Why this course?
As a politics student, you'll look at the work of governments and their policies and study the behaviour of those who govern - and who they are governing - both at home and abroad. You'll also gain knowledge of domestic and international institutions and issues relating to conflict and cooperation.
We cover diverse and relevant issues, such as international terrorism to the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum.
Politics graduates can go on to work in a number of areas, with many pursuing academic research careers in the UK, Europe and North America.
With more than 400 million native speakers, Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language in the world. Speaking Spanish will help you conduct business more confidently in countries that are becoming increasingly important in world markets.
Studying with us will give you the chance to become a fluent linguist and, with our year abroad programme, an opportunity to experience living, working and/or studying in another country.
Our BA degrees in Humanities & Social Sciences are initially broad-based. In Year 1, you'll study three subjects, including your chosen subject(s).
What you'll study
We introduce you to the key themes of politics and investigate the behaviour of politicians and citizens through the study of institutions and concepts.
Second-year is organised around three core classes:
- Modern Political Thought
- International Relations & Global Politics
- Comparative Politics
If you wish to continue to Honours Year, you're required to take our Research Methods for Political Scientists class. You can choose your other classes from a wide range of options, including:
- American Politics
- European Politics
- Scottish Politics
- War, Terrorism and Conflict
- Contemporary British Governance
In Honours Year, you'll have a wide selection of classes to choose from, covering Britain, the EU and the international arena. Many of our classes focus on highly topical issues, such as Difference and Democracy, in which you'll debate questions of identity and multiculturalism.
What you'll study
Two streams are offered in first-year: one for students with a Higher grade or equivalent in their chosen language and another for those without. Students in both classes study contemporary language and aspects of the country’s culture and society.
Years 2 & 3
You'll continue to develop your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. In cultural classes, you will learn more about the history and politics of your country through literature and film.
Honours students spend a year abroad after Year 3, usually working as an English teaching assistant, gaining work experience in a professional environment or studying at a foreign institution.
In your final year, you'll concentrate on translation, written and oral language and interpreting. We offer cultural classes reflecting the research expertise of our staff.
At Honours level, you'll work on a specific project for your dissertation. You'll be supervised by a member of our teaching staff.
This is a central highlight of the course and a major formative experience for students not just in terms of language but on many different levels, personal as well as professional.
We welcome enquires from prospective students interested in doing a research MA or a PhD in the areas of Contemporary Latin American fiction and film. Topics of special interest include:
- the politics of the fantastic
- socio-political marginality
If your interests align with these topics and you would like to have an informal discussion with your potential supervisor, please contact Dr Jesús Rodero.
Part-time study is available for Spanish courses.
Politics 1A: Concepts
Politics 1B: Government & Governance
This class provides an introduction to the study of politics. In order to study politics fully, we devote attention to domestic and international politics and how they interact.
We cover a series of key concepts, the meaning of power, democracy and authoritarianism, structures and institutions – including elections, referendums and international organisations - that are essential to understanding how modern politics works.
While these subjects primarily relate to domestic politics, considerable attention is given to the impact of how international processes between states and external events affect domestic outcomes in contemporary politics.
This class provides an introduction to the actors, processes and outcomes that are key to modern government and governance. It covers a range of political processes that take place within democratic and non-democratic states and beyond; including, for instance, the role of the media. Considerable attention is given to the impact of international processes on outcomes in contemporary politics. The class examines a range of outcomes that influence the lives of citizens and residents of states, including the policies associated with modern welfare states and international trade agreements.
This course will further your knowledge of the Spanish language and develop the skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking in the Spanish language through intensive practical and communicative language work. This course aims to bring you up to level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. You'll extend your knowledge of the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world and focus on the development of contemporary Latin America and on how issues relating to it are reflected in its cultural production (for example, films, journalism, songs).
Following on from Spanish 1A, this course will broaden your knowledge of the Spanish language, and enhance basic skills already acquired in reading, writing, listening and speaking. This course aims to bring you up to level A2+ of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. It'll also introduce you to new aspects of the culture of Spain through the materials used. Practical language activities, such as pair and small group work and intensive exposure to Spanish through audio, video and written texts, will enable you to progress from the levels achieved in Spanish 1A. Successful completion of this class will enable students to take Spanish 2A in semester 1 of second year.
orIntroduction to Spanish 1A
Introduction to Spanish 1B
This course aims to give an introduction to the Spanish language, assuming limited or no previous knowledge of Spanish. It introduces everyday Spanish language, as well as certain aspects of the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. The class is intended to help students to develop the skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking in basic Spanish.
This course builds on and develops the knowledge acquired in Introduction to Spanish 1A. The class will broaden your knowledge of Spanish language and enhance skills already acquired of reading, writing, listening and speaking in basic Spanish. This class also introduces students to new aspects of the culture of the Spanish-speaking world.
International Relations & Global Politics
Modern Political Thought
This class introduces students to the academic study of International Relations (IR).
This class is taught from a "levels of analysis" approach that separates out the different actors in the international system. Each of the traditional "big" IR paradigms are presented in the relevant level. After examining how each level affects the perception of interstate politics, the course then examines topics such as the changing nature of war, international security and international institutions.
This class provides an introduction to fundamental political concepts, such as justice, democracy, power, authority, liberty and equality. It considers the relationship between the normative evaluation of political systems and how we study them. Students also become familiar with the basic ideologies necessary to understand political debate.
This class focuses on the comparative study of institutions in democratic and authoritarian political systems and what influences their performance and stability. You'll learn what forms economic, social, cultural and political institutions take, and what their effects are on democratic and authoritarian political systems.
This class enhances that knowledge by outlining research questions about democracy in its various forms and ways they can to be addressed by empirical evidence.
This course will introduce you to more complex and formal areas of language, and enable you to develop further the skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking in the Spanish language. It'll also introduce you to certain aspects of the different cultures of Spain and Latin America through the materials used. Practical language activities such as pair and small group work and intensive exposure to the Spanish language through audio, video and written texts will build on what you already know, and give you a feel for the Spanish language as it is used in professional contexts. This course aims to bring you up to level A2+/B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Spanish & Latin American Studies II
This course builds on and develops the knowledge acquired in Spanish 2A and will introduce you to yet more complex and formal areas of language, improving and developing further the skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking in the Spanish language. It'll also introduce you to certain aspects of the culture of Spain and Latin America through the materials used. Practical language activities such as pair and small group work and intensive exposure to the Spanish language through audio, video and written texts will build on what you already know, and give you a feel for the Spanish language as it is used in professional contexts. Successful completion of this class will enable students to take Spanish at third-year level. This course aims to bring you up to level B1+ of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
This course will explore the interlinked themes of independence and isolation in Spain and Latin America. The class is intended to give students a broad overview of Spanish and Latin American social, political and cultural history through the examination of specific texts and films, as well as to develop their critical and research skills.
Quantitative Methods in Social Research
Research Methods for Political Scientists
This class teaches students a range of quantitative research methods. It will help you better understand the high quantity of statistics published by governments and in the media. Additionally, learning quantitative methods improves your job prospects and equips you better for study in Honours and beyond.
On the basis of the knowledge acquired in this course, students will be able to critically assess the validity and reliability of published research, to develop a research design, and to collect, analyse and present data.
You'll learn about different methods of:
- social science research
- distilling information from academic work
- collecting and analysing data
- the basic design of surveys conducive to quantitative analysis and conducting of qualitative interviews
- • the use of SPSS as an analytical tool used by many businesses and organisation
- the basics of uni-variate and bi-variate statistical analysis
This class provides a comprehensive overview of European politics, identifying the common characteristics of politics and government across the continent, but also the distinguishing features that make countries different. The class combines thematic topics with studies of politics and government in particular countries - France, Germany, Italy, and the countries of eastern and central Europe.
The first section of class examines the emergence and evolution of parties and party systems, focusing on the relationship between parties and society, ideological developments and modernisation processes. Particular attention is given to the emergence of ‘new politics’ and the rise of the far right. This part of the class concludes with an examination of the different types of electoral system employed in Europe, and the effects they have on politics.
The second section focuses on government; the character of government at the centre, multilevel governance, and parliaments.
This class introduces students to the basic concepts and theories relating to the study of political institutions, processes, behaviour, and policy in the United States. The first half of the class examines ‘American exceptionalism,’ and its political culture. The second half examines the institutions of the US political system, covering such topics as the constitution, federalism and the branches of the central government. The class will conclude with a survey of public policy in the United States, in several dimensions.
Class topics include:
- the US party system
- political participation and mobilisation
- individual voting behaviour
- public opinion
- nominations and elections
- interest groups
- the question of where power lies
This class will provide a comprehensive overview of Chinese politics since 1949, contextualising it within the study of comparative politics, historical inheritance and contemporary Chinese society.
It will give you grounding in the dynamic evolution of the Chinese state and Chinese nationalism, China’s self-identified problems of weakness and underdevelopment, and the difficult political choices faced by political elites. It will also analyse how the country’s Communist legacy offers both opportunities and constraints for the present politics of China. The case of Taiwan is also included as a comparison.
