Find the answers to some of our frequently asked questions. Featuring answers from the department, staff, and students.

postgraduate students in seminar



What are core modules?

Core modules are the ones that are set by the department each year that are compulsory to study. These modules are designed to build a foundational knowledge of politics and international relations by introducing you to key themes and skills within the discipline.

Then, to find out what interests you most and to explore new areas of politics you choose your optional modules from the list of modules we offer.

The number of core and optional modules change throughout the degree programme.

How do dual degrees work?

With dual honours you would split your time evenly between the two departments. This means 50% with politics and 50% with your dual department. 

I’d say dual honours provides you with a much broader depth of knowledge and understanding. When picking modules, you have such a big variety that you can really tailor to your own interests.

Scarlett Mills

BA Politics and Sociology

Do I need to have studied Politics before? 

No, you don't need to have studied politics before. The course is taught to include students of all levels of political knowledge/experience in first year. If you have done politics previously, you may find some aspects of the course familiar. Everything that I have learned has been completely new or supplementary to my previous knowledge having taken a A-level politics.

Pierre Posnic-Boyce

BA International Relations and Politics

How will I be assessed?

We assess our students using a variety of different assessment methods ranging from exams and essays, to book reviews, policy reports, presentations, reading memos, and more. These are all different depending on the module. This means that students learn a host of different skills throughout their degree, it also means that you can avoid certain types of assessment if you wish!

Can I study a language alongside my degree?

If you aren't studying a language degree but would still like to experience learning a language at University, you can do so through Languages for All. You can either study a language as part of your degree (through guided module choice) or alongside your degree (not-for-credit modules).

More information on languages for all


Can I transfer into the second year in the department?

 We only allow entry into Level One of our programmes, via UCAS, regardless of any prior HE achievement. 

Read our transfer policy 

What if I don't get the grades on results day?

If you didn’t get the grades you needed to meet the conditions of your offer, try not to panic. We can never guarantee a place as it will depend on whether we have any places left on the course you've applied for, any extenuating circumstances that may have impacted on your studies, and whether we believe you're sufficiently prepared for the course. The best thing to do is to give us a call on A Level results day to talk through your options. 

Can I audit additional modules in your department?

Unfortunately, we do not offer the option to audit modules in the department. This is due to each lecture and seminar being organised based on room and staff availability as well as registered cohort size. There are, however, a variety of different guest talks and extra-curricular lectures and seminars organised by our staff and students that you are welcome to attend. Keep an eye on our social media or your emails to find out about these events.

What work experience is available?

There are a number of placement opportunities for our students. One option is to undertake what we term a Degree with Placement Year. This is the opportunity to do a year-long paid work placement.  These optional placements are in your third year of study and you will return to Sheffield for your fourth year. This means you take an extra year, turning your 3 degree into a 4 year programme. You will be supported by the department and our careers team throughout the duration of your placement. 

If this is not for you, the University offers placements for shorter periods of time. This is often done via internships, which you can find out more about here.

We also have a variety of volunteering opportunities for you to try something new, get to know the city, develop your skills, and build your CV. Learn more about volunteering.

Student Life

How expensive is Sheffield?

I’d describe Sheffield as really budget-able! Living here definitely allows you to enjoy everything you want to whilst still being able to afford the essentials. It helps that Sheffield is a great student city so there are plenty of student-deals whether you’re clothes shopping, eating out or just drinking. I’d say the only pricey thing is depending upon which accommodation you chose, as en suites might be worth it but you do pay quite a bit more.

Scarlett Mills

BA Politics and Sociology

What is there to do in Sheffield?

Sheffield is a vibrant, green, modern city with real character. To learn more about what the city has to offer explore our Why Choose Sheffield page or head to the Welcome to Sheffield website.

Can I work while I study?

As a UK student you are able to work a part-time job while you are at University. However, we recommend that students on full-time courses work no more than 16 hours per week during term time, although many students like to work longer during vacation times.

If you are an international student on a visa please Read the University's guidance on working on a student visa.

Visit the careers service page for more information