BA International Relations with Spanish

Start date
4 years
UCAS code
Course Type
Undergraduate, Major-minor combined, Single Honours, Study abroad year

For 2020/21:
£9,250 (Home/EU students)
£18,420 (International Students)
More Fees and funding details.

Our diverse programme allows you to combine the study of Spanish with International Relations.

Combined with the opportunity to study at a European university, the International Relations with Spanish course offers a unique opportunity to learn in a truly international and interdisciplinary way.

This is an excellent degree to gain global, employability skills. We offer an optional ‘Professional Development' (work placement) module in your final year.

Students applying for this degree at Birmingham will join the Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS).

The University of Birmingham has been welcoming international students onto our campus since 1900. Find out more about studying as an international student.

Global Opportunities at Birmingham

At Birmingham, we are committed to providing students with a truly global learning experience. Students on this programme have access to a range of exciting opportunities to travel and study abroad during their degree.

Year Abroad

Even if you haven’t applied for a 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 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.

Undergraduate Enhancement Activities

Student-led events committee

Each year students elect representatives from amongst themselves to work with our student engagement officer and academics from POLSIS to develop a series of events and activities that run alongside their studies. In recent years these have included: staff student debates and question-time events; a distinguished visiting speaker series; and a student conference. 

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 in POLSIS and attracts students from all around the world. 

Student Enhancement Fund

Students can apply as individuals or groups for funding up to £300.00 to support academic and employment related activities. In the past we have supported conference attendance international study trips, and professional training courses. 

Visiting lecturers

We are always keen to link the academic study of international relations and politics with real world practice. One way we do this is to bring leading practitioners in the fields of politics, international relations and commerce into our lecturers and seminars to share their experience and expertise with students. Recent Visiting Lecturers have included General Sir Richard Shirreff, former NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR), Sir Francis Richards, Former Director, GCHQ, Ann Don Bosco, Head of Strategy, Public Health England, Sarah Cox, Chief Operating Officer, OFGEM and General Sir Mike Jackson, former Head of the British Army. 


Student Research Internships

Each year we offer up to 10 research internships to undergraduates in POLSIS. These are open on a competitive basis to all second year students. These are fully supported, paid internships that give students the opportunity to work on a one-to-one basis with a member of academic staff in POLSIS on a research project.  

Employability 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 in POLSIS. These workshops run in each year of your programme and are tailored to support you with the information you need to plan for your postgraduate study or employment.

Professional development module

In the final year of your studies in POLSIS 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. 

High-quality teaching

Research Led Teaching

We are committed to delivering inspiring and challenging programmes of study which allow you to fully develop your ideas and potential. We are able to offer you a high level of 'added value' in terms of teaching quality because our staff are leading researchers in their subject areas and they bring their research expertise into their lectures and seminars. This means that, as a department, we are not only successful at attracting very good students, but are able to offer also excel in helping them to achieve levels of performance higher than they might expect in other comparable institutions. Our excellent teaching has been recognised many times by awards from the University and our student community.

Academic tutor

All students are assigned a personal tutor who is a member of academic staff in POLSIS.  The role of the academic tutor is to support and guide you during time in POLSIS. You will be expected to meet regularly with your tutor who will guide you on how to make the transition from school to university, advise you on your study choices and support your academic development. 

Cutting-edge research

POLSIS is home to some of the most respected academics in the UK and beyond. In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, Politics and International Studies at Birmingham was ranked the sixth best department in the country in terms of research power, highlighting the large number of staff in POLSIS producing world-leading and internationally excellent research. We have a wide range of research specialisms in the department, including Security Studies and Terrorism, Post-Conflict Studies, International Relations, British and European Politics, American Politics, Middle Eastern Politics, Asian Politics, Political Theory, Gender Studies, Political Economy and Russian and East European Studies.


In a world of growing interdependence, the need for a wider understanding of international affairs becomes more crucial every day. Our International Relations with a Language courses allow you to combine study of a modern language with international relations, which is itself interdisciplinary and covers such topics as politics, economics and the diplomatic history of the 20th century.

The third year is spent studying at a European university. You spend one third of your time in language studies two thirds taking courses in international relations. When you return to Birmingham for your fourth year you'll study advanced courses in your language and in international affairs.


Modules in the first year

This year consists of introductory modules in international relations and your chosen language.

