Join us at our October Virtual Open Days

Book now

BA Russian Studies and International Relations

Start date
September
Duration
4 Years
UCAS code
RL72
Course Type
Undergraduate, Joint Honours combined
Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee.
Fees for 2021/22:
£9,250 (UK)
£19,740 (International)
More detail.

Birmingham’s fusion of language and culture places employability at its heart, preparing you to live and work as an engaged citizen of the world.

Learning Russian from beginner or advanced level alongside International Relations is highly complementary and an exciting way to contextualise your knowledge in each discipline. Russia is an important player on the global scene, having undergone fascinating changes. Western businesses are spending billions investing in Russia and other former Soviet markets, and need employees who can both speak the language and understand the history, politics and culture of the region. 

At Birmingham, language is taught through the lens of the target culture's literature, history, politics and society, and through total immersion on the Year Abroad. In addition, our highly regarded Department of Political Science and International Studies has long-established strengths in the discipline of International Relations. As well as benefiting from world-leading expertise, you have the opportunity to enrich your studies with activities such as student conferences, the Research Assistance Scheme (where students are paired with staff to assist in specific research tasks), real-case exercises and research visits to local and national places of interest.

COVID-19

Please rest assured that we will make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

Information for future students and applicants

The course understands how being digitally aware is essential for the workplace in today’s society. They do this by moving away from essays and exams, instead creating assessments such as writing blog posts, creating comic strips or creating a radio interview – all in different languages.

Zara

Why Study this Course?

  • Outstanding employability - Over 90% of our graduates enter work or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017).
  • Excellent development opportunities - By choosing Modern Languages, you are entering an excellent field with almost limitless opportunities and benefits. The curriculum also has an increased focus on professional development in areas such as; presenting, CV-building, debating, and developing digital projects in the target language. In addition, the Department’s ‘Modern Languages Professionals Week’ in the first year features workshops and talks from former students who are using their languages for a 21st century global workplace in business, the not-for-profit sector, the arts, translation and interpreting, and education.
  • Travel opportunities - Many students remember their Year Abroad as the most exciting and formative part of their degree. Their Russian language skills truly matured and they gained a real in-depth understanding of the culture and society of this fascinating country. Beginners to the language also study in Russia for four weeks in Year 1 to rapidly progress their language skills.
  • Innovative language study - The target-language core module pioneers a blended approach to your linguistic development, as your cultural knowledge is developed through the medium of your target language. In addition to linguistic and cultural fluency, the department also offers optional vocational modules in areas such as translation and business. We pride ourselves on competitive contact hours of 6 hours per week for advanced language study and 8 hours per week for beginner language study for the first half of your studies at Birmingham.
  • Extra-curricular opportunities - Join one of our politics or languages student societies, or write for our student magazine, The UoB Linguist. The Russian and Eastern European Society (REES) is a society popular among our students; where members meet, socialise and learn more about the Russian and East European language, film and culture.

Open day talks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest updates and FAQs for future students and offer-holders

Visit our FAQs

Modules

Please note: You will take 120 credits of modules in each year of study. 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.

 

Joint Honours flexibility

Every degree programme at the University is divided into 120 credits of study for each year of the programme. In the first year of a Joint Honours programme, you will study 60 credits in each subject as you learn the core elements of the disciplines. We recognise that students on Joint Honours programmes might come to favour one subject slightly more than another. To account for this, we have added more flexibility into the second and final years of our programmes. In the second year, you can stick with the 60-60 split between the two subjects or shift to a 80-40 credit weighting, effectively a major/ minor combination. You can either go back to 60-60 in the final year, maintain the same 80-40 split or reverse the major and the minor and go to a 40-80 weighting.

Russian:

During your years of study you will take compulsory language modules depending on your language proficiency (Beginner or post A-Level). You will then choose amongst a wide range of optional modules depending on the number of credits you are taking in the language.

You can find out more about the available modules dependent on your credit weighting for your chosen language via the My Choices website. The modules listed  may occasionally be subject to change.

International Relations:

Year 1

Compulsory Modules

Year 2

Compulsory Module

  • International Relations Theory (20)

Detailed descriptions of Year 2 International Relations modules

Year 3

You will spend your year abroad studying in Russia.

Final Year

  • Dissertation (20 - if not taking in Russian)

Detailed descriptions of Final Year International Relations modules

Fees

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2021, 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.

Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:

  • UK: £9,250
  • International: £19,740

Eligibility for fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.


Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as UK for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as International for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

How To Apply

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB
Required subjects and grades:
AAB. A level Russian grade B or equivalent is required if you plan to take the language at Advanced level.

