Join our Undergraduate Open Day – 23 & 24 June

Book your place

BA International Development and Politics

with Year Abroad

Start date
4 years
UCAS code
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours

For 2023-2024:
£9,250 (UK)
£21,300 (International)
More Fees and funding details.

This degree will explore some of the world’s most pressing development challenges, from poverty and inequality, to migration, conflict and climate change.

In our increasingly globalised world, these problems are growing in complexity and significance. The Sustainable Development Goals aim to tackle these challenges by 2030, but this will require global effort, co-ordination and vision. 

On the International Development and Politics degree (with year abroad), you will apply a political lens to understanding and addressing the challenges of global development and learn how development is affected by politics at all levels, from the political economy of international assistance, to domestic politics and local power dynamics. You will explore the implications of politics for poverty, conflict and inequality through a range of case studies and practical exercises.

This course combines a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of international development with core disciplinary training in politics, power and political economy. You will examine contested debates on democracy and development, the role of patronage in development, and the politics of social exclusion. You will apply political theories to a variety of examples of development and change from across the world, and critically examine different forms of development assistance.

Why study this course?

On this course you will:

  • Gain knowledge and understanding of key global challenges, and explore a variety of real-world examples of development and change.
  • Have an opportunity to see development in practice, through a study visit to a low or middle-income country.
  • Focus on your professional development, through practical exercises and projects with the option of taking up a work placement in your second year.
  • Be taught by academics engaged in research on a range of global challenges and impacting international policies and debates in their field.
  • Benefit from an enquiry-based learning approach, designed to develop the critical thinking and problem solving skills essential for working in development. 

Your Year Abroad

This option is available to those who wish to spend a year studying abroad as part of their degree. You can apply directly to this programme or transfer during your second year. Please note, you must achieve a 2:1 (60%) in your first year at Birmingham to be eligible to study abroad in your second year. You will be required to pay 15% of the University of Birmingham’s full tuition fee during your year abroad.

This course is co-delivered with the department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS).


Unless indicated otherwise the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2023.

First year modules


  • Understanding Politics
  • Introduction to Political Theory
  • Introduction to International Development 
  • Politics of Development
  • Pathways to Political Research 1 and 2
  • Global Development Challenges 1 and 2

Second year modules


  • Understanding development assistance
  • Working in development
  • Comparative Politics or History of Political Ideas


Examples of some of our optional modules are below:

  • Economic Perspectives on Development
  • Governing States and Societies
  • International Security 
  • America and the Middle East through Politics and Film
  • British Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • History of Political Ideas: power, revolution and the state
  • International Political Economy
  • Feminist Political Ideas 
  • International Relations Theory
  • International Relations of the Middle East
  • Regionalism and the Global South
  • Research Design

Year Abroad

  • Year abroad

Final year modules


  • Dissertation


Chhose an additional 4 modules

  • Development: the environmental challenge (IDD)
  • Identity, Inequality and Inclusive Development (IDD)
  • African Politics (IDD)
  • Human Rights and Development (IDD)
  • Contemporary International Political Economy (POLSIS)
  • Topics in British Politics (POLSIS)
  • Gender and World Politics (POLSIS)
  • Law, Politics and the International System: mediating power beyond the state (POLSIS)
  • New Media, Social Media and Politics (POLSIS)

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


Fees 2023-24


Full-time £9,250.

Learn more about fees and funding.


Full-time, Band 1 (Classroom) £21,300


At Birmingham we ensure that fears about finance do not constrain prospective students from considering university and that excellence is rewarded.

The University offers a range of additional financial support for students studying at Birmingham in the form of bursaries, grants and scholarships.

Learn more about our scholarships and awards .

How To Apply

Apply through UCAS at using code: L92A.
Learn more about applying.

University of Birmingham's UCAS code number is B32.

Standard offer

International Requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
General Studies:
not accepted

International students

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 32 overall with 6, 6, 5, at higher level.

Standard English language requirements apply

T Levels: all subjects considered; Standard offer: Distinction overall with A in the Core Component.

BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma are all considered.

Learn more about entry requirements

Alternative offers through our Pathways to Birmingham programmes and our Contextual Offer scheme

Students who are eligible and successfully complete a Pathways to Birmingham programme will receive special consideration from admissions tutors and an alternative offer (typically two grades below the standard offer). In addition, our Contextual Offer Scheme recognises the potential of students whose personal circumstances may have restricted achievement in school or college. If you are eligible to benefit from the contextual offer scheme, you will receive an offer which is one grade lower than the standard offer.

International Students

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

Assessment Methods

The International Development Department brings its research directly into the classroom. You can expect a range of teaching approaches designed to give you a varied learning experience. We are committed to encouraging an inclusive learning environment, by stimulating discussion and debate inside and outside of class. To ensure you are gaining skills fit for the real world, we use forms of assessment beyond essays and exams, such as blogging, report writing, learning logs, and group and individual presentations.

Through our interactive and student-focused teaching, and innovative approach to learning and assessment, you will develop core skills in:

  • Research
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Time management
  • Global, local and cross-cultural awareness
  • A wide range of communications, from oral, to a variety of written formats (blogs, reports, essays)

As a University of Birmingham graduate, we provide you with the tools and skills to operate in an ever growing global environment.


Careers Events

In addition to the extensive careers support that Birmingham University offers all of its students, we offer bespoke employability and careers workshops to all students on our International Relations degree. These workshops run in each year of your programme and are tailored to support you with the information you need to plan should you wish to pursue employment or postgraduate study.

Find out how the University of Birmingham is Investing in your future.

Professional development module

In the final year of your studies of our International Development and Politics degree you will have the opportunity to take our Professional Development module. This module is based around a work placement and will help you bridge the gap between your academic studies and your future career.

Year Abroad

Even if you haven’t applied for our 4-Year Study Abroad degree you can transfer onto this track during your time at Birmingham (grades depending) and benefit from the increased confidence and different academic perspective gained by studying in a foreign country. We have exchange partners across Europe, as well as in Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Ecuador, Ghana, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, USA, Vietnam and Uruguay.

International Model NATO Conference in Washington DC

All third-year students on this degree programme, are eligible to apply to be part of a delegation to the annual International Model NATO Conference, held in Washington DC in the Spring Term. This experience provides students with a unique opportunity to participate in a role-play exercise of decision-making at NATO, working with delegates from universities and institutions across the globe. Students selected for this Conference will be provided with bursaries that cover the cost of Conference registration, accommodation and subsistence.

On-campus UN modelling event

Each year we work with the Guild UN Modelling Society to put on a Model UN event. This is open to all students on this Political Science degree and attracts students from all around the world.

Learn more about our student experience activities 

A pathway to a career in international development

Globally, a huge range of organisations are working for inclusive development, opening up a variety of opportunities to pursue a career in the sector. This includes international agencies such as the United Nations, national aid agencies like the UK’s Department for International Development, and local civil society organisations operating all over the world.

Our degrees are carefully designed to provide the knowledge and skills these kinds of employers value - from critical thinking and problem-solving, to practical experience of frameworks for designing, monitoring and evaluating development. While our degrees are tailored for a career in development, these skills are also highly transferable to a range of government or non-governmental sectors.

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities