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 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 for European exchange students

European exchange students are required to select all modules from the Department of Politics and International Relations. Each module is worth 20 credits.

Module title

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. Following this, the main focus will be on sketching the outlines of the global economy (past and present) by considering particular commodities. This provides a novel way to introduce 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.
Planet Politics POL123 From the atmosphere to Antarctic ice sheets, the Earth has been fundamentally transformed by human activity: we now inhabit a ‘human planet’. At the same time, from mining and agriculture to modern patterns of resource consumption, humankind has become dependent on the very activities that have caused these transformations. 

Far from being automatic or inevitable, these transformations are deeply political on multiple levels – in their causes, in their consequences, and in the many arguments and differences over how to respond to them. 

This module will introduce students to some of this ‘Planet Politics’. It will consider questions such as: 
  • Are we on the verge of a planetary ecological crisis? 
  • Is capitalism the problem, or the solution? 
  • Are there just too many people? 
  • Is meaningful international environmental cooperation possible? 
  • What are the vested interests obstructing change? What forms of social resistance are appropriate? 
  • What is ‘environmental justice’? 
Examining both key environmental and resource issues and the main approaches to studying them, the module asks some of the biggest questions about life: how should we live, and what should we do?
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 World's Wicked Problems POL126 This module will introduce students to key international relations concepts and discussions. Students will be able to understand, analyse and reflect on some of  the most pressing issues in the international arena including: 
  • migration
  • climate change
  • poverty and global inequalities
  • sexual violence 
  • armed conflict 
This introductory module will equip students with the tools to continue engaging with more in-depth theoretical and empirical international relations discussions as they progress through their studies.
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.
Tackling the World's Wicked Problems POL242 Rising poverty and inequality within and between states, increased droughts, flooding and environmental degradation, armed civil conflicts and war, infectious diseases, gender based violence, institutionalized racism, food insecurity are just some of the pressing problems that the world faces today. 

What solutions are there? 

What sources of knowledge can we draw on to develop ways forward to tackle such problems? 

This module will present students with a variety of theoretical perspectives and tools, such as Postcolonialism, and Green Theory, that seek to address the various ‘wicked problems’. Students will be tasked with critically evaluating different International Relations theories and their applications, assessing their utility and ability to practically solve the most pressing problems in world politics. 

Global problems arguably require global solutions, and therefore global sources of knowledge. This module will also introduce students to ‘non-Western’ perspectives such as ‘Chinese IR’ and Ubuntu, in the process getting students to examine their ‘problem-solving’ capacities.
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.
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 historical, 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.
The Making of the Modern Middle East POL243 This module examines the major socio-economic and political dynamics that govern contemporary Middle East. 

Drawing on insights from anthropology, history, politics, political economy and gender studies this module explores key historical developments and political themes in the region and will provide students with historical and theoretical toolkits to analyse various political events in the Middle East. 

Students will learn how to:
  • use politics from below perspective
  • listen for multiple discourses and silences
  • contextualise voices and silences historically, politically, economically and geographically in wider regional and global power structures. 

The module will equip students with the conceptual and analytical skills to de-exceptionalise their understanding of Middle East politics.
Africa in the World POL240 Africa has long been treated as a marginal part of the world, both historically and in relation to contemporary global politics. This module aims to take this misconception away by exploring the crucial role that Africa plays in the current world order and the way it has historically evolved. 

Students will be introduced to the political, economic, socio-cultural, and military of Africa’s international relations and be familiarized with the key actors, institutions and processes involved. 

We will look at how the slave trade and colonialism have shaped the modern world order, the global reverberations of African independence movements and pan-Africanism, and how continuing unequal relations are expressed in, amongst others, the politics of debt and military intervention. 

The module will also analyse Africa’s relations to emerging global powers, such as China. To analyze these issues, the module will equip students with a range of theoretical and conceptual tools from the field of international relations, drawing to a considerable extent on the work of African thinkers.

Module options for study abroad students

Study Abroad students can get credits from any department in the University (subject to availability and specific module prerequisites), including the Department of Politics and International Relations.

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 Luke Ulas from the Department of Politics and International Relations:


The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Information last updated: 29 September 2022

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