Sociology, Politics and International Studies study guide 2023/24

Sociology, Politics and International Studies at Bristol

SPAIS – the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies – is an interdisciplinary research and teaching environment with close to sixty academic staff, where prominent scholars of sociology and politics and international relations teach and research on pressing theoretical questions and engage in cutting-edge empirical research. SPAIS staff are internationally renowned in their fields; their ideas are published in academic books and journal papers, policy reports, blogs and newspaper articles, and are discussed in lively debate across the School. Our research and teaching in SPAIS addresses some of the most important topics that face everyone today: questions of globalisation, risk and uncertainty; issues of security and the resilience of states; of gender and social inequality; problems of migration, ethnicity and citizenship; and dilemmas of global development and sustainability. We address these with reference to our research conducted in areas as diverse as the societies of East Asia, the European Union and the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East.

Unit structure

The school offers many classes that are based in a single semester, and can therefore accept unit requests from Study Abroad students who want to join Bristol for just the autumn or spring semester.

Unit levels

The school offers units across all undergraduate levels of study: year 1 (level C/4), year 2 (level I/5), and year 3 (level H/6) units. Postgraduate units are not available.

Unit codes

Unit codes in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies begin with 'POLI' or 'SOCI'. This is followed by a number indicating the year (1, 2, 3). For example:

  • POLI10000/SOCI10000 = year 1 unit
  • POLI20000/SOCI20000 = year 2 unit
  • POLI30000/SOCI30000 = year 3 unit.

For more information about each unit, check the University's unit catalogue for 2023/24. Applicants on all study abroad programmes must review the unit details on the catalogue before listing unit choices on their application form. This includes checking the format of assessment for each unit. The unit catalogue for 2023/24 is updated by April 2023.

Your unit choices cannot be guaranteed. Some units may not have capacity to accommodate all of the unit requests we receive. Registration on a unit also depends on whether you meet the pre-requisite conditions through prior study at your home university.

Study Abroad (Subject pathway)

If you have been nominated to Bristol on the Study Abroad (Subject pathway), you must take the majority of your credits in this department.

Units available on the study abroad programme in 2023/24

The following units from the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies are open to incoming Study Abroad students.

Year 1 (level C/4)


  • Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction (TB2) - POLI11103
  • Issues in World Politics (TB1) - POLI10001
  • Political Concepts (TB2) - POLI11101
  • The Politics of the Global South (TB1) - POLI10004
  • Theories of International Relations (TB2) - POLI10003
  • Thinking Politically (TB1) - POLI10005


  • Doing Social Research (TB2) - SOCI10005
  • Introducing Culture (TB1) - SOCI10010
  • Key Social Thinkers (TB2) - SOCI10006
  • Social Identities and Divisions (TB1) - SOCI10007
  • Sociology in a Global Context (TB2) - SOCI10008
  • Thinking Sociologically (TB1) - SOCI10004

Year 2 (level I/5)


  • Comparative and International Political Economy (TB1) - POLI20012
  • Conducting a Research Project using Secondary Data (TB2) - POLI20001. Please note that SOCI20069 Principles of Quantitative Social Science is a pre-requisite for this unit.
  • Contemporary International Relations (TB1) - POLI20002
  • Contemporary Political Theory (TB1) - POLI22202
  • Co-operation and Integration In Europe (TB1) - POLI21214
  • Democracy and US Government (TB1) - POLI21226
  • Development Studies (TB2) - POLI21213
  • Global Justice (TB2) - POLI20010
  • Investigating Society (Politics) (TB2) - POLI20019
  • Modern British Government and Politics (TB1) - POLI20014
  • Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in South Asia (TB2) - POLI20009
  • NGO Development & Practice (TB2) - POLI20004
  • Power Politics & International Relations of East Asia (TB2) - POLI29008
  • Russian Politics (TB1) - POLI20006
  • The History of Western Political Thought (TB2) - POLI20007
  • The Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa (TB1) - POLI21231
  • The Politics of the Environment (TB1) - POLI20018
  • Understanding Genocide (TB2) - POLI20005


  • A Sociology of Crime and Justice (TB2) - SOCI20073
  • Art and Society (TB2) - SOCI20087
  • Class and Social Divisions (TB2) - SOCI20045
  • Conceptualising the Social (TB1) - SOCI20016
  • Digital Society (TB1) - SOCI20077
  • Ethnicity and Racism (TB2) - SOCI20017
  • Investigating Society (Sociology) (TB2) - SOCI20079
  • Principles of Quantitative Social Science (TB1) - SOCI20069
  • Sociology of Health and Illness (TB2) - SOCI20035
  • The Sociology of Gender (TB1) - SOCI20042
  • What is a Society (TB1) - SOCI20075

Year 3 (level H/6)


  • Apocalypse or Ecotopia? (TB1) - POLI30037
  • Contemporary Chinese Foreign Policy (TB1) - POLI30023
  • Contemporary Feminist Thought: Debates and Issues (TB2) - POLI30001
  • Critical Security Studies (TB2) - POLI31384
  • European Foreign Policy (TB2) - POLI30014
  • Gender and Security (TB1) - POLI30032
  • How to win a Political Argument (TB2) - POLI30020
  • Justice between generations (TB2) - POLI30005
  • Peacebuilding and Post-Conflict Transition in Latin America (TB2) - POLI30036
  • Philosopher Queens (TB2) - POLI30041
  • Politics of Rebellion (TB1) - POLI30038
  • Popular Culture and World Politics (TB1) - POLI31378
  • Populism (TB1) - POLI30039
  • Power, Politics and Food (TB2) - POLI30027
  • Secrecy, Power, Politics (TB1) - POLI30033
  • States and Markets (TB2) - POLI31559
  • The Holocaust - History and Legacy (TB1) - POLI30016
  • The Political Economy of China (TB1) - POLI30009
  • The Politics of Contemporary Labour Party (TB1) - POLI30024
  • The Politics of Gender (TB2) - POLI31351
  • The Politics of Human Rights (TB1) - POLI30026
  • The Politics of Post Apartheid South Africa (TB2) - POLI31381
  • US Foreign Policy (TB1) - POLI30017


  • Consumption and Sustainability (TB1) - SOCI30106
  • Cultural Representation (TB2) - SOCI30063
  • Feminist Sociology of Food (TB2) - SOCI30104
  • Gender and Migration (TB1) - SOCI30091
  • Nations and Nationalism (TB1) - SOCI30082
  • Perspectives on Power (TB2) - SOCI30062
  • Public Opinion and Democracy (TB2) - SOCI30072
  • Queering Sexuality and Gender (TB2) - SOCI30105
  • Religion and Politics (TB1) - SOCI30107
  • Risk, Danger and Disaster (TB2) - SOCI30098
  • The Sociology of Popular Music (TB2) - SOCI30048

Year 4 (level M/7)

None available

Application queries

Contact the Global Opportunities Team if you have any queries about the application process for the study abroad programmes:

Phone: +44 117 39 40207


Students cannot audit units. Study abroad students are fully registered on units for credit purposes and must attend teaching only for classes that they are registered on.

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