University of Chester

Programme Specification
Politics BA (Hons) (Single Honours)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Arts (Single Honours)

Politics

Politics

University of Chester

University of Chester

Chester Parkgate Road campus

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years full-time

7 Years

Annual - September

L200

L200

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Social Science Social and Political Science

Politics and International Relations Subject Benchmark Statement, 3rd edition, February 2015.

N/A

Social and Political Science

Wednesday 27th January 2016

The educational aims of the programme are consistent with the educational aims of a politics degree as set out in the benchmark statement for Politics and International Relations. They are also consistent with the QAA's FHEQ stipulation for a 'bachelor's degree with honours' level descriptor as referred to in the benchmark statement and as mapped across this programme specification under the learning outcomes section.

They are as follows:

  • To place questions of politics and international order and decision-making at the centre of analysis
  • To ensure that students acquire knowledge and understanding in appropriate areas of theory and analysis
  • To enable students to understand and use concepts, approaches and methods of their discipline and develop an understanding of their contested nature and the problematic character of inquiry in the discipline
  • To develop in students a capacity to think critically and independently about events , ideas and institutions
  • To encourage students to relate the academic study of politics to questions of public concern and to relate the academic theory to policies in practice
  • To assist students to develop a range of cognitive and social skills relevant to their intellectual, vocational and personal development
  • To provide a curriculum supported by scholarship, staff development and a research culture that promotes breadth and depth of intellectual enquiry and debate
  • To create a learning environment that is receptive to the needs and views of students and encourages them to achieve their full potential

Specifically, graduates will be able to demonstrate a wide range of abilities and skills in:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the subject
  • Generic intellectual skills
  • Personal transferable skills

(benchmark 4.12 and 4.13)

In addition, the programme- related educational aims will be for students to achieve the learning outcomes linked to the individual modules, which in turn link back to the programme-wide educational aims.

Learning outcomes for the Politics Single Honours Programme conform to the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement (February 2015). Individual modules have set their own learning outcomes to reflect these as appropriate and to link with the programme learning outcomes shown above. The programme as a whole delivers all these skills and individual modules will incorporate some or more of the skills. The learning outcomes for the modules are written to reflect both knowledge and understanding and the more applied skills for the modules.

Knowledge and Understanding represents a key area of the Subject Benchmark (4.13).

FHEQ Level Four

On completion of FHEQ Level Four and in line with the Subject Benchmark learners will be able to:

  • understand the nature and significance of politics as a human activity
  • apply concepts, theories and methods used in the study of politics to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and practices, relative to the historical and contemporary context.

These will be taught in:

  • Introduction to British Politics (SO4701)
  • Thinking about Politics and International Relations (SO4704)

FHEQ Level Five

On completion of FHEQ Level Five and in line with the Subject Benchmark learners will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of different political systems; the nature and distribution of power in them; the social, economic, historical and cultural contexts within which they operate; and the relationships between them

These will be taught in:

  • Politics and Policies (SO5701)
  • The Individual and the State (SO5702)

Global Politics and International Relations (SO5703)

FHEQ Level Six

On completion of FHEQ Level Six and in line with the Subject Benchmark learners will be able to:

  • comprehend how politics is mediated to understand and evaluate different interpretations of political issues and events.

These will be taught in:

  • Political Communication (SO6702)
  • Politics of Sustainability (SO6703)
  • Security and Insecurity in World Affairs (SO6704) 

Cognitive Skills are drawn from the Benchmark Statement’s section on Generic Intellectual and Transferable Skills (4.15).

FHEQ Level Four

On completion of FHEQ Level Four and in line with the Subject Benchmark learners will be able to:

  • gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and primary sources
  • reflect on their own learning and seek and make use of constructive feedback
  • recognise the importance of explicit referencing and the ethical requirements of study which requires critical and reflective use of information and communications technology in the learning process.

These will be taught in:

  • Introduction to British Politics (SO4701)
  • Comparative Politics (SO4703)
  • Thinking about Politics and International Relations (SO4704)

FHEQ Level Five

On completion of FHEQ Level Five learners will be able to:

  • identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems
  • manage their own learning self-critically
  • use communication and information technology, including audio-visual technology, for the retrieval and presentation of information and where appropriate, statistical or numerical information
  • apply employability skills

 These will be taught in:

  • Politics and Policies (SO5701)
  • The Individual and the State (SO5702)
  • Global Politics and International Relations (SO5703)
  • Research Methods (SO5103)
  • Work Based Learning (WB5101)

FHEQ Level Six

On completion of FHEQ Level Six and in line with the Subject Benchmark learners will be able to:

  • construct reasoned argument, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement
  • utilise inter-cultural skills/global awareness, particularly in relation to employability
  • collaborate with others to achieve common goals through, for example, group work, group projects, and group presentations. Employers regard collaboration and the identification of common goals highly. This is especially so as public sector organisations and other

 These will be taught in:

  • Political Communication (SO6702)
  • Politics of Sustainability (SO6703)
  • Security and Insecurity in World Affairs (SO6704)
  • Dissertation (SO6706)

Practical Skills are drawn from the Benchmark Statement’s section on Generic Intellectual and Transferable Skills (4.15).

FHEQ Level Four

On completion of FHEQ Level Four and in line with the Subject Benchmark learners will be able to:

  • reflect on their own learning and seek and make use of constructive feedback

FHEQ Level Five

On completion of FHEQ Level Five learners will be able to:

  • communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing.

 These will be taught in:

  • Politics and Policies (SO5701)
  • The Individual and the State (SO5702)
  • Global Politics and International Relations (SO5703)
  • Research Methods (SO5103)
  • Work Based Learning (WB5101)

 FHEQ Level Six

On completion of FHEQ Level Six and in line with the Subject Benchmark learners will be able to:

  •  progress through the degree programme to become mature, independent learners who can demonstrate initiative, self-organisation and time management attributes. The ability to identify opportunities for continuous learning and development, leading to future continuous professional development, is particularly valued by employers
  • critically analyse and disseminate information

 These will be taught in:

  • Political Communication (SO6702)
  • Politics of Sustainability (SO6703)
  • Security and Insecurity in World Affairs (SO6704)
  • Dissertation (SO6706)

Communication Skills are drawn from the Benchmark Statement’s section on Generic Intellectual and Transferable Skills (4.15).

FHEQ Level Four

On completion of FHEQ Level Four and in line with the Subject Benchmark learners will be able to:

  • gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and primary sources

FHEQ Level Five

On completion of FHEQ Level Five learners will be able to:

  • use communication and information technology, including audio-visual technology, for the retrieval and presentation of information and where appropriate, statistical or numerical information
  • communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing.

 These will be taught in:

  • Politics and Policies (SO5701)
  • The Individual and the State (SO5702)
  • Global Politics and International Relations (SO5703)
  • Research Methods (SO5103)
  • Work Based Learning (WB5101)

  FHEQ Level Six

On completion of FHEQ Level Six and in line with the Subject Benchmark learners will be able to:

  • collaborate with others to achieve common goals through, for example, group work, group projects, and group presentations.

These will be taught in:

  • Political Communication (SO6702)
  • Security and Insecurity in World Affairs (SO6704)

The subject benchmark statement suggests that 'all that can be asked of institutions is that they should continue to develop their teaching and research and to offer to their students a curriculum which is founded on the discipline which has developed to date; which reflects their particular approach to the discipline and which draws on their specialist strengths'. It therefore acknowledges the broad scope of the subject area and the opportunity for individual programmes to tailor the guidance to their own strengths. The benchmark points out that 'perhaps in no other academic discipline are the subject matter and approaches so much in contention and in flux'. In line with this guidance, the subject is taught at the University of Chester from an interdisciplinary perspective drawing on the strengths of our staff and their particular subject expertise. This results in a wide- ranging curriculum, reflecting a number of discipline areas (as sanctioned and encouraged by the benchmark) but also providing key central level-related building blocks.

At the programme's core is an emphasis on employability skills, which is evident throughout the curriculum, within individual modules and in the way in which modules link. Employability skills are delivered in both a broad manner- encompassing for example inter-disciplinary perspectives; but also with the emphasis on relevance and the application to practice. The curriculum makes links throughout between the theoretical base and practice, using case studies, scenario planning and re-enactments. There are visits to political institutions, and guest speakers invited to the University. These opportunities for real work exposure become especially important at a time of recession, where graduates are less in demand and where honing relevant skills is all the more crucial. Work Based Learning offers students the opportunity to undertake a 5-week placement. During the placement, students have the opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and abilities appropriate to any work setting. Students are free to arrange their own placement, or undertake one arranged by the Work Based Learning Office. The placement need not necessarily be related to a student's academic discipline(s). Whilst all efforts are made to match students to placements which align closely with their academic interests and /or prospective career, this is not always feasible. The number of placements available is sometimes restricted, particularly in certain specialist areas, and some students may have to complete placements in organisations or roles outside their preferred specialism.

The curriculum addresses the local targets set out in the Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategy which are: work towards facilitating employability; lifelong learning and reflective engagement with the wider society; develop assessments which support student learning, engagement, progress and achievement; promote diversity in the student experience and academic practice; use technology to underpin the educational provision; provide professional development which enhances learning and teaching, and pursue innovation, scholarship and research.

Study Abroad:

Students can take the programme as a four year rather than three year route which offers the possibility of one year abroad. Study Abroad students taking their third year abroad need to register on WB5008. This module will be offered as a complementary year of study abroad to students who have successfully completed their second-year (Level 5) of study.  Students for Study Abroad must be recommended for the module, and the study programme that the student undertakes must be agreed with the department(s) that the student is studying in. Students must have successfully completed Level 5 with an overall average of 55% or higher (2.2 average), to receive final approval to participate in WB5008.

PROGRAMME STRUCTURE: Politics (Single Honours)

Level Four

At level four students take the following FIVE core modules

SO4704, SO4701, SO4103, SO4105 and SO4005

At level four students must choose from ONE of the following options

EU4102, SO4102, SO4104 and SO4305

Level Five

At level five students take the following FIVE core modules

SO5103, SO5701, SO5702, SO5703 and wb5101

At level five students choose ONE of the following options

EU5202, SO5106, SO5305, and SO5307

Level Six

At level six students take the following FOUR core modules.

SO6706, SO6702, SO6703, SO6704

At level six students must choose ONE of the following optional modules

SO6055, EU6302, SO6901

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
EU4102 4 Introduction to European Studies 20 Optional
SO4005 4 Economic Thought and International Politics 20 Comp
SO4102 4 Self and Society 20 Optional
SO4103 4 Welfare Politics 20 Comp
SO4104 4 Media, Representation and Society 20 Optional
SO4105 4 International Political Sociology 20 Optional
SO4305 4 Crime, Continuities & Change 20 Optional
SO4701 4 Introduction to British Politics 20 Comp
SO4703 4 Comparative Politics 20 N/A
SO4704 4 Thinking about Politics and International Relations 20 Comp
EU5202 5 European Politics and Culture 20 Optional
SO5051 5 Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism 20 N/A
SO5103 5 Research Methods 20 Comp
SO5106 5 Citizenship and the Modern World 20 Optional
SO5305 5 'Dangerousness', Mental Health and Crime 20 Optional
SO5307 5 War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity 20 Optional
SO5701 5 Politics and Policies 20 Comp
SO5702 5 The Individual and the State 20 Comp
SO5703 5 Global Politics and International Relations 20 Comp
WB5008 5 The Study Abroad Experience 120 Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Comp
EU6302 6 European Project 20 Optional
SO6051 6 International Political Economy 20 N/A
SO6053 6 Politics of the Middle East 20 N/A
SO6055 6 The Art of War 20 Optional
SO6702 6 Political Communication 20 Comp
SO6703 6 Politics of Sustainability 20 Comp
SO6704 6 Security and Insecurity in World Affairs 20 Comp
SO6706 6 Politics Dissertation 40 Comp
SO6901 6 Africa in the World 20 Optional

120 credits at Level 4 leads to a Certificate in Higher Education
240 credits gained from Level 4 and Level 5 leads to a Diploma in Higher Education
360 credits gained from Level 4, Level 5 and Level 6 leads to an Honours Degree

N/A

Typical Entry 112 UCAS points
GCE A Level

112 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent. Typical offer - BCC/BBC

BTEC

BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM

BTEC Diploma:D*D*

Irish/Scottish Highers

BBBB

International Baccalaureate

26 points

Access

Access to HE Diploma to include 45 credits at level 3, 30 of which must be at Merit

OCR

OCR National Extended Diploma: Merit 2

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma - DMM

OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma - D*D*

Extra Information

Please note that we accept a maximum of 8 points from GCE AS Levels and that the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) and A level General Studies will be recognised in our offer. We will also consider a combination of A levels and BTECs/OCRs.

