School of Law, Criminology and Government

BSc (Hons) International Relations with Politics

Learn how to critically debate political processes while gaining an in-depth knowledge of the relationships between nations and processes of globalisation and global governance. You’ll be immersed in investigating how the international world works, and as an informed, critical graduate your skills will be in demand, giving you employment opportunities with organisations across the globe.

You will explore the evolution of politics internationally, and debate contemporary worldwide issues, current affairs and major political events. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to gain insights into international relations worldwide through our international students exchange programme. You will be inspired by teaching rooted in research, and stay up-to-date with the current issues shaping global politics. You will differentiate yourself in an international sector with industry experience.

Key features

  • We’re very proud of our National Student Survey (NSS) 2017 return showing that 100 per cent of our students agree that staff are good at explaining things.*
  • Focus on the diversity of the international world, in particular post 1945 developments and the processes of globalisation. These twin themes will be reflected and addressed in sessions on international political economy, international security and the third world.
  • Explore the evolution of politics internationally. Debate contemporary worldwide issues, current affairs and major political events. Ask those difficult questions about war, hunger and poverty in the developing world. 
  • Travel the world through our international student exchange programme. From the Czech Republic and Poland, to Canada and the USA, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to gain insights into international relations worldwide. 
  • Be inspired by teaching rooted in research. Our staff are leading experts in their fields, and through our Politics and International Studies research group, you’ll stay up-to-date with the current issues shaping global politics. Our team’s areas of expertise include popular protest in the Middle East, British and American foreign policy, development in Africa, global environmental politics, security studies and the politics of the European Union.
  • Engage with contemporary international issues and take part in exclusive events, film screenings and lectures, through the student-run Politics and International Affairs society (PIA Soc)
  • Benefit from a course which received excellent ratings for teaching and student satisfaction, in the Guardian’s University Guide 2015 (within the subject league table for Politics). 
  • Differentiate yourself in an international sector with industry experience. As journalists, politicians' assistants, and public affairs consultants, our graduates have gone on to work for the European Union, United Nations and UK Civil Service. 
  • Investigate daily headlines. Discover the international and political ideas that influence society. Emphasise the diversity of the international world where traditional approaches will be measured against new ways of looking at how the world works.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you’ll investigate daily headlines and topical news, discovering the international systems and political ideas that shape them. Explore the main concepts and theories of British and European politics, and study contemporary issues, current affairs and major political events in context. You’ll cover topics including international institutions and regimes, sovereignty to global governance and contemporary international relations as well as gain vital research techniques.
    Core modules
    • IRL100 Imagining World Order

      This module introduces the essential terms, concepts and processes of international relations analysis. It describes the main features of the international system since its evolution from the Treaty of Westphalia, continuities and discontinuities with earlier international systems, plus the move from state sovereignty to global governance in the contemporary context. It also introduces the primary theories of international relations analysis, whilst putting their emergence and development into historical context.

    • IRL102 International Relations Since 1945

      This module provides an introduction to the historical development of the international political system since 1945. It provides a crucial background to the major processes and actors that have shaped the contemporary international system.

    • PIR100 Discovering World Politics

      The team-taught immersive module introduces students to key concepts in the fields of Politics and IR and provides them with the necessary skills and tools to write essays and engage with academic debates. It also provides an opportunity for team-building for both students and staff.

    • POL100 Democracy and Democratization

      This module provides the foundation for the study of democracy and democratisation, with a focus on competing theories of democratic governance and how these can be applied in a critical analysis of the practices and institutions of governments.

    • POL101 Comparative Democracies

      This module introduces students to the key themes involved in the study of democracies. It examines each of these topics within a comparative framework. The application of the key themes will be achieved through the medium of theoretical approaches and case study application.

    Optional modules
    • GOV1000PP One Planet? Society and Sustainability

      This module addresses some of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century from a variety of ideological and political perspectives. Through real-world case studies and critical reflection of lived experiences, we explore and debate the complex, interdependent processes underpinning sustainability and global inequality and insecurities. You develop an understanding of key drivers and public policy impacts and consider future alternative scenarios. The emphasis is on active, collaborative, learning via field trips and debates.

