BA International Relations

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

For 2022/23:
£9,250 (UK)
£20,280 (International)
More Fees and funding details.

Why study international relations?

Our International Relations degree will help you understand the complexities of relationships between different countries and how they engage with each other to effectively manage a wide range of problems on a global scale.

Our International Relations degree will help you understand the relationships between different countries: how they compete with one another over power and interests, and how they engage in collaboration to manage a wide range of problems on a global scale.

International Relations is a distinct academic discipline, but it is by its nature interdisciplinary. This means on this degree you will learn from a range of disciplines, such as politics, history, geography, economics, and law. 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.  

Why study this course?

  • Our BA International Relations degree includes the opportunity to undertake a Professional Development module as part of your optional module choices.
  • Studying at the University of Birmingham will boost your employability prospects - we are ranked number one for being targeted by the top UK employers (High Fliers Research 2021).
  • You can transfer onto our 4-year Year Abroad 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
  • All third-year students 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.
  • 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

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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  

  • Global History
  • Understanding International Relations
  • Debates in World Politics
  • Introduction to Political Theory
  • Understanding Politics
  • Pathways in Research

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 three compulsory modules and three optional modules. 

Compulsory 

  • Global Governance
  • International Relations Theory
  • Research Design 

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 need to choose three optional modules which will build on the knowledge and skills you have acquired 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 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. Modules in the final year are advanced, research led modules taught by experts in the subject area.


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 2022. 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

Fees 2022-23

UK

Full-time £9,250.

Learn more about fees and funding.

International

Full-time, Band 1 (Classroom) £20,280

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 .

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.

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB
General Studies:
not accepted

BTEC Extended Diploma considered.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.

International Students

International Baccalaureate Diploma

For students starting their course in 2022 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.

On your degree you will be taught by staff from the Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS). We take an enquiry-based approach to learning, which means that as well as providing your with engaging content about the subject, we also help you become an independent and self-motivated learner. Throughout the degree, 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 these skills, we adopt a range of teaching methods on the  degree. They may include:

  • Lectures – where academic experts introduce you to topics, sharing their knowledge in challenging and provocative ways. Students are provided with reading recommendations alongside the lectures, which will allow you to deepen your understanding of topics and develop your critical faculties and analytical skills.
  • Seminars – where you discuss and present topics in smaller groups, allowing you to develop your ideas, share interpretations, and debate opinions with other students.
  • Tutorials – your opportunity to discuss your work with your personal tutor, usually in small groups.
  • Workshops – problem-solving sessions facilitated by a member of academic staff, usually involving group work.  

Our lecturers and tutors will ensure you have all the resources you need to make your transition to degree-level education.

More about student experience at POLSIS.

Contact hours

Contact hours vary depending on module choice. As well as time with your lecturers, class teachers, and personal tutor, academic and professional services staff (such as our dedicated Careers Network team) will be available to offer individual and group support throughout your time studying your degree 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 advice and encouragement, guidance toward welfare services when needed, and helping you get assistance in any areas you may feel you need extra support to make the most of your potential and your time at the University of Birmingham.

Seminars and tutorials

Small-group tutorials/personal tutorials run alongside lectures, allowing you to consolidate lecture material through discussion, and test your understanding through problem-solving exercises.

Independent study alongside your time in the classroom is an essential part of the degree and requires motivation and enthusiasm for your subject. It allows you to pursue your own lines of enquiry, inspired by the taught content, and become an independent thinker.

Lecturers and world leading researchers

Throughout your degree 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 staff in 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), located in the Muirhead Tower on our 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 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.

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Services and facilities