Exchange opportunities

We welcome students from across the world to study with us in the Department of Politics and International Relations.

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Studying Politics and International Relations

Students arriving from exchange programs (Erasmus+ or Study Abroad) at Sheffield can choose from a variety of courses offered in the Department of Politics and International Relations.  

  • Studying a full academic year. You can choose up to 120 credits per year.  Each semester will need to be 40-60 credits.  
  • Studying a semester.  You can choose between 40 and 60 credits.

Module options

  • Erasmus+ students are required to select all modules from the Department of Politics and International Relations.
  • Study Abroad students can get credits from any departments in the University (subject to availability and specific module prerequisites).

The following modules are available for incoming exchange students.  Each module is worth 20 credits.

    Semester 1

    Module code


    Introduction to Global Political Economy POL119 This module provides an introduction to global political economy (GPE). It covers key mainstream and critical theories and considers critically what GPE is. The main focus will then be on sketching the outlines of the global economy (past and present) by considering particular commodities. This provides an interesting way to introducing the student to the major processes of global trade, finance and production. It also considers the political economy of race, class and gender as core theoretical themes that interweave the empirical examination of the global political economy, from roughly 1500 through to the 21st century.
    Introduction to Western Political Thought POL121 This module provides an introduction to key themes and thinkers in Western political thought. It explores the different meanings of the nature of politics and the political in this tradition. One key theme will be the relation between human nature and politics. This will be explored through a series of deep conflicts between reason and desire, the state and individual, and the public and private. These conflicts are examined through the different visions of politics of a selection of ancient and early modern thinkers. The module will also engage with critiques of the canon of Western political thought itself, in particular from a postcolonial perspective.
    The Left: Past, Present and Future  POL2000 This module considers the past, present, and future of 'The Left'. From its origins in the French Revolution, this movement has struggled to balance equality, liberty and solidarity. Implementing these values has given rise to many different stands of leftist thought, leading to debates between radicals and proponents of meliorism. This module gives students the historical, theoretical and empirical tools to understand 'The Left' as a continuing project. Core topics include: defining 'The Left', its origins and theoretical development, its relation to politicial economy, as well as the current state of the left in the UK and around the world.
    The Political Economy of Global Capitalism POL217 The global economy impacts all of our lives. The purpose of this module is to explore the political dynamics that underpin the organisation of economic relations on a global scale. It focuses on many of the most important issues within the global economy, ranging from the contested rise of twentieth century globalisation to the recent Eurozone sovereign debt crisis. This module works with a distinction between International Political Economy (IPE) as an academic sub-discipline and body of scholarly knowledge, and the global economy as the sum total of all economic transactions and dynamics that are “out there”. We will use IPE in order to make sense of how the global economy hangs together and works, why it hangs together in particular ways, and whether another way is possible. As a result, you will come away with detailed knowledge of the global economy, the tools to critically analyse it, and the way in to a number of puzzles that lie at the heart of political economy.
    International Relations Theory POL223 This module provides an introduction to international relations theory. The module examines the beginnings of the Discipline and demonstrates how these origins have continued to shape contemporary international relations theory. The module then outlines the key areas of theoretical debate, including Realism, Liberalism, Marxism, Postmodernism, Constructivism, Neorealism, Feminism and Critical Theory.
    Political Theory in Practice POL234 This module explores key debates in political theory, and the implications of those debates for current political practice. It first examines debates surrounding justice, and what these mean for welfare and taxation policies. It then analyses disputes over the meaning of well-being, and their implications for policies surrounding disability and health. It introduces students to different ideas of toleration, and how these influence laws on free speech. It also explores controversies over multiculturalism, and in particular its impact upon women. Finally, it examines care ethics and its implications for how we value the environment.