The class seeks to provide a comprehensive overview of Scottish politics contextualising it within UK, European and world politics, historical inheritance and contemporary Scottish society. It examines the practice of Scotland’s governing institutions, the changing nature of democracy in Scotland, the impact of devolution on policy and broader governance as well as Scotland’s constitutional status.
War, Terrorism & Conflict
This class looks at the issue of who holds power in local politics in the UK as well as examining changing managerial and democratic practice. It asks fundamental questions about local politics, such as:
- how is local democracy justified?
- who holds power?
- what is the basis of that power?
- what is the role of citizens in localities today?
- what is the role of local governing institutions?
- how are local public services delivered
- how is policy made and delivered?
This course looks at the multi-faceted and ever-changing nature of war, conflict and terrorism, in the context of the end of the Cold War and the September 11 terrorist attacks. It addresses debates within the sub-discipline of Strategic Studies (i.e. the study of the use of force) and International Relations more broadly, relevant to the causes of war, the conditions of peace and strategies for dealing with terrorism and conflict.
Contemporary British Governance
This class is co-taught with staff from the UK Parliament and the Scottish Parliament. It also involves deliberative sessions with parliamentarians.
The class focuses on how Britain is governed, focusing particularly on how its main institutions and processes – with their own influences, conflict and dynamics – have risen to the multiple challenges of the modern world, ranging from demands for sub-national autonomy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to the opportunities and constraints afforded by Britain’s membership of the European Union.
This course builds on and develops the knowledge acquired in Spanish 2B and will consolidate the students’ knowledge and use of the Spanish language within an appropriate cultural context in order to enable the student to live, study and work in a Spanish-speaking country. This course aims to bring you up to level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
This course aims to build on and develop the knowledge acquired in Spanish 3A and will focus on two relevant topics which includes the preparation for the year abroad. This course aims to bring you up to level B2+ of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. In addition to the final exam, a comprehensive project will comprise the other 50% of your final mark for this course. This project will enable you to put into practice and further develop the linguistic skills and cultural knowledge you have developed since you started studying Spanish at Strathclyde.
Spanish & Latin American Studies III
This course builds on and develops the knowledge acquired in Independence and isolation in Spain and Latin America - Hispanic Studies 2 (R4200), and adds a dimension of critical and theoretical awareness, as well as developing critical skills through a study of individual texts and films from Spain and different countries of Latin America, to build an understanding of the history and cultures in which they were produced.
This is the year abroad, spent either studying in a foreign university or working as a language assistant or on a work placement. This year is compulsory to gain entry into Honours.
Theories & Practices of Regulation & Governance
Governance & Development
The aim of this class is to introduce students to the concepts, theories, institutions and processes of regulatory governance. The transnational and international dimension of regulatory governance is also taken into account.
This class aims to investigate the political determinants of peace and prosperity, conflict and poverty. It also deals with the recent literature on conflict, inequality, and globalisation. A special emphasis will be placed on providing an understanding of the contemporary challenges facing developing countries.
This class adopts a comparative approach to the study of political parties and party systems, focusing on Europe and the United States. We discuss the main functions and organisational and ideological characteristics of the different types of parties found in these regions, and the way in which parties adapt to social change.
We look at the relationship between parties and voters from the alternative theoretical perspectives of class voting, partisan identification and rational choice. We also examine party systems and party government.
The class focuses on how we do comparative politics (methodology). We'll consider the comparative method, and how the scientific method can be applied to the study of politics. We consider the problem of only having a relatively small number of cases to compare, and how we select these, as well as the difference between case-study driven, small-n and large-n studies. We also consider the use of ideal types – the importance of finding a language to compare very complex systems.
This class is divided into four main blocks:
- green political theory
- environmental attitudes & behaviour
- environmental movements
- green parties
Feminism & Politics
The focus of this class is the individual voter. Individual characteristics, such as education, socio-economic status, political attitudes and values, or involvement in social and political networks are looked at. However, contextual factors, such as the institutional framework, can also play a role for a wide range of political actions.
International Relations Theory in a Global Age
This class provides a critical introduction to feminism and its implications for politics. Over the last few decades, feminists have systematically challenged the long-standing view that politics is gender-neutral by uncovering masculinist bias and drawing attention to the neglected experiences, values and arguments of women.
Feminists have also reconstructed key political concepts and practices and expanded the range of issues and ideas understood to be political.
