BA Russian Studies and International Relations

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This course is in clearing

This course is in international clearing

Combine International Relations and Russian, from Beginner or Advanced level.

Russia is an important player on the global scene, having undergone fascinating and tumultuous changes which are on-going today. Western businesses are spending billions investing in Russia and other former Soviet markets and need employees who can both speak the language and understand the history, politics and culture of the region. Combining Russian and International Relations is therefore a complementary pairing - it covers these topics and allows you understand the role of states and organisations in an ever-interconnected world.

The study of languages allows you to investigate sources in their original form and is an exciting chance to develop a wide range of other skills that will equip you for a huge range of careers (here and internationally). Including a year abroad, this course offers a unique opportunity to learn in a truly international and interdisciplinary way.

Course fact file

UCAS code: RL72

Duration: 4 Years

Typical Offer: AAB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September

Contact

Admissions and Recruitment Coordinator: Beth Astington

Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 5506

Email: modernlanguages@bham.ac.uk

Details

Our degrees are designed to provide both academic excellence and vocational development – a balance that is highly sought after by employers in today's intellectual and professional industries. The degrees are flexible, allowing you to specialise as you progress, culminating in a final-year dissertation (in-depth research into a topic of your choice).

Within our Department of Modern Languages, Russian Studies is a small team of dedicated and experienced teaching and research staff (including native-speakers). This friendly community allows staff and students to work together to create an intellectually stimulating and enjoyable environment in which you can achieve your full potential. Beginners study in Russia for four weeks in Year 1 to rapidly progress their language skills. All students spend a year abroad.

In addition, you will join the highly regarded Department of Political Science and International Studies which has long-established strengths in all areas of the discipline. As well as benefiting from world-leading expertise you can join activities that are designed to complement and enrich your studies. Activities include student conferences; Research Assistance Scheme (students are paired with staff to assist in specific research tasks); simulation exercises using real cases; and research visits to local and national places of interest.

Why study this course

  • Outstanding staff: Our staff produce high quality research which directly influences their teaching. In 2014, 98% of Modern Languages and 95% of International Relations students agreed that staff are good at explaining things, with 92% and 95% confirming that they found the course intellectually stimulating. This helps our students develop to their full academic potential – this year 82% and 95% of students on these courses graduated with first or upper-second class degrees.
  • Excellent employability development: Amongst our 2013 cohort, 87% of our Modern Languages and 90% of our International Relations graduates were in work or further study 6 months after graduation in a diverse range of areas.Visit the employability page for more information.
  • Travel opportunities: Many students remember their Year Abroad as the most exciting and formative part of their degree. Their Russian language skills truly matured and they gained a real in-depth understanding of the culture and society of this fascinating country.
  • Diverse curriculum. You will benefit from an exceptionally broad and flexible choice of topics to study. Visit the modules section below for examples.
  • Excellent student experience: Join one of our language or POLSIS student societies, or even our student magazine The UoB Linguist. Develop your language skills outside your teaching, make new friends who share your passion for languages and attend diverse extra-curricular events. The Russian and Eastern European Society (REES) is a society popular amongst student on this programme. It is open to anyone interested in, studying or native to the area. It hosts various events where members can meet, socialise and learn more about the Russian and East European culture. These include regular film nights throughout the year, featuring both classic and contemporary films; nights out in Birmingham; quizzes; and other events where members have the opportunity to learn Russian or practise existing skills with other members across a range of years and abilities.

Read more about our strengths.

Joint honours open day talk

[Video above - Dr Craig Blunt delivers an undergraduate open day talk about studying Joint Honours at the University]

Modules

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

First year

Russian: In the first and second years, students are divided into groups according to whether they are beginners or have an A level (or equivalent) in Russian. Students with AS level Russian are placed in the advanced group and given extra tutorial support to catch up, while students with GCSE Russian will normally be placed in the beginners group.

At the end of the first year, beginners travel to the city of Petrozavodsk in Russia for an intensive four week language programme, for which many of the costs are covered by the University.

In addition, students choose from a variety of Russian Studies  modules including:

International Relations: You receive a thorough grounding in the study of international relations, with particular emphasis on the major approaches to the discipline and core issues such as conflict, war, peace, security, international and regional organisations, and international law. You also take a number of complementary courses in the Department of Political Science and International Studies, and options offered elsewhere.

Second year

Russian: In addition to language classes, you will choose from a variety of Russian Studies modules including:

You may also have the option of studying Beginner’s Polish.

International Relations: The second-year core course further develops your understanding of the discipline, introducing many new perspectives on international relations. As such, it is designed to develop your knowledge and theoretical understanding of this dynamic and changing field. In the second year you can also take a number of related courses within the Department of Political Science and International Studies.

Third year

You can choose to spend your year abroad in various locations including Moscow, St Petersburg, Yaroslavl, Petrozavodsk, Tver and Volgograd, spending either two semesters in one place or splitting them between two different places, for instance a semester in Moscow and a semester in Tver. There may also be the opportunity to spend a semester in Krakow, Poland.

Fourth year

Russian: In addition to core modules, you can choose from a variety of modules including:

You also write an extended essay or dissertation on a Russian Studies topic of your choosing. In addition, modules in Ukrainian and Polish languages may be offered.

International Relations: In the final year you may take a range of options. These include subjects such as Power in Britain, Twentieth Century Political Thought, Political Economy of the EU, Contemporary US Foreign and Security Policy, International Ethics, European Security, Critical Security Studies and Advanced Modern Asia.

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply 
Learn more about fees and funding
 
Scholarships
Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry requirements

Typical offer: AAB

Required subjects and grades: No A level in Russian required but evidence of language learning ability required such as a grade A in a Modern Language at GCSE.

International baccalaureate update

Please note that we have reviewed our policy on the IB Diploma for 2016 entry and our offers will now focus on performance in Higher Level subjects. For more information and details please read our 2016 IB Diploma requirements.

Additional information:

Applicants should normally be able to demonstrate some previous experience in learning a modern language.

International students:

We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com.

Learn more about applying.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

Contact

Admissions and Recruitment Coordinator: Beth Astington

Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 5506

Email: modernlanguages@bham.ac.uk

Learning and teaching

University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

You will have a diverse learning experience, including:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • independent study
  • and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.

  • Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and welfare advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Transition review - you will undergo a formal transition review during your first year with an academic member of staff. They will see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support.
  • Academic Skills Centre - the centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
  • Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
  • Student experience - our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.
 

Language laboratory sessions allow you to practise your listening and spoken skills and are an essential part of all our language programmes.

 

Assessment methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

 

Contact

Admissions and Recruitment Coordinator: Beth Astington

Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 5506

Email: modernlanguages@bham.ac.uk

Employability

Modern Languages / Russian and International Relations graduates have a range of knowledge and skills that are valued by graduate employers:

  • Strong communication skills in English and Russian;
  • A deep understanding and appreciation of other cultures;
  • Critical thinking skills, alongside the ability to research, analyse and interpret information;
  • Independence and experience of living abroad;
  • Leadership and teamwork;
  • Handling complex information;
  • The ability to form concise and articulate arguments;
  • Managing your time and prioritising your workload;

Amongst our 2013 cohort, 87% of our Modern Languages and 90% of our International Relations graduates were in work or further study 6 months after graduation in a diverse range of areas. 

Employers include:

  • Amazon.fr
  • Capita
  • Eurocity Group
  • Harper Collins
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • IQD Frequency Products
  • Aura Financial
  • JC Decaux
  • Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham
  • British Airways
  • Deloiette
  • HSBC
  • Pricewaterhouse Coopers
  • The British Council
  • French Connection
  • NATO
  • BP
  • Ministry of Justice
  • House of Commons
  • Local and central government

Graduate roles include:

  • Editorial Project Leader
  • English Teacher
  • International Sales Coordinator
  • Investigation Specialist
  • Operations Analyst
  • Consultant
  • Marketing Officer
  • Account Executive
  • Account Planner

Examples of further study include:

  • PgDip Education
  • MA Social Work
  • PGCE (various)
  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • MA Hispanic Studies
  • MA Translation Studies
  • PGCE Primary languages specialism
  • MA International Relations
  • MA Political Science
  • MA International Relations, Terrorism and Political Violence

Modern Languages and International Relations graduates enter the wide range of careers similar to other arts, humanities and social sciences graduates but with much greater scope in international settings.

You will benefit from organised events in both departments whereby graduates return to campus to talk to current students about their careers, how to find opportunities and the variety of roles available.

Read more about why studying languages is great for your career.

Developing your career

Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

  • Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
  • Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
  • Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
  • Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, Library of Birmingham.

There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law undergraduate research scholarship scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
  • Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
  • Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.

Contact

Admissions and Recruitment Coordinator: Beth Astington

Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 5506

Email: modernlanguages@bham.ac.uk