The Politics and International Relations Subject Benchmark Statement (3rd edition, February 2015) provided the basis for skills development across the modules, and the broad template for the mix of learning, teaching and assessment on the programme as a whole (and within specific modules). It is non-prescriptive, which means that the programme has been able to apply the guidance in accordance with available resources. The curriculum development process started with the proposed content suggested by the benchmark; the methods of teaching and learning and the methods of assessment were all checked off against the benchmark with the result that we have committed to deliver (where appropriate) the recommendations found therein. We needed to weigh this with our own expertise and existing resources, as programme development takes place within a clear institutional context.

In keeping with the University's commitment to diversity, progression and retention, teaching and learning methods on this programme are diverse and enable students of varying abilities to develop to their full potential. The principal teaching team will use their knowledge of learning and teaching methods to create a strong team teaching ethos with an emphasis on evaluation and reflection. Formative work helps build a foundation that allows students to pass later summative assessments. The team work with Student Support and Guidance to ensure that all learning and teaching is accessible to all students.

Sources that have informed the programme’s teaching and learning strategy include the Departmental Teaching and Learning Strategy, higher educational theory (such as that gained from the Higher Education Academy and the University of Chester Learning and Teaching Institute). In addition, guidance has been sought from the Political Studies Association, the British International Studies Association and the International Studies Association.

The result is a wide range of forms of teaching and learning that are in keeping with the template as set out in the benchmark statement (Sections 5.1, 5.2, 5.5 and 5.6, 3rd edition, February 2015). In addition, some modules are more likely than others to draw on guest speakers, and undertake visits which would result in 'contact with political actors'.

Each module descriptor specifies the learning and teaching methods appropriate for that module, and which will build formative development towards the achievement of learning outcomes through summative assessment. 

The overall strategy is one of supporting students in reaching their potential, and mindful of the various agendas within the University, to ensure retention and progression. Members of the teaching team are familiar with the requirement to provide a positive learning experience for our students, and to put an emphasis on formative and developmental work.

In keeping with the learning and teaching methods outlined in the benchmark statement, assessment will be varied across the modules and across levels. Given the unique selling point of employability skills for the programme, assessments also reflect the needs of employers for graduates with skills requisite with an International Relations degree, and include, for example, reports, policy and executive summary writing skills. All summative assessment is preceded by guidance. In some cases, this will be formative in nature and in all will underpin the skills needed for achieving the learning outcomes through the summative assessment. The benchmark suggests that assessment methods are designed to:

  • meet the aims and objectives of the programme; 
  • foster knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject;
  • stimulate engagement and ownership of the learning process;
  • encourage deep learning by students;
  • reinforce critical thinking skills and the versatility of International Relations graduates';
  • encourage students to reflect on and take responsibility for their own learning;
  • take proactive account of the different circumstances and needs of students; and
  • facilitating wider participation and that forms of assessment can include an appropriate balance of a wide range of options, which the benchmark lists.

The benchmark statement (3rd edition, February 2015) is clear about the characteristics of a politics graduate (with a 'bachelor's degree with honours') and in its aim to define 'graduateness' in politics. It describes it in terms of three areas of performance, knowledge and understanding; generic intellectual skills and personal transferable skills. Student achievement is expressed according to the benchmark in terms of learning outcomes on the successful completion of the programme. The benchmark identifies in some detail typical and threshold standards in the three areas of performance (above).

The overarching graduate profile will depend on the other subject with which politics is combined. However, the Department is confident that the students who take combined honours at Chester will have gained the knowledge understanding and skills expected of a combined honours graduate in politics, given the strong employability skills theme.

 

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

In practical terms, the Department works with colleagues from Student Support & Guidance and from Marketing Recruitment and Admissions to ensure the various agendas are taken into account. In addition, the Institution's Teaching and Learning Strategy (reflected in the Departmental and the Programme strategies) sets out specific aims as part of the diversity agenda.

The programme team have little influence over who applies to the programme, but will provide support and guidance for students with for example, diverse abilities, through the formative approach to teaching and learning which is embedded in the programme. The drive to retain students, and to enable them to progress, also means that the teaching team are strongly student-focused. The programme team will be mindful of statistics which identify trends in recruitment and retention, and will endeavour, through working with colleagues in for example Aim Higher, as well as working with local Colleges to encourage Access entrants, to address diversity and equality issues. The subject matter of a number of the modules is likely as well to challenge and to analyse particular political positions on these agendas.

In summary, the programme aims to achieve breadth and relevance and to ensure that all students, regardless of their other subject, achieve the outcomes expected of a politics graduate. The key emphasis is on employability skills, and therefore a core tenet is the work-based learning module at Level 5. A combined honours route is also offered.

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