IB Diploma:
6,6,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

BTEC qualifications:

  • BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM, plus a B at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
  • BTEC Diploma: DD, plus a B at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma: D, plus AB at A-level, including the required subject/s mentioned above.

Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements.

Independent language diplomas:

If you would like to study advanced Russian as part of your programme but are not currently studying the language at A level, we are happy to consider applications from those offering an independent language diploma at B2 level as demonstration of advanced language skills.

The independent language diploma we would consider is the TRKI 2nd Certificate (Russian). This diploma is assessed against the criteria set by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, and can be studied for in your own time or through a language centre.  This diploma will be considered when taken in addition to three A levels or equivalent qualifications as outlined above.

International Students

We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

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.

In linguistics, we’re all about looking at what can different aspects of the world around us tell us. How can we define Spanish? Historically, where does Spanish come from? Geographically, where is Spanish spoken? Linguistically, what does it mean to speak Spanish?

Dr Alice Corr

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to higher education when you start at Birmingham. 

Personal tutors – You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.

Wellbeing Officers –You will also have access to dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or to talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond if you need it.

Our Academic Skills Centre helps you to become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.

The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) provides guidance on writing essays and dissertations if you need it. You can receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects too.

Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They offer research opportunities, study skills support, and help you prepare for your post-university career. They also organise social events, including trips.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

 

Language laboratory sessions allow you to practise your listening and spoken skills and are an essential part of all our language programmes.

Contact hours

On the Russian Studies side of your degree, you will typically study 6-12 hours per week in lectures, seminars and small group teaching.

On the International Relations side of your degree, you can expect approximately 6 hours per week in your first and second year, with 1 lecture and 1 seminar for each of your 3 modules. In final year, you can expect roughly 2 contact hours per module, not including the dissertation.

Assessment Methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

 

Year one

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

Year two

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

Year three

You can choose to spend your year abroad in various locations including Moscow, St Petersburg, Yaroslavl, Petrozavodsk, Tver and Volgograd, spending either two semesters in one place or splitting them between two different places, for instance a semester in Moscow and a semester in Tver. There may also be the opportunity to spend a semester in Krakow, Poland.

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

Year four

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

Over 90% of our graduates enter work or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017). 

Russian and International Relations graduates have a range of knowledge and skills that are valued by graduate employers:

  • Strong communication skills in English and Russian
  • A deep understanding and appreciation of other cultures
  • Critical thinking skills, alongside the ability to research, analyse and interpret information
  • Independence and experience of living abroad
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Handling complex information
  • The ability to form concise and articulate arguments
  • Managing your time and prioritising your workload

Example employers:

  • Amazon.fr
  • Capita
  • Eurocity Group
  • Harper Collins
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • IQD Frequency Products
  • Aura Financial
  • JC Decaux
  • Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham
  • British Airways
  • Deloiette
  • HSBC
  • Pricewaterhouse Coopers
  • The British Council
  • French Connection
  • NATO
  • BP
  • Ministry of Justice
  • House of Commons
  • Local and central government

Example roles:

  • Editorial Project Leader
  • English Teacher
  • International Sales Coordinator
  • Investigation Specialist
  • Operations Analyst
  • Consultant
  • Marketing Officer
  • Account Executive
  • Account Planner

Examples of further study include:

  • PgDip Education
  • MA Social Work
  • PGCE (various)
  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • MA Hispanic Studies
  • MA Translation Studies
  • PGCE Primary languages specialism
  • MA International Relations
  • MA Political Science
  • MA International Relations, Terrorism and Political Violence

You will benefit from organised events in both departments whereby graduates return to campus to talk to current students about their careers, how to find opportunities and the variety of roles available.

Developing your career

There is a range of opportunities through our Careers Network and beyond. For example, our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six-month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market.

Current partners include Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, and the Library of Birmingham. There are also internships available at the University’s own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

There are regular events each year covering careers in teaching, events management, working with charities and more, to help you meet potential employers and learn more about a range of sectors.

There are also summer internship opportunities and work experience bursaries, which allow you to apply for funding to support you during any unpaid internships.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you may want to engage in extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and your network of contacts.

Our College of Arts and Law Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project run by one of our researchers in drama and theatre. You gain work experience over the summer after your first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.

Our employer-endorsed Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

There are also a huge number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, our students’ union, which cover a wide variety of interests across drama and the arts.

With more than 300 societies and groups at The Guild, there is something for everyone.If your interest does not yet have a group, then The Guild will support you to set it up and find likeminded individuals to join you.

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities