School of Politics and International Relations

Undergraduate menu

New Student - Frequently Asked Questions

I want to do some pre-reading before my course begins, are there any books you can recommend?
Module Readings - what to buy and where?
When does the course begin?
When do I get my course pack and what is in it?
When do I get my Teaching Timetable?
How am I assessed?
What and when is reading week?
What is QMPlus?
What is MySIS?
Are you on Facebook & Twitter?
What can I do in addition to my degree to enhance my employment prospects? 
What if I can’t find the answer to my question here? 



I want to do some pre-reading before my course begins, are there any books you can recommend?

The following books have been recommended by each of our first year module conveners:
(It is NOT recommended that you purchase these books, unless otherwise stated, as they may only be used for pre-reading, use your library instead)

POL100 Introduction to Politics (Compulsory for all our degree programmes)

John Hoffman and Paul Graham,  Introduction to Political Theory (third edition, Routledge, 2015)
Matthew Festenstein and Michael Kenny (eds.), Political Ideologies: A Reader and Guide (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005)

Alternatives that would also be helpful are:
Andrew Vincent, Modern Political Ideologies 3rd Edition (Wiley Blackwell, 2010);
Goodwin, Barbara, Using Political Ideas 6th edition (Chichester: Wiley, 2014).


POL105 Political Analysis (Only Single Honours students take this module)

Colin Hay, Political Analysis: A Critical Introduction (2002), esp. ch. 1, 2, 5
Colin Hay et al (eds.), The State: Theories and Issues (2006), esp. introduction, ch. 1, 3, 8-12

POL106 Introduction to International Relations
(Compulsory for L250 International Relations Students)

Andrew Heywood, Global Politics (Palgrave Macmillan)
Jenny Edkins and Maja Zehfuss, Global Politics: A New Introduction (2nd ed), 2013

POL107 Background to British Politics (Compulsory for L202 Politics students)

Any ONE of the following should prove useful for anyone keen to give themselves a head-start on the history or – in the case of the last three which may be especially useful for overseas students – more of a sense of how politics and political institutions work in the UK nowadays rather than in the past (although they do contain brief histories, too).  You don’t have to buy any of them, and none of them are the textbook for this course.  But they are chosen to be cheap, accessible and, with one exception (Watts), available on kindle or e-book as well as in paperback.  However, if you do buy one of them, only buy one of them!

History (useful if you’re already reasonably familiar with the UK and UK politics)

Black, Jeremy (2011) A Brief History of Britain 1851-2010: a Nation Transformed (Robinson)

Marquand, David (2009) Britain since 1918: The Strange Career of British Democracy (Phoenix)

Marr, Andrew (2009) A History of Modern Britain (Pan)

Pugh, Martin (2012) State and Society: A Social and Political History of Britain since 1870 (Bloomsbury).

Grayson, Richard (2010) British Politics: A Beginner's Guide (Oneworld)

Knight, Julian (2015) British Politics for Dummies (Wiley) – don’t be put off by the title!

Watts, Duncan (2012) British Government and Politics: A Comparative Guide: A Comparative Guide, Second Edition (Edinburgh University Press). 

Module Readings – What to buy and where?

When you begin attending your modules you will receive information on Key Texts/Readings. 

Reading Packs for most of our first year modules will be available to purchase from the Copy Shop on the Mile End Campus, we recommend you purchase these packs as they will contain all the relevant texts/readings you will require for the module.

Our Campus Library also stocks a wide range of books that you can borrow for free. 

When does the course begin?

Induction/Welcome Week begins the week commencing Monday 21st September 2015. 
Click here for Induction information.

Teaching begins the following week – Monday 28th September 2015.

When do I get my course pack and what is in it?

During Induction/Welcome Week you will be given your ‘Student Handbook’ which includes essential information you will need throughout your first year including College and Campus information, School procedures, useful dates, Programme and module information etc.

You will not receive individual Module Handbooks until the first lecture of each Module.

When do I get my Teaching Timetable?

Individual Teaching Timetables will be made available to all students by the end of Induction/Welcome Week. 

If you select your modules on MySIS before the Induction/Welcome Week then we will likely be able to provide you with a provisional timetable which will be released to you by email a week or two, before you arrive for your induction. 
Generally, for each module you study you will attend the lecture and ONE seminar group, which you will be assigned to.

Provisional Generic SPIR 1st Year Timetable 15-16 [PDF 6 KB]

How am I assessed?

Our Modules are assessed by both Coursework (written assignments) and end of year examination.  The weightings of each may vary between modules, for example coursework could constitute 40% of the total assessment and the Examination the remaining 60%
These and others details will be provided in your Module Handbook, which you will receive on the first Lecture of each module.

What and when is reading week?

Reading week occurs once each semester. It is a week in which all teaching is suspended to allow students to focus on their independent studies and get caught up.

Reading weeks are scheduled:

Semester A:  9th November 2015
Semester B:  22nd February 2016

What is QMPlus?

QMPlus is the University’s online learning environment, which you will have access to when you are fully enrolled and registered for modules. Each module you study will have its own individual area on QMPlus giving you access to various information including the module handbook, lecture handouts, extra readings, announcements etc.
You will also need to submit electronic copies of your assignments via the QMPlus site.
You will be given an introductory QMPlus session during Induction Week.

What is MySIS?

MySIS is the University’s student information system, which will hold your student record. You will use it when registering for your modules, accessing your result transcripts and various other things throughout your studies. It is important to keep your contact details on MySIS constantly up to date, so that we are able to relay important information to you.

Are you on Facebook & Twitter?

Yes, our School is active on both sites
links to our pages can be found here:

What can I do in addition to my degree to enhance my employment prospects? (updated 08/09/15)

Advice from The Careers and Enterprise Centre:

As you begin your time at Queen Mary, you will be shaping your future Career as well as your academic life.  Take this time before the start of the year to think about the ways in which you could do the following things, which will make you a more impressive candidate when applying for jobs during and after graduation and may even help you with your academic studies:

1) Find an extra-curricular activity that you enjoy and use it to develop your skills.  There are a huge number of opportunities available through Queen Mary Students Union: get ideas at and

Queen Mary is well placed to help you get engaged with organisations outside of your academic course that can be related to your studies.  Consider organisations such the think-tank Chatham House which offers student membership; campaign oriented groups such as Aegis Students, UpRising and the Parliamentor’s Programme which offers programmes to help you make change in your communities.  You can meet all of these organisations at the first of our Careers Spotlight events for Politics students on the evening of Thursday, October 15th – full details at the Careers & Enterprise Centre Events page.

2) You may wish to get work experience that isn’t related to politics or international relations.  We can help you find work experience across all sectors through which provides opportunities ring-fenced for Queen Mary students and the biggest student vacancy board in the UK.

We can assist you with finding and applying for part time work or work experience through one-to-one appointments in the Careers and Enterprise Centre and activities in your School run by your School Careers Consultant.  There are lots of events for you to find out about jobs and careers and some events designed specifically for Politics and International Relations students – look out for sessions on the Careers events page on Public Affairs, Political risk, working in government and Politics and leadership

See our website for more information   

What if I can’t find the answer to my question here?

If you have a question that isn’t listed here, please email Jason Salucideen – who will be happy to help answer your query.

Bookmark and Share
Return to top