    • LAW1000PP Ethics and Justice in the Balance

      This short intensive module will provide a basic introduction to ethical considerations in human activity, social life and institutional decision making. It provides a platform to enable students to evaluate concepts of justice, law and ethics as well as themes of morality, duty and responsibility, in relation to everyday individual and collective choices of action.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you’ll immerse yourself in international political economy, investigate leading theories and analyse global systems. Explore the concepts of national and human security, and develop your knowledge of politics with topics including Britain and the EU, modern liberal democracies, political analysis and strategy and public policy. You can also choose to visit the Czech Republic, Poland, Canada or the USA with our international student exchange programme.
    Core modules
    • IRL200 Understanding Global Politics

      This module provides an introduction to the main authors and debates in contemporary IR theory, from mainstream theories to critical approaches. The module pays particular attention to the historical context of each approach, and the relationship between theory and practice in contemporary global politics.

    • IRL201 International Security Studies

      This module considers the issue of security in contemporary international relations. It examines a variety of different security concepts from deterrence and the security dilemma to arms control, peacekeeping, terrorism, regional security complexes and governance. It then seeks to relate these to practical examples from world politics.

    • IRL202 The Third World

      This module embraces both theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding development issues and policies, at national, international and multilateral scale. The approach taken is deliberately inter-disciplinary, incorporating historical, economic, political and social perspectives. The module also uses case studies based in Africa, Latin America and Asia to illustrate and provide context for the discussion of various developmental concerns. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding the development policy arena; how it is framed and constituted; the power relations between actors; and the impact on human communities and their environments.

    • PIR200 International Political Economy

      This module analyses how the governance of international economic affairs has developed from the Mercantilist expansion of early modern Europe to the present day. It introduces four alternative approaches to the study of IPE. It presents the leading historical narratives of the evolution of the modern world political economy, and then investigates its development since 1945.

    • POL200 The European Union: Democracy Beyond the Nation State

      This module introduces students to the history, structure, key themes and potential future development of the European Union. It examines each of these aspects within the context of theories of democracy, and the challenges to such theories presented by the supranational institutions of the EU.

    • POL201 Democracy and Globalization: Citizens and the Modern State

      Students taking this course will discover how social and economic change in the modern era impacts upon traditional political structures. The course demonstrates how structures face increasing challenges from alternative forms of political action, ranging in scope from the local to global. Much of the analysis will be comparative in scope and specific case studies will be undertaken of countries initially examined at level 4.

  • Final year
  • In your third year, you’ll undertake a comprehensive piece of research under expert supervision. You’ll also deepen your knowledge of international relations by studying a range of modules, including foreign policy, global environmental politics, refugee studies, the EU, politics of the Middle East and globalisation and health. Politics options include British politics, Third World politics, comparative politics, public choice, local government, electoral behaviour and sub-state nationalism.
    Core modules
    • PIR300 Dissertation and PDP Review

      This module provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their attainment of the aims and objectives of the Honours Programme. It requires the design and execution of a dissertation of 12,000 words in the field of political science, together with the submission of a 1,500 word formative Literature Review detailing the aims and objectives of the dissertation together with a consideration of the extant academic literature in the field of the research question.

    Optional modules
    • IRL300 Africa in the International System

      This module provides an introduction to African politics, examining the historical, economic and socio-political developments of over fifty states with a strong regional emphasis, and a focus on political economy, state-society relations, foreign policy and conflict analysis. The module's regional focus allows comparison between different approaches to IR. It also seeks to provide the tools to analyse and understand what is going on in Africa today.

    • IRL301 International Relations in the Middle East

      The module introduces students to international relations in the Middle East. It equips them with the analytical skills to examine the Arab-Israeli conflict, Gulf conflicts, the impact of the Arab Spring on regional relations, and the roles of regional powers.

    • IRL302 NATO after the Cold War and Beyond

      "This module proposes to study the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from a theoretical as well policy point of view. The aim is to investigate the relevance of NATO in the 21st century by looking at how NATO survived and developed in the aftermath of the Cold War as it appeared to have lost its original purpose of containing the Soviet Union. By looking at key developments within NATO in the post-Cold War period, this module also looks at the challenges which NATO has faced and overcome but it also critically reflects on the contemporary relevance of NATO. "

    • PIR301 Contemporary Issues in International Relations

      This module will explore the transformation of political community in the 21st century through the prism of international organisations such as the United Nations. The aim is to consider the key question whether `governance¿ is possible in world politics, and whether and to what extent international organisations can play a constructive role in such governance. The module begins with an introduction to international organisations and global governance, including the various theoretical approaches with their different assumptions about the nature of international politics, and competing predictions about international organisations in global governance.

    • PIR304 US Foreign Policy Since 1945

      This module introduces students to different approaches to studying US foreign policy. As well as providing an empirical survey of America's foreign relations since 1945, it draws on IR theory to examine its changing place in the world. Students will examine historical and contemporary themes in US foreign policy and explore the complex mix of factors that combine to influence it. The module will examine US interests in different parts of the world and evaluate how US foreign policy has affected regional and international orders. The ultimate objective of the course is to explore how US foreign policy shapes the world we live in.

    • PIR305 The Politics of the United States

      This module introduces students to the fundamental principles of politics in the United States. Domestic politics and the foreign influence of the United States is considered, with specific emphasis placed on the role of the Constitution and institutions of governance in promoting (or inhibiting) democracy both domestically and abroad.

    • PIR306 Environmental Political Economy

      This module examines the problem of environmental degradation and its implications for our global political economy. It discusses the major debates in political thought around the causes of environmental degradation. The module outlines the major attempts to build international regimes for global environmental governance, and the difficulties and obstacles that such attempts have encountered. A wide range of ideas, policy proposals, innovations in governance, and templates for political activism within the environmental movement are critically evaluated.

    • PIR310 Work Based Learning in Politics or International Relations

      This module provides students with opportunities to gain practical insights into the workings of organisations whose role and function have clear relevance to the focus and subject matter of their undergraduate degree in Politics or International Relations, and to link such insights to their acquired knowledge and understanding of social science theories and concepts. In addition the module will prepare students for the graduate job market and encourage their autonomous engagement in personal development planning.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BSc International Relations 17 18 0222

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

104

A levels

Including a minimum of two A levels.

BTEC

18 Unit BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM in any subject. 

BTEC National Diploma modules

If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application. 

Access

Pass a named Access to HE Diploma in any subject with at least 33 credits at merit/distinction. 

International Baccalaureate 

26 overall to include 4 at any subject at Higher Level.

GCSE

All applicants must have GCSE (or equivalent) mathematics and English at grade C or above. 

Other

14-19 Diplomas: accepted – please enquire. Other combinations and non-A level qualifications will also be considered.

Short of the entry requirements for this course? Don’t worry you may be eligible for a foundation year to prepare you for possible entry onto this course for the following year.

Learn more about foundation years with the Faculty of Business

English language requirements

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU £9,250 £9,250
International £12,250 £13,000
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Part time (International) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.



Graduate profile – Benjamin Luke Moorhouse

Studying at Plymouth made me realise I had potential and that if I work hard I can achieve anything. It gave me the skills I needed to study further and the passion for lifelong learning.

Benjamin teaches English in Hong Kong.

Learn more about Benjamin’s international career.

Politics

Where do you fit in? Explore and begin to understand the political world which affects us all. Debate political processes and systems and learn how to identify political issues and events.

Studying politics will develop your understanding of modern societies, focusing on how countries are governed and ruled.

Learn more about the School of Law, Criminology and Government.

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It’s our students that make us different. Prepare to join a very active community of engaged students. In partnership with our people they are the driving force behind Plymouth University’s internationally recognised focus on social enterprise and sustainability, as well as one of the best students' unions in the UK.

Be part of it now, find out more about the Faculty of Business.

International study pathways with Plymouth University International College

Plymouth University International College (PUIC) offer university foundation, first year degree and pre-masters pathways to a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees within the Faculty of Business. With 96 per cent of all students progressing on to their chosen Plymouth University degree, the PUIC pathways are an excellent alternative entry point for international students.

Find out more about your study opportunities with PUIC

People

* These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Unistats is updated annually in September.