International Security: Concepts & Issues
This class explores debates about key concepts in International Relations theory, in the context of what is widely seen as a new era in the analysis and practice of global politics. The class investigates the 'cutting-edge' of IR theory and makes connections with social and political thought more generally.
Analysing Religion & Politics
Students are introduced to the literature and research agendas related to security and conflict studies. Specifically, the course will explore various aspects of civil war, terrorism, international conflict, arms transfers and refugee security.
The impact of faith upon politics is evident in many ways, including:
- the 1979 revolution in Iran
- conflicts in Afghanistan and the Middle East
- the Catholic Church's contribution to democratisation efforts in Latin America and Eastern Europe
- the role of religious actors in current debates on Islam in the EU
The class introduces students to the systematic study of these phenomena based on a quantitative methods perspective. Qualitative approaches are also considered. As part of the class assessment, students will conduct an empirical case study.
Compulsory classesSpanish Honours Language 4
Hispanic Studies 4
There are three strands in the Spanish 4 Language programme, which are closely integrated with each other: Language A (writing in Spanish), Language B (analysis and translation into English of Spanish texts), and Language C (oral presentation and interpreting). The programme will enable students to function in the target language at a sufficiently high level of ability, both spoken and written, to be accepted as a fully competent member of the target language community, and effectively to discharge a professional role within and/or in relation to that community.
This is a level four Honours class designed to build on the knowledge of Hispanic cultural studies acquired in Spanish and Latin American Studies 1A, II and III. The purpose of this class is to explore contemporary issues in Hispanic cultures. Class content will reflect the research specialisms of staff in Spanish and the actual texts and films studies may vary from year to year to reflect student demand and staff availability, as determined by the research focus of the subject. Each year, the class will focus on specific aspects of Hispanic history, politics, society and/or cultures. For example, possible class titles are: Gender and Sexuality in the Hispanic world; The Politics of the Fantastic in Hispanic Fiction and Film; Dictatorship and Resistance in Hispanic Cinema.
Elective classesThe Latin American Short Story
Shaping Spain: Ideas, Beliefs & Identity
This course builds on and develops the knowledge on Latin American literature and culture acquired in Spanish and Latin American Studies II and III; and adds a dimension of theoretical analysis, as well as developing critical skills through a study of texts from the different countries of Latin America.
Rooted in the Spanish History of Ideas, this course explores the condition and motivations for the development of some of the existing main currents of thought in Spain since 1989. It encourages a critical understanding of Spanish history and contextualises the work of several Spanish seminal thinkers (Unamuno, Ortega, Azaña and Zambrano) and it explores their thought in relation to the key themes of the course: ideas, beliefs, and identity.
The School of Government & Public Policy encourages independent learning by reducing reliance on assessment through formal exams and introducing more flexible forms of class assessment.
All classes are of single semester length. In pre-Honours classes, students are examined at the end of the appropriate semester; short exam diets with two-hour exams are held in January and May. For most classes, a formal essay-based exam at the end of the class provides for two-thirds of the class assessment.
In pre-Honours classes on research methods, assessment is entirely by class-work. In some other classes, essays are supplemented by or, in part, replaced by project work or book reviews. At Honours level, all single Honours students are required to complete a 10,000-word dissertation in Politics.
Our assessment methods include:
- written examinations, including translations
- writing for a specific purpose
Continuous assessment ranges from online grammar tests to group projects, while oral/aural tests are performed throughout the course. Students write a dissertation in their final year.
Learning & teaching
In Politics Years 1 to 3, lectures and tutorials are the main form of teaching. In methods classes, lab sessions and practical group work are used. At Honours level, all classes are taught in a small group seminar format.
Tutorials, seminars and student presentations form an essential part of your learning and development. In addition, work on essays, book reviews and other class projects are part of the teaching and learning environment.
At Honours level, students work on a specific project for their Honours dissertation under the personal supervision of a member of the teaching staff.
We focus on the four important language skills:
We make great use of technology in the classroom – interactive lectures and digital language laboratories – and outside, through the use of web-based learning and streamed Spanish television.
In later years, you'll perform presentations, write reports and interpret into English, which prepares you for potential future careers.
Required subjects are indicated following minimum accepted grades.
1st sitting: AAAA (Higher English, Higher Spanish plus one from the list below, Maths/Lifeskills Maths National 5 B, or equivalent)
2nd sitting: AAAABB (Higher English, Higher Spanish plus one from the list below, Maths/Lifeskills Maths National 5 B, or equivalent)
- Classical Studies
- Modern Studies
- Religious Moral & Philosophical Studies
We recognise a wide range of Highers, however, your profile must reflect a good grounding in essay-based subjects.
