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BA International Relations and Development

with Year Abroad

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

For 2024-2025:
£9,250 (UK)
£22,380 (International)
More Fees and funding details.

Our BA International Relations and Development degree will give you an understanding of politics, history, geography, economics and law, and will explore complex development challenges, from inequality, migration, conflict and climate change.

International Relations and Development looks at how politics, economics and law are interconnected throughout the world, analysing the foreign policies of countries and states, and explores the challenges facing developing and developed countries in the fight against global poverty.

Throughout this course you will gain the all-round skills needed for a modern working world, such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and creativity.

Why study this course?

There are plenty of reasons to study BA International Relations and Development at Birmingham:

  • The programme includes a specially designed Working in Development module, which will provide hands-on experience of common tools used in development projects and programmes.
  • In your third year you will be eligible to study abroad. You will have the opportunity to undertake a study visit to a low- or middle-income country, allowing you to meet a range of actors working in a development context. 
  • You will have the opportunity to undertake a work placement through our integrated Professional Development module.
  • You will have the chance to take part in an International Model NATO Conference in Washington DC. This experience provides you 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.
  • You will be taught by academics, engaged in research that impacts policies and debates across the globe.
  • Studying at the University of Birmingham will boost your employability prospects -  we are the first choice for leading graduate employers searching for graduate recruits (High Fliers Research 2024)

We also have a large and vibrant international student communities, with over 10,000 international students from more than 150 different countries. Find out more about studying as an international student.


Unless indicated otherwise the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2024.

First year

In the first year of your degree you receive a thorough grounding in the study of international relations and development. Each of the modules you take in the first year is designed to introduce you to both theory and practice and will provide you with a foundation for more advanced, specialised study in the second and third years of your degree. 


  • Politics of Development
  • Global Development Challenges I/II
  • Understanding International Relations
  • Pathways to International Relations Research 1 and 2
  • Global History
  • Introduction to International Development

Second year


  • Understanding Development Assistance
  • Working in Development
  • International Relations Theory (or Global Governance)

Optional modules

Examples of some of the optional modules you may take. You must take at least one module from International Development.

International Development

  • Economic Perspectives on Development 
  • Governing States and Societies 


  • British Politics
  • International Negotiation
  • International Relations Theory 
  • International Security 
  • International Relations of the Middle East 
  • Feminist Political Ideas 
  • Comparative Politics 
  • America and the Middle East through Politics and Film 
  • History of Political Ideas: power, revolution and the state
  • International Political Economy
  • The Political Economy of Energy and Energy Security

Year Abroad

In your third year you will register for the equivalent of 120 credits at the host institution.

Final year


  • Dissertation


Choose an additional 4 modules

  • Development: The environmental challenge 
  • Human Rights and Development
  • Identity, Inequality and Inclusive Development 
  • African Politics 
  • Contemporary International Political Economy
  • Topics in British Politics
  • Gender and World Politics
  • Law, Politics and the International System: Mediating Power beyond the State
  • New Media, Social Media, and International Politics
  • The Politics of Gender, Sex and Sexuality

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 2024-25


Full-time £9,250.

Learn more about fees and funding.


Full-time, Band 1 (Classroom) £22,380


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 the UCAS website using code LL2A.

Find out more about transferring from another college or university.

Learn more about applying.

Standard offer

International Requirements

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

Typical offer AAB

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.

Other qualifications are 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.

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).

To help you develop these skills, we adopt a range of teaching methods on the International Relations and Development degree. They may include:

  • Lectures - listening to experts sharing their knowledge and discoveries in challenging and provocative ways. Students are expected to 'read-around' the subject matter of their lectures, adding to their understanding and developing their critical faculties and analytical skills.

  • Seminars - where you present and discuss your ideas and knowledge in smaller groups and debate interpretations and opinions with other students.

  • Tutorials - are your opportunity to discuss your work with your tutor, usually in small groups.

  • Workshops - are problem solving sessions facilitated by a member of academic staff; these sessions usually involve students working in groups.

Our lecturers and tutors will ensure you have all the resources you need to make the transition from A levels to the more rigorous demands of an International Relations and Development degree.

Find out more about the student experience.

Contact hours

For all undergraduate modules students attend lectures and seminars regularly throughout the term. Contact hours vary dependent on module choice. As well as time with your lecturers and personal tutor, academic and professional services staff (like our dedicated Careers Network team) will be available to offer individual and group support throughout your time at Birmingham.

Personal Tutor

From the outset, you will be assigned your own Personal Tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies, providing academic and welfare advice, encouraging you and offering assistance in any areas you may feel you need extra support to make the most of your potential and your time studying our International Relations and Development degree.

Seminars and tutorials

Small-group tutorials/personal tutorials run alongside our lectures, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate lecture material, as well as test your understanding through problem-solving exercises.

Self study is an essential part of the International Relations and Development degree and requires self motivation and enthusiasm for your subject. It also allows you to pursue your own lines of enquiry and become an independent thinker.

Lecturers and researchers

Throughout the International Relations and Development degree you will be taught by lecturers and researchers who have worked in the fields of development, political science and international relations. You can learn more about staff in the she School by visiting the School of Government staff pages.

Learning settings

All the departments from across the School of Government are all based within Muirhead Tower. The space has been designed to create modern, attractive spaces for teaching and research accommodating 150 academic offices, teaching rooms for up to 100 people and a 200 seat lecture theatre.

Your lectures and teaching will take place in a variety of versatile lecture theatres and breakout rooms. Our rooms are all equipped with wireless connection and constantly updated technology including all the audio-visual equipment that you would expect from one of the UK's premier institutions.

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.

Input from Professional Careers Advisers in your Curriculum

During the first year of your studies, Careers Advisers from the University Careers Network team will attend lectures on your course to support you with career planning from an early stage. The lectures will cover career planning, researching career and internship opportunities, developing the skills that graduate employers are looking for, and presenting yourself with impact to a potential employer.

Professional development module

You will have the unique opportunity to take advantage of a work placement as part of your final year by undertaking the Professional Development Module as an optional module choice.

Visit the University of Birmingham Careers pages for further information on how we are 'Investing in your future'.