    Semester 2

    Module code Description
    Introduction to Comparative Politics POL109 This module examines the utility of the comparative approach to politics with a particular focus on democracies, dictatorships, and semi-democratic regimes. The key features of each regime type are considered and these are used to explain the nature of the comparative method, its strengths and weaknesses. This course also applies a comparative lens to processes such as democratisation, modernisation, and mobilisation. This course will draw on a wide range of examples from democratic, authoritarian, and semi-democratic countries.
    Introduction to International Relations POL117 This module will introduce students to the discipline of International Relations (IR) and therefore the study of global politics. IR is a complex, multi-level and multi-actor field whose terrain spans global to individual issues. To provide a comprehensive introduction to IR, the module will focus on two questions: 1) What is the subject matter of IR? And 2) What is the unit of analysis? Structuring the module as such will introduce students to key debates in IR and provide a broad overview of the subject matter (from global governance to individual activism) and different actors (from the UN to terrorists).
    British Politics  POL118 This module will introduce students to key concepts and debates in British politics through an examination of post-1976 British political history. Each lecture will take as its starting-point one day in recent British history and will describe what happened on that day and what happened as a result of that day. Each of the seminars will then follow that discussion: paying particular attention to concepts and ideas within the study of politics which can help us make sense of those events.
    The Politics and Government of the EU POL206 This module will provide students with a working knowledge of European integration, and of the main institutions of the European Union, including the Council of Ministers, the Commission and the Parliament. The module consists of a series of lectures on the history and institutions of the European Union, and seminars to discuss issues raised in the lectures.
    Contemporary Security Challenges POL230 This module examines a series of key contemporary challenges to international security. It addresses debates about the changing nature of security, analyses some of the causes of conflict and the development of new security threats, and assesses some of the ways in which states seek to manage these threats. A range of approaches are examined in order to provide students with a theoretically-informed but policy-relevant understanding of security-related issues in the twenty-first century.
    Development  POL235 This module explores development, through a focus on the key debates about, approaches to, and strategies for engendering it that have prevailed in different parts of the world at different points in history. It emphasises how development is not just about what happens in poor countries: it has always been historically, ideologically and spatially rooted. It moves forward chronologically and geographically, starting with classical debates about British industrialisation, before examining contending visions of development in the post-war era; the diverse experiences of Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean; and the contemporary rise of China. It ends by returning to Britain and its growth crisis; itself a manifestation of a peculiar development problem.
    Human Rights: Power and Politics POL237 The module introduces students to the big debates about human rights. It explores the achievements of the human rights agenda, as well as its failures. The module interrogates a number of important questions about the relationship between human rights and politics. How do human rights work in domestic and international politics? What are effective strategies for realising rights? What role do non-state actors play in the realisation of human rights? Finally, by focusing on the methodological and ethical challenges of researching and measuring human rights, the module makes space for equipping students for their own future research projects.
    Oppression and Resistance  POL238 This module considers oppression and resistance from a variety of perspectives. Although the Enlightenment sought to liberate individuals from social/political domination, it failed to address many forms of oppression at home and was bound to European projects of colonialism. Addressing these forms of violence has been the major project of post-Enlightenment thought and global social movements. This module gives students the historial, theoretical and empirical tools to understand modern oppression and resistance. It explores: the legacy of the Enlightenment, feminism, sexuality, racism, post-colonial and decolonial thought, intersectionality and social movement case studies such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo.
    Autocracies and Democracies POL239 This module looks at autocracies and democracies and investigates several aspects of regime transitions. It highlights the complexities associated with defining and measuring regimes. It examines numerous theories and modes of transition to democracy. It analyses the difficulties and challenges of building democracies and asks when (or if) democratization is complete. It looks at various institutional arrangements and their effects on different regime types. It analyses the persistence and performance of authoritarian regimes. It discusses threats to democracies and reversals to authoritarianism. The module uses extensively examples from around the world to analyse transitions and question various theories.

    Module restrictions: 

    Exchange students are unable to take the following modules:

    • POL120 - Analysing Politics
    • POL229 - Political Analysis: Research Design and Data Analysis
    • Any level 3 modules 

    Additionally, there may be additional restrictions based on the demand for modules during the academic year.

    Language requirements:

    Incoming exchange students must prove proficiency in English to be accepted for study at Sheffield.  Requirements currently are an IELTS combined score of 7.0 (minimum 6.0 in each component).  These requirements may be subject to change.

    Contact us for more information

    If you have any questions, you can contact Dr Nasos Roussias from the Department of Politics and International Relations:

    Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 1655


    Find out more about Erasmus+ and how to applyFind out more about study abroad options for overseas students