Politics (with Foundation Year)UCAS Code: Combined Honours only – see combinations tab|Duration: 4 years|Full Time|Hope Park|UCAS Campus Code: L46
Work placement opportunities|International students can apply|Study Abroad opportunities
About the course
Politics affects all of us. It is central to human life and human affairs. It is fundamental to how we organise and govern ourselves and to how we resolve conflicts. The decisions we make as political communities, who makes them and how, have consequences for how we live, from questions of war and peace, the distribution of wealth, our rights, freedoms, responsibilities, our access to education, transport and health care.
In this rapidly changing world, new challenges are constantly arising – from climate change to new technologies, from identity politics to Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic – and the study of politics needs to respond. At Liverpool Hope, therefore, we seek to engage with politics and political issues in the real world as they evolve and change over time. In doing so, we actively encourage debate and discussion amongst our students, encouraging a stronger awareness and appreciation of different points of view.
On this programme of study, you will explore key ideas, institutions and politics in an international, national and local context. You will be taught by staff who are experts in their fields, who will teach you to engage with political research and develop the capacity to be an independent, critically-minded scholar. The course also aims to equip you with transferable skills to take into the world of work.
You can take this course in combination with another subject of your choice, or as part of our Politics and International Relations single honours programme.
Teaching on this programme is structured into lectures, interactive and student-led seminars, and tutorials which in your first year typically have no more than 10 students. Regular study skills classes are also provided in the first year to support you in your transition into Higher Education. You also have the support of a supervisor when engaged in your final year research project. In addition, there are local, national and international fieldtrips organised in order to enhance your learning.
In your first year of study there are approximately 6 teaching hours each week in the Politics programme, which reduces to approximately 5 in your second and third years. You are also expected to spend a number of hours studying independently each week, as well as studying in groups to prepare for any group assessments that you may have. Overall, you should expect to spend an average of 40 hours per week devoted to your studies, including taught hours, independent work and group work where relevant.
Assessment and feedback
Assessments are varied and consist of formal exams focusing on lecture topics, and a range of written coursework assignments. You will be given clear, generic and additional assessment criteria at the start of the degree and at appropriate points throughout your studies. In your final year, you will complete a special study or dissertation.
Assessment is a vital building block of learning and the team recognises the importance of providing timely, high-quality, constructive written feedback to you that not only explains the strengths and weaknesses of the particular piece of work, but which also makes clear what must be improved in future work. Feedback is provided verbally to the whole year group where possible, to emphasise points of general relevance, usually through weekly skills sessions or tutorials. Should you require it, your tutor’s ‘drop-in’ office hours are an opportunity to gain verbal feedback and discuss your work privately.
The Foundation Year is a great opportunity if you have the ability and enthusiasm to study for a degree, but do not yet have the qualifications required to enter directly onto our degree programmes. A significant part of the Foundation Year focuses upon core skills such as academic writing at HE level, becoming an independent learner, structuring academic work, critical thinking, time management and note taking.
Successful completion of the Foundation Year will enable you to progress into the first year (Level C) of your chosen honours degree. Further details can be found here.
Introduction to Politics
Your first year provides you with the knowledge of the key sub disciplines that underpin Politics.
In the first year, you will be given in-depth introductions to:
- Key Concepts and Debates in Politics and Political Analysis
- Key Political Institutions, Ideas and Political Actors
- Understanding of the Features of Political Systems and Political Practice in the UK, Europe, the United States and beyond
There are five key themes to the first year course:
- Political Institutions: including constitutions, legislatures, the executive. How do key institutions work and relate to one another? What does this tell us about the structure of political power?
- Political Organisation and Participation: including parties and party systems, interest groups and public opinion, elections. How has political organisation and participation changed? What are the current trends? What does this tell us about democracies?
- The International System: we look at the importance of international political economy and the role of international organisations including the United Nations and NATO. What is their role and importance in the world today?
- Political Ideologies: we examine the most influential ‘classic’ political ideologies from conservatism to communism and discuss their relevance, their differences and similarities and their implications. We also take a look at more recent ideological movements, including green movements and feminism.
- Political Communication: communication is central to politics and understanding the changing media landscape therefore provides essential insights into politics and the challenges it faces.
In your first year, lectures will provide you with detailed introductions to these topics and you will explore and debate them through participation in Seminars seminar activities. Tutorials, which are special small-size classes that allow you to get to know your fellow students and the staff more quickly, will be an opportunity discuss specific questions in depth.
Skills for Study and Research
A key theme in the first year is developing skills and techniques needed for successful undergraduate study to help ensure that you reach your full potential. In our weekly ‘Big Issues and Bright Ideas’ class, we address a key issue of the week, based on the topics covered in the course (above), and also give you important study advice, tips and support for assignments,
The following outlines the programme of study we currently offer.
Explorations in Democracy
Through a four part series of lectures and tutorials, this course addresses the key theories and ideas underpinning modern representative democracies, its historical development in Europe and the Americas and the challenges it has faced in the past and today.
