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Department of Political Science

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Undergraduate FAQ's

Find our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) for the Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) BSc and the Politics and International Relations (PIR) BSc undergraduate degree programmes.

COVID-19 FAQs

Updates on Covid-19 are fluid and students should keep an eye out on the main UCL website for up-to-date information.  
UCL will review teaching plans as the academic year progresses and closely monitor the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure you receive the best education and university experience, while safeguarding your health and safety. The Department will return to face-to-face teaching if and when it is safe to do so.

If you’re facing financial difficulties, we recommend that you apply to the Financial Assistance Fund, which can offer up to £3,000 depending on your personal circumstances. Priority is given to students in certain groups, such as those with children, students from low-income families, or those who are disabled. Please note that the Financial Assistance Fund is not able to cover tuition fee amounts.
If I did decide to interrupt for a year, what is the process and what do I need to do?

Please read the regulations on interruption of study before making an application. Please note that students holding a Tier 4 visa must leave the UK for the duration of any interruption and re- apply for a new visa in order to return to UCL.

Philosophy, Politics and Economics BSc 

How many places are there?

There will be 50 places (cohort commencing September 2021).

Do you limit the number of students that you take from a particular school?

No, we do not impose any limits like this. We simply seek to recruit the strongest set of students for a limited number of places. To do that, we will look at applications as a whole - including grades, evidence of an interest in, commitment to, and aptitude for the subject(s).

Can I receive a contextual offer?

Please see the UCL contextual offers information.

Can I transfer to the PPE programme?

Unfortunately not. We do not accept any internal or external transfer students.

How much prior knowledge of economics/mathematics do I need?

The ECON1001 Economics module must be taken (and passed) by all PPE students in the first year, not just those in the Politics and Economics concentration. It would be beneficial to familiarise yourself before the beginning of the programme with a maths knowledge of:

(1) Differentiation its use in solving single-variable maximisation and minimisation problems. That is the appropriate use of first order and second order conditions.

(2) Basic algebra to manipulating equations to find the value of unknown variables, or relationships between variables.

(3) Experience with basic MS Excel manipulations (plotting data, finding averages, variances).

(4) Interpreting graphs and functional relationships, including knowledge of monotonicity, intercepts, of course convexity and concavity.

What are the Maths requirements? 

A* Maths in A Level is required.

Higher Level 7 in Maths in the International Baccalaureate is required. 

What are you looking for in the personal statement?

What makes you a particularly good person to take up a place on the UCL PPE programme? What are you curious about? Are there particular features of the socio-economic world that intrigue you? Are there societal problems that puzzle or trouble you? Why?

The personal statement is your opportunity to demonstrate to us a range of features of your application that we would otherwise not be able to discern. We would like to admit students who have a strong interest and aptitude for the sort of interdisciplinary social scientific and philosophical programme that we offer. Note that, while we value interdisciplinarity, it is perfectly understandable that you may expect to lean more towards one or other of our subject areas.

Do you accept resits?

Yes, we will accept both GCSE and A Level resits.

There were extenuating/mitigating circumstances during my exams. What should I do?

If you have been ill at any point leading up to or during the examination period, or have any other mitigating circumstances, then you should submit these to the examination board via your school. Mitigating circumstances will not be considered by UCL.

Am I eligible to apply with a grade A in A Level Mathematics in view of the fact that the A* grade was not available when I sat the examination?

The application would be considered in relation to the grade criteria that were available at the time the qualification was taken. Admissions would also look closely at the individual module results for evidence of ability to obtain an A* grade.

How will UCL receive notification of my results?

Each year UCAS sends UCL thousands of examination results directly. However, they are only able to do this for certain examinations such, as GCE A Levels. 

The UCAS Sending Exam Results page contains a full list of qualifications that are sent to us by UCAS. If yours isn't there, you'll need to send your results in. 

UCL will contact all Firm offer holders from June onwards to let them know how we expect to receive their results, providing instructions if we need them submitted to us directly.

