Find a Degree Undergraduate Politics & International Relations

Politics & International Relations at Aberdeen is unique in Scotland in bringing together these two cognate, but distinct, subjects. Teaching and research are both enhanced by this framework and students enjoy being at the forefront of contemporary debate.

Why Aberdeen?

  • The Department brings active research culture into its teaching, helping to take students to the forefront of contemporary debates and knowledge in the field
  • Areas of special expertise include Comparative Political Parties and Elections; Cross National Surveys, Democracy and Democratisation; Energy Politics; European Integration and Regionalism; European Politics; Human Rights and Development Issues; Interest Groups; Modernity and Religion; International Political Economy; Regional IR (with specific focus on Japan, Latin America, and the Middle East); and Security Studies

  • The Department encourages students to spend their second year of study abroad. The University offers support centrally for taking a year abroad in Europe, Japan, Hong Kong or North America


Study Abroad

Study Abroad Information


The Aberdeen Difference

The opportunity to take Enhanced Study options as part of your degree and participate in co-curricular activities. See for more information.

There is a four  year Honours degree in Politics and International Relations and a Designated Degree in Political Studies which can  be obtained after three years of study.

First Year

Introduction to Politics and International Relations 1 and 2

Across the two level 1 courses, students will consider contemporary issues and relate them to key themes in Politics and International Relations. In this way, the courses establish the conceptual building blocks of the discipline including the state, sovereignty, democracy, representation, governance, institutions and key political actors.

Second Year

Ideas and Ideologies in Politics and International Relations

The course introduces students to key ideas and theoretical approaches in Politics and International Relations, from major ideological approaches like liberalism and socialism to the key theoretical perspectives that have shaped the discipline. 

Global Politics: Equality and Inequality

The course explores patterns of global wealth and inequality and their consequences. This involves an examination of human and economic rights, culture, migration and citizenship.

Third and Fourth Year (Honours)

At Honours level, students can choose to study a Single Honours degree in Politics AND International Relations, or to complete a joint degree (Politics OR International Relations PLUS another discipline). All of our honours students will be trained in the skills of research and methodology, including qualitative and quantitative methods, through the course ‘Researching  in  the  Twenty-First  Century’. 

Students then choose from a large number of Honours options and write a dissertation in their final year. Joint Honours students may write their dissertation in their other subject. Honours options in Politics and International Relations currently include: International Peace; Nordic Politics; The Politics of Democratic Spain; Political Parties in Britain; Soviet and Post-Soviet Russian Foreign Policy; US Foreign Policy; International Terrorism, Counterterrorism and International Relations; Middle East Politics; The Extreme Right in Western Europe; Political Islam: Islamist Ideologies and Practices; Energy & Climate Politics; Arab-Israeli Relations; War and Peace in International Politics; Democratisation; Nationalism in Modern Europe; Memory and Politics of the Past; Wealth, Poverty and International Order; Soviet Successor States in Global Politics; Deconstructing Peace and Conflict: The End of Utopia; Between Conflict and Peace.



Teaching and Assessment

Teaching at levels 1 and 2 is by a combination of formal lectures and small group tutorials. Honours teaching varies in style, although many courses are based on seminars. Assessment is generally by traditional exams and assessed essays, although in some courses group work, projects and other techniques are used. Students are expected to write a dissertation in their final year.


Politics and International Relations is intellectually challenging and provides an excellent general background for a wide range of careers in areas such as central and local government, diplomacy, foreign affairs, journalism and other professions.

Finding your direction

There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success.  The Careers Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us – from first to final year – and beyond.

Minimum Entrance Requirements

SQA Highers - AABB
A Levels - BBB
IB - 32 points, including 5,5,5 at HL

For further details of entrance requirements click here

Please click on the links below to find out more information on funding in your area.

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Further Information

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