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Politics and International Relations (PIR): Study


Undergraduate Study

Our four-year undergraduate degree offers a grounding in the fundamental elements of a Politics and IR education, including basic concepts, political thinkers, international organisations and comparative politics.  One feature of a Scottish undergraduate education is that it encourages choice and breadth, particularly in the early years of the degree, and our students choose options from across the College of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as other Colleges.  Our honours years allow students to pursue more specialist options, a full list of which appear on this page

 All fourth-year students complete a dissertation on a research topic of their choosing, supervised by permanent staff.  Throughout their study, all students, including those who study abroad in their third year, are assigned a permanent member of staff as their Personal Tutor, who can provide academic advice, such as study skills, essay writing, course choices and career progression. All students are also assigned a Student Support Officer, for help with more administrative or pastoral elements.

We run a number of extra-curricular programmes for our undergrads. These include the peer learning programme ‘PIR pals’, which brings first year and honours students together, as well as ‘PIR+’ a series of talks or presentations by staff to show politics in action.  We have an active PIR society,  which publishes its own magazine, Leviathan, three times a year. Our students are also often active in other clubs at Edinburgh, including the Debating Society, Model UN, and the student wings of political parties.

Parliamentary Placement Programme

The Parliamentary Placement Programme offers UK and international undergraduates the opportunity to complete courses in Scottish and British Politics taught by Edinburgh faculty, as well as be matched with a Member of the Scottish Parliament to complete their placement.