The School of Politics and International Relations, is one of the UK’s most exciting and dynamic places to study Politics and International Relations. We combine high quality teaching with cutting-edge research in a supportive environment that welcomes students from all over the world to undertake our undergraduate, postgraduate taught and research programmes. We have experts in all of the main areas of the discipline of Politics including: Comparative Politics, European Studies, International Relations, Political Theory, International Political Economy, Human Rights and Public Policy. We pride ourselves on our global outlook which is reflected in the wide range of international partnerships and the fact that we have a Specialist Postgraduate Centre in Brussels.
As one of the founding departments of the University of Kent in 1965, the School of Politics and International Relations has developed into an institution that is at the forefront of contemporary political and international studies. Throughout its growth and development it has played host to world renowned scholars in the areas of political theory, British and comparative politics, European studies, conflict analysis and international relations.
Since the very beginning we have had an excellent reputation for research, being the place where renowned political authors Maurice Vile, Alec Barbrook, Bryan Keith-Lucas and Bill Jenkins published their authoritative works on American and British government. Colin Seymour-Ure, who helped pioneer teaching and research about politics and the mass media, remains an active emeritus professor in the School. Graham Thomas, with Seymour-Ure, established the Cartoon Centre at the University of Kent, which has now become one of the world’s leading collections on political satire in cartoon form.
David McLellan's world famous works on Marx and Marxism, as well as his pioneering study of the life and work of Simone Weil, were born out of the culture of research at Kent. Chris Taylor pioneered the use of cinema in the study of politics. Ruth Abbey brought to the School her expertise on the works of Charles Taylor, as well as her interest in liberalism and gender politics, issues that remain central to our work. The School remains one of the leading centres for the study of political and social thought.
The School was one of the pioneers in the development of the study of International Relations as a distinct discipline. John Burton and AJR Groom were the leaders in this development, and Professor Groom is still active in the field. In particular, the two developed International Conflict Analysis at Kent, ably helped by Keith Webb and Vivien Jabri, and they launched one of the first Masters programmes in the field. They were joined in due course by Chris Brown and Mervyn Frost, both of whom led the way in examining normative and ethical issues in international politics. This group helped to take the School to the position of international recognition in global political study that it occupies today. This is reflected in the School launching and running of the interdisciplinary journal, Global Society.
The study of the European politics in general and the European Union in particular has a distinguished place in the history of the School. With the incorporation of the former European Studies unit in 1996, the School strengthened its expertise in European politics and IR, bringing together Anne Stevens, Clive Church, Ian Manners and many more, who established a programme which thrives to this day.
Its international position has meant that experts from the School of Politics and International Relations have always made valuable contributions to international professional bodies. Maurice Vile was a member of the ECPR (European Consortium for Political Research) Executive Committee in its early days and today AJR Groom is one of its two current British members.
Since the 1990s we have further broadened our horizons, developing a wide range of partnerships with institutions in Continental Europe and taking a leading role in setting up the Brussels School of International Studies in 1998. We are at the forefront of the University’s internationalisation and Europeanisation strategy.
Building on the achievements of the past, the School of Politics and International Relations now enjoys the presence of a number of world leading academics. Ruth Blakeley is a leading specialist on terrorism and human rights (see her groundbreaking and highly influential The Rendition Project). Andrea den Boer’s prominent work on ethics and gender has been instrumental in the development of the world renowned WomanStats Project. Michael Burgess is the leading expert on federal studies in the UK. Feargal Cochrane is a world class scholar of conflict research. Elena Korosteleva is a leading expert on the EU's neighbourhood policy. Donna Lee is an internationally renowned expert on economic diplomacy and trade negotiations. Richard Sakwa is at the forefront of writing on Russian and European politics. And Richard Whitman is one of the world’s leading experts on European international politics.
This school offers programs in: