School of Law, Criminology and Government

BSc (Hons) Politics with Spanish

Combine politics and Spanish and open doors to a number of different European and international career paths. You’ll give your degree an international edge with the option of spending your final year in a Spanish speaking country. As well as perfecting your language skills you’ll also develop an understanding of politics in modern societies with a particular focus on the international economy.

The course is tailored for students with varying levels of Spanish ability - either new to the language or holding an A level. You’ll learn from research-active staff, leading the way in their subjects. Members of the team are internationally renowned for their work on elections and electoral systems and ethnopolitics. You will also enhance your employability by taking part in extra-curricular events and talks organised by our student-run Politics and International Affairs society (PIASOC).

Key features

  • Tailored for students with varying levels of Spanish ability - either new to the language or holding an A level.
  • Develop specific knowledge of the disciplines of politics – understand the significance and nature of political processes, the variety of forms of government and the concepts that inform their operation.
  • Broaden your knowledge of Spanish, focussing in particular on language relevant to politics and the international economy.
  • Engage with political institutions and processes to acquire a detailed knowledge of these systems and how they interact. You’ll use current affairs as case studies to bring broader principles to life.
  • Seize the opportunity to spend your third year in a Spanish speaking country (optional).
  • Learn from research-active staff, leading the way in their subjects. Members of the team are internationally renowned for their work on elections and electoral systems and ethnopolitics.
  • Enhance your employability by taking part in extra-curricular events and talks organised by our student-run Politics and International Affairs society (PIASOC).

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you’ll take a Spanish language module relevant to your language ability. You’ll be introduced to the importance of the twin themes of democracy and democratisation, and investigate how different countries rule themselves. You’ll be encouraged to consider the contribution different theories can make to thinking about contemporary issues.
    Core modules
    • PIR100 Discovering World Politics

      The team-taught immersive module introduces students to key concepts in the fields of Politics and IR and provides them with the necessary skills and tools to write essays and engage with academic debates. It also provides an opportunity for team-building for both students and staff.

    • POL100 Democracy and Democratization

      This module provides the foundation for the study of democracy and democratisation, with a focus on competing theories of democratic governance and how these can be applied in a critical analysis of the practices and institutions of governments.

    • POL101 Comparative Democracies

      This module introduces students to the key themes involved in the study of democracies. It examines each of these topics within a comparative framework. The application of the key themes will be achieved through the medium of theoretical approaches and case study application.

    Optional modules
    • GOV1000PP One Planet? Society and Sustainability

      This module addresses some of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century from a variety of ideological and political perspectives. Through real-world case studies and critical reflection of lived experiences, we explore and debate the complex, interdependent processes underpinning sustainability and global inequality and insecurities. You develop an understanding of key drivers and public policy impacts and consider future alternative scenarios. The emphasis is on active, collaborative, learning via field trips and debates.

    • LAW1000PP Ethics and Justice in the Balance

      This short intensive module will provide a basic introduction to ethical considerations in human activity, social life and institutional decision making. It provides a platform to enable students to evaluate concepts of justice, law and ethics as well as themes of morality, duty and responsibility, in relation to everyday individual and collective choices of action.

    • LCS101 Cross-Cultural Competence

      The rapid progress of globalisation makes the skills of international collaboration and cross-cultural competence essential attributes for future careers. The module develops these skills by introducing global theories of cultural difference and successful intercultural communication, and demonstrating their application in practical business / professional scenarios. Specific countries are also studied with particular focus, including presentations by guest experts.

    • SFTA1 Spanish Fast Track A1

      This module is aimed at students who have little or no previous knowledge of Spanish, but who wish to make rapid progress. It develops communicative competence towards intermediate level, enabling students to establish social and working relations with speakers of Spanish, to negotiate everyday needs, and to communicate using spoken and simple written language in limited situations.

    • SFTB1 Spanish Fast Track B1

      This module is designed for students who wish to make rapid progress via a fast-track route at intermediate level. It develops their ability to use both the spoken and written language effectively beyond routine situations, to establish and maintain effective social and working relations with speakers of Spanish, and to understand key aspects of Spanish / Hispanic culture.

