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Global Politics and Development (with placement year)

BA (Hons)
Entry 2018: BBC / 112 UCAS points
Duration: 4 years
Attendance mode: Full-time
Award: BA (Hons)
UCAS code: L291
Placement: Placement year available
Suitable for international students
Faculty of Social Sciences
Apply Prospectus downloads


This new Global Politics and Development (with placement year) programme for September 2018 entry explores the transformation of the global political economy.

You'll develop a strong understanding of theories, concepts and topics in global politics, with a particular emphasis on the politics and practice of trade, aid and sustainable development, and the politics of developing countries and regions.

You will undertake an interdisciplinary exploration of the historical dynamics and contemporary transformation of the global economy, and the implications of these for issues such as:

  • social and environmental sustainability
  • economic growth and globalisation
  • global governance
  • statebuilding and national resource governance in the Global South
  • inequality and poverty

The programme develops skills such as ethical reasoning, policy and impact analysis, monitoring and evaluation techniques, and project management.

Why Bradford?

The University of Bradford has been pioneering and teaching Peace Studies and International Development for over 40 years: we have excellent library collections and our academic staff are experts in their field. We don’t sit in an Ivory Tower – we make knowledge work by collaborating with governments and NGOs around the world. Our research in politics and international relations was ranked 7th out of 56 universities in the UK in terms of its impact on society and public policy (Research Excellence Framework, December 2014).

So, the content of our brand-new degree programmes is informed by the up-to-date expertise of our lecturers and enriched by the experience of practitioners in our field, including our many alumni, with whom we partner.

Our teaching is very interactive and focussed on professionalism and employability. You will study in groups and teams, develop your own research projects, go on field trips, engage in extended simulation games, do ‘immersion days’ on key topics, and develop a wide range of tangible skills directly applicable to careers in politics, international relations, peace and conflict and international development. Our teaching and assessment methods are tailored to a wide range of learning styles, and meant to keep you busy, engaged and enjoying your course!

You will also learn from your fellow students and from the city. The Division is diverse with, typically, over 40 nationalities among our students – meet the world in your classroom! Bradford itself is a fascinating and very multicultural city, as well as being one of the cheapest cities to live and study in the UK, and we make the most of all the city and its beautiful surroundings have to offer by working with community groups.

Entry requirements

Typical offer: BBC / 112 UCAS points

A levels:

There are no specific subject requirements.

BTEC Extended Diploma:

DMM — there are no specific subject requirements.

Applicants on Access Programmes:

Meet UCAS Tariff of 120 — there are no specific subject requirements.

Plus minimum of:

GCSE English at grade C or 4 (equivalents accepted).

Additional entry requirements:

If you do not meet the entry requirements for direct entry onto this course you may be interested in our Foundation Year in Social Sciences and Management or our International Certificate of Foundation Studies.

English language requirements:

Minimum IELTS at 6.0 or the equivalent.

If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, you can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course. See the Language Centre for more details.


The modules for this course can be found in the latest programme specification.

Year One

Module Title Core/Option/Elective Credits
Global Issues and Challenges Core 60
Histories of the Present Core 20
States and Power Core 20
Development, Poverty and Globalisation Core 20

In the first year of the programme, we begin with an interdisciplinary exploration of contemporary Global Issues and Challenges. You will spend the first semester working on a series of contemporary global problems, learning how to begin the process of understanding, analysing and investigating causes and dynamics, as a starting point for identifying possible solutions. In the second semester, you will begin the process of thinking critically about the narratives of politics and development. Who writes the history of development and whose voices are silenced? What is the role of the state in this? And how should we understand the changing role of the state in a globalizing world economy?

In the 60 credit module Global Issues and Challenges we start exploring how we might tackle the many problems facing the world today: How do we begin to understand the immense problems that face us, in all their complexity, let alone actually tackle them? In this module you will learn how to get started: you will learn some basic tools for beginning to unpick and analyse the pressing problems of our time. You will work to develop your own understanding of key global problems as a basis for beginning to think about how they might be resolved.

Histories of the Present asks critical questions about the historical developments that have shaped present realities, and about the stories we tell about both past and present. If it is true that "History is written by the winners," that is, the powerful get to control the way that historical events are depicted and interpreted, then how, and how successfully, do they do this? To what extent does our everyday understanding of the past reflect the interests of the powerful? And how does this affect our responses to problems of the present? In this module, you will explore the relationship between knowledge and power in constructing our understanding of the contemporary world and the role that institutions such as museums and objects such as memorials play in this. Drawing on the University's own archive of documents relating to the peace movement and its special relationship with the Bradford Peace Museum, you will explore sources and documents relating to historical episodes of war and peace and get the opportunity to design and present your own museum exhibit or memorial presenting an alternative history of contemporary problems.

The modern state is central to the contemporary exercise of power, yet states differ a great deal from one another and political scientists argue about how exactly the state functions in both domestic and international politics. In the module States and Power you will learn about the institutions, ideologies and practices that comprise the modern state. You will compare the traditional "Westminster model", which political scientists have long regarded as the ideal or ‘normal’, with the messy reality of states around the world. You will explore the implications of neo-liberalism and post-liberalism for the welfare state in Europe, consider the challenges of state fragility and state failure in a variety of conflict-affected regions, and evaluate the claim that authoritarian one-party states, such as China's, are proving more effective at grappling with contemporary global challenges. In so doing, you will learn about the way power works, engage with debates on the factors constraining or contributing to social, economic and political change, and explore the interrelationship between state, society, environment, technology and human development.

The global political economy is in the process of fundamental transformation. Power relations between north and south, east and west, are changing rapidly, with huge implications for international collaboration on issues such as trade, aid, global governance and on trans-border problems. In the module Development, Poverty and Globalisation we will explore the important issues of poverty, inequality, globalisation, economic growth, contrasting meanings of 'development', European colonialism and the rise of capitalism. We look at academic research on these topics, but also investigate the ways in which international organisations and individual governments promote political agendas. We start to look at the ways in which people have challenged the roles of these institutions, and the way development is conceptualised and promoted. Students will conduct supervised research, with feedback and support, to develop academic writing skills. The final assessment brings this module together with the other two modules running in that semester (‘History of the Present’, and ‘States, Power and Political Systems’) in one portfolio of work, to combine and demonstrate learning from all three.

Year Two

Module Title Core/Option/Elective Credits
Analysing Contemporary Conflict Core 20
Power, Politics and Inequality Core 20
Globalisation and Global Governance Core 20
Applied Skills for Conflict Engagement Core 20
Peacebuilding, Conflict and Security Core 20
The Politics of Development Core 20

In the second year, you will investigate further the dynamics of globalisation and the consequent changes in the distributions of power and wealth across the world and within states. You will consider issues and challenges in governing economies and development at international, national and local levels, and you will explore the relationship between conflict and development. At the same time you will begin developing the skills that development practitioners use in their everyday work: skills like conflict sensitivity analysis, participatory appraisal and gender analysis. You will begin acquiring skills used by development practitioners to analyse and evaluate development contexts, implement and monitor development programmes, and measure development indicators.

In Analysing Contemporary Conflict you will learn knowledge and analytic skills needed for a systematic and critical understanding of the causes, dynamics and impacts of conflict in the contemporary world. You will apply key concepts in various research and analysis tasks, exploring contemporary cases of conflict and the validity or limitations of existing academic thinking. As such, the module emphasises an applied and practical approach to conflict analysis, developing your skills in gathering and analysing information about relevant case-studies and contexts of conflict.

Power, Politics and Inequality asks some challenging questions about dramatically widening inequality in the world today, within and between nations. Should we equate inequality with injustice, and is there a clear link between inequality and violence? What do we mean by inequality anyway - inequality of wealth? Of income? Of opportunity? In the course of this module you will investigate the concept of inequality, the ways in which it can be measured, and the normative and empirical debates about the relationship between inequality, politics and power.

