BA International Relations

Start date
September
Duration
3 years
UCAS code
L250
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours
Fees

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

Our International Relations degree will enable you to gain an appreciation of how politics, history, geography, economics and law all require international co-operation if we are to resolve and effectively manage a wide range of problems on a global scale.

This International Relations degree 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 the programme is a distinct academic discipline, it is by its nature interdisciplinary, requiring you to acquire a wide range of knowledge of disciplines. On the International Relations BA you will develop the all-round skills needed for a modern working world - critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and creativity. 

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.  

Professional Development module

If you want to take advantage of a unique work placement opportunity as part of your final year, our BA International Relations degree includes the opportunity to undertake a 'Professional Development' module as part of your optional module choices.

Year Abroad

Even if you haven’t applied for our 4-Year Study Abroad International Relations 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 our International Relations degree, 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 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. 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 in POLSIS and attracts students from all around the world. Learn more about our student experience activities

My course was very research rich, which meant that our learning every week was based on current, relevant literature. Often you find that the research had been conducted by teachers at the university. It means that you have high quality and reliable knowledge of the subject you are studying.

Thivya , 2019 Graduate

Modules

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. 

Compulsory modules

  • Global History
  • Understanding International Relations
  • Debates in World Politics
  • Pathways to International Relations Research 1 
  • Pathways to International Relations Research 2
  • Politics as a vocation 1 and 2

In addition to these modules you will also have the opportunity to take an optional module from within POLSIS.

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 Post 1945, 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.

Optional modules

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. 

  • Public Choice Theory
  • International Political Economy
  • Diplomatic History post 1945 
  • British Politics
  • International Security
  • International Politics & Security in Russia & Eurasia
  • Modern Political Thought
  • Analysing Political Worlds
  • Global Governance
  • International Relations of the Middle East
  • Feminist Political Ideas
  • Comparative Politics
  • Elections and Voting in Britain
  • America and the Middle East through Politics and Film
  • Public Policy Blunders and Bad Decision Making
  • Soviet Politics: Rise and Fall of a Superpower
  • War and Peace in Theory and Practice
  • Quantitative Political Analysis
  • Rebels and Revolutionaries: The Politics of Non-State Armed Groups
  • Controversies in Contemporary Democracies: Comparative Perspectives
  • The Political Economy of Energy and Energy Security

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 dissertationon 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.

  • War-Torn States and Post-Conflict Reconstruction in the South
  • Power in Britain
  • Contemporary US Foreign and Security Policy
  • Contemporary International Political Economy
  • Topics in British Politics
  • Democracy and Democratization in Contemporary Europe
  • Left Parties and Protest Movements
  • Issues in US Domestic Politics
  • The Diplomacy of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
  • Global Capitalism and Migration
  • Law, Politics and the International System: Mediating Power beyond the State 
  • Globalisation, Capitalism and Welfare 
  • Parties, Voters and Elections
  • Russian Foreign Policy
  • Security in Europe: Actors, Crises and Threats
  • Strategy and Decision-Making
  • Conflict, Statehood and Sovereignty in World Politics
  • Populism in Contemporary Politics
  • Politics of Migrants, Refugees, and Diasporas in the Middle East
  • Politics, Music and the Arts
  • Global Uprisings: Critique and Radical Politics
  • New Media, Social Media, and International Politics
  • Contemporary Russian and East European Politics
  •  Body Politics: Security, Economy, Violence
  • Understanding Brexit: Identity and Euroscepticism in Europe
  • The EU in a Globalised World
  • The Political Economy of Russia
  • Environment, Politics and Society
  • Gender in World Politics

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.

Fees

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

Scholarships

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 gov.uk website.

How To Apply

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com using code: L250.
Learn more about applying.

University of Birmingham's UCAS code number is B32.

UCAS

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:
3
Typical offer:
AAB
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.

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.

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

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.

Throughout your time on the International Relations 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'.

Student Research Internships

Each year on this International Relations degree 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.

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'.