Year 1 entry
Typical entry requirement: ABB (A Level Spanish B, GCSE English Language 6/B or English Literature 6/B, GCSE Maths 4/C)
Minimum entry requirement: BBB (A Level Spanish B, GCSE English Language 6/B or English Literature 6/B, GCSE Maths 4/C)
Typical entry requirement: AAA (two core subjects required; GCSE English Language 6/B or English Literature 6/B, GCSE Maths 4/C)
Minimum entry requirement: ABB (two core subjects at AB; (GCSE English Language 6/B or English Literature 6/B, GCSE Maths 4/C)
36 (Maths SL5)
Year 1 entry
HNC Social Sciences: A in Graded Unit; Higher Spanish B, Maths National 5 B or equivalent
Irish Leaving Certificate
Subjects and grades as for Highers
It is important to take care over your personal statement. We look for information about your academic and career interests, and your range of skills, abilities, and relevant experience. Your personal statement should show evidence you have a strong awareness and interest in the subject you are applying to.
Deferred entry normally not accepted.
Applicants with Highers
Due to the high level of competition for the number of available places, it is unlikely that Conditional Offers will be made to anyone attaining less than AAB at the first sitting of Highers.
Second-year entry for A Level/Advanced Higher candidates is possible with AA/AB in the two subjects you are planning to study.
Admission to Honours
All students will be admitted as potential Honours students. Students may exit with a Bachelor of Arts degree at the end of Year 3 of the programme if they have accumulated at least 360 credits and satisfied the appropriate specialisation requirements. For admission to the final year of the Honours course, a student must have achieved an approved standard of performance.
We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.
Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.
Find out entry requirements for your country.
Degree preparation course for international students
We offer international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for
an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.
Upon successful completion, you will be able to progress to this degree course at the
University of Strathclyde.
Fees & funding
How much will my course cost?
All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.
Rest of UK
Assuming no change in Rest of UK fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2017/18, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and Integrated Masters courses); MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on Integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.
University preparation programme fees
International students can find out more about the costs and payments of studying a university preparation programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.
Placement & field trips
You'll incur travel costs for visits as part of the course. You'll be informed of this at your first lecture. Eg, if you're registered for Parliamentary Studies (L2313), you'll visit the Scottish Parliament and an off-peak travel return ticket for this costs approximately £12.60.
Course materials & costs
The majority of course materials are available to students via Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Students can print course materials at their own expense.
The cost of course texts does not normally exceed £30 per academic year. Key language texts are used over 2 or 3 years of study. Multiple copies are also available in the University Library.
Studying abroad is an integral part of the degree course in Modern Languages - and usually takes place in Year 4. Students who choose to study in France, Spain or Italy are eligible for an Erasmus and grant to help minimise the extra costs of living abroad. This however, is not a full maintenance grant.
Typically, students will receive around £3,000 for a full academic year of study abroad. Students are required to meet travel, accommodation and extra living costs. These costs will vary dependent on the country of study. An estimated extra spend of £1,000 should be budgeted.
A range of scholarships are available for students of French, Spanish and Italian - and awarded on a competitive basis.
Students who work as English language assistants will receive a monthly stipend. In the case of France, this amounts approximately to 964.88 Euros per month gross (800 Euros net after social security deductions). Similar stipends are paid in Spain and Italy.
Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.
How can I fund my studies?
Students from Scotland and the EU
If you're a Scottish or EU student, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.
For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.
Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland
We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales
You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility.
Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.
International Students (Non UK, EEA)
We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.
We have a wide range of scholarships available. Have a look at our scholarship search to find a scholarship.
Politics graduates are employed in the media, management, teaching, sales and advertising, local government, further and higher education and social work.
Knowledge of the political process is also useful in a business career and the degree provides the normal route of entry into business traineeships. Employers are particularly interested in the high-level written and verbal skills of Politics graduates and their ability to research and analyse information.
Courses in Politics are recognised in the training of Modern Studies teachers, and a Politics degree is also particularly appropriate for entry to the civil service.
Students who specialise in research methods acquire social science research skills and expertise in the analysis of data, while the study of institutions is an extremely good background for those entering government service or communications, eg journalism, television and advertising. There is also a tradition of Strathclyde Politics graduates entering academic research centres in the UK, Europe and North America.
Modern language graduates are in high-demand across a range of areas. Some language graduates become teachers or translators, while others work in multilingual or international environments. Many of our students now work in journalism and broadcasting.