We don't have a world government, and we are never likely to have one; but increasingly problems spill across borders and require co-ordinated action at a global scale. How is such co-ordinated action directed? Who are the powerful actors in global politics? Why are some international institutions more powerful than others? And why do we make more progress towards good governance globally in some policy areas than in others? In the Globalisation and Global Governance module, you will learn to analyse and explain the way that global governance systems develop and operate, and the constraints and opportunities that determine what kind of a job we do of governing global issues.

In Applied Skills for Conflict Engagement, you will get opportunities to learn in an experiential manner about some of the skills and qualities needed in conflict engagement, in a range of contexts of peace and development practice, including situation analysis, evaluating options for engagement, process planning, and skills for managing and resolving conflict. Different cases and scenarios will allow us to explore interventions at different scales, and in situations of increasing complexity, building understanding of the nature, challenges and value of conflict engagement.

How do we deal with situations of conflict and insecurity? Since the advent of peacebuilding as a term in United Nations parlance in the early 1990s, peacebuilding has developed into an industry, operating at a range of levels from village councils to the UN Security Council. In Peacebuilding, Conflict and Security we will consider two sides of peacebuilding. First, we will consider how the term has developed from a radical concept from the ideological fringe to a mainstream element of UN jargon, and the critiques of the way it has been used by liberal peacebuilders. Second, we will look at how peacebuilding is actually done in the field by peace, development and security practitioners. What are the tools and mechanisms that have been shown to work in stabilizing fragile contexts, and what do you need to know to use them effectively?

The global political economy is in the process of fundamental transformation. Power relations between north and south, east and west, are changing rapidly, with huge implications for international collaboration on issues such as trade, aid, global governance and on trans-border problems. In The Politics of Development module we explore the politics of development in the Global South, following the real world links in contemporary policy and practice. We explore the relevant theories and concepts from academic research but also look in detail at the practice of development strategies and policies on the ground in these countries. We will look at the more people-focussed approaches from non-governmental organisations and social movements, as well as the top-down strategies of governments and international organisations. In reviewing ‘what works’ and ‘what happens’ we will explore and practice some of the key professional techniques of impact analysis; monitoring and evaluation techniques; project management; and governance. There will also be opportunities to meet practitioners and policy makers.

Year Three

Module Title Core/Option/Elective Credits
Dissertation Core 40
Ethics in Peace and Development Practice Core 20
Pathways to Professional Practice Core 20
The Politics of International Crisis Response Core 20
Politics and Security in the Middle East Option 20
Creative Conflict Transformation Option 20
Contemporary Development Challenges Option 20

In the third year, you will also bring together everything that you have learned so far in three ways. First, you will produce an original dissertation. Second, you will undertake a professional task set, in most cases, by a real partner organization of the Division. Third, you will participate in a simulated emergency involving the entire third year cohort. You will be expected to make decisions, negotiate with other entities and generate strategies for dealing with an unfolding simulated humanitarian crisis, in order to understand the difficulties and complexities of real world crisis response. You can further develop areas of special interest by choosing one of three optional modules.

Your dissertation is a substantial capstone project with which to conclude your degree. It represents your opportunity to undertake an extended piece of research and writing, guided by an academic supervisor. You will draw on the various concepts and theories you have learned and applying these to a case study or issue area of your choice to come up with new understandings of or solutions to pressing challenges in the world. You will learn about doing research, how to set out a pertinent and important research question, using analytical tools to analyse data, developing your ideas into arguments. The dissertation is a very useful signature piece of work to impress future employers and show them your in-depth knowledge of an area.

In Ethics in Peace and Development Practice, we explore some of the moral questions that arise for individuals and organisations involved in humanitarian, development and peacebuilding initiatives. Responses to conflicts, humanitarian crises and development challenges, however well-intentioned, are rarely straightforward in practice. Indeed, interventions by external actors or third parties can cause lasting harm as well as good, whatever the scale or context of intervention. This module helps you identify and evaluate common ethical dilemmas and issues that arise in the field, showing why 'helping' roles are ethically complex. The module will improve your ability to make informed ethical judgements about relevant real-world cases, contributing to your personal and professional development.