What should I read before applying to or starting the PPE programme?

Recommended reading will be made known to you by your lecturers, and the details provided on their corresponding Moodle page, which you will have access to in due course. We normally advise students to wait till they get here with regard to purchasing textbooks so you can take up to date advice from the relevant lecturers, and possibly obtain discounted second-hand books from continuing students.

The only textbook that might be sensible to purchase in advance is Pemberton & Rau's Mathematics for Economists: An Introductory Textbook, Third Edition, Manchester University Press, 2011; as you will certainly need this one.

Regarding the core ECON1001 module, this module is based on the novel material produced by the CORE project. The main textbook is The Economy, a free online e-book written by experts from around the globe.

Register to access The Economy

Does PPE have a study abroad module or year?

Students are able to apply to Study Abroad after their first year on the programme and this is dependent on the grades they receive for that year. Students who follow this option will complete their degree in four years, rather than three, taking their final year options in the fourth year having returned from their year abroad.

Can I visit the Department in Tavistock Square?

The Political Science department is not open outside the University /Department open/offer holder days, but prospective students thinking of applying to UCL are normally welcome to have a look round college grounds at any time, to experience the character and atmosphere. For information on UCL Campus tours, please visit: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/campus-tours/.  Subject to Covid-19 restrictions at present

Politics and International Relations BSc

How many places are there?

There will be 100 places (cohort commencing September 2021).

Do you limit the number of students that you take from a particular school?

No, we do not impose any limits like this. We simply seek to recruit the strongest set of students for a limited number of places. To do that, we will look at applications as a whole - including grades, evidence of an interest in, commitment to, and aptitude for the subject(s).

Can I receive a contextual offer?

Please see the UCL contextual offers information.

Can I transfer to the BSc Politics and International Relations programme?

Unfortunately not. We do not accept any internal or external transfer students.

What are you looking for in the personal statement?

What makes you a particularly good person to take up a place on the UCL Politics & International Relations  programme? What are you curious about? Are there particular features of the socio-economic world that intrigue you? Are there societal problems that puzzle or trouble you? Why?

The personal statement is your opportunity to demonstrate to us a range of features of your application that we would otherwise not be able to discern. We would like to admit students who have a strong interest and aptitude for the sort of interdisciplinary social scientific and philosophical programme that we offer. Note that, while we value interdisciplinarity, it is perfectly understandable that you may expect to lean more towards one or other of our subject areas.

Do you accept resits?

Yes, we will accept both GCSE and A Level resits.

There were extenuating/mitigating circumstances during my exams. What should I do?

If there were any circumstances that you believe affected you during your examinations you should speak to your school immediately and ask them to submit formal notification to the examination board.

How will UCL receive notification of my results?

Each year UCAS sends UCL thousands of examination results directly. However, they are only able to do this for certain examinations such, as GCE A Levels. 

The UCAS Sending Exam Results page contains a full list of qualifications that are sent to us by UCAS. If yours isn't there, you'll need to send your results in. 

UCL will contact all Firm offer holders from June onwards to let them know how we expect to receive their results, providing instructions if we need them submitted to us directly.

What should I read before applying to or starting the BSc Politics and International Relations programme?

Recommended reading will be made known to you by your lecturers, and the details provided on their corresponding Moodle page, which you will have access to in due course. We normally advise students to wait till they get here with regard to purchasing textbooks so you can take up to date advice from the relevant lecturers, and possibly obtain discounted second-hand books from continuing students.

Can I visit the Department in Tavistock Square?

The Political Science department is not open outside the University /Department open/offer holder days, but prospective students thinking of applying to UCL are normally welcome to have a look round college grounds at any time, to experience the character and atmosphere. For information on UCL Campus tours, please visit: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/campus-tours/

What happens if I am ill leading up to or during the exam period?

If you have been ill at any point leading up to or during the examination period, or have any other mitigating circumstances, then you should submit these to the examination board via your school. Mitigating circumstances will not be considered by UCL.