Hello again! In my last blog post I told you about some of the fantastic extra-curricular activities available to students in the School of Politics at the University of York. This time, I thought I’d tell you more about the courses and study options available!
The School of Politics at York offers a range of interesting courses all of which allow you to specialise based on what you’re interested in. They include Politics, Politics with International Relations, International Relations and a range of joint honours courses. I take Politics with International Relations and particularly enjoy learning about International Politics, specifically conflict and the United States. I have had the opportunity to select modules such as ‘US National Security after the Cold War’ and ‘Global Politics of Nuclear Weapons’ (although the module choices may change from year to year). The department offers modules on anything from International Human Rights to The Labour Party and Socialism in the UK.
In my first year I took four modules – this meant I had two hour-long lectures and one seminar per module, per week.
Each was assessed at the halfway point in January, which counted for 40% of my module mark. Then, during the summer assessment period, we were assessed again, counting for 60% of the module mark.
The four modules we take in our first year are all core modules. This means everyone studying a Politics subject will have the same grounding, before selecting more specific choices in second and third year.
The core modules I had in first year were:
What is Politics?
This module introduces the main theoretical concepts used in the study of politics. It covers issues including globalisation, terrorism, the EU, migration and climate change.
Introduction to Democratic Politics
This module involves exploring the concept of democracy and its problems and limitations, before applying this study to three distinct cases in the second term.
Introduction to International Politics
This module explores the development of the global political economy and considers broad themes and ideas in International Relations.
Introduction to Political Theory
This module engages with key political texts which are central to our understanding of politics and how it works today. You’ll explore in detail the concepts of Justice, Freedom, Power while reading texts from the cannon of western political thought.
As in first year you’ll take four modules, running all year. The standard assessment is an essay in January, counting for 40% of the module mark, and by an exam in the summer assessment period, counting for 60% of the module mark.
Some modules are core – it depends which pathway you’re on. Everyone will take Political Enquiry, and those on an International Relations programme take ‘Theories of International Relations’ too.
For your other three second year modules, you’ll have the opportunity to choose from a range of diverse interesting topics, one of which must include a political text module. For my second year, they included:
Political Text Modules: History of Political Thought; Contemporary Political Philosophy; State, Economy and Society.
Political Process Modules: Comparative Politics; The European Union: Politics and Policies; Human Right and Wrongs in a Globalized World; Politics in the United Kingdom; Politics of Development; US National Security after the Cold War; War and Peace
In my second year I chose to study “History of Political Thought” which gives an interesting perspective on the development of liberalism, human nature, property ownership, sovereignty and the organisation of society. I also took “US National Security after the Cold War” which developed my understanding of US foreign policy and has directed the focus of my third year dissertation. Finally I took “War and Peace” in which the lecturer invited guest speakers to help develop our understanding of the issues we discussed. Particularly memorable was a lecture given by Patrick Bury – author of acclaimed book “Callsign Hades” and former NATO analyst and Captain in the British Army – on Counter Insurgency in Afghanistan.
Third year works slightly differently to the first two years. We select four option modules, two per term, and then the compulsory dissertation runs all year. There is an hour-long dissertation workshop each week. Each module is assessed by essay, counting for 100% of the module mark.
Third Year modules include for example:
Africa and International Politics; Border Politics; British Foreign Policy after the Cold War; Comparative Political Participation; Dictatorship; Economic Governance of the European Union; Global Justice; Governance of Security; Global Politics of Nuclear Weapons; Governing the Global Economy; Green Politics, Political Transition in the Middle East; The European Far Right; The Labour Party and Socialism; War, Humanitarianism and Law.
So, as you can see there is a huge range of different and interesting modules to choose from if you come and study at York!
There is also the option to study on a year abroad or do a year in industry on all Politics courses, giving you the opportunity to increase your skills and employability.
So whether you’re more interested in British domestic politics, International Relations or both, York has it all!
(n.b. this blog post describes the course in my experience. It may be subject to change)