Bridging the divide between academic theory and professional practice is essential for you to effectively deploy your university studies to make a contribution to the real world outside. Pathways to Professional Practice aims to provide you with preliminary familiarity with the everyday challenges and problems of the practical context of peace and development work, through conducting a placement with a partner organisation in Bradford, or through designing and implenting your own practical project focused on promoting the aims and goals of the university, the student community, or an organisation outside. Under the supervision of your personal academic tutor, you will produce a professional quality project document, and you will maintain a learning journal documenting the challenges and issues you face in the professional context, leading to a reflective report on your experience of professional work. The module also offers an opportunity to interact with peace and development professionals in specially designed workshops to assist you in identifying possible career pathways. Part of the assessment will comprise an interview in which you will present your achievements in response to questions from a panel of interviewers.

The Politics of International Crisis Response brings you together with fellow students in politics, security, international relations, and development studies. Working across these neighbouring disciplies, you will develop an understanding of the dynamics that bear on international responses to complex crises, including disasters, humanitarian or development emergencies, gross abuse of human or minority rights, violent conflict or inter-state security crises. Through relevant case studies, this module examines existing international and regional mechanisms for crisis response and identifies lessons from past experiences. A crisis simulation game and other simulation exercises will give you the opportunity to develop skills and experience that will help you to engage with the challenges and practices of relevant international policy and practitioner communities.

Politics and Security in the Middle East covers topics such as colonialism, decolonisation, fragility, governance, democracy, gender, development, conflict, security, terrorism, intervention, the formation of nation-state model, the rise and the fall of Arab nationalism, political Islam, regional security and oil politics. The module will allow students to draw on their knowledge of broader frameworks and theories to apply them to a specific region, the Middle East, and to particular case studies or themes in the region.

In his book 'The Moral Imagination', John Paul Lederach asks: 'What happens to peacebuilding practice if we shift from a guiding metaphor that we are providing professional services to one that we are engaged in a vocation to nurture constructive social change? What happens to process design if we think of ourselves as artists [as well as] professional specialists with technical expertise? What happens if building intuition and art are included in conflict resolution, mediation, and peacebuilding training?' Creative Conflict Transformation invites you to explore some of these questions, and to look beyond the most familiar peacemaking processes to include the arts (e.g. music, applied theatre, literature), memory work, and critical/peace education. It starts from the assumption that much work to address conflict and its legacies requires a capacity to both envision and act for change. How might we cultivate this capacity in ourselves and others? While this module can and should not provide final answers, it will draw inspiration from existing experiences and experiments and encourage you to reflect both creatively and critically on how they might help you shape your own approach to conflict engagement.

The global political economy is in the process of fundamental transformation. Power relations between north and south, east and west, are changing rapidly, with huge implications for international collaboration on issues such as trade, aid, global governance and on trans-border problems. In Contemporary Development Challenges students will learn about the challenges of applying theoretical models in a useful, ethical and reflective way, which is relevant to the well-being of people, and to the achievement of social, economic and environmental benefits for communities and societies. This will be done through investigating contemporary development issues which affect the Global South most acutely, and exploring these in case-study countries, by undertaking advanced supervised research projects, negotiated between students and tutors.

Reading lists

All reading lists can be found here.

Learning activities and assessment

Learning and teaching is delivered through a variety of means including training workshops, simulations, field visits, practical groupwork assignments and professional placements.

You will be engaged in independent research from Year One of the programme.

Career support and prospects

Career support

The University is committed to helping students develop and enhance employability and this is an integral part of many programmes. Specialist support is available throughout the course from Career and Employability Services including help to find part-time work while studying, placements, vacation work and graduate vacancies. Students are encouraged to access this support at an early stage and to use the extensive resources on the Careers website.

Discussing options with specialist advisers helps to clarify plans through exploring options and refining skills of job-hunting. In most of our programmes there is direct input by Career Development Advisers into the curriculum or through specially arranged workshops.