Part One: History, Ideas and Democracy – looks at some of the foundational ideas, thinkers and innovators behind the development of modern liberal democracy, from ancient Athens, through to Social Contract theory, the democratic revolutions and beyond.
Part Two: Democracy in the USA - discusses American Democracy and the US Constitutional Framework, the electoral process and voting behaviour before looking at key election case studies from the 21st Century.
Part Three: European Democracy – looks at key issues, institutions and development in European political systems.
Part Four: Challenges to Democracy – considers the challenges posed by so-called ‘illiberal’ democratic regimes and movements, extremist religious movements, authoritarianism, contemporary fascisms and nationalism.
British Politics and Democracy
This seminar course focuses working with fellow students on analysing and evaluating British democracy. You will look at key institutions and organisations of the British political system and how they function, as well as major issues in British politics today, including where does power really lie in our system of government? Is the system of representation fair? What are the ongoing implications of Brexit?
Comparative European Democracy
This seminar course focuses on creating and building a political profile for a European country in preparation for conducting your own comparative analysis. Weekly seminar topics will help you build these profiles, working in groups with fellow students. Topics include: Executives, the Judiciary and legal system, the legislature, the distribution of power, the welfare state and civil service, parties and electoral system
Advances Studies in Politics
Your third year provides the opportunity to explore in depth some of the key areas of politics and political theory. The following outlines the programme of study we currently offer.
Politics in the United States
This series of lectures will examine in depth the evolution of American politics through the lens of core institutions and contemporary issues. Key policy challenges and dilemmas are explored, including changing demographics, gun control and the death penalty, issues which have shaped some of the key dividing lines in American politics and continue to do so today..
The Imperial Presidency
In this seminar course, you will study the development of the presidency as a central institution in American politics and foreign policy from Franklin Roosevelt’s reinvention of the office in the 1930s to the present day. This will be based around discussions and activities in class.
Modern European Political Theory
In this lecture series, we engage directly with major works of political theory. We address key thinkers in the political theory canon from the fifteenth century to today. In doing so, we explore the shifting boundaries of this sub-discipline from a focus on the state and the sovereign, to the importance of culture, the structure of the economy and social relations.
Power and Politics
In this seminar course, we explore the changing political landscape through the lens of the concept of power. You are introduced to key debates and concepts in the analysis of power in political contexts, and are invited to use them to analyse where power lies in contemporary politics, the changing shape of political organization and activism, the impact of technology, how the state works and more besides. In class, you will conduct your own analyses of these issues through discussion and case studies.
Research Dissertations and Research Projects
You will do either a 10,000 word dissertation in conjunction with your other subject, or a 5,000 words special study. You will receive guidance and individual support from an assigned tutor in the creation and completion of this work. You are expected to work, in the main, in an autonomous way on this work.
There may be some flexibility for mature students offering non-tariff qualifications and students meeting particular widening participation criteria.
Careers available for Politics graduates include those in government, in international organisations and in policy work. Teachers with politics skills are also in demand. Many firms and companies look for the general skills that the study of politics at degree level gives you – such as conducting critical analysis, preparing reports, constructing arguments and making judgements.
We encourage both teamwork and independent learning, and to develop your communication skills throughout the three years of study. Many students move on to postgraduate Masters programmes and research degrees. We have graduates who work in the UK Parliament, in the field of communications, the civil service and with the NHS or voluntary bodies. In recent years, we have had students who have gone to work in the field of law, with think tanks and in journalism. Former students have also gone on to enter politics themselves, including running for office and winning elections.
The Service and Leadership Award (SALA) is offered as an extra-curricular programme involving service-based experiences, development of leadership potential and equipping you for a career in a rapidly changing world. It enhances your degree, it is something which is complimentary but different and which has a distinct ‘value-added’ component. Find out more on our Service and Leadership Award page.
As part of your degree, you can choose to spend either a semester or a full year of study at one of our partner universities as part of our Study Abroad programme. Find out more on our Study Abroad page.
The tuition fees for the 2023/24 academic year are £9,250 for full-time undergraduate courses.
If you are a student from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, your tuition fees will also be £9,250.
The University reserves the right to increase Home and EU Undergraduate and PGCE tuition fees in line with any inflationary or other increase authorised by the Secretary of State for future years of study.
On top of tuition fees, you also need to buy key textbooks, which we estimate to cost around £100-150. During your studies, there are a number of optional fieldtrips in Britain and Europe. You will be given plenty of notice about the cost of these trips.
You will also need to consider the cost of your accommodation each year whilst you study at university. Visit our accommodation pages for further details about our Halls of Residence.
We have a range of scholarships to help with the cost of your studies. Visit our scholarships page to find out more.
International tuition fees
The International Tuition fees for 2023/24 are £12,500.
Visit our International fees page for more information.
This course is only available with Foundation Year as a Combined Honours degree with the following subjects: