Undergraduate study - 2019 entry

Subject area: Politics and International Relations

Why choose Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh?

  • We're ranked in the UK's top 10 universities for politics and international studies in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018.

  • Home to the Scottish Parliament, the city of Edinburgh offers the perfect location in which to study politics – and we offer you a dynamic environment regularly hosting leading international academics, politicians and diplomats.

  • Our alumni include government ministers, members of parliament, policy analysts, broadcasters, business leaders, teachers and an increasing number of social entrepreneurs.

Study abroad

The continuously changing dynamics of international relations in the world today make it an increasingly crucial field to be immersed in.

Mei Futonaka 2nd year MA (Hons) International Relations
Mei Futonaka 2nd year MA (Hons) International Relations

Studying politics, you will explore the origins and present-day contexts of domestic and international conflicts about power and resources. You will also study the morality of political action, the limits of freedom and justice, and the processes of governance at various levels.

International relations is a subfield within political science that looks at the origins and evolution of the state system and the changing nature of state power. It examines the driving forces behind international cooperation and conflict, and explores security and prosperity in the international system.

Our Politics programmes focus on politics, political theory, public policy and international relations in Europe, Russia, Africa and the US.

Our international relations programmes cover specific topics and regions within world politics, such as human rights and foreign policy, the Middle East and Africa.

Year 1

You will take Introduction to Politics & International Relations and Political Thinkers, an introductory political theory course. International Relations students additionally take an international law course taught by the School of Law.

Depending on your programme, you will also take up to four option courses of your choice.

Year 2

You will study International Cooperation in Europe and Beyond, which examines how states cooperate in international organisations such as the European Union, the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations.

You will also take courses that introduce you to key methods in political science: Comparative Politics in a Globalised World and Introduction to Data Analysis. Depending on your programme, you will also take up to three further option courses.

In Years 3 and 4 the Politics and International Relations programmes separate, although all students will write a 40 credit dissertation in Year 4. Find additional study information for Years 3 and 4 on your chosen programme page.

Year 3

Please see individual degree programme for further information.

Year 4

Please see individual degree programme for further information.

Are there additional costs?

In Year 4, if you are a politics student taking Parliamentary Studies you will be offered a trip to Westminster. You will be responsible for meeting your own travel costs.

Our facilities

The majority of teaching takes place at facilities located within the University's Central Area. You will also have access to the University's library and computer facilities.

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad in Year 3 through the Erasmus programme or the University's international exchange programme.

How will I learn?

Courses are taught mainly through a combination of lectures, tutorials and skills hours.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a diverse set of components, such as essays, exams, policy briefs, group presentations and tutorial participation exercises.

In recent years, graduates have entered careers in the civil service, foreign affairs or political and parliamentary research.

The programmes will also equip you with some of the transferable skills required for employment in finance and consultancy, the voluntary sector, journalism or teaching.

Some graduates choose to go on to further training in accountancy or law or take postgraduate programmes with a view to pursuing an academic career.