enable students to question their own assumptions, as well as popular and common sense notions of gender.

Understanding the Policy Process (Option)

This module focuses upon the processes of policy making and implementation at both practical and theoretical levels. It introduces students to a variety of models of policy making and discusses the complexities of the distribution of power and decision making, primarily, but not limited to, the field of social policy.

The module encourages students to develop an understanding of a range of ideas that can contribute to the ways in which we analyse policy, and to recognise that these perspectives are themselves contestable and changing. It begins with a consideration of the policy process and different ways of viewing it, including the impact of different approaches under governments from the 1970s, moving on to examine a variety of models of decision making and the range of actors involved in the making and implementation of policies.

War Crimes and Genocide (Option)

This module is constructed as an attempt to understand the ‘anatomy’ of war crimes and genocide – their origins, ideological basis, socio-political contexts, the techniques and technologies used and relevant theoretical perspectives. The module considers the historical, philosophical, political and sociological aspects of war crimes and genocide and for this reason it is particularly appealing to students who wish to develop a wider understanding of academic disciplines such as criminology, sociology, international relations, politics, psychology, law and modern and contemporary history.

The module will include consideration of key case-studies which may include Armenia, Rwanda, Sudan, the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, Cambodia and Tibet. This module will also offer some reflections on responses to genocide and discuss the challenges involved in addressing these particular categories of crimes at the international level.

Special Features & Research Highlights

You are encouraged to work alongside research-active academics within the School. Their work is recognised by the national and international academic community and helps to inform public policy. Recent research projects have explored parliamentary reform and the legitimacy of elected bodies.

Student as Producer

Student as Producer is a development of the University of Lincoln's policy of research-informed teaching to research-engaged teaching. Research-engaged teaching involves more research and research-like activities at the core of the undergraduate curriculum. A significant amount of teaching at the University of Lincoln is already research-engaged.

Student as Producer will make research-engaged teaching an institutional priority, across all colleges and subject areas. In this way students become part of the academic project of the University and collaborators with academics in the production of knowledge and meaning. Research-engaged teaching is grounded in the intellectual history and tradition of the modern university.

Please visit the Student as Producer website for further information. []

Career Opportunities

BA (Hons) International Relations and Politics students graduate with skills in research, evaluation and communication, which are valued in a range of employment sectors. Graduates secure roles in local and central government, lobbying and campaigns, the European Union, media, journalism, law, industry and commerce.

Careers Service

The University Careers and Employability Team offers qualified advisors who can work with you to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during your time at the University and once you graduate.

This service includes one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise your future opportunities. Having achieved new knowledge and skills, you will be fully supported to fulfil your career ambitions.

The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world.

Visit our Careers Service pages for further information. []

What's Included?

At Lincoln, we constantly invest in our campus to provide the best learning environment for our students. You can study in style and comfort in our well-resourced library or complete group work and exchange ideas in innovative learning spaces across the campus. There is access to the latest equipment and cutting-edge laboratories for studies in the sciences and social sciences. There are modern studios and well-equipped workshops for practice in the arts, and industry-standard production facilities for a range of media. On some courses, students will need additional, specialist resources or equipment to enable them to pursue their courses. Where appropriate these will be provided by the relevant School.


2015 Entry UK/EUInternational
Full-time £9,000 per level £12,084 per level
Part-time £75 per credit point £101 per credit point
Placement (optional) Exempt Exempt

For further information and for details about funding your study, please see our UK/EU Fees & Funding pages or our International funding and scholarship pages. [] []

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages. Occasionally provision may be altered in order to meet changing circumstances or to keep courses up to date with trends and developments in subject areas. Specific programme queries should be directed to the teaching department. Fees for all our courses may increase each year in line with government regulations and are subject to change.

Always check our website for the latest information about entry tariffs, fees & funding before making your application to the University.