Compulsory modules

  • Understanding International Relations
  • Global History
  • Spanish Language Advanced modules 1 and 2
  • Pathways to International Relations Research 1 
  • Pathways to International Relations Research 2
  • Politics as a Vocation 1 and 2

Modules in the second year

The second year is designed to permit specialisation in areas of particular interest while deepening your language skills.

Compulsory modules

  • International Relations Theory
  • Spanish Language Advanced Core Module III
  • Spanish Language Advanced Core Module IV and V

and you will choose one of the following two modules:

  • Diplomatic History Post 1945
  • International Security

In addition, you will be able to choose two optional modules:

  • Public Choice Theory
  • International Political Economy
  • International Security
  • International Politics & Security in Russia & Eurasia
  • Analysing Political Worlds
  • Global Governance
  • Islam and Politics in Europe
  • Social Research II
  • Comparative Politics
  • British Politics
  • Understanding Foreign Policy
  • The Political Economy of Energy and Energy Security 

Modules in the final year

When you return to Birmingham for your fourth year you study advanced courses in your language and in international affairs.

If you want to take advantage of a unique opportunity to be supported with a work placement opportunity as part of your final year, this course includes the opportunity to undertake a 'Professional Development' module as part of your optional module choices.

Pathway one

Compulsory modules

  • Problems in World Politics (Independent Study)
  • Spanish Language for Commerce

Optional modules

In addition you will choose optional modules from across the departments. 

Pathway two

Compulsory modules

  • POLSIS Dissertation
  • Spanish Language for Commerce

Optional modules

In addition you will choose optional modules from across the departments. 

  • Spanish for Commerce Language Project IV
  • Power in Britain
  • Contemporary US Foreign and Security Policy
  • Contemporary International Political Economy
  • Topics in British Politics
  • The Diplomacy of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
  • Controversies in Contemporary Democracies
  • Left Parties and Protest Movements
  • Gender in World Politics
  • Critical Approaches to Security
  • Issues in US Domestic Politics
  • Professional Development
  • Global Capitalism and Migration
  • Law, Politics and the International System: Mediating Power beyond the State
  • Parties, Voters and Elections
  • Russian Foreign Policy
  • Security in Europe: Actors, Crises and Threats
  • Strategy and Decision-Making
  • Social Justice and Politics
  • Global Uprisings: Critique and Radical Politics
  • Democracy and Authoritarianism in Contemporary Europe
  • Rebuilding war torn states: confronting legacies of conflict
  • The Political Economy of Russia
  • The EU in a Globalised World
  • Politics in Russia
  • Globalisation, Capitalism and Welfare
  • Exploring the Mekong

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. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2020. 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.


For UK students beginning their studies in September 2020, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Learn more about fees and funding.

Home/EU students

Undergraduate Home/EU student fees 2020-21
Fee Band Full-time
Undergraduate £9,250

Overseas students

Overseas students entering in 2020-21
Fee Band (Undergraduate) Full-time
Band 1 (Classroom) £18,420


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 .

For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the website.

How To Apply

apply through UCAS at using code: L2R4.
Learn more about applying.

University of Birmingham's UCAS code number is B32.


The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.

You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system.

Standard offer

International Requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
Required subjects and grades:
A level grade B in Spanish
General Studies:
not accepted

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

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.

International Students

International Baccalaureate Diploma

For students starting their course in 2019 the entry requirements are 6,6,5 at Higher Level with a minimum of 32 points overall including an appropriate language at HL grade 5.

Standard English language requirements apply
Learn more about international entry requirements.

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.

We advocate an enquiry-based approach to learning, which means that we encourage you to become an independent and self-motivated learner. Through the programme of study we offer, we will develop the qualities that employers value in today's university graduates - qualities that will set you apart in your future career.

To help you develop the above-mentioned skills, we adopt a range of teaching methods. 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 a degree.

More about student experience at POLSIS.

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 here 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 here at Birmingham.

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 programme 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 world leading researchers

Throughout the course you will be taught by lecturers who have worked in the field of political science and international relations as well as world leading researchers. You can learn more about the School by visiting the School of Government staff pages.

Learning settings

This degree is taught by our internationally renowned Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) which is located in Muirhead Tower on own main Edgbaston campus.

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, 230 "hubs" for post graduate research students, 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.

Throughout your time on the International Relations with Spanish BA course, employability is a key area of focus. We help to make sure that you are employable through a range of department led and university wide initiatives which include:

Input from Professional Careers Advisers in your Curriculum

During the first year of your studies Careers Advisers from the University Careers Network team attend lectures in 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.

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

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 part of your optional module choices.

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

Your Birmingham degree

Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.