As well as learning the detail of your subject, you will develop the excellent transferable skills ready to take on the world of work.
You will also have the opportunity to benefit from our in-house careers support and our University of Birmingham Careers Network.
On our four-year Year Abroad programmes, you will undertake a year abroad between your second and fourth years at a partner HE institution. This will give you the opportunity to experience a different academic environment and way of teaching (and even different approaches to the subject).
The International Relations course with year abroad will also enhance your employability prospects through a proven ability to succeed in a foreign setting and will provide an additional opportunity to develop relevant, marketable skills in terms of organisation, communication, and intercultural awareness.
We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
POLSIS undergraduate brochure (PDF 1MB)
This International Relations with Year abroad addresses a wide range of problems and concerns that have a global dimension or impact; they may require domestic or international co-operation if they are to be resolved or managed effectively. While this programme is a distinct academic discipline, it is by its nature interdisciplinary, requiring you to acquire a wide range of knowledge of disciplines.
Where can I go my year abroad?
Our European partner institutions teach in the native language. If you wish to apply to one of them, it is usually a requirement that you have a good working knowledge of the respective language.
Outside of Europe, we have exchange partners in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Ecuador, Ghana, Israel, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, the USA, Uruguay, and the West Indies.
For more specific details on the names and locations of our partner universities, you should consult our study abroad - outgoing students webpage.
For more information about the year abroad visit our Year abroad and student exchange page.
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