Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2016

Politics and East European Studies BA

This degree programme combines training in politics, international relations and security issues with specialist courses studying Russia and Eastern Europe which are of contemporary relevance in the context of an enlarged EU and the changing international situation.

Key Information

Degree Programme
Politics and East European Studies BA
UCAS code
3 years
Application deadline
15 January 2016
Subject area
Total intake (by subject area)
50 (2016 entry)
Applications per place (by subject area)
5 (2014 entry)
Research Excellence Framework
64% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Entry requirements

A Levels

No specific subjects.
AS Levels
For UK-based students a pass in a further subject at AS level or equivalent is required.
English Language at grade B, plus Mathematics at grade C. For UK-based students, a grade C or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

IB Diploma

A total of 17-18 points in three higher level subjects, with no score below 5.

UK applicants qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Equivalent qualification

Edexcel Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF), or Edexcel Level 3 BTEC National Diploma (NQF) with Distinction, Distinction, Distinction.

Pass in Access to HE Diploma, with a minimum of 18-23 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the Level 3 units awarded with Merit.

D3,D3,D3 - D3,D3,M1in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects

AAA-AAB at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and AAA at Higher - AA at Advanced Higher and BBB at Higher)

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Diploma Core with grade A or B, plus 2 GCE A-levels at grades AA.

International applications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

UCL offers intensive one-year foundation courses to prepare international students for a variety of degree programmes at UCL.

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

For more information see our website: UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree benefits

  • This is an exciting time to study a region that is in a process of almost continuous change. Many central European countries are now becoming members of the enlarged European Union while Russia is re-emerging as an assertive power with major international consequences.
  • Gain knowledge of theoretical frameworks in social and political science and how to apply them to understand the processes of political and social change in Russia, the former Soviet Union and central and Eastern Europe.
  • The programme is taught by acknowledged experts in the field, all of whom speak one or more of the languages of the region.
  • The department is regularly consulted by organisations such as the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Union.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual courses, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Courses are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional courses varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

You will take compulsory courses in politics, sociology and international relations in years one and two - including courses on the political developments of Russia and other parts of the former USSR, and central and south-eastern Europe.

You will also undertake a dissertation, based on an independent research project, in your final year. Beyond this you can choose additional courses in economics, history, language, politics and sociology to match your interests.

You are strongly encouraged to learn Russian or another east European language as part of your degree. As well as making use of our excellent language teaching opportunities, you will also be able to access the foreign language resources of the SSEES Library.

Year One

Compulsory courses

Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe
Understanding Politics: The Big Questions in Contemporary Europe
Understanding Politics: How Politics Works
Understanding Society: Introduction to Political Sociology
Understanding Society: Introduction to Social Theory

Optional courses

You will select 1.5 credits of optional courses which may include the following:

History of Eastern Europe since 1856
Introduction to International Relations
Introduction to Macroeconomics
Introduction to Microeconomics

Other optional courses are available in East European Languages and Culture, History, or Russian. Language course options are available within UCL SSEES or the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE).

Year Two

Compulsory courses

Comparative Political Analysis
Researching Politics and Society

At least two courses from:

Post-Soviet Politics and Society
Russian Politics and Society
South-East European Politics and Societies
Politics and Society in Central and Eastern Europe

Optional courses

You will select up to 2.0 credits from a range of additional options. Options may include:

Contemporary Polish Cinema
Culture in Eastern Europe: Anthropological Approaches
Democracy and Democratization
History of European Political Ideas
Language Course
Migration and Health
Political Economy of European Integration
Topics in Microeconomics

Other options will be available in East European Languages and Culture, History or Russian.

Final Year

Compulsory courses


Optional courses

You will select 3.0 credits from a wide range of course options. Options may include:

Corruption and Governance
European Security
History of European Political Ideas
Baltic Politics and Society
Political Economy of European Integration
Soviet and Russian Foreign Policy

Other options will be available in Russian, History, East European Languages and Culture.

Your learning

You will be taught through a combination of lectures and classes. You will be expected to prepare presentations and papers on selected topics for classes, sometimes as an individual and sometimes as part of a group, followed by class discussion. You will also receive regular written work, including essay, exercises and case study analyses.


You will receive feedback from tutors on both your oral and written work and your presentation skills to help develop your analytical ability in these areas. Your assessment will be based on unseen written examinations, coursework and a supervised final-year dissertation.

Further Information

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Politics and East European Studies BA.


After graduating from this programme you will have specialist knowledge of a region whose changing politics, economics and international relations are rapidly reshaping our own national and social understanding of the world, as well as a raft of transferable skills.

Career destinations of previous graduates include government service, international agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), consultancy (economic, political risk, security, marketing), banking, financial services, law, media, teaching and the leisure industry, as well as further study.


First destinations of recent graduates (2010-2013) of this programme include:

  • Royal Marine Officer, Royal Navy (2012)
  • Full-time student, MPhil in Russian and East European Studies, Oxford University (2012)
  • Corporate Finance Trader, Transglobal (2013)
  • Political Campaign Consultant, CT Group (2013)
  • Legal Secretary, European Parliament (2011)

*Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2010-2013 graduating cohorts six months after graduation and, where necessary, department records.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers, UCL Advances and other entrepreneur societies here: Careers and skills.

Fees and funding


UK & EU fee
£9,000 (2016/17)
Overseas fee
£16,130 (2016/17)


Details about financial support are available at: www.ucl.ac.uk/study/ug-finance


Scholarships listed below are relevant to the department. Please read the details carefully to check they are relevant to the degree and your own circumstances.

Modern European Languages Scholarship

Based on academic merit

The Scholarships and Funding website has a comprehensive list of scholarships and funding schemes available for UCL students. These can be available for specific nationalities, regions, departments or open to all students.

Application and next steps

Your application

We use your qualifications, predicted grades and personal statement to assess your suitability for this programme. Your personal statement should explain your motivation for applying for this programme, what it is that interests you about the study of Russia and central and Eastern Europe, and provide evidence of an interest in economics and business, for example from background reading.

How to apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.

Application deadline: 15 January 2016


On the basis of our assessment of your application we will decide whether to make you an offer and if you are successful, you will be invited to a post-offer open day (if you live in the UK).

The applicant open day will include introductory talks providing more information about UCL SSEES, our language options, our facilities and your chosen degree. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions, and take a tour of UCL led by current students.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students