    • SPNX400 Spanish Advanced 1

      This module is aimed at students with A level or equivalent in the foreign language, or as a progression from Spanish 3. It aims to consolidate knowledge of grammar and vocabulary and to provide a firm base for future studies. At the same time the student's communicative competence is developed through the study of materials of relevance to the foreign country today.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you'll build on your knowledge and sharpen your understanding of key issues in politics. You’ll also delve into topics at the heart of 21st century debate, including the EU, democracy and globalisation.

    Core modules
    • PIR200 International Political Economy

      This module analyses how the governance of international economic affairs has developed from the Mercantilist expansion of early modern Europe to the present day. It introduces four alternative approaches to the study of IPE. It presents the leading historical narratives of the evolution of the modern world political economy, and then investigates its development since 1945.

    • POL200 The European Union: Democracy Beyond the Nation State

      This module introduces students to the history, structure, key themes and potential future development of the European Union. It examines each of these aspects within the context of theories of democracy, and the challenges to such theories presented by the supranational institutions of the EU.

    • POL201 Democracy and Globalization: Citizens and the Modern State

      Students taking this course will discover how social and economic change in the modern era impacts upon traditional political structures. The course demonstrates how structures face increasing challenges from alternative forms of political action, ranging in scope from the local to global. Much of the analysis will be comparative in scope and specific case studies will be undertaken of countries initially examined at level 4.

    • POL203 Civil Society and the Public Sphere

      This module analyses the role of civil society and the public sphere in democratic governance and in democratization from a variety of theoretical perspectives.

    Optional modules
    • LCS200 Culture and Society 2

      This module examines a range of aspects which define Hispanic and Francophone worlds, focusing predominantly on the contemporary period. In addition, it develops a range of key skills which will support study at undergraduate level. For those students electing a languages Minor pathway, the module anchors linguistic competence through a deeper understanding of the cultural referents specific to these countries.

    • SFTA2 Spanish Fast Track A2

      This module is designed as the progression module for students who have successfully completed the first year of the Spanish `fast-track'. It will enable rapid progress, consolidating knowledge of grammar and vocabulary and providing a firm base for ongoing study. At the same time the student's communicative competence is developed through the study of materials of relevance to Spain and the Hispanic world today.

    • SFTB2 Spanish Fast Track B2

      This module is designed to enable rapid progress at an advanced level, further extending students¿ ability to communicate in more complex situations and their understanding of the structures of the language. Particular attention is paid to developing skills of relevance to a study or work placement in the foreign country.

    • SPNX500 Spanish Advanced 2

      This module is designed as a progression from Advanced 1, or for other students who have pursued their study of the foreign language beyond A level or its equivalent. It will further extend their ability to communicate in more complex situations and their understanding of the structures of the language. Particular attention is paid to developing skills of relevance to a study or work placement in the foreign country.

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you'll deepen your knowledge by engaging with key concepts and debates in modern politics. You’ll investigate ethnopolitics in contemporary Europe, the politics of the US and elections in the UK.

    Core modules
    • LCS300 Culture and Society 3

      This module comprises a series of lectures on aspects relating to the French and Spanish speaking worlds, using sources (text, music, the media) in both the target language (for the benefit of Minor pathway students) and English. It requires independent research and analysis, with appropriate supervision.

    • PIR300 Dissertation and PDP Review

      This module provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their attainment of the aims and objectives of the Honours Programme. It requires the design and execution of a dissertation of 12,000 words in the field of political science, together with the submission of a 1,500 word formative Literature Review detailing the aims and objectives of the dissertation together with a consideration of the extant academic literature in the field of the research question.

    Optional modules
    • PIR301 Contemporary Issues in International Relations

      This module will explore the transformation of political community in the 21st century through the prism of international organisations such as the United Nations. The aim is to consider the key question whether `governance¿ is possible in world politics, and whether and to what extent international organisations can play a constructive role in such governance. The module begins with an introduction to international organisations and global governance, including the various theoretical approaches with their different assumptions about the nature of international politics, and competing predictions about international organisations in global governance.

    • PIR304 US Foreign Policy Since 1945

      This module introduces students to different approaches to studying US foreign policy. As well as providing an empirical survey of America's foreign relations since 1945, it draws on IR theory to examine its changing place in the world. Students will examine historical and contemporary themes in US foreign policy and explore the complex mix of factors that combine to influence it. The module will examine US interests in different parts of the world and evaluate how US foreign policy has affected regional and international orders. The ultimate objective of the course is to explore how US foreign policy shapes the world we live in.

    • PIR305 The Politics of the United States

      This module introduces students to the fundamental principles of politics in the United States. Domestic politics and the foreign influence of the United States is considered, with specific emphasis placed on the role of the Constitution and institutions of governance in promoting (or inhibiting) democracy both domestically and abroad.

    • PIR306 Environmental Political Economy

      This module examines the problem of environmental degradation and its implications for our global political economy. It discusses the major debates in political thought around the causes of environmental degradation. The module outlines the major attempts to build international regimes for global environmental governance, and the difficulties and obstacles that such attempts have encountered. A wide range of ideas, policy proposals, innovations in governance, and templates for political activism within the environmental movement are critically evaluated.

    • PIR307 Europe in the World

      The European Union is the world's major trading block and its most integrated region. This module takes a holistic look at the EU's role in the world and the link between its economic and political presence. Accordingly it concentrates on the impact of the EU on the world (including the developing world) but also considers the internal dynamics of Europe.

    • PIR310 Work Based Learning in Politics or International Relations

      This module provides students with opportunities to gain practical insights into the workings of organisations whose role and function have clear relevance to the focus and subject matter of their undergraduate degree in Politics or International Relations, and to link such insights to their acquired knowledge and understanding of social science theories and concepts. In addition the module will prepare students for the graduate job market and encourage their autonomous engagement in personal development planning.

    • SPNX600 Spanish Advanced 3

      This module is designed as a progression from Advanced 2, and is normally aimed at final year advanced students of the foreign language who have not had an extended period of residence in the foreign country. It enables them to build on the advanced language skills that they have already acquired and apply these to more specialised and complex situations (such as presentation and translation).

    • SPNX700 Spanish Advanced 4

      This module is normally taken by final year students of the foreign language who have completed an extended period of residence in the foreign country. It builds on their increased fluency and confidence, and their personal experience of the foreign culture, and enables them to develop the application of their skills in more sophisticated and demanding situations.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BSc Politics 16 17 0941

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff


A levels

Including a minimum of two A levels with grade D at A level Spanish or GCSE Grade A in any foreign language.


18 Unit BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM in any subject plus grade D in A level (or equivalent) Spanish. 

BTEC National Diploma modules

If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.


Pass a named Access to HE Diploma in any subject with at least 33 credits at merit/distinction, including 12 level 3 credits in Spanish at merit. Alternatively, previous/current study in A level Spanish (grade D) will be considered alongside Access Course.

International Baccalaureate

26 overall to include 4 in Spanish at Higher Level.


All applicants must have GCSE (or equivalent) mathematics and English at grade C or above.


14-19 Diplomas: accepted – please enquire. 

Other combinations and non-A level qualifications also considered.

Short of the entry requirements for this course? Don’t worry you may be eligible for a foundation year to prepare you for possible entry onto this course for the following year.

Learn more about foundation years with the Faculty of Business

English language requirements

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

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Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

Study BSc (Hons) Politics with Plymouth University

Find out more about what it's like to study politics at Plymouth University.

Discover more about the expert academic staff who will teach you on the course.

Find out more about BSc (Hons) Politics

The Elections Centre

Since 1985 the Elections Centre has compiled analysis and information relating to all aspects of electoral politics in Britain. Data supplied by the Centre is widely regarded as the ‘official’ source for such information.

Research projects have been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, Arts and Humanities Research Council and the UK Government.

Discover more about The Elections Centre

Our student network is your business network for the future

It’s our students that make us different. Prepare to join a very active community of engaged students. In partnership with our people they are the driving force behind Plymouth University’s internationally recognised focus on social enterprise and sustainability, as well as one of the best students' unions in the UK.

Be part of it now, find out more about the Faculty of Business.

Meet the tutors

Professors Michael Thrasher and Colin Rallings have written extensively on electoral systems, results and British politics. Together they co-direct the Elections Centre and regularly appear on Sky News, ITV, and the BBC, as well as in print journalism.

Explore theory and method in political science to understand how Professors Rallings and Thrasher have achieved their high media profile.