Political environment

Bristol is a politically engaged and culturally diverse city – a fascinating setting for studying politics and international relations.

Top reputation

Bristol is ranked 12th in the UK for both Politics and International Relations in the Complete University Guide 2025 and Guardian University Guide 2024 respectively.

Graduate success

Bristol graduates are the 3rd most targeted by top UK employers (Graduate Market 2022) and go on to successful careers in government, non-governmental organisations, finance, law, the media, research and voluntary sector work.

Politics and International Relations at Bristol

Gain a world-class education in a diverse, supportive and engaging university.

Study the politics of individual countries and governments and the relationships between nations, communities and individuals. Explore different views and methods of analysis and learn to apply and evaluate them effectively. Join our expert scholars in a vibrant and challenging academic and social environment. Our staff are global leaders in many areas of political study, including security, European politics, gender, political philosophy (analytic and continental), international development, international organisations, environmental politics, and US and British politics.

Our students reach a high level of achievement and Bristol graduates are in demand, with 85% in work or further education 15 months after graduation (DiscoverUni).

The University [is] a platform for human and intellectual development. It's all about challenging yourself to be better as a student and as a person. I like the units on my course and it's easy to have cultural exchanges - I never stop learning from my peers.

Juan Pablo, BSc Politics and International Relations

Career prospects

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Our graduates succeed with a wide variety of employers including UK government departments; international non-governmental organisations (such as Oxfam); finance; law; the media; education and research; and public and voluntary sector organisations.

You will learn how to operate in a deadline-driven environment and how to manage competing demands. You will enhance your IT, communication, learning and interpersonal skills and you will develop your ability to make critical judgements and reach evaluative conclusions.

BSc/MSci Politics with Quantitative Research Methods enhances your disciplinary learning with applied data analysis skills attractive to future employers.

Course structure

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All our courses include a mix of world politics and international relations; comparative and national politics; political theory; and approaches and methods. 

Our first-year core units provide an introduction to concepts such as power, the state, democracy, freedom and citizenship. Learn about political institutions and practice in a range of different countries; theories and controversies in international relations; and how we go about studying and researching the 'political'. 

The second year introduces you to the major subfields of the discipline: political theory, international relations, and comparative and national politics. Units are exciting and varied and could include The Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa, Green Political Theory, Politics and Policymaking in the UK, and more. 

The final year offers a wide choice from a changing menu of more specialist units, allowing you to focus on what interests you most. These may include: 

  • States and Markets
  • Feminisms, Gender and International Relations
  • The Politics of the Contemporary Labour Party
  • Peace Building Theory and Practice
  • Populism and Politics in India.

Single honours students will write a dissertation, providing an opportunity to concentrate on a single topic of special interest. Joint honours students can choose to take the dissertation as an option.

Enhanced skills training

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Politics is a partner in Bristol Q-Step, part of a national initiative offering additional skills training in the social sciences.

We offer the option of three- and four-year degree programmes, combining core disciplinary learning with enhanced quantitative skills training in applied data analysis. This training is relevant to research in the social sciences.

Find out more about our 'with Quantitative Research Methods' courses.

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