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Teaching Style & Programme Structure

Teaching style | Programme structure | RPAIS structure | Part-time structure

Teaching style

Debate and discussion are at the heart of the teaching style in PAIS, and all modules are taught via one 2-hour seminar per week.

Seminars give you the opportunity to interact with leading scholars as well as with your peers to explore a set topic each week. Every seminar will be based on extensive guided reading you will do each week, but there is no strict pattern to how sessions are run; you will experience a variety of teaching methods tailored to each specific topic and teacher. This may include mini-lectures followed by discussion, Q&A sessions, organised debates, peer presentations, policy briefs, small group work, and other projects.

In addition to your seminars, you will have access to your module tutors during advice & feedback hours. You will have the opportunity to sit down with your tutors on a one-to-one basis during these weekly office hours to follow up on seminar discussions, seek guidance on your essays, and ask questions about feedback on your marks.

PAIS modules are assessed entirely by research essays throughout the year, culminating in a 10,000 word dissertation at the end.

Programme structure

All degrees in PAIS are structured around core modules, which give you a strong foundation in your discipline, and a range of optional modules covering topics and sub-disciplines right across politics and international studies.

Within the specialisation of your degree programme, you can focus your studies on specific sub-topics through taking related modules. You can also decide to follow one of our research cluster pathways, selecting modules that fall within one of these areas. Alternatively, you can branch out beyond the traditional bounds of your core module and take options that address other topics, equipping you with a perspective or subject knowledge not ordinarily associated with your area. You can also break disciplinary bounds by taking up to 40 CATS (credits) from another department in Social Sciences or Humanities, subject to approval.

Research training, personal development, and professional development are embedded in your degree programme. Through modules, extra seminars, skills workshops, careers presentations, one-to-one advice sessions, and guest speakers, you will be able to sharpen the skills that employers are looking for. Warwick also provides additional support through the Careers & Skills Office to help you build your CV and enhance your employment prospects well ahead of graduation.

The structure for all taught MA programmes in PAIS is identical, with three exceptions:

  • MA in Research in Politics and International Studies (RPAIS)
  • The Double Degrees
  • Part-time study (excludes Double Degrees)

For RPAIS and part-time study, see below; for the Double Degrees, see the relevant programme page: Double Masters with NTU, Singapore or Double Masters with Konstanz, Germany.

The structure for all Diploma programmes in PAIS follows Part I of the relevant MA programmes. Diploma students who pass Part I of the programme are allowed to upgrade to MA registration and proceed to Part II. Read more about Diploma entry to the programme

Standard programme structure

Part I

  • You will follow 120 CATS (credits) of taught modules in Terms 1 & 2
  • 40 of these CATS will be your core module
  • The other 80 CATS may comprise of any combination of PAIS modules which
    • Is feasible within the relevant year's timetable
    • Is spread evenly between terms (ie, you cannot overload one term)
    • May include a mix of 40 CATS (full year) and 20 CATS (half year) modules
    • May include up to 40 CATS from a cognate department (see modules page)
  • This works out to a commitment of 60 CATS per term, or six 2-hour seminar sessions + independent research
  • You will also participate in several workshops spread throughout the year, including research skills and careers sessions
  • Taught modules in PAIS are assessed by essay only

Part II

  • You must pass Part I in order to proceed to Part II
  • You will research and write a 10,000 word 60 CATS dissertation in Term 3 & over the summer holidays
  • You will be assigned an academic advisor to help guide your research
  • You will have the opportunity to participate in a Dissertation Conference to present your research and see what your colleagues are working on

RPAIS programme structure

Part I

  • You will follow 120 CATS (credits) of taught modules in Terms 1 & 2
  • 80 of these CATS will be your core modules
  • The other 40 CATS may comprise of any combination of PAIS modules which
    • Is feasible within the relevant year's timetable
    • Is spread evenly between terms (ie, you cannot overload one term)
    • May consist of one 40 CATS (full year) or two 20 CATS (half year) modules
    • May include up to 40 CATS from a cognate department (see modules page)
  • This works out to a commitment of 60 CATS per term, or six 2-hour seminar sessions + independent research
  • You will also participate in several workshops spread throughout the year, including research skills and careers sessions
  • Taught modules in PAIS are assessed by essay only

Part II

  • You must pass Part I in order to proceed to Part II
  • You will research and write a 10,000 word 60 CATS dissertation in Term 3 & over the summer holidays
  • You will be assigned an academic advisor to help guide your research
  • You will have the opportunity to participate in a Dissertation Conference to present your research and see what your colleagues are working on

Part-time programme structure

Part I (Year 1)

  • You will follow 80 CATS (credits) of taught modules in Terms 1 & 2
  • 40 of these CATS will be your core module; RPAIS students only: all 80 CATS are your core modules--your option(s) will be taken in year 2 only
  • The other 40 CATS may comprise of any combination of PAIS modules which
    • Is feasible within the relevant year's timetable
    • Is spread evenly between terms (ie, you cannot overload one term)
    • May consist of one 40 CATS (full year) or two 20 CATS (half year) modules
    • May include up to 40 CATS from a cognate department (see modules page)
  • This works out to a commitment of 40 CATS per term, or four 2-hour seminar sessions + independent research
  • You will also participate in several workshops spread throughout the year, including research skills and careers sessions; you will only be required to attend workshops which do NOT pertain to the dissertation
  • Taught modules in PAIS are assessed by essay only
  • You will have the summer off

Part I (Year 2)

  • You will follow 40 CATS (credits) of taught modules in Terms 1 & 2
  • These 40 CATS may comprise of any combination of PAIS modules which
    • Is feasible within the relevant year's timetable
    • Is spread evenly between terms (ie, you cannot overload one term)
    • May consist of one 40 CATS (full year) or two 20 CATS (half year) modules
    • May include up to 40 CATS from a cognate department (see modules page)
  • This works out to a commitment of 20 CATS per term, or two 2-hour seminar sessions + independent research
  • You will also participate in several workshops spread throughout the year, including research skills and careers sessions; you will only be required to attend workshops which DO pertain to the dissertation
  • Taught modules in PAIS are assessed by essay only

Part II

  • You must pass Part I in order to proceed to Part II
  • You will research and write a 10,000 word 60 CATS dissertation in Term 3 & over the summer holidays
  • You will be assigned an academic advisor to help guide your research
  • You will have the opportunity to participate in a Dissertation Conference to present your research and see what your colleagues are working on