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Global Politics

Global Politics for the International Baccalaureate

If you decide to study Global Politics in the Group 3 element of the International Baccalaureate on Individuals and Societies the syllabus offered for both Standard and Higher Level provides an opportunity for a range of issues with regard to International Relations to be examined in depth. These include concepts such as power, rights, liberty and equality from a national, regional & international perspective. In addition a number of issues such as the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism in the Middle East with ISIS, the impact of the events of 9/11 on the foreign policy of the United States, the significance of Ethnic Cleansing in recent decades in the Balkans and Rwanda are examined as well as the issue of Climate Change and its implications for the world.

Students who are studying Global Politics to Standard Level complete Units 1 to 4 over three lessons per week in the two year period of the course while those studying to Higher Level complete two Global Challenges from the six units studied in addition to the Standard Level units. There is also a coursework component which all students have to complete involving independent research on a topic of their choice relating to some of the issues which have been raised as part of the course. Teaching takes place in the extra two lesson per week devoted to the subject. The Standard and Higher Level options offered by the History and Politics Department are:

Standard Level

Power Sovereignty and International Relations:

  • The Nature of Power
  • The Operation of Power
  • Power and International Organisations
  • Power and the Interaction of International Organisations

Human Rights:

  • The Evolution of Human Rights
  • The Codification of Human Rights
  • Human Rights in Practice
  • The Debate over Human Rights


  • What is meant by Development
  • Factors which Promote or Limit Development
  • The Pathways to Development
  • Globalisation and the Impact on Development

Peace and Conflict:

  • The Concepts of Peace Conflict and Violence
  • The Causes of Conflict
  • The Evolution of Conflict
  • The Impact of Conflict Resolution


Higher Level

The Politics of Identity:

  • Nationalism in Europe and Middle East
  • Ethnicity in the USA and South Africa
  • Race and Identity in the Balkans
  • Race and Identity in Rwanda
  • Religion and Identity Politics
  • Class and the Indian Caste System

The Politics of Borders:

  • The UK and the European Union
  • The United States and Migration
  • Russia Ukraine and the Crimea
  • Israel Hamas and Gaza
  • Devolution and the UK
  • Botswana and Forced Relocation

The Politics of Security:

  • 9/11 and Global Security
  • National Security in Europe
  • Human Security and Knife Crime
  • Gun Control and Security
  • Domestic Abuse and Security
  • Security and Cyber Attacks

The Politics of the Environment:

  • Impact of Extinction Rebellion
  • Greta Thunberg and Schools Protest
  • Arctic Ice Melt in Greenland
  • Deforestation in Brazil
  • Shale Gas Production in the USA
  • Destruction of Great Barrier Reef

The Politics of Health:

  • Nature of Healthcare in UK and USA
  • Opioid Crisis in the United States
  • Migration and Health Provision
  • Ebola Epidemic in Africa
  • HIV/AIDS in South Africa
  • Impact of the SARS Epidemic

The Politics of Poverty:

  • Poverty within Bangladesh
  • Poverty in the Horn of Africa
  • Aboriginal Poverty in Australia
  • Challenges of Poverty in Brazil
  • Poverty within the Philippines
  • Poverty in the UK and USA

Internal Assessment Coursework (Engagement Activity)

In addition to Units 1 to 4 for Standard Level and Units 1 to 6 for Higher Level all students need to complete an engagement activity in which they have to complete an investigation into a political issue of their choice and produce a 2,000 word report analysing this activity.

Course Requirements

There are no specific course requirements for Global Politics beyond those required for entry into the Sixth Form. Having an interest in issues related to International Relations and examining aspects of Politics from a global dimension is helpful together with a willingness to keep up to date with developments which are taking place across the world at a time of immense upheaval and change. Global Politics links closely with subjects such as History, Philosophy and Economics, all of which may be studied as part of the International Baccalaureate. Global Politics may form the basis for further study in Politics or International Relations as a degree course in its own right or combined with another subject.

Over the duration of the two year course students will be expected to work independently and for this reason there is a need for them to be organised and motivated. The ability to think clearly, analyse information and argue in a coherent manner are essential prerequisites to be successful in Global Politics as is having an interest in current affairs and developments which are taking place across the world. Studying Global Politics provides students with the confidence to articulate their views. Such skills are highly valued by a number of employers. Students who have studied Politics in recent years have embarked on careers in the legal profession, journalism, business and management.