Find a Degree Undergraduate Politics & International Relations

Politics and International Relations at Aberdeen is unique in Scotland in bringing together these two cognate, but distinct, subjects as equal components. Teaching and research are both enhanced by this framework and there is a great benefit in being able to study the two side-by-side.

Why Aberdeen?

  • Politics and International Relations at Aberdeen continues to excel in the annual National Student Survey
  • 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, Public Policy, Regional IR (withspecific 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 Political Science considers key themes in the discipline, including democracy, participation, institutions and policymaking.


Introduction to International Relations looks at the development of International Relations as a discipline by examining key geopolitical events using a variety of analytical tools, and state-of-the art theorising in international relations via consideration of the major schools of theory and the work of major authors.

Second Year


Political Ideologies considers differing theoretical notions of the state and democracy. It provides an introduction to some of the broad theoretical and conceptual challenges and problems involved in political analysis.

Democracy considers the effectiveness and existence of various forms of democratic practices across the world. 


Theories of IR is an introduction to the major perspectives that have evolved in the discipline of International Relations within a framework emphasising the importance of methodological issues to our understanding of the subject.

International Political Economy introduces the study of the global distribution of wealth and power and how this shapes the conduct of international relations.

Third and Fourth Year (Honours)

Honours courses taken in the third and fourth year vary widely and are chosen from a menu of over thirty options, drawing on the research expertise of staff. 


Political Parties in the UK; The Extreme Right in Western Europe; Democratisation; Nationalism; Nordic Politics; Core Concepts in Political Science; Energy Politics. 


International Security; War and the International System; Middle Eastern Politics; Human Security; Modern Day Latin America; Modernity and Islam; International Peace; Basque Politics.


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, non-governmental organisations, industry, 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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