Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2017

Politics and East European Studies with a Year Abroad BA

This degree programme combines training in politics, international relations and security issues with specialist modules studying Russia and Eastern Europe, which are of contemporary relevance in the context of an enlarged EU and the changing international situation. You will spend the third year abroad at a university in the region.

Key information

UCAS code
4 years
Application deadline
15 January 2017
Applications per place
15 (2015 entry)*
Total intake
50 (2017 entry)*
* Figures relate to Politics subject area

Entry requirements

A levels

No specific subjects.
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,M1 in 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 Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades AAA-AAB.

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

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

Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

For more information see: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc.

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 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 and Commonwealth Office, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Union.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: SSEES - School of Slavonic & East European Studies.

  • 64% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.


A short video with more information.

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Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules 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 modules in politics, sociology and international relations - including modules on the political developments of Russia and Eastern Europe - in years one and two, with a dissertation based on an independent research project in your final year. Beyond this you can choose additional modules in economics, history, language, politics and sociology to match your interests.

You will be strongly encouraged to learn an east European language with a view to spending a year in a country of the region. As well as making use of our superb language teaching opportunities, you will also be able to access the excellent foreign languae media resources of the SSEES Library.

Your third year is spent abroad studying at a university in the region. During your year abroad you will be expected to develop your language skills where appropriate, to take modules (in English) related to your degree and to develop an enhanced understanding of relevant country-level issues.


An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.

Compulsory modules

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

Optional modules

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

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

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

Compulsory modules

Comparative Political Analysis
Researching Politics and Society

At least two modules from:

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

Optional modules

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 Module
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.

Year abroad at a university in the region

Performance Certificate
Progress Portfolio
Year Abroad Assignment

Compulsory modules


Optional modules

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

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

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 essays, 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 with a Year Abroad BA.


After graduating from this programme you will have expert knowledge relating to a region where complex issues of political change, economic development and international relations are reshaping national and social expectations.

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:

  • Full-time student, MA in Journalism at Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Management Consultant, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Full time student, Human Rights MA, UCL
  • Multi-disciplinary Co-ordinator, NHS
  • Consultant, MHB Health

*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 2012-2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

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

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2017/18 academic year and are for the first year of the programme only.

UK/EU students
£TBC (2017/18 - see below)
Overseas students
£17,710 (2017/18)

UK/EU undergraduate fees are currently (August 2016) capped at 9,000 and UCL charges fees at the level of that cap. This cap on UK/EU undergraduate fees is currently under review by the UK Government and may be subject to increase for the year commencing 2017 and for each year of study thereafter. Fees for overseas students may be subject to an annual increase in subsequent years of study by up to 5%.

Please see the full details of UCL's fees and possible changes on the UCL Current Students website


Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.

Departmental scholarships

The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.

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 politics, 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 2017


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

Page last modified on 6 September 2016 at 10:14 by UCL Publications & Marketing Services. Please contact us for content updates.