Employment statistics

88% of our 2016 Peace Studies and International Development graduates found employment or went on to further study within six months of graduating.*

Career prospects

On graduation you’ll have the professional competencies you need to launch a career in:

  • national and local government
  • global governance institutions
  • research institutes
  • international, national and local development agencies
  • environmental advocacy and policy work
  • private sector strategy and governance for sustainability
  • NGOs

Salary expectations

The average starting salary for our 2016 Peace Studies graduates was £20,571.*

*These DLHE statistics are derived from annually published data by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), based on those UK domiciled graduates who are available for employment or further study and whose destinations are known.


Our research in politics and international relations was ranked 7th out of 56 universities in the UK in terms of its impact on society and public policy (source - Research Excellence Framework, December 2014).


The teaching and learning in Peace Studies and International Development happens in a variety of spaces: lecture theatres, seminar rooms, flexible spaces with moveable furniture where students can work in groups.

We reach outside the classroom – for example, inviting guest speakers from around the world to debate via Skype to debate, and organising study sessions that make use of our innovative eco-friendly campus, and the diverse city of Bradford. We also take students on field trips, in the UK and abroad (for example, around Yorkshire, to Northern Ireland, to The Hague, and to a different African country each year), and extended role plays (in a youth hostel somewhere picturesque).

We have a lot of extra-curricular activity, guest speakers, seminars and training sessions. Our Student Liaison Officer also organises lots of social activity - our central, cosy common room is a great place to meet and learn from fellow students and host to quiz nights, international potluck suppers, free breakfasts, coffee breaks. And don’t let’s forget the annual Peace and Development Ball, and our very own Peace football team…

The JB Priestley Library has excellent resources, especially for Peace, Politics and Social Change, and International Development, in which the university specialises - see details of our Special Collections.

The library is open 24/7, as are other safe, welcoming and interactive spaces around campus designed for students’ to meet and study together.

The University and the Division are very global in outlook, and so are the students we attract. For that reason we offer free Modern Foreign Language classes for beginners in Arabic, French, German and Spanish. These two-hour weekly classes are led by experienced language teachers and result in a certificate of attendance. A much wider range of languages, such as Brazilian Portuguese or Korean, is taught – also for free – under a peer-to-peer scheme. Often PSID students get involved both as teachers and learners.

Fees, Finance and Scholarships

Tuition fees


  • Home/EU: £9,250*
  • Home/EU, sandwich placement year fee: 10% of the applicable full-time fee
  • International: £14,950
  • International, sandwich placement year fee: £1,500

* Fees going forward have been capped by the Government at £9,250 in October 2017.

See our Fees and Financial Support website for more details.

Financial support

Every year the University of Bradford awards numerous non-repayable scholarships to UK, EU and international students on the basis of academic excellence, personal circumstances or economic hardship.

These include:

  • Undergraduate cash bursaries to all Home and EU students whose family incomes are under £30,000 a year
  • Scholarships worth up to £3,500 over three years to all Home and EU students who achieve AAA or higher in their A-levels (or equivalent)
  • Half Fee Academic Excellence Scholarships for International Students
  • Sanctuary scholarships to enable forced migrants seeking asylum, or those already granted refugee status who cannot access student finance
  • Country specific scholarships

Adam Curle and James O'Connell Peace Scholarships

In addition, the Division of Peace Studies and International Development offers two scholarships to students who demonstrate leadership and academic potential.

Any applicant who has formally confirmed acceptance of our offer (either conditional or unconditional) of admission onto any of our undergraduate degree courses is eligible to apply. Each is worth £3,000 (£1,000 a year over three years) and can be used for any purpose – living expenses, books, internships, travel. 

Application is by a short personal statement. Email Dr Fiona Macaulay for more details.

How do I find out more?

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This is the current course information. Modules and course details may change, subject to the University's programme approval, monitoring and review procedures. The University reserves the right to alter or withdraw courses, services and facilities as described on our website without notice and to amend Ordinances, Regulations, fees and charges at any time. Students should enquire as to the up-to-date position when applying for their course of study.