Modules in the first year
In the first year of your degree you receive a thorough grounding in the study of international relations, with particular emphasis on the major approaches to the discipline and key ideas such as conflict, war, peace, security, international and regional organisations, and international law. Each of the modules you take in the first year is designed to introduce you to the theory and practice of international relations and to provide you with a foundation for more advanced, specialised study in the second and third years of your degree.
The modules that you will study include Introduction to International Relations which will introduce you to the study of international politics debates and Problems of World History which will provide you with an overview of the historical context and principal problems of international conflict and relations. You will also undertake a module in Research Skills that will provide you with the research skills you need to succeed in your studies.
In addition to these modules you will also have the opportunity to take an optional module of your choice from within POLSIS and a widening horizons module in a subject outside of your discipline (e.g. history, psychology, modern languages or law). The widening horizons module is part of our commitment at Birmingham University to foster breadth as well as depth of knowledge by encouraging all first year students to study subjects outside of their chosen subject area. This is an excellent opportunity to continue a subject you enjoyed at A-Level or to pursue a brand new interest.
Modules in the second year
The second-year of your degree course further develops your understanding of the discipline and introduces new perspectives on international relations. It is designed to develop your knowledge and theoretical understanding of this dynamic and changing field. You will take two compulsory modules. The first is International Relations Theory which introduces you to advanced theories of international relations and applies these to key issues in international politics. You are then asked to take one of Diplomatic History, which focuses the development of the international system in the second half of the twentieth century or International Security, which uses theoretical approaches to examine a range of major security topics.
Your second year of study will also provide you with the opportunity to undertake more specialised study in areas of the subject that interest you. You will be able to choose four optional modules from the extensive list of modules that we offer. These modules will build on the knowledge and skills you have acquired thus far on your degree and allow you to tailor your studies in a way that best fits with your interests and future plans.
Year Abroad option
If you have not applied for the four year, study abroad degree you can still apply to study abroad for a year in an approved university around the world if you have achieved a grade of 2.1. If your application is successful, you will go abroad in your third year and return to us for your final year.
Modules in the final year
In the final year of your degree you will undertake an independent study project and up to five optional modules. Modules in the final year are advanced, research led modules taught by experts in the subject area.
There are two distinct independent study pathways of independent study in the final year:
Pathway one: on this pathway you will write a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choice. You will be guided and supported by a supervisor who is an expert in your area of interest. In addition to writing the dissertation you will be able to take four optional modules.
Pathway two: on the second pathway you take the module Problems in World Politics. This module is designed to allow students to apply the knowledge they have acquired on their degree to real world policy problems in politics. In addition to this independent study module you will be able to take five optional modules.
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 2019. 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.